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Homeland Security

Emails Show White House Told of Militantsí Claim Hours After Libya Attack

RIA Novosti

19:34 24/10/2012 WASHINGTON, October 24 (RIA Novosti) - Officials at the White House and the US State Department were informed just hours after a deadly attack on an American embassy compound in Libya, on Sept. 11 that a militant Islamist group had taken responsibility for the attack, according to US government emails that emerged Wednesday.

The emails, first obtained and reported by Reuters, appear to undermine a public account given by the administration of President Barack Obama in the weeks following the attack that the storming of the compound came amid spontaneous protests over an anti-Islam video posted on YouTube.

The assault by armed militants left four Americans dead, including America’s ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens.

Obama and his administration have come under political fire over what - and when - White House and State Department officials knew about the origins of the attack.

Citing three emails obtained from anonymous “government sources not connected with US spy agencies or the State Department,” Reuters reported that within two hours following the attack, the State Department’s operations center informed officials at the White House, the Pentagon, the FBI and in the intelligence community that a Libyan group called Ansar al-Sharia had claimed responsibility on Facebook and Twitter.

The emails obtained by Reuters included redacted addresses for some recipients, but a government source told the agency that the White House Situation Room, the US president’s secure command post, was among the recipients, Reuters reported.

Obama and members of his administration have said the statements they made in the aftermath of the attack were based on the best available intelligence and information at the time.

Neither the White House nor the State Department had responded to the report as of Wednesday morning.

Republican congressman Mike Rogers of Michigan, chairman of the US House of Representatives’ intelligence committee, told CNN that the emails clearly undercut the version of events that the White House gave to the public following the attack.

“What I believe happened is that somebody saw something that they thought was the way that they wanted to talk about it, versus what the facts on the ground were,” Rogers told CNN.

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