The Very Important Detail About the Latest Benghazi Emails Revealed During House Hearing
May. 1, 2014 2:20pm Pete Kasperowicz
A retired Air Force general testified before a House panel Thursday that he and others knew in the first few hours that the 2012 Benghazi assault was a planned terrorist attack, and not a spontaneous response to an anti-Muslim video. It’s a revelation that raises new questions about emails released this week suggesting the administration was blaming the video days after others had ruled it out as a cause.
Retired Brigadier Gen. Robert Lovell, speaking before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Thursday, testified that it was clear “quite early on” that the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi was facing a terrorist attack.
a GOP member presses for answers on Benghazi on Thursday
Under questioning from Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, a retired general said it was clear early on that the Benghazi attack was a terrorist attack, not a response to a video. (AP/Rick Bowmer)
“[W]hat we did know quite early on was that this was a hostile action,” he said in his prepared remarks. “This was no demonstration gone terribly awry.”
He was pressed on this point by Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), who asked how quickly it became clear that Al Qaeda was involved.
“Very, very soon,” Lovell said. “When we were still in the very early, early hours of this activity.”
“Was it a video?” Chaffetz asked?
Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) also asked Lovell when he heard of the notion that the attack was a response to a video. Lovell said he heard it only briefly, but not as a serious theory.
When Issa asked if he had heard of this idea before 3:15 a.m. on September 12, 2012, Lovell said it was well before that time, and that the theory was quickly debunked.
“I would have to say [we] probably dismissed that notion by then, by working with other sources,” Lovell said.
“As the highest ranking person working that moment, you dismissed the idea that this attack was in fact a demonstration that had went awry and it was based on a YouTube video out of Los Angeles,” Issa then stated.
“Yessir, short answer,” Lovell responded.