Obama administration officials continue to maintain that the deadly attack on the United States consulate in Libya was “hasty and poorly organized,” despite intelligence indicating that al Qaeda-affiliated terrorists both planned and acted in a highly coordinated manner, reports show.
“What we don’t have is specific intelligence that there was significant advance planning or coordination for this attack,” Matthew Olsen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, was quoted as saying by Bloomberg Tuesday.
“The types of weapons used and the level of violence don’t indicate a well-planned al-Qaeda operation either,” other U.S. officials told Bloomberg.
However, the State Department has explicitly contradicted this view. State Department officials have referred to the attacks that killed U.S. Amb. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans as “unprecedented” in “size and intensity,” complicating efforts by President Barack Obama’s administration and its campaign surrogates to portray the attacks as “spontaneous” and small-scale.
Deputy Secretary of State Charlene Lamb testified during a recent congressional hearing on that matter that the attack on U.S. soil in Benghazi was “unprecedented in its size and intensity,” according to reports.
“The ferocity and intensity of the attack was nothing that we had seen in Libya, or that I had seen in my time in the Diplomatic Security Service,” Eric Nordstrom, a former regional security officer in Libya, testified during the hearing. “Having an extra foot of wall, or an extra half dozen guards or agents would not have enabled us to respond to that kind of assault.”
Still, U.S. officials anonymously told Bloomberg that the Benghazi attack—which took U.S. and Libyan security personnel by surprise—was “amateurish.”
“There is no intelligence suggesting that either the remaining core of al-Qaeda in Pakistan or its loose affiliates in Yemen and North Africa plotted, financed or directed the attack, which one of the U.S. officials described as amateurish,” Bloomberg reported.