Libyan president Mohammed el-Megarif is saying the attack Benghazi that killed the American ambassador was planned well beforehand. His statements on this topic firmly contradict the Obama administration's version of events.
"The idea that this criminal and cowardly act was a spontaneous protest that just spun out of control is completely unfounded and preposterous," Megarif says in an interview on NPR. "We firmly believe that this was a precalculated, preplanned attack that was carried out specifically to attack the U.S. Consulate."
The Libyan president added, "The intention was there from the beginning, for it to take this ugly barbaric, criminal form."
Megarif claims evidence shows that some elements of Ansar al-Sharia, an extremist group in eastern Benghazi, were used as tools by foreign citizens with ties to al-Qaida to attack the consulate and threaten Libya's stability.
The Libyan account of the horrific events, however, contradicts what American officials are saying.
“Our current best assessment, based on the information that we have at present, is that, in fact, what this began as, it was a spontaneous – not a premeditated – response to what had transpired in Cairo,” the American ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, said this morning on ABC's This Week.
“In Cairo, as you know, a few hours earlier, there was a violent protest that was undertaken in reaction to this very offensive video that was disseminated,” Rice said, referring to protests in Egypt Tuesday over a film that depicts the Prophet Muhammad as a fraud. Protesters in Cairo breached the walls of the U.S. American Embassy, tearing apart an American flag.
“We believe that folks in Benghazi, a small number of people came to the embassy to – or to the consulate, rather, to replicate the sort of challenge that was posed in Cairo,” Rice said. “And then as that unfolded, it seems to have been hijacked, let us say, by some individual clusters of extremists who came with heavier weapons… And it then evolved from there.”
And here's a video showing the Libyan president and Ambassador Rice at odds: