The Independent is reporting tonight that the United States had advance warning of the raid on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, which killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. The paper cites senior diplomatic sources who claim the State Department had credible information that an attack was imminent 48 hours before mobs stormed the consulate.
The sources say that sensitive documents, including a list of names of Libyans who were working with the U.S., were looted from the consulate. Furthermore, the location of the “safe house” where the staff had retreated was attacked with rocket-propelled grenades, suggesting that the attack was not a spontaneous uprising triggered by an anti-Muslim video:
Patrick Kennedy, Under-Secretary at the State Department, said he was convinced the assault was planned due to its extensive nature and the proliferation of weapons.
There is growing belief that the attack was in revenge for the killing in a drone strike in Pakistan of Mohammed Hassan Qaed, an al-Qa’ida operative who was, as his nom-de-guerre Abu Yahya al-Libi suggests, from Libya, and timed for the anniversary of the 11 September attacks.
While the Independent has not named its sources for the claim that the Obama administration was warned the consulate was being targeted, will the U.S. media at last turn its attention away from the film which supposedly sparked the protests and Mitt Romney’s response and toward this new development?
Politico is reporting that Shawn Turner, spokesman for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, has flatly denied the Independent’s story, emailing, “This is absolutely wrong. We are not aware of any actionable intelligence indicating that an attack on the U.S. Mission in Benghazi was planned or imminent.”