State Dept. Email to White House at 6:07 PM on 9/11/12: 'Ansar al-Sharia Claims Responsibility for Benghazi Attack'

October 24, 2012 - 8:08 AM

Benghazi

The scene at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon)

(CNSNews.com) - On Sept. 11, 2012, just two hours after the State Department first began notifying government agencies back in Washington--including the White House--that the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi was under attack by armed men, State sent out an email that went to at least two people in the White House that said the group Ansar al-Sharia had claimed responsibility for the attack.

The email, which was sent from a State Department address at 6:07 PM on Sept. 11, 2012, was obtained by CBS News and posted online by the news agency in a PDF file. This email and others posted by CBS News had certain elements redacted--particularly the exact identities of the person who sent it and the persons who received it.

The email sent at 6:07 P.M. on Sept. 11 was sent by a person using an @state.gov email address. The subject line said: "Ansar al-Sharia Claims Responsibility for Benghazi Attack (SBU)"

The body of the email said: "(SBU) Embassy Tripoli reports the group claimed responsibility on Facebook and Twitter and has called for an attack on Embassy Tripoli."

Among the addresses of those who received this email are two that include the tag "@nss.eop.gov," a White House email address. "EOP" stands for "Executive Office of the President." The names of the two recipients in the Executive Office of the President who received the email have been redacted.

Someone at the State Department sent an original email about the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate at 4:05 PM on Sept. 11, 2012. This email was sent from an address tagged "@state.gov." The name of the person who sent the email is redacted.

This email, too, was sent to two people in the Executive Office of the President. It was also sent to at least 32 individuals at the State Department itself, a person in the office of the Director of National Intelligence ("@dni.gov"), a person at the FBI ("@ic.fbi.gov"), and a person in the Defense Department ("@pentagon.mil").

All the names of the recipients in these federal agencies are redacted.

The subject line of this 4:05 PM email sent by State 9/11/12: "U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi Under Attack (SBU)."

The email said nothing about a YouTube video. The email said nothing about a spontaneous demonstration.

The text of the email said: "(SBU) The Regional Security Officer reports the diplomatic mission is under attack. Embassy Tripoli reports approximately 20 armed people fired shots; explosives have been heard as well. Ambassador Stevens, who is currently in Benghazi, and four COM [Chief of Mission] personnel are in the compound safe haven. The 17th of February militia is providing security support. The Operations Center will provide updates as available."

Forty-nine minutes later--at 4:54 PM on 9/11/12--the State Department sent out a follow-up email to the same set of recipients, including the two in the Executive Office of the President.

The subject line on this second email said: "Update 1: U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi (SBU)"

The text said: "(SBU) Embassy Tripoli reports the firing at the U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi has stopped and the compound has been cleared. A response team is on the site attempting to locate COM [Chief of Mission] personnel."

This email also said nothing about a YouTube video or a spontaneous demonstration.

The third and last email obtained by CBS News was sent by the State Department at 6:07 PM on 9/11/12--or just two hours and two minutes after the first email giving initial notification of the attack. This email went to a somewhat different group of recipients--but still included two persons in the Executive Office of the President and someone at the FBI.

The subject line on this email said: "Update 2: Ansar al-Sharia Claims Responsibility for Benghazi Attack (SBU)."

The text said: "(SBU) Embassy Tripoli reports the group claimed responsibility on Facebook and Twitter and has called for an attack on Embassy Tripoli."

Again, this email made no mention of a YouTube video or a spontaneous demonstration in Benghazi.