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State Department emails alerted White House that Al Qaeda affiliated group claimed responsibility for Benghazi within hours of attack

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By Doug Powers  •  October 24, 2012 09:58 AM

**Written by Doug Powers

Remember during the VP debate when Joe Biden essentially blamed US intelligence officers for providing the White House and others with bad information that led them to initially claim the Benghazi attack grew from a spontaneous protest over a video? It turns out that the White House might have been clued in as to what had actually taken place before almost everybody else. What a, uh, surprise.

From The Hill:

A series of emails from State Department officials on the ground in Benghazi suggest that officials in the White House and intelligence community knew within hours of the September attack on the U.S. Consulate there that the militant group Ansar al Sharia had claimed responsibility for the violence.

According to the emails, first reported by Reuters, between 300-400 national security officials were receiving real time updates as the raid was playing out. One of those e-mails came just after 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time, with the subject heading: “Update 2: Ansar al-Sharia Claims Responsibility for Benghazi Attack (SBU).”

SBU is shorthand for “sensitive but unclassified.”

The email exchanges are likely to put new pressure on the Obama administration to explain why, five days after the attack, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice argued the violence — which left four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, dead — was a “spontaneous” reaction to an anti-Islam film posted on YouTube.

According to Fox News, one recipient of the emails was the White House Situation Room. And yet David Axelrod was on television over a month later defending Susan Rice’s reaction “based on available intelligence” at the time.

This video of Susan Rice four days after the attack gets more ridiculous every day:

And of course Joe Biden during the VP debate:

When asked by Raddatz why the White House had blamed the death of Stevens on protests about a movie, he responded: ‘Because that was exactly what we were told by the intelligence community.’

To my knowledge there is no mention of “the video” in the emails that are surfacing.

**Written by Doug Powers

Twitter @ThePowersThatBe

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