Obama: Benghazi Terrorist Attack Was a ‘Localized’ Threat

Michael W. Chapman | May 23, 2013 | 6:52pm EDT
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President Barack Obama. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

(CNSNews.com) --  President Barack Obama said the terrorist attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, which killed four Americans including the U.S. ambassador, was a “localized” threat.

“Today, the core of al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan is on the path to defeat,” said Obama in a speech at Ft. McNair’s National Defense University in Washington, D.C.  “Their remaining operatives spend more time thinking about their own safety, than plotting against us. They did not direct the attacks in Benghazi or Boston.”

“Instead, what we’ve seen is the emergence of various al Qaeda affiliates,” said Obama, who then talked about state sponsors of terror, such as Hezbollah, and “local militias or extremists.”

“Other of these groups are simply collections of local militias or extremists, interested in seizing territory,” said the president. “While we are vigilant for signs that these groups may pose a transnational threat, most are focused on operating in the countries or regions where they are based. And that means we’ll face more localized threats like what we saw in Benghazi.”

According to the congressional report released in April on the Benghazi attack, which happened on Sept. 11, 2012, “The U.S. government immediately had information that the attacks were conducted by al Qaeda-affiliated terrorists, yet Administration officials downplayed those connections, and focused on the idea that provocation for violence resulted from a YouTube video.”

“The attackers were members of extremist groups, including the Libya-based Ansar al-Sharia (AAS) and al Qaeda in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM)," says the report.

The report further states, “To protect the State Department, the Administration deliberately removed references to al Qaeda-linked groups and previous attacks in Benghazi in the talking points used by Ambassador Rice, thereby perpetuating the deliberately misleading and incomplete narrative that the attacks evolved from a demonstration caused by a YouTube video.”

The U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi was destroyed by the terrorists. In addition, the following four Americans were killed: Ambassador Christopher Stevens, Foreign Service Information Management Officer Sean Smith, and former Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods.

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