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Timeline: Obama’s Changing Libya Narrative (Video, Transcript)

Posted by FactReal on September 29, 2012

TIMELINE OF BENGHAZI-GATE (August 2012 to Sept. 28, 2012)
The Evolving Narrative of the Obama Administration over the Islamist attack on our U.S. Embassy in Benghazi, Libya.
Other video source: FoxNews, 9/28/2012.
PRELIMINARY TRANSCRIPT of the timeline narrated by Fox News’ Bret Baier:
(Links to stories added)

It’s been a busy week of news when it comes to Libya – a lot of news. As we told you at the top of the program the narrative on what the administration knew about the terror attack in Libya and when it knew which continues to evolve to night.

The Director of National Intelligence revised their original assessment according to the release. Now saying al-Qaeda linked groups are likely responsible for that attack. But we reported this week that intelligence sources said that determination have been within 24 hours of the attack. So with that in mind we bring you back to try to put it all in context starting several weeks before the event.

August 2012
An unclassified report called ‘Al-Qaeda in Libya: A Profile’ compiled by the Defense Department’s Combating Terrorism office and The Library of Congress states that, under the direction of Al-Qaeda’s senior leadership, Al-Qaeda affiliates in Libya, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb or AQIM, and Ansar al Sharia are gaining strength, are likely joining forces, and our “currently in the expansion phase.”

September 5 and 6, 2012
At their convention in Charlotte, Democrats touted a crippling of al-Qaeda:

Joe Biden: “Ask Osama bin Laden if he is better off now than he was four years ago.” “Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive!”

Obama: “Al-Qaeda is on the path to defeat. Osama bin Laden is dead!”

Just four nights later,

September 10, 2012
A video surfaces of al-Qaeda’s emir, its spiritual leader Ayman al Zawahiri, calling for jihadist to avenge the death of Libyan terrorist Abu Yahya al-Libi — killed in a drone strike in June.

September 11, 2012
Expected protests erupted in Cairo after an anti-Islam video is played on Egyptian TV. The US embassy in Cairo puts out a statement condemning the video.
[The embassy deletes the apology tweets and press release]

About 5 PM the first wire reports cross of an attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
[Hillary Clinton releases a statement on the Libya attack, confirming the death of one American.]

That night the Romney campaign releases a statement condemning the attacks but criticizing the Obama administration for the Cairo embassy release about the anti Islam film.

Also that night the White House disavows the original Cairo embassy press release on the film.

September 12, 2012
Fox News’ Gretchen Carlson: “The US ambassador to Libya — our ambassador, has been killed along with three other Americans after a series of attacks.”

Hillary Clinton: “America’s commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation. But let me be clear. There is no justification for this. None.”

[Open mic catches reporters colluding to attack Romney and distract from Obama’s disastrous reaction to the embassy attack]

The focus at the Romney press availability — his overnight press release.

Reporter: “Governor Romney, do you think that coming so soon — after the events really had unfolded overnight — it was appropriate to be weighing in on this as this crisis is unfolding in real time.”

Romney: “The White House also issued a statement saying it tried to distance itself from those comments and said they were not reflecting of their views. I had the exact same reaction.”

The Rose Garden minutes later:
Obama: “We will not waiver in our commitment to see the justice is done for this terrible act.”

By this point, according to sources, the US intelligence community already knows the attack was a terrorist act, has listed it as such internally to unlock resources, and believes it was al-Qaeda or al-Qaeda linked groups in Libya.

[Report: Obama Skipped Intel Briefings Week before Embassy Attacks]

Sometime within the next three hours President Obama sits down with 60 Minutes:
CBS Steve Kroft: “Have recent events in the Middle East given you any pause about your support for the governments that have come to power following the Arab Spring?”

Obama: “I think it was absolutely the right thing for us to do to align ourselves with democracy, universal rights — a notion that, uh, — people have — have to be able to participate — i-i-in their own governance. But — I was pretty certain and continue to be p-pretty certain that they’re going to be bumps in the road.”

That afternoon the president leaves for a campaign trip and fund raiser in Las Vegas.

6 PM
Fox News already has intelligence sources saying al-Qaeda linked groups could be behind the attack.
Reporter: “US officials are investigating whether a pro al-Qaeda group known as the Imprisoned Abdul Rahman Brigade was involved.”

