Eli Lake – Sources say intelligence agencies knew within a day that al Qaeda affiliates were behind the attacks in Benghazi, Libya—they even knew where one of the attackers lived. Eli Lake reports.
Within 24 hours of the 9-11 anniversary attack on the United States consulate in Benghazi, U.S. intelligence agencies had strong indications al Qaeda–affiliated operatives were behind the attack, and had even pinpointed the location of one of those attackers. Three separate U.S. intelligence officials who spoke to The Daily Beast said the early information was enough to show that the attack was planned and the work of al Qaeda affiliates operating in Eastern Libya.Nonetheless, it took until late last week for the White House and the administration to formally acknowledge that the Benghazi assault was a terrorist attack.
A spokesman for the National Security Council declined to comment for the story. But another U.S. intelligence official said, “I can’t get into specific numbers but soon after the attack we had a pretty good bead on some individuals involved in the attack.”
It’s unclear whether any of these suspected attackers have been targeted or arrested, and intelligence experts caution that these are still early days in a complex investigation.
The question of what the White House knew, and when they knew it, will be of keen interest to members of Congress in the election year…
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