When Did the White House Find Out Libyan Attacks Were Terrorist-Planned?

by Katrina Trinko

At the Daily Beast/Newsweek, Eli Lake reports that the Obama administration may have known just 24 hours after the attacks that it was no video that had driven the violence:

Within 24 hours of the 9-11 anniversary attack on the United States consulate in Benghazi, U.S. intelligence agencies had strong indications al Qaeda–affiliated operatives were behind the attack, and had even pinpointed the location of one of those attackers. Three separate U.S. intelligence officials who spoke to The Daily Beast said the early information was enough to show that the attack was planned and the work of al Qaeda affiliates operating in Eastern Libya.

But publicly the White House didn’t talk about the cause until later: 

Nonetheless, it took until late last week for the White House and the administration to formally acknowledge that the Benghazi assault was a terrorist attack. On Sunday, Obama adviser Robert Gibbs explained the evolving narrative as a function of new information coming in quickly on the attacks. ”We learned more information every single day about what happened,” Gibbs said on Fox News. “Nobody wants to get to the bottom of this faster than we do.”  

Curiously, Obama was still talking about the video — although not calling it the cause for the attacks — in his speech before the U.N. yesterday. Why keep discussing — and making sure people know about — this film if it has nothing to do with the attacks?