White House First Said Benghazi Was Terrorist Attack on September 20
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney first acknowledged on September 20 that the attack on our consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was a terrorist attack.
Coming eight days after the President's Rose Garden remarks on the subject, this appears to be in stark contrast to what he and CNN's Candy Crowley claimed in Tuesday's presidential debate.
The following is from Carney's September 20 press gaggle:
Q Can you -- have you called it a terrorist attack before? Have you said that?
MR. CARNEY: I haven’t, but -- I mean, people attacked our embassy. It’s an act of terror by definition.
Q Yes, I just hadn’t heard you --
MR. CARNEY: It doesn’t have to do with what date it occurred.
Q No, I just hadn’t heard the White House say that this was an act of terrorism or a terrorist attack. And I just --
MR. CARNEY: I don’t think the fact that we hadn’t is not -- as our NCTC Director testified yesterday, a number of different elements appear to have been involved in the attack, including individuals connected to militant groups that are prevalent in eastern Libya, particularly in the Benghazi area. We are looking at indications that individuals involved in the attack may have had connections to al Qaeda or al Qaeda’s affiliates, in particular al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.
He also pointed out that -- I’ll point out as well -- that the FBI investigation into this tragedy is ongoing, but according to the best information we have now, we believe it was an opportunistic attack on our mission in Benghazi. It appears that some well-armed militants seized on the opportunity as the events unfolded that evening. We do not have any specific intelligence that there was significant advanced planning or coordination for this attack.
Again, that is the best information we have right now. There is an ongoing investigation. As more information becomes available, we’ll evaluate it -- our experts will evaluate it and I’m sure we’ll brief the Hill and make people aware of it.
Q Okay. Thanks, I just -- I just wanted to clarify.
MR. CARNEY: No worries.
Let's see Crowley spin this.