WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans are pouncing on the disclosure that the Obama administration could have known quickly that militants -- and not angry protesters -- launched last month's attack that killed four U.S. diplomats in Libya.
Officials have told The Associated Press that within 24 hours of the attack, the CIA station chief in Libya reported to Washington that there were eyewitness reports that the attack was carried out by militants.
But for days, the administration blamed it on an out-of-control demonstration over an American-made anti-Islam video.
Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan says it's a sign of "the absolute unraveling of the Obama administration's foreign policy." He told a Wisconsin radio station (WTAQ) he's "excited" that there will be a chance at Monday night's presidential debate to talk about the issue.
Intelligence officials say the report was written late Wednesday, Sept. 12, and it reached intelligence agencies in Washington the next day. It's not clear just how widely the information was circulated.
Officials have said that the information from the CIA station chief was just one of many widely conflicting accounts.
But former CIA station chief Fred Rustmann says the White House would have been aware of it.
190-a-07-(Victoria Nuland, State Department spokeswoman, at news conference)-"that here today"-State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland says she won't talk about whether the CIA blamed militants within 24 hours of the Benghazi consulate attack. (19 Oct 2012)
<<CUT *190 (10/19/12)>> 00:07 "that here today"
159-a-16-(Congressman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., Republican vice presidential nominee, in interview)-"to explain himself"-Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan says the Obama administration's story behind the deaths of Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans in Libya continues to shift. ((note cut length)) COURTESY: "The Charlie Sykes Show on WTMJ Radio" ((mandatory on-air credit)) (19 Oct 2012)
<<CUT *159 (10/19/12)>> 00:16 "to explain himself"
APPHOTO WX102: FILE - In this Sept. 13, 2012 file photo, a Libyan man investigates the inside of the U.S. Consulate, after an attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens on the night of Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2012, in Benghazi, Libya. U.S. officials tell The Associated Press that the CIA station chief in Libya reported to Washington within 24 hours of last month's deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate that there was evidence it was carried out by militants, not a mob upset about an American-made, anti-Muslim movie. It is unclear whether anyone outside the CIA saw the cable at that point or how high up in the CIA the information went. (AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon, File) (13 Sep 2012)
<<APPHOTO WX102 (09/13/12)>>