More details about the Benghazi attack and the days after are coming out this morning in a House Oversight Committee hearing. The congressional hearing comes a few days after documents were released by the White House through a Freedom of Information Act request.
A White House email included in the documents shows a top administration adviser prepped then-UN Ambassador Susan Rice before she went on the Sunday talk shows. Rice was directed to “underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy.”
At today’s hearing, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) questioned retired Air Force Brigadier General Robert Lovell, who was the former intelligence director of AFRICOM. Lovell said that soon after the attack happened, he believed they were attributable to the Al Qaeda affiliated group Ansar al-Sharia.
Chaffetz said, “You also have the Department of State telling the Libyans that it was Ansar al-Sharia. None of them think it’s a video. None of them. The military, the CIA, the CIA station chief, the State Department. All of them. The facts of the time, Mr. Chairman, the facts do not point to a video. That only comes from the White House.”
The congressman asked Lovell, “Was it a video that sparked a protest?”
“No sir,” Lovell responded.
Lovell said that as far as he knows, the State Department never gave orders to save the people under attack at the consulate.
Chaffetz pressed Lovell on what actions the military was taking at the time, or if they were waiting for the State Department to give orders.
“We didn’t run to the sound of the guns. They were already issuing press releases. We had Americans dying … and our military didn’t try to engage in that fight,” Chaffetz said, asking Lovell if we could have saved lives that night.
Lovell said we may have been able to save the four Americans that died and added, “but we’ll never know.”
Earlier in the hearing, Lovell stated clearly that the military knew "early on" that a protest was not the cause of the attack.
In a contentious exchange yesterday with an ABC reporter, Jay Carney denied that the newly-released emails were specifically referring to the Benghazi attack. Carney argued the email was "about the general dynamic in the Muslim world at the time."
Full coverage of the new Benghazi documents as seen on Fox News: