A senior Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee mused this morning about whether the deadly attack on Benghazi wasn’t a blend of terrorist attack and spontaneous mob violence.
The Obama administration has come under heavy criticism for pushing the narrative that the Sept. 11 attack was sparked by an anti-Muhammad video on YouTube, even though it was quickly revealed that Ansar al-Sharia was linked to the assault.
“There is all this discussion as to whether this was a carefully planned terrorist attack or an ad hoc mob whipped up by some recent reason to hate the United States,” said Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) at today’s hearing on Benghazi. “And I think much of our confusion relates to the idea of thinking it has to be all of one, all of the other. Newer press reports indicate that it was some of both. An attack that doesn’t seem to be overly carefully planned, and ad hoc additions from an armed citizenry in Benghazi that includes those that hate us.”
Sherman slammed “unfair attacks” on U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice for pushing blame on the video.
“She had to rely on the intelligence that was provided. I sat here while Colin Powell provided the intelligence that he had regarding weapons of mass destruction in Iraq,” he said. “Ultimately, State Department personnel have to rely on the intelligence reports they’re given. And Susan Rice’s integrity, capacity and record are beyond question. There is no political reason for the administration to have characterized this attack one way or the other.”
Sherman also doubted whether even a few more security personnel would have mattered.
“We’re here today discussing whether we should have had two or four, or maybe even five security personnel on site,” he said. “It’s by no means clear that that would not have simply led to more deceased security personnel. With the number of guns on Benghazi, the number of militias in Benghazi, it is by no means certain that even five of our finest security personnel could have been successful against this attack.”