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October 25th, 2012
03:20 PM ET

E-mails: White House knew of extremist claims in Benghazi attack

Editor's note: Anderson Cooper spoke with Bob, Baer, Fran Townsend, and Suzanne Kelly about the e-mail, and the suspect in the consulate attack currently being held in Tunisia.

Two hours after first being notified of an attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, a government e-mail to the White House, the State Department and the FBI said an Islamist group had claimed credit, according to a copy obtained by CNN.

An initial e-mail was sent while the attack was still underway, and another that arrived two hours later - sent from a State Department address to various government agencies including the executive office of the president - identified Ansar al-Sharia as claiming responsibility for the attack on its Facebook page and on Twitter.

The group denied responsibility the next day.

However, the e-mails raise further questions about the seeming confusion on the part of the Obama administration to determine the nature of the September 11 attack that left U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans dead.

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Filed under: Libya
October 24th, 2012
10:26 PM ET

US Intel believes some Benghazi attackers tied to al Qaeda in Iraq

U.S. intelligence believes that assailants connected to al Qaeda in Iraq were among the core group that attacked the diplomatic mission in Benghazi, a U.S. government official told CNN.

That would represent the second al Qaeda affiliate associated with the deadly September 11 attack that killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

Previously, intelligence officials said there were signs of connections to al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, the North African wing of the terror group.

The revelation that members of al Qaeda in Iraq are suspected of involvement in the Libya attack comes at a time when there is a growing number of fighters from that group also taking part in the Syrian civil war.

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Filed under: al Qaeda • Libya
September 20th, 2012
11:10 PM ET

Libya Prime Minister: Consulate attack not al Qaeda

Arwa Damon spoke to Libya's prime minister about the eight people in custody who are directly linked to the assault at the consulate in Benghazi. He says they are not members of al Qaeda, but are individual extremists loosely banded together.

The Prime Minister told her that the consulate attack was "pre-planned," which contradicts the U.S. statement on the assault. Elise Labott reports that U.S. officials say they didn't have "actionable intelligence" that the consulate or diplomats were targeted.

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Filed under: Libya • Terrorism