A New York Times in-depth report found no proof that al-Qaeda or any international terrorist groups played any role in the Benghazi attack, which killed four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
A senior Obama administration official said the White House does not dispute the article published Saturday about the 2012 attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
The six-part report goes on to say that an American-made video mocking Islam largely triggered the attack, which was not well-planned.
“The attack was led, instead, by fighters who had benefited directly from NATO’s extensive air power and logistics support during the uprising against Colonel Qaddafi,” the Times report reads, referring to the late Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi.
“And contrary to claims by some members of Congress, it was fueled in large part by anger at an American-made video denigrating Islam.”
The Times said its investigation took months and was “centered on extensive interviews with Libyans in Benghazi who had direct knowledge of the attack there and its context.”
It is not surprising the White House would welcome this report. Since the attack, Republicans have accused the Obama administration of downplaying the perpetrators’ links to al-Qaeda for political gain. The attack took place during the last leg of the 2012 presidential campaign.
Then UN Ambassador Susan Rice (now the national security advisor) became a lightning rod of criticism after appearing on all the Sunday talk shows shortly after the Benghazi attack and arguing it was the result of the American-made video.
Republicans have also held several hearings into the administration’s handling of the attack and its aftermath.
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