White House: Libya was a ‘terrorist attack’

By David Jackson - USA Today
Posted : Thursday Sep 20, 2012 16:14:35 EDT

A White House spokesman today said it is apparent that last week’s attack in Libya that killed a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans was an act of terrorism.

“It is self-evident that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack,” said White House spokesman Jay Carney.” Our embassy was attacked violently and the result was four deaths of American officials.”

Carney also noted that the killings are still under investigation, and, “we have no information at this point to suggest that this is a significantly pre-planned attack.”

Asked about the Libyan attack during a forum in Miami, President Obama said: “We’re still doing an investigation ... I don’t want to speak to something until we know all the information.”

Carney spoke as CNN and others, citing unnamed sources, reported that slain U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens had “worried about what he called the never-ending security threats in Benghazi and mentioned his name was on an al-Qaeda hit list.”

The White House spokesman also cited testimony from National Counterterrorism Center director Matthew Olsen, who told a Senate hearing yesterday: “I would say, yes, they were killed in course of terrorist attack on our embassy.”

U.S. officials initially attributed the death to protests over an anti-Islam that got out of control.

The attack “was the result of opportunism, taking advantage of and exploiting what was happening as a result of the video which was found to be offensive.” Carney said.

The investigation also concerns security at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, officials said.

At a White House briefing Wednesday, Carney said that President Obama “is absolutely concerned that we take the necessary measures to make sure that those who killed Americans are brought to justice.

“And he has been focused from the beginning on ensuring that adequate security reinforcements be brought to bear at embassies and consulates and diplomatic facilities where that’s deemed necessary,” Carney added.