Attack on Benghazi consulate was a terror act: US official

PTI Washington | Updated on March 12, 2018 Published on September 20, 2012

A top US intelligence official today said the attack on its consulate in Benghazi, in which the US Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed, was an act of terror.

“I would say yes. They were killed in the course of a terrorist attack on our embassy,” said Matthew Olsen, Director of the US National Counterterrorism Center.

During a Congressional hearing, Olsen said investigation into the attack is ongoing and facts are being developed continually.

“The best information we have now, the facts that we have now, indicate that this was an opportunistic attack on our embassy. The attack began and evolved and escalated over several hours,” Olsen said.

“The well-armed attackers seized on the opportunity presented, as the event unfolded that evening into the morning hours of September 12. We do know that a number of militants in the area are well armed and maintain those arms,” he said.

Over the weekend, the Libyan Prime Minister said that his government arrested 50 people for the attack and many of them were foreigners, believed to be part of al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula.

“What we don’t have at this point is specific intelligence that there was significant advanced planning or coordination for this attack. Again, we’re still developing facts and still looking for any indications of substantial advanced planning.

We just haven’t seen that at this point,” Olsen said.

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Published on September 20, 2012
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