The Obama Administration’s claims that last week’s attack on the Benghazi Consulate was spontaneous seems to be falling apart tonight, as officials are now openly calling it a terrorist attack.
The attack, which ended with the death of the US Ambassador and several others, has been spun by the administration as a protest that got out of hand, despite witness reports that there was no protest at the site in the first place. Now the US also believes that a former Guantanamo Bay detainee may have been involved in the attack.
The suspect is Sufyan Ben Qumu, a former driver for Osama bin Laden who is now reportedly in a position of leadership for the Ansar al-Sharia Benghazi (ASB), the group blamed for the attack by the Libyan government. He was accused of working for a charity that was a front for al-Qaeda fundraising in the lead-up to 9/11, and was captured after the invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001. In 2007 he was transferred by US officials to the Gadhafi regime, but was eventually released.
The administration has been juggling the narrative on Benghazi carefully for over a week now, trying to dismiss evidence of advanced notice and claims that the attack was pre-planned as rumors, while trying to defend the idea that Libya is stable in the wake of the US-imposed regime change last summer.
Officials have been desperate to protect this idea, because President Obama is emphasizing the “success” of the Libyan War as part of his reelection campaign. Even with the new evidence, officials say they can’t really say if the attack was “pre-planned” or if they just randomly took advantage of the “opportunity presented as the events unfolded.”