Report: CIA documents support Rice's early account of Libya attacks

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice Craig Ruttle/AP

CIA documents that will be the basis of testimony to the House Intelligence Committee this week support United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice's early account of the attacks the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, writes columnist David Ignatius in The Washington Post.

“Talking points” prepared by the CIA on Sept. 15, the same day that Rice taped three television appearances, support her description of the Sept. 11 attack as a reaction to Arab anger about an anti-Muslim video prepared in the United States, Ignatius reported on Saturday.

Citing CIA documents, he wrote that a senior intelligence official said the analysts’ judgment was based in part on monitoring of some of the Benghazi attackers, which showed they had been watching the Cairo protests live on television and talking about them before they assaulted the consulate.

His reporting supports Obama administration claims that early intelligence reports pointed to a connection between the attacks and a crude, anti-Islam video published online by an amateur U.S. filmmaker once convicted of bank fraud.

According to the CIA account, “The currently available information suggests that the demonstrations in Benghazi were spontaneously inspired by the protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and evolved into a direct assault against the U.S. Consulate and subsequently its annex. There are indications that extremists participated in the violent demonstrations.”

“We believe the timing of the attack was influenced by events in Cairo,” a senior official said, Ignatius reported, reaffirming the Cairo-Benghazi link. The officie said that judgment is repeated in a new report prepared this week for the House Intelligence Committee.

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