White House knew Benghazi attack was a terrorist act from day one

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

From day one, the Obama administration was aware that the September 11 assault on the US consulate in Benghazi was a pre-planned terrorist attack, despite offering up conflicting explanations in the weeks since.

Unnamed officials confirm to Fox News that the White House knew that al-Qaeda-linked terrorists were behind the murder of four Americans in Libya, but only today did US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta publicly acknowledge the truth.

Secretary Panetta now admits that the Pentagon knew within hours of the assault on America’s Benghazi consulate that left Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others dead that it was an act of terrorism.

The Obama administration has altered their explanation repeatedly in the weeks since Mr. Stevens and three others were killed on September 11, 2012 while on assignment in Libya. On Thursday, the Defense Department confirmed the attack as having been hatched by terrorists, despite earlier statements made by the White House that suggested an anti-American film produced in the US had triggered a spontaneous assault.

“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,” Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Thursday alongside Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey. “What terrorists were involved I think still remains to be determined by the investigation. But it clearly was a group of terrorists who conducted that attack against that facility.”

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton suggested earlier in the week that the attack in Benghazi may have been hatched by an al-Qaeda affiliate, yet another drastic change of heart from an Obama appointee this week.

In New York City on Wednesday, Secretary Clinton told attendees at a special United Nations meeting that the September 11 assault first thought by the White House to be a spontaneous response to an Anti-Islam film made in America could have been orchestrated by extremists in North Africa, specifically those subscribed to an off-shoot of al-Qaeda.

“For some time, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and other groups have launched attacks and kidnappings from northern Mali into neighboring countries,” Clinton told the crowd this week. “Now, with a larger safe haven and increased freedom to maneuver, terrorists are seeking to extend their reach and their networks in multiple directions. And they are working with other violent extremists to undermine the democratic transitions underway in North Africa, as we tragically saw in Benghazi.”

Secretary Clinton’s address was delivered at a United Nations meeting on instability in the Sahel, the region of Africa that includes Mali and, apparently, terrorist operatives conducting assaults on Americans for al-Qaeda.

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