News agency CNN reported on September 20th that the White House characterized the September 11th attack in Benghazi, Libya as terrorism “for the first time.”
This report, published over a week after the attack, contradicts the assertion by Barack Obama — and CNN’s own Candy Crowley — that the President first made that assessment one day after the attack. Obama and Crowley made this claim in tandem during Tuesday’s town hall debate against Governor Mitt Romney at Hofstra University in New York.
The administration and the debate moderator’s revision of the record is further contradicted by UN Ambassador Susan Rice’s public statements five days after the attack. One five separate television interviews, Rice claimed that the assault which killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans was a “spontaneous reaction” to a YouTube video based on the “best information at present.”
If Obama correctly characterized this incident as a terrorist attack on September 12th, as a senior State Department official did, the White House may not have given Rice the “best information at present” before her multiple talk show appearances. Alternatively, Rice may have received that correct information and gave contradicting statements which reporters later found to be false.