The administration is scrambling to explain why immediately after the deadly 9/11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya that took the lives of four Americans, administration officials rushed to blame the attack and the protests in the middle east at U.S. embassies on an obscure online anti-Muslim film trailer. According to CBS News:
U.S. intelligence officials sought to explain Friday why the Obama administration’s understanding of the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi is “evolving.”
Facing a barrage of Republican criticism about what the administration knew and when about the attack, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued a statement Friday that laid out how officials came to understand the assault that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. At the same time, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations issued a statement explaining her early descriptions of the attack.
In the days immediately after the attack, the administration said it believed it was a spontaneous reaction to an anti-Islamic video that ridiculed Islam’s Prophet Muhammad and ignited mob protests on U.S. embassies around the Middle East and in North Africa. Now, the administration has begun to call it a terrorist attack carried out by al Qaeda-linked militants and explain that it was a planned attack distinct from the mob protests in the region.
Reports began to emerge last week that the administration knew within 24 hours of the strike against the consulate that the incident was indeed a terrorist attack, but for one week the White House insisted the catalyst for the attack and protests was the controversial film trailer.
Additionally, PJ Media’s Raymond Ibrahim reported on threats to the U.S. Embassy in Cairo one day before the protests and attack in Benghazi happened and no mention of the film was made in the threats. PJ Media attributed El Fagr, an Egyptian independent newsweekly based in Cairo, which posted 3 days before the consulate attack.: (bolding is mine)
Jihadi groups in Egypt, including Islamic Jihad, the Sunni Group, and Al Gamaa Al Islamiyya have issued a statement threatening to burn the U.S. Embassy in Cairo to the ground.
According to El Fagr, they are calling for the immediate release of the Islamic jihadis who are imprisonment and in detention centers in the U.S. including Guantanamo Bay: “The group, which consists of many members from al-Qaeda, called [especially] for the quick release of the jihadi [mujahid] sheikh, Omar Abdul Rahman [the “Blind Sheikh”], whom they described as a scholar and jihadi who sacrificed his life for the Egyptian Umma, who was ignored by the Mubarak regime, and [President] Morsi is refusing to intervene on his behalf and release him, despite promising that he would. The Islamic Group has threatened to burn the U.S. Embassy in Cairo with those in it, and taking hostage those who remain [alive], unless the Blind Sheikh is immediately released.”
AFP reported that Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood president has called for Abdul Rahman, who is serving a life sentence in a U.S. prison for his role in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, to serve out the remainder of his sentence in Egypt. The AFP reported:
“What I want is to intervene for humanitarian reasons, not to interfere in a court ruling,”Mr Morsi told members of the Egyptian community in New York, where he was attending meetings of the UN General Assembly.
Abdul Rahman was convicted in 1995 for his role in the attack, plotting to bomb other New York targets including the United Nations and a plan to assassinate former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak.
He was sentenced to life in prison.
“We want his family to be allowed to visit him and to serve his sentence in Egypt as part of a prisoner swap between Egypt and the United States,” Mr Morsi said in statements carried by the official MENA news agency.
The White House is denying that it is considering releasing or transferring the Blind Sheikh.
“There is absolutely no plan to release or transfer the blind sheik,” said National Security Staff spokeswoman Bernadette Meehan to NBC News. “Reports saying otherwise are completely and unequivocally false.”