Obama refuses to call Libyan attack on US embassy an act of terrorism during 60 Minutes interview
CBS has quietly released an interview with President Barack Obama which was filmed one day after the attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi – and in which he refuses to call the incident an act of terrorism.
The footage, released seven weeks after it was filmed, shows Barack Obama contradicting himself yet again on the attack that left ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans dead.
When exactly Barack Obama called the September 11 al Qaeda attack in Libya “terrorism” has become an increasingly contentious area of debate – and the interview throws doubt on the president’s previous and later claims.
At the second presidential debate in October, Barack Obama claimed he had first called the incident an act of terrorism during his Rose Garden speech just hours after the attack.
But the newly-released footage, filmed 12 hours after the Rose Garden appearance, shows he was still apprehensive about the label.
“Mr. President, this morning you went out of your way to avoid the use of the word terrorism in connection with the Libya Attack, do you believe that this was a terrorism attack?” interviewer Steve Kroft asked in the 60 Minutes interview.
“Well it’s too early to tell exactly how this came about, what group was involved,” he responded.
“But obviously it was an attack on Americans. And we are going to be working with the Libyan government to make sure that we bring these folks to justice, one way or the other.”
Steve Kroft continued: “It’s been described as a mob action, but there are reports that they were very heavily armed with grenades, that doesn’t sound like your normal demonstration.”
Barack Obama responded: “As I said, we’re still investigating exactly what happened, I don’t want to jump the gun on this… And my suspicion is there are folks involved in this. Who were looking to target Americans from the start.”
The interview previously aired on October 19, but this section was edited out, Bret Baier reported on Fox. CBS only released this footage on Sunday – more than seven weeks after the interview.
The network even failed to offer it up when questions were raised during the presidential debate over whether he had called the attack terrorism before blaming it on rallies against an anti-Islamic film.