Last Updated:July 31 @ 05:55 pm

WH compliant media now sees military-style tactics in US Consulate siege

By Kimberly Dozier and Matt Apuzzo

WASHINGTON (AP) — The heavily armed extremists who laid siege to the U.S. Consulate in Libyaused military-style tactics that may have steered Americans toward a waiting ambush, U.S. officials said Friday as they pieced together details about how the compound was overrun.

U.S. intelligence indicates that 50 or more people, many of them masked, were responsible for the Sept. 11 assault on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi. Gun trucks provided added firepower. The attackers set up a perimeter, controlling access in and out of the compound. A first wave of attacks sent the Americans fleeing to a fallback building, where a second group of extremists beset them with precise mortar fire.

Intelligence reports were still coming in, but officials told The Associated Press that what may have initially seemed like a protest over an anti-Islam movie that had spun out of control now showed the hallmarks of a more sophisticated operation.

In a country coming off a civil war, a level of battlefield savvy does not prove the attack on the compound was planned well in advance. How much planning went into the operation and whether it could have been detected or prevented remain unanswered questions, officials said.

The attacks killed Ambassador Chris Stevens, diplomat Sean Smith and two former Navy SEALs, who U.S. officials said were security officers guarding diplomatic officials. Stevens was visiting Benghazi from Tripoli to preside over the opening of an "American Space" cultural center.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss intelligence reports. They stressed that even now authorities do not have a clear understanding of exactly what happened in Benghazi. FBI agents from New York and Washington were in Libya investigating the attack.

"What happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Friday. "And we will not rest until we have tracked down and brought to justice the terrorists who murdered four Americans."

Officials have not singled out one responsible group, but have focused their attention on Ansar al-Shariah, a Libyan militant group led by a former detainee at the U.S. military-run prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

Since the civil war that ousted Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi last year, the country has been awash with rebels, militias and terrorists. Weaponry is easy to come by, both from the former regime, from weapons depots looted during the war, and from foreign powers that armed the rebellion. The origin of the weapons used in the assault on the U.S. compound was unclear, officials said.

Whether the attack was premeditated carries both political and intelligence significance.

From an intelligence standpoint, the longer an operation was in the works ahead of the attack, the more the U.S. government will face scrutiny for not anticipating and preparing for it.

Politically, Republicans have accused President Barack Obama's administration of misreading the assault as an outgrowth of Middle East demonstrations over an American-made Internet video insulting the Islamic prophet Muhammad. They have also criticized the protection of the consulate, particularly since the attack fell on the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, a date when authorities are normally on alert for attacks.

White House spokesman Jay Carney has said there was no evidence the attack was premeditated. Obama has said extremists used the protests as an excuse to attack.

A spontaneous protest that turns violent is harder to predict and respond to.

"The intelligence agencies are still not confident enough to represent to us whether it was planned in advance or taking the opportunity of a spontaneous protest," Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif., said Friday.

Investigators say some of the people involved have a "hodgepodge of affiliations with multiple militant groups," making it hard to hold one particular militia or movement responsible, said a senior U.S. intelligence official, speaking anonymously because he was not authorized to be quoted publicly describing the investigation.

Wanis al-Sharef, who was Libya's deputy interior minister until he was fired after the attacks, said a small group of lightly armed gunmen were the first to gather outside the compound. They were then joined by a crowd of civilians protesting the film. Finally, a larger group of heavily armed men arrived with gun vehicles and grenade launchers. That final group was responsible for the siege.

Ansar al-Shariah has repeatedly denied being any part of the attack, but eyewitnesses and security officials said the group's militiamen were among the gunmen who joined the demonstration outside the compound. The group claimed its fighters were only in the Benghazi area providing security at Jalaa Hospital. But that's more than three miles from the U.S. compound, which lies on the outskirts of the city in a rural area.

One witness said he was detained by Ansar al-Shariah members during the protest because he was taking pictures of one of their leaders.

Whoever they were, the attackers stormed the main building and set it on fire. One U.S. official described the militants striking the front of the building first, distracting security, while a second group struck then from the rear. Many people escaped and fled to an annex to the east.

About an hour after the assault began, American and Libyan forces retook control of the compound and brought everyone to the annex. Rescue teams headed their way.

Intelligence indicates the gunmen broke off into teams to block certain roads away from the compound, officials said. Whether that changed the route or otherwise influenced how the Americans moved through the streets remains unclear, but one U.S. official said the tactic was being looked at as an indication of battlefield strategy and sophistication.

As the Americans waited to be rescued from the annex, that building came under mortar fire. Mortars are short-range bombs that launch in high arcs. Aiming them can be a matter of trial and error. But U.S. officials said mortars were landing directly on the roof of the annex.

That, officials said, indicated an experienced fighter, a well-planned assault or both.

___

Associated Press writers Maggie Michael in Benghazi and Matthew Lee in Washington contributed to this report.

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10 Comments

  1. billwvComment by billwv
    September 22, 2012 @ 7:48 am

    My, my, how your eyes are NOW open. AP has been behind the Ozero backside for so long that they could not see the ‘forest for the trees’. This ‘military action’ was planned for a 9/ll remembrance of 2001 and it is just now getting to AP that more than a ‘demonstration’ was involved.
    The ‘investigative’ ‘blind’ reporters only wanted to see what Ozero wanted them to see. Reports have been made that this ‘action’ was deemed ‘likely’ and had Ozero been able to do his job and be at the security briefings; maybe / possibly people would not have had to die. What an Obungler!

