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No actionable intelligence prior to Benghazi attack: US

Earlier, reports citing unnamed diplomatic sources said the State Department had credible information that its Benghazi mission could be attacked.

Updated: Sep 15, 2012, 00:07 AM IST

Washington: The US on Friday termed as "false" reports that it had ignored advance intelligence about possible attacks on its diplomatic mission in Benghazi which left American ambassador to Libya dead.

"I have seen that report, and the story is absolutely wrong. We were not aware of any actionable intelligence indicating that an attack on the US mission in Benghazi was planned or imminent. That report is false," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters.

"There was no intelligence that in any way could have been acted on to prevent these attacks. The report suggested that there was intelligence that was available prior to this that led us to believe that this facility would be attacked, and that is false," Carney said.

Earlier, reports citing unnamed diplomatic sources said the State Department had credible information that its Benghazi mission could be attacked.
Ambassador Christopher Stevens was killed along with three other staff when a mob attacked the US consulate in Benghazi.

US, he said, is "closely monitoring developments" in the region today, he said.
"You saw that following the incidents in response to this video, the President (Barack Obama) directed the administration to take a number of steps to prepare for continued unrest," he said.

"When it comes to criticism, I would note that many observers, commentators, foreign policy experts, as well as elected officials, both Democrats and Republicans, have pointed out that criticism, in particular from Governor Romney and his team in what seems to be an attempt to score a political point, has been both factually wrong and poorly timed," Carney said.

Carney said the anti-US protests in the Middle East and North African countries is in response to a film that the US government has judged to be reprehensible and disgusting.
"That in no way justifies any violent reaction to it, but this is not a case of protest directed at the US writ large or at US policy. This is in response to a video that is offensive to Muslims," he said.
"The cause of the unrest was a video, and that continues today, as you know, as we anticipated. It may continue for sometime. We are working with governments around the region to remind them of their responsibilities to provide security to diplomatic personnel and facilities, and we are ensuring that more resources are put in place to protect our embassies and consulates and our personnel in these parts of the world where unrest is occurring," Carney said.
However, this is not in any way justifying violence.
"We have spoken very clearly out against that and condemned it. And the President is making sure in his conversations with leaders around the region that they are committed, as hosts to diplomatic facilities, to protect both personnel and buildings and other facilities that are part of the US representation in those countries," he said.
Responding to questions, Carney said the cause of attack on Benghazi Consulate is under investigation, but so far there is no concrete evidence other than that it was in protest against the video.
"This is under investigation. The unrest around the region has been in response to this video. We do not, at this moment, have information to suggest or to tell you that would indicate that any of this unrest was preplanned," he said.
Meanwhile, Pentagon announced that it was sending 50 marines to Yemen as part of its effort to beef up security in its diplomatic missions in that country. This is in addition to the 50 marines sent to Libya.

PTI