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers: “There was a coordinated military-style, commando-type raid that had both direct fire and indirect fire, military movements involved in it. This was a well planned, well targeted event. No doubt about it.”

And we weren’t alone. “David Martin reports it may have been a terrorist strike timed to 9/11.”
“This was executed by a group that is either associated with or sympathizes with al-Qaeda.”

Roughly 9 PM
President Obama mentions the attack but spends most of the time campaigning in Nevada.
Obama: “Now…because Nevada is a battleground state, you are aware that we got an election going on.”

From Nevada the president goes on to campaign in Colorado.

September 13, 2012
At the State Department — questions about security:

Spokesperson Nuland: “We did evaluate the threat stream and we determined that the security at Benghazi was appropriate for what we knew.”

And another statement about the anti-Islam video:
Hillary Clinton: “There is no justification — none at all for responding to this video with violence.”

[Obama: Egypt is not our Ally…er, yes, Egypt is our Ally“]

September 14, 2012
The president and secretary of state greet the bodies of the fallen at Joint Base Andrews.
Obama: “We will stand fast against violence on our diplomatic missions.”

Later that day on Capitol Hill:
McCain: “It’s pretty obvious that there’s very likely that there was a terrorist organization that’s affiliated with al-Qaeda…in Benghazi that had at least some role in this attack.

September 16, 2012
US ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice goes on five Sunday talk shows calling the attack “spontaneous.”

Amb. Rice: “In fact this was not a pre planned premeditated attack.”

September 17, 2012
Reporter: “Simply on the basis for what Ambassador Rice has publicly disclosed, does the United States government regard what happened in Benghazi as an act of terror?”

Nuland: “Again I’m not gonna put labels on this until we have a complete investigation. Ok?”

Reporter: “So you don’t regard this as an act of terrorism?”

Nuland: “I don’t think we know enough. I don’t think we know enough.”

September 18, 2012
On the David Letterman show:

Letterman: “Is this an act of war? Are we at war now?
Obama: “No…”
Letterman: “What happened here?”
Obama: “Here’s what happened. Eh, eh…Y-y-you had a video that was released by, eh, somebody who lives here, sort of shadowy character who — who is extremely offensive video directed at the P — at Mohammed and Islam, making fun of the Prophet Mohammed. And, so, this caused great offense, uh, in much of the Muslim world. Uh, but what also happened was extremists and terrorists, uh, used this as an excuse, uh, to attack, uh, a variety of our embassies including the one the consulate in Libya.”

September 19, 2012
On Capitol Hill, the head of the National Counterterrorism Center, the only administration official to testify so far:

Matthew Olsen: “On that question I would say yes. They were killed in the course of a terrorist attack on our embassy.”

September 20, 2012
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney: “It is, I think, self-evident that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack.”

Univisión’s María Elena Salinas: “We have reports that the White House said today that the attacks in Libya were a terrorist attack.”

Obama: “We’re still doing an investigation and they’re going to be different circumstances in different countries. And so I don’t want to speak to something until we have all the information.”

September 21, 2012
Hillary Clinton: “What happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack.”

September 24, 2012
Joy Behar: “Then I heard Hillary Clinton say that it was an act of terrorism. Is it? What do you say?”

Obama: “Well we’re still doing an investigation. There’s no doubt that the kind of weapons that were used, uh, the ongoing assault that it wasn’t just a mob action.”

September 25, 2012
At the United Nations:
Obama: “There are no words that excuse the killing of innocents. There’s no video that justifies an attack on an embassy.”

Clinton: “Al-Qaeda and the Islamic Maghreb and other groups have launched attacks and kidnappings from northern Mali into neighboring countries. Now with a larger safe haven and increased freedom to maneuver, terrorists are seeking to extend their reach and their networks in multiple directions.”

September 27, 2012
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta: “It was a terrorist attack…The reason — I think it pretty clearly was a terrorist attack is because a group of terrorists obviously conducted that attack on the consulate and against our individuals.”

That last sound bite from Secretary Clinton about al-Qaeda and the Islamic Maghreb matches a quote in that report I told you about at the beginning of the piece — almost verbatim.

From everything we’ve been told, the FBI tonight still has not stepped foot inside Benghazi, the site of the attack, and may never get there. We will stay on this story.

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