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Confirmed: The State Department Knew Benghazi Was Terrorism Within Hours

This isn't a "bombshell revelation" per se, because multiple strands of evidence have pointed to this truth for some time.  For starters, then-CIA director David Petraeus told CNN
that the US government knew the Benghazi massacre was a terrorist act "almost immediately," and a State Department email sent the morning after the attack accurately pinned the blame on Ansar al-Sharia.  Documents obtained by Judicial Watch last week revealed that both State and Defense quickly identified the deadly raid as the work of terrorists, citing evidence that the ambush was retaliation for the killing of a high-ranking jihadist and had been carefully planned for days.  And here's Judicial Watch's latest:

Judicial Watch today released new State Department documents showing the Benghazi attack was called a “terrorism event” almost immediately after the attack took place.  Another document suggests that Hillary Clinton tasked an official to contact the FBI, evidently not knowing that the FBI was already on the Benghazi matter under longstanding State Department counterterrorism response protocols. The new documents were forced from the U.S. State Department under court order in a Judicial Watch Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit. ... Less than eight hours after the attacks, around 6 a.m. on September 12, 2012, the State Department Diplomatic Security “Command Center Team Site” sent out a “Benghazi Event Notification” to “ALCON:” The DS Command Center is sharing the following terrorism event information for your situational awareness…

Another interesting tidbit:

Another State Department document lists 18 Embassy and other State Department sites in the Middle East, Africa, and UK, all but one of which are listed as being targeted by “protests.” Benghazi is the only city that has no listing of “protests,” and lists instead the situation as “Attack on US Consulate.” The document is undated but seems to have been created a few days after the Benghazi attack.

A few points.  (1) That last bolded excerpt seems relevant in light of the White House's risible spin that yet another belatedly-unearthed Benghazi email (which also contradicted the administration's story) wasn't about Benghazi.  Of course it was.  Team Obama carefully calibrated and coordinated their public statements about Benghazi because, as off-the-books consigliere Sid Blumenthal warned Hillary Clinton at the time, the 9/11/12 attack threatened to pack a potent political punch. (2) JW makes this point explicitly in their press release, but it bears repeating: "The new documents were forced from the US State Department under court order" in the wake of a FOIA lawsuit.  The Obama administration, while busy dismissing Benghazi as a "phony scandal" and old news, claimed to have surrendered all pertinent emails to Congressional investigators.  And yet new emails continue to appear, often after protracted legal fights.  Remember, the public wouldn't know that Hillary Clinton's secret email server even existed if not for Trey Gowdy's select committee investigating Benghazi. (3) Despite ample available evidence to the contrary, top Obama officials -- including Sec. Clinton -- clung to the bogus "spontaneous protest/YouTube video" talking point for weeks.  Several days after various assessments concluded that Benghazi had been an orchestrated terrorist attack, Clinton was still angrily denouncing obscure online clip in public and peddling false stories to bereaved relatives in private.  Former acting CIA director Mike Morell
has affirmed that the "demonstrations" line didn't come from the agency, and the late Amb. Stevens' top deputy in Libya testified that the YouTube video was a "non-event" in that country.  When Clinton was confronted over the administration's misleading tales under oath, she delivered her now-infamous "what difference, at this point, does it make?" response, a version of which she repeated over the controversial Bowe Bergdahl deal (by the way, there are a few updates on that front today).

I tend to fall into the camp that the "real" scandal of Benghazi isn't so much the cynical, political cover-up, but rather the woefully inadequate security that allowed the slaughter to take place in the first place -- in spite of repeated warnings and glaring warning signs.  The administration's catastrophically failed Libya policy should also receive more attention than it does, especially given Sec. Clinton's explicitly-stated "ownership/stewardship" of that trainwreck.  That being said, how can you not be disgusted by this?

Editor's note: A version of this item is cross-posted at

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