Was the Benghazi attack planned?

Despite the considerable evidence that the attack on our Benghazi consulate was pre-planned and that the anti-Islam film was just a pretext, the White House denies it. More than that, the White House press secretary says the attack was “obviously” not directed at the United States or (ahem) the Obama administration, but was a response to the video. Susan Rice, the US ambassador to the UN, echoed that line, saying in several appearances that the attack was “spontaneous” and “not a pre-planned, pre-meditated attack”.

This is utterly idiotic. I hope they are lying, because the alternative — that the people in charge of national security actually believe this nonsense — is too scary to contemplate.

These people either believe, or want us to believe, that these protests over a YouTube video that had been out for months just happened to fall in 9/11. The “protesters” just happened to have stored away mortars and rocket-propelled grenades, and they just happened to have penetrated the consulate’s security.

The details of the attack certainly sound coordinated:

Fox News was told that the assault on the consulate came without warning and included RPGs and mortars — including at least one round that hit the consulate roof.

There were two waves to the assault, Fox News was told. According to the intelligence source, in the first wave, the attackers were heard to say “we got him” — a reference to Ambassador Chris Stevens, who was killed in the attack. Word spread, the attackers regrouped and the second wave went after the motorcade and support personnel.

It’s even been reported that there were no demonstrations before the attack began, although other reports contradict this. (Via Hot Air.) Al Qaeda announced that the attack was staged as revenge for the latest killing of Al Qaeda’s #2 man.

The Libyan president says the attack was pre-planned, and that the notion that the whole thing was spontaneous is “completely unfounded and preposterous”. Of course, it’s in his interest to say that, but the Libyans have also arrested several people in connection with the attack. They could be just rounding up the usual suspects, but isn’t this the sort of thing we should be taking a close look at, rather than dismissing out of hand?

Now Jay Carney has backed off his earlier statement, saying “we’re not making declarations ahead of the facts here.” It’s a bit late to be saying that now.

Even stranger than the administration’s position that the attack was spontaneous, is the White House’s apparent belief that it is better if it was spontaneous. They think that means the United States and (more importantly) the Obama administration are off the hook.

That’s more nonsense. It’s much worse if the attack was spontaneous, at least for America. It’s no secret that there are terrorists out there who want to attack us, but we can fight terrorists. If the general public in the Muslim world will spontaneously rise up and stage sophisticated attacks against us, with no more provocation than an obscure video, the situation is quite hopeless.

UPDATE: Added a few additional points.

UPDATE: The White House is now reversing its idiotic position:

The Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was in fact “a terrorist attack” and the U.S. government has indications that members of al Qaeda were directly involved, a top Obama administration official said Wednesday morning.

“I would say yes, they were killed in the course of a terrorist attack on our embassy,” Matt Olsen, the director of the National Counterterrorism Center, said Wednesday at a hearing of the Senate Homeland Security Committee. . .

“We are looking at indications that individuals involved in the attack may have had connections to al Qaeda or al Qaeda’s affiliates; in particular, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb,” he said.

I can’t fathom why they thought it made sense to promote such an idiotic line.

(Via PJ Tatler.)

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