In an email to The Times, however, Mrs. Collins said she thinks “the review must be conducted by an independent entity like the inspector general.”
“Given the loss of lives of four Americans who were serving their country and the serious questions that have been raised about the security at our consulate in Benghazi, it is imperative that a nonpolitical, no-holds-barred examination be conducted,” she said.
‘An opportunistic attack’
Pressure has increased this week for Congress to conduct its own investigation into the Benghazi attack, along with the storming of the U.S. Embassy by protesters in Cairo. Both incidents occurred on the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the U.S.
Such calls come in the heat of an election year. Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has accused President Obama of mishandling the situation. Mr. Obama, his fellow Democrats and even some Republicans have said the criticism was unseemly and not based in truth.
Political responses to the incidents became increasingly charged last weekend, when U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice appeared on several news talk shows to assert that U.S. officials “don’t see, at this point, signs this was a coordinated, premeditated attack.”
“Certainly, on that particular question, I would say, yes, they were killed in the course of a terrorist attack,” Mr. Olsen said.
But he stopped short of characterizing the attack as one that had been planned by terrorists to coincide with the Sept. 11 anniversary, saying it was “a more complicated question” that intelligence officials are “spending a great deal of time looking at.”
“The best information we have now, the facts that we have now indicate that this was an opportunistic attack on our embassy,” Mr. Olsen said. “The attack began and evolved and escalated over several hours at our embassy — our diplomatic post in Benghazi.
“What we don’t have at this point is specific intelligence that there was a significant advanced planning or coordination for this attack,” he added.
• This article is based in part on wire service reports.
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
Guy Taylor rejoined The Washington Times in 2011 as the State Department correspondent.
As a freelance journalist, Taylor’s work was supported by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and the Fund For Investigative Journalism, and his stories appeared in a variety publications, from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch to Salon, Reason, Prospect Magazine of London, the Daily Star of Beirut, the ...
Shaun Waterman is an award-winning reporter for The Washington Times, covering foreign affairs, defense and cybersecurity. He was a senior editor and correspondent for United Press International for nearly a decade, and has covered the Department of Homeland Security since 2003. His reporting on the Sept. 11 Commission and the tortuous process by which some of its recommendations finally became ...
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