The Freeland File
Aerospace & Defense
Global Market Data
Lucy P. Marcus
David Cay Johnston
The Great Debate
Jack & Suzy Welch
Macro & Markets
Lipper Awards 2012
Personal Finance Video
Inside the Romney campaign. Slideshow
Cartoons in French weekly fuel Mohammad furor
Study on Monsanto GM corn concerns draws skepticism
Richest Americans' net worth jumps to $1.7 trillion: Forbes
Analysis: NATO pullback heightens doubts about Afghan strategy
18 Sep 2012
Analysis: Despite his rhetoric, Romney needs the "47 percent" to win
New video shows Romney saying Palestinians don’t want peace
U.S. embassies attacked in Yemen, Egypt after Libya envoy killed
Romney derides Obama supporters in hidden camera speech
Our day's top images, in-depth photo essays and offbeat slices of life. See the best of Reuters photography. See more | Photo caption
Never too old
A look at seniors living life and proving that "you are as young as you feel." Slideshow
Lindsay Lohan's woes
Lindsay Lohan was arrested for leaving the scene of an accident in lower Manhattan. Slideshow
U.S. official says Benghazi consulate was "terrorist attack"
Libyan brigade warns of "inferno" if U.S. intervenes
Tue, Sep 18 2012
Video shows Libyans helping rescue U.S. ambassador after attack
Mon, Sep 17 2012
Amid unrest, Clinton to lobby lawmakers on Mideast aid
Mon, Sep 17 2012
Suicide car bomber kills seven near Baghdad's Green Zone
Mon, Sep 17 2012
Libyan leader says 50 arrested in U.S. consulate attack
Sun, Sep 16 2012
The U.S. Consulate in Benghazi is seen in flames during a protest by an armed group said to have been protesting a film being produced in the United States September 11, 2012.
Credit: Reuters/Esam Al-Fetori
Wed Sep 19, 2012 1:03pm EDT
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi last week in which four Americans died was a "terrorist attack" that may have had an al Qaeda connection, a top U.S. counterterrorism official told Congress on Wednesday.
Rocket-propelled grenades and mortars struck the consulate on September 11, the anniversary of the 2001 attacks on the United States. U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans died.
"They were killed in the course of a terrorist attack on our embassy," Matthew Olsen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, said in response to a question at a Senate hearing.
Olsen said whether the attack was planned for September 11 was under investigation, but the information so far indicated it was "an opportunistic attack" that "began and evolved, and escalated over several hours."
There were well-armed militants in the area, he said. "What we don't have at this point is specific intelligence that there was a significant advance planning or coordination for this attack."
Whether or not the attack was planned well in advance has become a point of dispute between the Obama administration and Republican lawmakers who say it bears the hallmarks of a premeditated assault. Senior Libyan officials have said the attack was planned in advance.
At the same hearing, Republican Senator Susan Collins said she agreed with Libyan officials that the attack was premeditated, planned and associated with the September 11 anniversary. She expressed concern about the security at the consulate, where no Marines were present and security was handled by foreign nationals.
Olsen told lawmakers U.S. authorities are investigating who was responsible for the attack, and it appeared that a "number of different elements" were involved, including individuals connected to militant groups.
"As well, we are looking at indications that individuals involved in the attack may have had connections to al Qaeda or al Qaeda affiliates, particularly Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb," he said.
"The picture that is emerging is one where a number of different individuals were involved, so it's not necessarily an either-or proposition," Olsen said.
(Reporting by Susan Cornwell, Tabassum Zakaria and Donna Smith; Editing by Warren Strobel)
We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Back to top
New York Legal
Support & Contact
Connect with Reuters
Our Flagship financial information platform incorporating Reuters Insider
An ultra-low latency infrastructure for electronic trading and data distribution
A connected approach to governance, risk and compliance
Our next generation legal research platform
Our global tax workstation
About Thomson Reuters
Thomson Reuters is the world's largest international multimedia news agency, providing investing news, world news, business news, technology news, headline news, small business news, news alerts, personal finance, stock market, and mutual funds information available on Reuters.com, video, mobile, and interactive television platforms. Thomson Reuters journalists are subject to an Editorial Handbook which requires fair presentation and disclosure of relevant interests.
NYSE and AMEX quotes delayed by at least 20 minutes. Nasdaq delayed by at least 15 minutes. For a complete list of exchanges and delays, please click here.