Five days before Muslim militants killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans on Tuesday, Sept.11, the State Department's security team told diplomats around the world that there was "no credible information" of any attack planned to coincide with the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attack on America, the clearest sign federal officials were clueless about this week's assaults on embassies in Libya, Egypt and Yemen.
The State Department's Overseas Security Advisory Council, charged with issuing travel warnings to Americans, on Sept. 6 issued this statement:
Terrorism and Important Dates
OSAC currently has no credible information to suggest that al-Qa'ida or any other terrorist group is plotting any kind of attack overseas to coincide with the upcoming anniversary of September 11. However, constituents often have concerns around important dates, holidays, and major events, Often times, these concerns are the result of increased media attention to the issue, rather than credible evidence of a terrorist plot.
The administration now believes that the Libyan assault was coordinated by terrorists, though the protests in Egypt and Yemen, where the U.S. flags were torn down, burned and replaced by the black Islam banners, have been a reaction to a crude American-made movie that Muslims said denigrates the Prophet Muhammad.
Security is also being increased around embassies and diplomatic missions in trouble spots, an increase that wasn't called for just five days ago. In fact, a State official said on Wednesday that there were no indications that security needed to be beefed up, odd noted blogger Jeryl Bier, since the same consulate in Benghazi, Libya, where the four Americans were killed, has been bombed just three months ago.
The situation is raising questions about U.S intelligence in the area and drawing new attention to a report that President Obama skips many daily defense intelligence briefings.