10:05pm Benghazi Time – 4:05pm Washington Time
As reported by Reuters, an email sent 20-30 minutes after the attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission allegedly began carried the subject line “U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi Under Attack” and the notation “SBU”, meaning “Sensitive But Unclassified.” The text said the State Department’s regional security office had reported that the diplomatic mission in Benghazi was “under attack. Embassy in Tripoli reports approximately 20 armed people fired shots; explosions have been heard as well.” The message continued: “Ambassador Stevens, who is currently in Benghazi, and four … personnel are in the compound safe haven. The 17th of February militia is providing security support.”1
10:54pm Benghazi Time – 4:54 p.m. Washington time
A second email, headed “Update 1: U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi” said that the Embassy in Tripoli had reported that “the firing at the U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi had stopped and the compound had been cleared.” It said a “response team” was at the site attempting to locate missing personnel.
12:07am Benghazi Time – 6:07pm Washington Time
A third email, also marked SBU, carried the subject line: “Update 2: Ansar al-Sharia Claims Responsibility for Benghazi Attack.” The message reported: “Embassy Tripoli reports the group claimed responsibility on Facebook and Twitter and has called for an attack on Embassy Tripoli.” While some information identifying recipients of this message was redacted from copies of the messages obtained by Reuters, a government source said that one of the addresses to which the message was sent was the White House Situation Room, the president’s secure command post.
- Reuters – White House told of militant claim two hours after Libya attack: emails http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/24/us-usa-benghazi-emails-idUSBRE89N02C20121024 ↩