Recently declassified interviews with senior military personnel reveal that the first information given to the President about the attack in Benghazi described it as a terrorist attack.
We’ve known since September of last year that the first call made from the compound in Benghazi as the attack was beginning described it as a “terrorist attack.” Today, Fox News’ James Rosen reports that the same assessment was shared by senior military leaders moments before the President was briefed on the situation for the first time.
The new information comes in the form of transcripts of previously classified interviews with General Carter Ham and Marine Corps Col. George Bristol. In June, Rep. Howard McKeon asked AFRICOM Commander Gen. Ham if there was “any mention of a demonstration or was all discussion about an attack?” Ham replied that there had been “peripheral” discussion about this. When pressed by Rep. Brad Wenstrup on the same point, Ham answered “Again, sir, I think, you know, there was some preliminary discussion
about, you know, maybe there was a demonstration. But I think at the
command, I personally and I think the command very quickly got to the
point that this was not a demonstration, this was a terrorist attack.”
Rep. Wenstrup raised the same question with Col. Bristol whose title at the time was “Joint Special Operations Task Force for the Trans Sahara region.” Wenstrup asked “So no one from the military was ever advising, that you are aware of,
that this was a demonstration gone out of control, it was always
considered an attack -” Col. Bristol replied “Yes, sir. … We referred to it as the attack.”
As Breitbart News reported last May, there is no doubt that some of the people on the ground in Benghazi knew about the You Tube video which had led to a demonstration in Cairo. However, the situation in Benghazi was preceded by months of attacks on other western outposts in the city, including attacks on the UK ambassador, the UN ambassador and the Red Cross, all of which took place before anyone had heard of the video.
The assault in Benghazi was never, according to the State Dept. ARB report on the incident, a peaceful demonstration. It began as a terror attack and, even according to a recent NY Times report, was preceded by some amount of planning which began no later than that morning.