Report of Libya attack remains muddled

NY Times:
The survivors of the assault on the American Mission in Benghazi, Libya, thought they were safe. They had retreated to a villa not far from the main building where the surprise attack had occurred, and a State Department team had arrived to evacuate them. The eruption of violence had ended, and now they were surrounded by friendly Libyan brigades in what seemed to be a dark, uneasy calm.

A colleague’s body lay on the ground. They had no idea where their boss, Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, was, nor how in the confusion he had become separated from his bodyguard and left behind.

Then, shortly after 2 a.m. on Sept. 12, just as they were assembling to be taken to the airport, gunfire erupted, followed by the thunderous blasts of falling mortar rounds. Two of the mission’s guards — Tyrone S. Woods and Glen A. Doherty, former members of the Navy SEALs — were killed just outside the villa’s front gate. A mortar round struck the roof of the building where the Americans had scrambled for cover.

The attackers had lain in wait, silently observing as the rescuers, including eight State Department civilians who had just landed at the airport in Benghazi, arrived in large convoys. This second attack was shorter in duration than the first, but more complex and sophisticated. It was an ambush.

“It was really accurate,” Fathi al-Obeidi, commander of special operations for a militia called Libyan Shield, who was there that night, said of the mortar fire. “The people who were shooting at us knew what they were doing.”

They also escaped, apparently uninjured.

Interviews with Libyan witnesses and American officials provide new details on the assault on American diplomatic facilities and the initial moblike attack, set off by a video denigrating the Prophet Muhammad, that transformed into what the Obama administration now, after initial hesitation, describes as a terrorist attack.

The accounts, which remain incomplete and contradictory, are broadly consistent with what is known about the attack, but they still leave many questions unanswered, including the identity of the attackers and how prepared they might have been to strike at an American target.
This story downplays eyewitness accounts who have told Fox News and CBS News that there were no mob attacks.  It also does not account for the celebratory atmosphere that surrounded the dragging of the ambassador's body through the streets.

The description of the attack suggest a well planned coordinated complex attack.  Such planning and coordination also suggest that the attackers knew where the Americans would take refuge.  The story says there was a "large convoy" of rescuers which suggest there were more than just the eight Americans who had come, but it does not say how many or whether they were Libyans.

There is no evidence to support the suggestion that the first attack was associated with the video which has become the administration's scapegoat for this fiasco.  How do they know the first attack was not anything other than a set up for the second?

The first attack was also well planned with attack on the initial facility from three sides before diesel was poured around the building to smoke out anyone remaining in it.  That is not the action of a mob of movie critics.  In fact, a mob would have made the attack more difficult, because they would have been in the way.

The coordination and execution of the second attack suggest that it was. There is also the coincidence of it happening on 9-11 after al Qaeda leaders had ordered its proxies in the area to take revenge for the killing of a Libyan al Qaeda leader.


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