“This assessment may change as additional information is collected and analyzed and as currently available information continues to be evaluated,” the Sept. 15 CIA document continued.
“We believe the timing of the attack was influenced by events in Cairo,” the senior official told Ignatius. “The attackers were disorganized; some seemed more interested in looting. Some who claimed to have participated joined the attack as it began or after it was under way. There is no evidence of rehearsals, they never got into the safe room … never took any hostages, didn’t bring explosives to blow the safe room door, and didn’t use a car bomb to blow the gates.”
It was, the intelligence official said, “a flash mob with weapons,” adding that the only thing he would change in the CIA’s initial talking points would be to drop the word “spontaneous” and substitute “opportunistic.”
“This may sound like self-protective boilerplate,” Ignatius observes, “but it reflects the analysts’ genuine problem interpreting fragments of intercepted conversation, video surveillance and source reports” – in essence, the “fog of war” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton referred to earlier this week.