New Benghazi Account Bolsters CIA
Intelligence officials have disclosed a new detailed timeline of the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, acknowledging the CIA played a greater role in responding to the attack than has previously been disclosed. A senior U.S. intelligence official also insisted that the CIA security team that initially responded to the attack was not given orders “to stand down in providing support,” as had been suggested in media reports.
The timeline provided by a senior U.S. intelligence official gives the first precise account of how CIA security teams provided the first response to the Sept. 11 attack on the diplomatic mission in Benghazi, which killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.
The attack has become a political hot potato in the presidential campaign, with conservatives accusing the administration of not being transparent. The State Department has previously released a detailed account of the night’s events, but did not acknowledge a CIA role in the response. The timeline given by a senior Intelligence official confirms that the facility previously described by the State Department as an annex, was in fact, a facility housing CIA security officers. It does not provide any additional details on the current intelligence assessment that the attack was an opportunistic result of earlier protests that day outside the U.S. embassy in Cairo over an anti-Muslim movie.
The official says there was “no second guessing” of those on the ground in Libya by senior officials either in Libya or Washington.
“There were no orders to anybody to stand down in providing support,” said the official. The official’s comments appeared to be a direct rebuttal of a Fox News report that CIA teams on the ground had been told by superior officers to “stand down” from providing security support to the consulate.