In a stunning move, the State Department said Tuesday that it never concluded that the attack on the consulate in Libya that left Ambassador Christ Stevens and three other Americans dead stemmed from protests over the anti-Muslim film "Innocence of Muslims." This only escalates questions into why the Obama administration constantly harped on the video for more than a week as being the cause of the assault.
The revelation came as new documents suggested internal disagreement over appropriate levels of security before the attack, which occurred on the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11 terror attacks on the U.S.
Briefing reporters ahead of a hotly anticipated congressional hearing Wednesday, State Department officials provided their most detailed rundown of how a peaceful day in Benghazi devolved into a sustained attack that involved multiple groups of men armed with weapons such as machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars over an expanse of more than a mile.
But asked about the administration's initial _ and since retracted _ explanation linking the violence to protests over an anti-Muslim video circulating on the Internet, one official said, "That was not our conclusion." He called it a question for "others" to answer, without specifying. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak publicly on the matter, and provided no evidence that might suggest a case of spontaneous violence or angry protests that went too far.
Sen. Bob Borker (R-TN) said that he's just "at a loss" for why the administration ever tried to connect the attack to the film in the first place. "From the very beginning, everyone knew this was a terrorist attack. I mean, there's no question, and that's why this has been totally bizarre," said Corker.
The Obama administration used the film explanation for more than a week after assailants killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans. Most notably, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, said in several TV interviews five days after the attack that it appeared to be "spontaneous" violence spinning out of protests of the film.
State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland backed up Rice's statements in a press briefing a day later: "I would simply say that ... the comments that Ambassador Rice made accurately reflect our government's initial assessment."
And White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, as late as a week after the attack, said that based on initial information, "we saw no evidence to back up claims by others that this was a preplanned or premeditated attack."
Carney then went on to suggest again the violence was related to the film: "Based on the information that we have now, it was -- there was a reaction to the video -- there was protests in Cairo, then followed by protests elsewhere, including Benghazi, and that was what led to the original unrest."
In fact, this was part of the address the Barack Obama offered to the United Nations just a couple of weeks ago in his speech where he declared, "The Future Must Not Belong To Those Who Slander The Prophet Of Islam." It was clear that he was referencing back to the film.
If the film was not deemed to be a part of the Obama administration's scapegoat, then why was Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the 55-year-old Coptic Christian picked up and questioned by the feds with regard to the film?
Katie Pavlich at Townhall.com put together a montage of video evidence where it is crystal clear that the Obama administration was claiming the violence that erupted was brought on by the film. Notice that the ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, along with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and White House Press Secretary Jay Carney are all promoting the very thing the State Department now claims it never did. It looks as if they are attempting to take something only weeks old and flush it down the Orwellian memory hole.
They most certainly did blame the attack and the rest of the protests on the video. The evidence is overwhelming to that fact.
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