BENGHAZI-SPECIAL MISSION-AP-HANNON_0

BENGHAZI-SPECIAL MISSION-AP-HANNON_0

A congressional report released Tuesday on the terrorist attack on the U.S. State Department compound in Benghazi, Libya says there is “ample evidence that the attack was planned and intentional” and that al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and al Qaeda-linked Ansar al-Sharia joined in carrying it out.

The report also notes that al Qaeda-linked Ansar al-Sharia took credit for the attack while it was still unfolding, and that the State Department reported this at the time to other government agencies, including the White House.

“The volatile security environment erupted on September 11, 2012, when militias composed of al Qaeda-affiliated extremists attacked U.S. interests in Benghazi,” says the report.

“The U.S. government immediately had information that the attacks were conducted by al Qaeda-affiliated terrorists, yet Administration officials downplayed those connections, and focused on the idea that provocation for violence resulted from a YouTube video,” says the report that was produced by the Republican staffs of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, the House Foreign Affairs Committee, the House Judiciary Committee, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and the House Armed Services Committee.

“The attackers were members of extremist groups, including the Libya-based Ansar al-Sharia (AAS) and al Qaeda in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM),” says the report.

The report includes a timeline of the attack, which began at 9:42 p.m. Benghazi time or 3:42 p.m. Washington, D.C. time. The timeline says attackers from unspecified “other groups” also joined with members of Ansar al-Sharia and Al Qaeda in the Maghreb in conducting the attack.

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