POSTED: Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - 5:09pm
UPDATED: Sunday, October 28, 2012 - 10:10pm
There is new information today about the attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi.
And it appears the state department knew more and knew it sooner than we were led to believe.
The timeline of the attacks is well known by now.
Or at least, we thought we knew.
This was the original thinking on the chain of events.
In Cairo…there were indeed protests over the anti-muslin video.
1:05 pm - The State Department says crowds have climbed the walls and replaced the American flag with a Muslim banner.
3:30 pm - Protesters begin marching on the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Ambassador Chris Stevens is there, instead of the Consulate in Tripoli.
But it now seems, there were no real protests in Benghazi.
4pm - The consulate is attacked with small arms fire and some rocket propelled grenades.
They are identified as “unidentified Libyan extremists.”
An email from the consulate at 4 alerts Washington an attack is underway.
It indicates Ambassador Chris Stevens is at the Consulate and that local Libyan militia is trying to defend the building.
4:14pm - Attackers gain access to the main building and it begins to burn.
8:30 – The Consulate is retaken.
The email from the consulate indicates an extremist group, Ansar al-Sharia made Facebook and Twitter posts that claim responsibility.
That came only a couple of hours after the Consulate was retaken.
The group denied responsibility for the attack, but their official statement the next day was not much of a denial.
Ambassador Stevens had cabled Washington a month earlier that the attacks being seen on the streets of both Tripoli and Benghazi were not random and seemed to be targeted.
So, the President’s mention of terrorist acts aside, why did the administration persist in the contention that the cause of the attacks was the anti-muslim video?
Today, Secretary of state Clinton was asked about the emails.
“You know, posting something on Facebook is not in and of itself evidence,” she said, “and I think it just underscores how fluid the reporting was at the time and continued for some time to be. What I keep in mind is that four brave Americans were killed and we will find out what happened.”
She also said that there were conflicting eyewitness reports that muddied the situation.
Either way, it is sure to be a factor in the last two weeks of this campaign.