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  2. downdraftComment by downdraft
    September 22, 2012 @ 10:17 am

    Basically…the media is a very dangerous compatriot of Obama’s, further bolstered by Hillary, and The Muslim Brotherhood…

    This is pure and simple…

    We know Hillary is a communist, a socialist…and damn close to being a traitor to this nation who has been planning behind the scenes to weaken America…

    The positions and actions Hillary, Obama, and even Holder take ARE ANTI-AMERICAN…and worthy of close scrutiny by Congress…and the American people…

    These slime-***** walk on slippery ground…supported by LIARS…the rug will be pulled from under then when they least expect it…

    …it will come upon them just prior to the elections…

    Obama, Hillary shall be charged as Traitors…and will be come before America’s military tribunal for judgement…

    Being a traitor to ones country is always dangerous and filled with risks…Americans will have little if any tolerance for a traitor…especially when lives were taken from those who served their country honorably…

    …honorably?…none of these culprits possess it…

    …But Bill, you best get your wife out of this now, before the country takes legal remedies against her…and Obama…and he will throw her under the bus…she doesn’t have your “tef-lon”…and she has “foot in mouth disease”

    …he is a Muslim and she is a lowly woman…he pledges allegiance to the Muslim Brotherhood…she will take the “fall”…to Obama, …

    …as a woman, she is expendable

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  3. prairelivingComment by praireliving
    September 22, 2012 @ 10:54 am

    Whether we ever learn the real truth remains to be seen but it sure appears that the initial ‘story’ out of the White House seems to be more a fabrication or an attempt to shift the blame (although why anyone should be surprised about that I can’t say).

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  4. chamuielComment by chamuiel
    September 22, 2012 @ 12:30 pm

    Finally, Obozo and the left are beginning to “suspect” the truth about the Embassy attack in Benghazi? How long will it be before they agree with the rest of the world that it was an attack by well armed terrorists, and not the result of some silly movie, as they scrambled themselves silly to portray it as?

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    • taliesin319Comment by taliesin319
      September 22, 2012 @ 2:26 pm

      If anyone knows the treacherous beasts who call themselves muslims ( lower case intentional ) Obama, Hillary, and every other wretch they surround themselves with does. They will aid and abet our mortal enemies without a qualm of conscience to establish the Marxist Paradise they wish to hang about our necks like an albatross. They are arming the TSA, DHS , EPA and every Obama controlled agency with guns and ammo, have set up Fema installations with no rein from the Congress. The upper eschalons of our Military are only to happy to appease our dear Leader and our enemies and can do so by what has become law. Our soldiers can now be commanded to arrest and detain our own people and if need be fire upon them if ordered. Obama will just call in the UN and its 57 Muslim states to provide air support and additional firepower until He can assert control. Paranoid scenario ? Not really, Cuba, Venezuela, and a whole lot of other places ceased to be free people by just this kind of activity. He has no right to alter our Amendments and the Congressmen who allowed the executive orders that permitted them are as treasonous as he is. We’ll be lucky to see an election. He cannot be trusted. His life is a lie.

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    • JoComment by Jo
      September 22, 2012 @ 8:24 pm

      There’s even more to it …. it was led by a member of the muslim brotherhood, hired by our government, to protect our Ambassador, and he betrayed our Ambassador.

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  5. David Hendrick BehrensComment by David Hendrick Behrens
    September 22, 2012 @ 12:49 pm

    Hillary won’t be forced to resign, Obama will not try to force her out, he knows that Old Wild Bill would drop support for Obama in a heart beat and stop campaiging for him. Left Liberals don’t care that Hillary is to blame, she ordered no Marines in Libya and left only two Seals there, to fight the heavily armed, well trained, planned attack of the terrorist and even when for 10 days after, she denied, lied and wouldn’t acknowledge it was a real terrorists attack.. Obama denied, lied too and is un-patriotic, un-american and a failure, as is Hillary, but the Left Liberals still love and will support those two traitors, until hell freezes over……………..

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    • sexysadieComment by sexysadie
      September 22, 2012 @ 2:26 pm

      All of them should be put on trial for high treason, tarred and feathered, (and let’s not forget the czareena!), and shipped to a remote island swarming with wild pigs. They are TRAITORS to America.

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    • JoComment by Jo
      September 22, 2012 @ 8:26 pm

      And, why were our military not allowed to have live ammunition, that sounds like a “set-up” to me.

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  6. middlegroundComment by middleground
    September 22, 2012 @ 3:17 pm

    The interesting aspect of the BP spill of 2010 was that BP was held accountable rather than those companies actually doing the drilling under the supervision of the Director of the Mineral Management Service who had claimed she was in charge of safety for deep-water GoM drilling.

    I think this GoM legal situation is very important because it shifted the blame to the company that contracted for the drilling rather than the actual ones involved in the drilling. If the same logic is applied to those who secretly financed Obama and the very biased media that supported him and who are still supporting him, don’t they become like BP, responsible for all the corrupt payments to union, to green energy companies and other types of payoffs. By this logic George Soros and a raft of Hedge Funders can be expected to pay for their part of the six trillion dollars of added debt from 2008 to the present.

    See there are ways of demanding payment for the top 1% of the 1%. Blame them for their candidates actions.

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  7. Pingback: » WH compliant media now sees military-style tactics in US Consulate siege » News — GOPUSA | Wildman's Hangout

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