White House Told of Libyan Attack Claim Sept. 11

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

WASHINGTON -- According to a government document, two hours after the U.S. Consulate came under attack in Benghazi, Libya, the White House was told that a militant group was claiming responsibility for the violence that killed the U.S. ambassador.

A State Department email to intelligence officials and the White House situation room said Ansar al-Sharia claimed responsibility on Facebook and Twitter, and also called for an attack on the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli.

The document could fuel Republican efforts to show that the White House knew it was a terrorist attack while the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations was saying it looked like a protest gone awry.

The Associated Press and other news organizations obtained the unclassified email from government officials who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to talk publicly.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says the emails do not tell the whole story. Clinton told reporters today that the claim of responsibility noted by department officials was posted on Facebook and "is not in and of itself evidence."

She cautioned against "cherry picking one story here or one document there" and said it is critical to look at the totality of information before coming to any conclusions.

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