The White House is now conceding that the assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, in which four Americans were killed was a terrorist attack.
“It is, I think, self-evident that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters traveling with President Obama aboard Air Force One Thursday. “Our embassy was attacked violently and the result was four deaths of American officials. So, again, that’s self-evident.”
For more than a week since the attack that killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other State Department employees, the administration has characterized the attack as a protest against an anti-Islam movie produced in the United States. Skeptics have pointed out that some in the crowd were using heavy weaponry such as rocket-propelled grenade launchers in the assault.
Matthew Olsen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, told the Senate Homeland Security Committee Wednesday that the assault was “an opportunistic attack,” although he repeated the Obama administration’s assertion that it was not a premeditated assault.
Mr. Olsen said those involved in the violent assault appeared to have come from several militant groups, including affiliates of al Qaeda.
The White House has been saying that the protests in Libya and in 20 other Muslim countries are not directed at the administration or at U.S policy, but at the film which ridicules the prophet Muhammad.