U.S. officials believe that an attack on a U.S. Consulate in Libya resulting in the death of an American ambassador may have been planned and not solely the actions of a spontaneous mob demonstrating against an online video ridiculing Islam's Prophet Muhammad.
"This was a coordinated attack, more of a commando-style event," House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Mich., told CBS News Capitol Hill producer Jill Jackson. "It had both coordinated fire -- direct fire and indirect fire. There appeared to be military maneuvers approaching the facility."
U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other Americans died in the attack on the U.S. Consulate in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi Tuesday.
CNN has gotten hold of talking points distributed by Mitt Romney’s campaign to top Republican leaders and surrogates facing questions about the situation in Libya and Egypt.
The memo addresses questions about Romney’s statement on the protests, in which he accused the Obama administration of expressing sympathy for those who breached the Cairo embassy wall and killed officials in Libya. That accusation is based on a statement from the Cairo embassy that was released before either attack.
Allies are told to note that the White House distanced itself from the same Cairo embassy statement Tuesday night and argue that “it is never too soon to stand up for American values and interests.”
Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul took that tack in a message to reporters, saying: “If Governor Romney ‘jumped the gun’ why were White House officials also distancing themselves from the statement?”
Several prominent conservatives have publicly criticized Romney’s handling of the situation, including the Wall Street Journal’s Peggy Noonan on Fox News Wednesday morning and Ed Rogers in a blog post.
The Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol was supportive of the Romney campaign’s point, but said it was fair to “question the timing and tone” of the statement’s release.