Just over two hours after the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi began on Sep. 11, the White House Situation Room was notified that a militant group with connections to al Qaeda had claimed responsibility, undermining claims by the Obama administration and the media that a video was initially the suspected cause.
The new revelations come in the form of an email sent by the State Department Operations Center to the White House, the Pentagon, the FBI and unspecified elements of the intelligence community. The email was sent at 6:07 p.m. EDT, which was 12:07 a.m. Benghazi time. The attack in Benghazi had started just over two hours earlier, at 3:50 p.m. Washington time.
Reuters reports that the email message was headlined “Update 2: Ansar al-Sharia Claims Responsibility for Benghazi Attack.” It read, in part: “Embassy Tripoli reports the group claimed responsibility on Facebook and Twitter and has called for an attack on Embassy Tripoli.” One of the recipients listed on the email was the White House Situation Room.