Unraveling The Embassy Attack


Eli Lake reported yesterday that there were significant warning signs leading up to the September 11 attack in Benghazi, including several threats as well as prior attacks:

The letter [from Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) to Secretary Clinton, apparently based on whistleblower accounts] also discloses for the first time a bombing at the U.S. consulate that occurred on April 6, 2012. It says that on that day, two former security guards for the consulate in Benghazi threw homemade improvised explosives over the consulate fence. That incident resulted in no casualties. The Wall Street Journal first reported last month that on June 6 militants detonated an explosive at the perimeter gate of the consulate, blowing a hole through the barrier. The letter to Clinton quotes one source who described the crater as "big enough for forty men to go through." …

[A senior State Department] official said that compared with the 9/11 anniversary assault, the earlier attacks in Benghazi were mild. "We faced a coordinated, military-style assault. We’ve never seen that kind of attack before," this official added.

House Republicans are claiming that US officials denied repeated requests for more security at the Benghazi consulate. Secretary Clinton responded with a call for patience. Allahpundit smells an election season cover-up:

Even the "initial reporting" pointed to a pre-planned attack with the protest just window dressing exploited by the jihadis. And yet they pushed the "spontaneous" line afterward for days. Question: If U.S. intel had a dozen or so bits of info pointing to terrorism within a few hours of the attack, why did the CIA circulate talking points for legislators pushing the "spontaneous" nonsense?

Tomasky pushes back:

[W]e know for a fact that Bush had explicit advance warning that 9-11, an attack that killed 2,800 people, was coming. … The same people who spent years making excuses for why Bush shouldn’t have taken that August 6 PDB seriously are now trying to argue that an attack that was about 1/700th as cataclysmic should be Obama’s undoing? You've got to be kidding me. If you want to talk about why we need to get to the bottom of Benghazi for substantive reasons, I’ll join the conversation. If you are trying to use the deaths of these people as a political cudgel to get Obama because every other piece of crap attack you’ve tried has failed, you are doing something that’s both contemptible and ineffectual. 

(Photo: A burnt house and a car are seen inside the US Embassy compound on September 12, 2012 in Benghazi, Libya following an overnight attack on the building. By STRINGER/AFP/Getty Images)