A Republican member of the House intelligence committee is vigorously disputing a new claim by Democrat and fellow committee member Rep. Jan Schakowsky of Illinois that intelligence officials told the committee there had been a “demonstration that was going on” during an attack on the US consulate in Benghazi on 9/11 that killed four Americans.
Jonathan Allen of Politico reported early Wednesday morning that Rep. Schakowsky had blamed faulty intelligence for the Obama administration’s repeated insistence that the attack had been motivated by outrage at an anti-Islamic video. She had added that the House intelligence committee, too, had received the same incorrect information:
Rep. Jan Schakowsky, an Illinois Democrat who serves on the House Intelligence Committee, called Romney’s criticism of the president “an obvious miss and a politicization” of the Libya situation. She also said the president was clear in his Rose Garden remarks, even if the cause of the attack was not yet known.
“We were told the same thing that turned out to be wrong, that there was this demonstration that was going on,” she said of the Intelligence Committee. “The president’s reaction at that time was, regardless of the circumstances, that this was an act of terror. … I don’t agree with that analysis that just technically the president was correct. I think that’s what he meant,” Schakowsky said.
Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA), who serves with Schakowsky on the intelligence committee, said that Schakowsky’s memory of what the committee had been told was incorrect. “If anybody is trying to politicize this thing, it’s Rep. Schakowsky by twisting the intelligence to help the president’s reelection chances,” he told Breitbart News. “That’s very dangerous. Her comments do not reflect what we were told.”
The State Department had no evidence of a protest at the U.S. consulate, and the Central Intelligence Agency had reported to Washington within 24 hours that the Benghazi attack was an assault by terrorists, not a spontaneous demonstration against a video.
Schakowsky’s new claim about faulty early intelligence reports renew an attempt by Democrats to lay blame upon the intelligence services. During his debate with Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) last week, Vice President Joe Biden had claimed that the “intelligence community told us that” the video had been the cause of the Benghazi attacks.
Yet a new report by Hannah Allam and Jonathan S. Landay of McClatchy Newspapers suggests that the Obama administration changed its story about the Benghazi attack after the first 48 hours, moving away from suggestions of terrorism and embracing the idea that the deadly assault was a response to an anti-Islam video made in the U.S.
And as Breitbart News reported earlier this week, it was only once the video story began to fall apart that the Obama administration pointed to the president’s Sep. 12 statement in the Rose Garden, in which he had used the term “acts of terror” in a generic sense.
Photo credit: Evanston Now