Former CBS News reporter Sharyl Attkisson has uncovered an email indicating that the State Department knew at a very high level, immediately after the incidents, that the Benghazi attacks were conducted by a terrorist organization affiliated with al Qaeda.
The email, sent by Acting Assistant Secretary of State for the Near East Beth Jones, contradicts assertions made at the time by the White House and Secretary of State Clinton, Jones’ boss, that the motivation for the attacks was a video.
From Attkisson’s report, posted on her own website, sharylattkisson.com:
The email is entitled “Libya update from Beth Jones.” Jones was then-Assistant Secretary of State to Hillary Clinton. According to the email, Jones spoke to Libya’s Ambassador at 9:45am on Sept. 12, 2012 following the attacks.
“When [the Libyan Ambassador] said his government suspected that former Qaddafi regime elements carried out the attacks, I told him the group that conducted the attacks—Ansar Al Sharia—is affiliated with Islamic extremists,” Jones reports in the email.
There is no uncertainty assigned to the assessment, which does not mention a video or a protest . . .
Among those copied on the email: Deputy Secretary William Burns; Under Secretary for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman; Jake Sullivan, then-Deputy Chief of Staff (now promoted to national security advisor to Vice President Joe Biden); Under Secretary of State Patrick Kennedy; Cheryl Mills, then-Secretary Clinton’s Chief of Staff (now on the board of directors of the global investment firm BlackRock); and Victoria Nuland, then-State Dept. spokesperson (now promoted to Asst. Secretary of State) . . .
Another State Department email sent at 5:55pm on Tues. Sept. 11, 2012, while the attacks were underway, includes a report that “the extremist group Ansar Al Sharia has taken credit for the attack in Benghazi” and that U.S. officials asked the offices of the [Libyan] President and [Prime Minister] to pursue Ansar al Sharia.”
This will take some explaining.