This is an extract from a South African News agency regarding the Sept 11 attack on the USA. It is to be noted that Washington said it was a deadly planned attack and it does not say Obama said, does this mean that President Obama is still denying the Sept 11 attack?
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The late US ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens. (File, AFP)
Washington – The US intelligence community said that a deadly assault on a US consulate in Libya was a planned attack linked to al-Qaeda. It remains unclear if any group or person exercised overall command and control of the attack, and if extremist group leaders directed their members to participate,” Shawn Turner, spokesperson for the office of the director of national intelligence, said in a statement on Friday.
“We do assess that some of those involved were linked to groups affiliated with, or sympathetic to al-Qaeda.”
President Barack Obama’s administration has offered varied explanations, and apologies for a film, as to who may have been behind the September 11 attack on the US diplomatic mission in the eastern city of Benghazi, drawing criticism from Republican opponents weeks before a US presidential election.
US Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed in the assault. Assessment ‘revised’
Both Defence Secretary Leon Panetta and top US diplomat Hillary Clinton have finally called the assault a “terrorist attack,” with the Pentagon chief also suggesting that it took days for the US government to conclude extremists had launched an orchestrated assault. “As we learned more about the attack, we revised our initial assessment to reflect new information indicating that it was a deliberate and organised terrorist attack carried out by extremists,” Turner explained.
According to US media reports, the militants involved in the attacks belonged to a group called Ansar al Sharia. Its members were reportedly in contact with an al-Qaeda offshoot known as Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb.
Some Republican lawmakers have alleged that the Obama administration knew almost immediately afterward that al-Qaeda was involved in the Benghazi attack, which killed the US ambassador to Libya and three other Americans.
But Turner stressed that despite “progress” made in the investigation, “there remain many unanswered questions”.
On Thursday, Panetta said it was too soon to say whether al-Qaeda or groups linked to them had a role in the incident.
The US military’s top officer, General Martin Dempsey, also said there had been no warning of a direct threat to the American mission in Benghazi before the attack.
“There was a thread of intelligence reporting that groups in the environment in… eastern Libya were seeking to coalesce, but there wasn’t anything specific and certainly not a specific threat to the consulate that I’m aware of,” the general said.
The state department initially said the attack arose out of a spontaneous protest against an amateur anti-Islam internet video made in the United States.
On Friday a top Republican congressman called for the US ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice to resign, charging that she misled Americans over the assault by dismissing suggestions that it was a planned terror operation.
“I think Susan Rice should resign. She is America’s foreign policy spokesperson to the world as ambassador to the UN,” Congressman Pete King of New York told National Review Online.
But earlier this week the White House dismissed Republican criticism as mere politics.
White House spokesperson Jay Carney said the information given to the public about the attack was based on “the best intelligence we’ve had.”
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