When did WH really know Libya attack was terrorism?
A look at controversial new reports
- Duration 5:11
- Date Sep 27, 2012
A look at controversial new reports
Also in this playlist...
This transcript is automatically generated
Remember -- -- this is a Fox News alert within the last two minutes the State Department announced it is temporarily withdrawing more staff.
From its embassy in Tripoli Libya officials are citing security reasons saying they hope to return them early next week but they will reassess.
This comes two weeks in two days after the deadly attack on the US mission in Ben Ghazi Libya.
Even though the administration.
Initially and repeatedly denied that assault was terrorism.
It was at the same time working with the assumption.
That it was just that and in the investigation that we hear is ongoing.
Not a single FBI agent has been to the consulate in Ben Ghazi.
Because of security concerns.
Those -- just some of the new and shocking information.
We have for you tonight on this rapidly evolving story.
Here's chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge.
Two sources tell Fox News that within 24 hours of the assault on the US compound in -- -- evidence pointing to a terrorist attack carried out by al-Qaeda.
The US intelligence community possessed strong -- that implicated Al qaeda's affiliate in North Africa.
Working with the second group aunts or else your -- this seeks to establish an Islamic states quote no one believes that voters in the RPGs -- just a -- -- No coordinator for the fast when he reached that conclusion the Defense Secretary -- -- was based.
Hey after horror of that -- took awhile to really get it -- some of the feedback from what exactly.
Happened at that location.
In addition to a CIA assessment before the attack this security eastern Libya was deteriorating.
And on this Defense Department report on the rise of al-Qaeda in Libya.
There was another warning about Islamic extremists and the potential for action.
There was a thread.
Intelligence reporting that.
Groups in the environment and western correction eastern Libya.
Who were seeking to call -- but there wasn't anything specific.
While the White House has consistently cited the need for the FBI investigation to play out.
Fox -- -- told that sixteen days after the attack there are still no FBI agents on the ground in Ben Ghazi because the security situation is too unstable.
The chairman of the house homeland security committee says the statement smacks of a pre 9/11 mindset.
One thing -- sort of learned back in September 11 was that no longer would we do assume that these are criminal matters but instead -- terrorists.
Fox -- told there was an internal decision to label or approach -- -- as a likely active terrorism.
This is concrete implications.
By tying the attack to al-Qaeda or its affiliates are those who support al-Qaeda.
It frees up assets under the authorization for use of military force where the eight UMF a point Panetta seemed to hint at today.
We're gonna continue to go after those that would attack or individuals.
And I think that remains the case here as well.
Well one source says been -- -- quote pretty black and white based on the heavy weapons in the level of coordination.
Fox News is told that three days after the attack the CIA director David Petraeus briefed members of the House Intelligence Committee.
And -- the administration's public statements betrays espoused debuted -- been -- was a demonstration.
Prompted by the YouTube video that spun out of control.
This was quote shocking to some members who were present as on the same intelligence -- definitely point toward a terrorist attack.
Raising questions about why it took the administration so long to acknowledge publicly -- seem to be well understood privately.
Finally yesterday secretary of state Clinton talked but the specific al-Qaeda affiliates eight QYAM that implicated in the Ben -- attack saying -- For some time al-Qaeda in the Islamic -- grab and other groups have launched attacks and kidnappings from northern -- -- two neighboring countries.
Now with a larger safe haven and increased freedom to maneuver.
Terrorists are seeking to extend their reach and their networks in multiple directions.
Asked if the intelligence community cleared ambassador rice is now controversial claims about Ben Ghazi a spokesman for the National Security Council insisted her statements.
We're consistent with the information available to the on intelligence community at that time.
As for the use of the word spontaneous and administration official told fox the militants -- -- Gaza saw the events in -- specifically the storming an over running of the embassy.
And that in part inspired the act or influence them to -- Kevin I'm hearing a lot of anger privately about these closed door briefings.
Between -- lawmakers are hearing from intelligence sources and what they're getting from the classified briefings from the top of the intelligence community.
One of the elements of our reporting today which I found very significant.
Is that when we heard from people who were in that house intelligence briefing.
From director Petraeus.
That they were troubled by how definitive he was that it was this YouTube video and seemed to be backing away from the idea of terrorism and this was completely inconsistent.
With the data that they were seeing at that time and they said to me.
This raised profound questions about whether there was good intelligence and how it was being passed up the chain could -- -- say -- thank you --