The New Hampshire Union Leader promoted a CBS report that rehashed a long-answered "question" on the attacks on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, claiming the Obama administration knew the facility was a target and chose to ignore warnings, despite evidence and testimony to the contrary.
The October 28 editorial applauded a 60 Minutes report for "expos[ing] the coverup" and echoed its claim that the administration had been "warned repeatedly" that the Benghazi mission would be attacked:
This past Sunday, "60 Minutes" aired a report on Benghazi that was a year in the making. It showed, among other things, that the security contractor hired to run the mission's unarmed guard team had warned repeatedly that the mission would fall to an attack because the armed Libyan guards could not be trusted. A Green Beret commander based in Tripoli had warned Washington that al-Qaida was preparing to attack Americans in Benghazi and the only option was "leave Benghazi or you will be killed." Those warnings were ignored.
The White House said for as long as a week after the attack that there was no evidence it had been premeditated. But numerous people on the ground at the time knew it was a planned al-Qaida attack and told Washington that.
However, the State Department's investigative review body, the Accountability Review Board, found no clear evidence of intelligence that could have been used to prevent the attack:
The Board found that intelligence provided no immediate, specific tactical warning of the September 11attacks. Known gaps existed in the intelligence community's understanding of extremist militias in Libya and the potential threat they posed to U.S. interests, although some threats were known to exist.
Then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta corroborated the findings of the State Department in Senate testimony. Appearing before the Armed Services Committee in February, Panetta explained that the lack of "specific intelligence" made crafting a timely response impossible:
In response to a question from Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-New Hampshire, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said he was aware of a cable sent in August by Ambassador Stevens that said security in Benghazi was not adequate.
"Unfortunately, there was no specific intelligence or indications of an imminent attack on that -- U.S. facilities in Benghazi," Panetta said. "And frankly without an adequate warning, there was not enough time given the speed of the attack for armed military assets to respond."
He also noted that the National Counterterrorism Center had identified some 281 threats to U.S. diplomats, diplomatic facilities, embassies, ambassadors and consulates during the six months before the attack in Benghazi.