Emails Reveal White House Knew Of Benghazi Extremist Claims

Emails Reveal White House Knew Of Benghazi Extremist ClaimsTwo hours after first being notified of an attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, a government e-mail to the White House, the State Department and the FBI said Islamist group Ansar al-Sharia had claimed credit, according to a copy obtained by CNN.

‘Conflicting information’

However, the e-mails raise further questions about the seeming confusion on the part of the Obama administration to determine the nature of the September 11 attack that left U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans dead. Two White House officials, speaking on condition of not being identified on Wednesday, said the government e-mails about the attack were not an intelligence assessment. They also noted that there was conflicting information about Ansar al-Sharia denying responsibility.

The day after the attack took place, President Barack Obama referred to it as an “act of terror.” But in the following days, White House spokesman Jay Carney maintained there was no evidence suggesting the attack was “planned or imminent.” The administration also suggested that an anti-Muslim video produced in the United States likely fueled a spontaneous demonstration in Benghazi as it had in Cairo, where the U.S. Embassy also was attacked.

‘Claim of responsibility’

The e-mails obtained by CNN provide additional insight into the Benghazi attack. The first one, sent at 4:05 p.m. ET, or 10:05 p.m. in Libya, described a diplomatic mission under attack. Less than an hour later, at 4:54 p.m. ET, another e-mail reported a search was underway for consulate personnel. The final e-mail, at 6:07 p.m., noted the claim of responsibility for the attack. The subject line said: “Update 2: Ansar al-Sharia Claims Responsibility for Benghazi Attack.”

Analysts examine a group’s history, whether it made previous claims that were legitimate, whether it has the capacity to carry out such an attack, and whether known members of the group participated in the attack in assessing the validity of claims of responsibility.

Do you think it really was Ansar al-Sharia that carried out the attack? Feel free to comment on this issue!

Source: CNN

Image: Democratic Underground

Series Of Mysterious Tourist Deaths In Asia Tied To Poison?

Kari Bowerman, 27, and Cathy Huynh, 26, were backpacking in Vietnam while on break from their jobs teaching English in South Korea. On July 30, the friends were admitted to Khanh Hoa General Hospital in Nha Trang. Both were vomiting, had difficulty breathing and showed signs of severe dehydration. Huynh was eventually released from the hospital. She returned later that night to hear the devastating news — three hours after being admitted, Bowerman had gone into respiratory failure and died. Two days later, Huynh was dead.

The travelers’ stories are just the latest in a string of mysterious tourist deaths in Southeast Asia. Investigators with the World Health Organization suspect poisoning is to blame, but determining the origin has proven difficult.

In February 2011, New Zealand resident Sarah Carter, 23, died in Chiang Mai, Thailand, after arriving at a local hospital with low blood pressure, difficulty breathing and dehydration from vomiting, according to the New Zealand television network TV3.

In 2011, TV3 traveled to Chiang Mai, Thailand, to search for evidence in the Sarah Carter case. Show producers spoke with Dr. Ron McDowall, a United Nations toxic chemical consultant, who had reviewed Carter’s pathology reports and believed she died of pesticide ingestion. The swabs collected by TV3 in the Downtown Inn showed moderate levels of chlorpyrifos, McDowall told CNN in an email last week.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, chlorpyrifos can cause nausea, dizziness, confusion and, in high levels, respiratory paralysis and death. The chemical is banned for use in homes and hotels in most countries, McDowall said. Yet it’s still legal in Thailand and Vietnam, he said, and was included in the pesticide sprayed in the Downtown Inn. Vietnamese authorities have released very little information about the cause of death for Bowerman and Huynh. Investigators might know more when autopsy results come back in a couple of weeks.

Do you think pesticide poisoning is the cause of the string of tourists’ deaths in Asia? How should these issues be addressed?

Source: CNN

Image: The Spec