Politics: Counterterrorism director contradicts White House version of embassy attacks

Published by: Robert Laurie on Wednesday September 19th, 2012

Robert Laurie

By ROBERT LAURIE - Jay Carney is being contradicted by his own administration regarding last week's attacks

This morning, finally, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney finally dropped the ludicrous Youtube video explanation of last week's violence. 

"What I can tell you is that, as I said last week, as ... our ambassador to the United Nations said on Sunday and as I said the other day, based on what we know now and knew at the time, we have no evidence of a preplanned or premeditated attack," Carney told reporters. "It is a simple fact that there are in post-revolution, post-war Libya armed groups; there are bad actors hostile to the government, hostile to the West, hostile to the United States. And as has been the case in other countries in the region, it is certainly conceivable that these groups take advantage of and exploit situations that develop, when they develop, to protest against or attack Westerners, Americans, Western sites, or American sites."

However, at nearly the same moment, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, Matt Olsen, was telling a different tale.  

Speaking at a hearing of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, he made it clear that these were not just ordinary protesters.  Of the killings at our Libyan embassy, he said “I would say yes, they were killed in the course of a terrorist attack on our embassy."  He then claimed that investigators are "looking at indications that individuals involved in the attack may have had connections to al Qaeda or al Qaeda's affiliates; in particular, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb."

Apparently, Carney expects the American people to believe that in Libya, protesters show up at rallies armed with military-grade rocket launchers, since he keeps repeating UN Ambassador Susan Rice's ridiculous claims that nothing was premeditated.

Susan Collins, ranking Republican on the Homeland Security Committee doesn't buy it.

"First, I will tell you that based on the briefings I have had, I've come to the opposite conclusion and agree with the president of Libya that this was a premeditated, planned attack that was associated with the date of 9/11, the anniversary of 9/11," she said during the Wednesday hearing. "I just don't think that people come to protests equipped with RPGs and other heavy weapons. And the reports of complicity, and they are many, with the Libyan guards who were assigned to guard the consulate also suggest to me that this was pre-meditated."

Clearly, if the people who carried out these attacks were so well armed and colluding with embassy security in advance, there can be no doubt they were planning the assault well before it took place. Yet, for whatever reason, the President’s people are still clinging to the “spontaneous protest” version of events.

Obviously, Jay Carney is paid to spin whatever yarn the President throws his way, but one has to wonder if anyone is steering the ship here.  How can two pieces of the same administration be on such a different page?