U.S. officials are increasingly suspicious that the murder Tuesday of the U.S. ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other American officials was a “coordinated” strike timed for the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks — and not the result of a protest against an anti-Islam film. Click below to find out more.
A senior administration official told Fox News they are exhaustively investigating every angle of the attack in Benghazi, and an earlier assault on the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, Egypt, but there are early signs the Benghazi assault may have been planned. The official cautioned, though, that the administration has not jumped to any conclusions about what happened, saying it would be “premature” to do so.
But current and former U.S. lawmakers, and others, claimed Wednesday that the attack looked like a coordinated strike.
“Absolutely, I have no doubt about it. It was a coordinated, military-style, commando-type raid,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers told Fox News. Based on his own briefings, Rogers said “military movements” were involved.
“This was a well- planned, well-targeted event. No doubt about it,” Rogers said.
Pete Hoekstra, former chairman of the House intelligence committee, told FoxNews.com the attack appeared to have the markings of an Al Qaeda or Al Qaeda-affiliated strike.
“We’ve been talking for years about the desire of Al Qaeda, radical jihadists to celebrate the anniversary of 9/11,” he said. “All my background, all of the conversations that I’ve had over the last 18 hours lead many people to believe that this was just more than a mere coincidence.”
Hoekstra noted that the supposed protesters — purportedly angry over a film that ridiculed Islam’s Prophet Muhammad — didn’t attack in Tripoli. They attacked in Benghazi, “where it so happens our ambassador is.” And they happened to be “fully armed and fully equipped,” he said.
Hoekstra noted that Al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahri had recently released a video calling on militants to attack Americans in revenge for the killing of an operative in Pakistan. The message said his “blood is calling on you, inciting you to fight and kill the crusaders.”