No demonstration took place outside the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi before last week’s attack that killed four Americans – contrary to the Obama administration's claims that the assault grew out of a “spontaneous” protest against an anti-Islam film.
“There was no protest and the attacks were not spontaneous,” an intelligence source on the ground told Fox News
on Monday. The attack "was planned and had nothing to do with the movie."
The source told Fox that the assault came with no warning about 9:35 p.m. local time, and that it included fire from more than two locations. The assault included rocket-propelled grenades and mortar fire, the source said, and consisted of two waves.
The account that the attack started suddenly supports claims by a purported Libyan security guard who told McClatchy Newspapers late last week that the area was quiet before the attack, Fox reports.
"There wasn't a single ant outside," the guard, who was not named and was being treated in a hospital, said in the McClatchy interview.
A senior Libyan official said the attack was organized and planned by foreigners – some with links to al Qaida – involved a local Islamic militia, and was timed for the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States. Moreover, the Libyan official appeared to question whether there was a protest beforehand.
These specifics appear to conflict with accounts from the Obama White House that the attack developed from an out-of-control protest. The Libyan president also said on Sunday that the strike was planned in advance.
U.S. officials, in response to the claim that there was no demonstration at the time of the attack, told Fox that a small protest took place earlier in the day, but they did not dispute that there was no significant or sizeable demonstration at the time.
But a senior Obama administration official told Fox on Monday morning that the Libyan president's comments are not consistent with "the consensus view of the U.S. intelligence community," which has been investigating the incident, and are accordingly not credible.
"He doesn't have the information we have," the U.S. official told Fox of Libyan President Mohammed el-Megarif. "He doesn't have the (data) collection potential that we have."
The Libyan leader told CBS News' "Face the Nation" on Sunday that the government in Tripoli harbors "no doubt" that the Sept. 11 attack that killed U.S. ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans was "preplanned, predetermined."
That assessment conflicted directly with the preliminary conclusion offered on Sunday by U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice, who appeared on all five Sunday morning talk shows.
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