POLITICS

Email: Senior State Dept. officials knew terrorists had attacked Benghazi before Rice interviews

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Joel Gehrke,State,Benghazi

Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., read from a State Department email sent the day after the Benghazi terrorist attacks to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s counsel and the agency spokesperson stating that a State Department official had informed the Libyan prime minister that terrorists carried out the assault.

Acting Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs Beth Jones wrote the email on Sept. 12. “I spoke to the Libyan ambassador and emphasized the importance of Libyan leaders continuing to make strong statements,” Jones said in the email, per Gowdy. “I told him that the group that conducted the attacks, Ansar al Sharia, is affiliated with Islamic terrorists.”

On Sept. 16, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice described the attack as a “spontaneous” event that grew out of a demonstration against an anti-Islamic YouTube video.

That same day, the Libyan prime minister said that he had “no doubt that this [attack] was preplanned, predetermined.”

Gregory Hicks, one of the top State Department officials in Libya, also received a copy of that email. He said that when he saw Rice testify that the YouTube video sparked the attack, he was “embarrassed.”

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