White House press secretary Jay Carney faced some tough questioning on Thursday from ABC's Jake Tapper about the administration's handling of the recent attacks in Libya.
After four Americans, including the ambassador to the country, were killed in an attack on the consulate in Benghazi, the initial story about what happened in Libya has unraveled. Though the White House initially blamed the attacks on an anti-Muslim film, it emerged that they had actually been planned well before a trailer for the film was released online. Questions about the lack of security at the consulate have also been raised; reporters in Libya told The Huffington Post that they were stunned at how little there appeared to be.
On Wednesday, the House of Representatives grilled State Department officials about how the attacks had unfolded. Inside the White House, Tapper, who has been following the story closely, interrogated Carney. He mentioned President Obama's criticism that Mitt Romney had tended to "shoot first and aim later" in his response to the attacks.
"Given the fact that so much was made out of the video that apparently had absolutely nothing to do with the attack on Benghazi, that there wasn't even a protest outside the Benghazi post, didn't President Obama shoot first and aim later?" he asked.
"I'm not disputing that there was a protest," Carney said. "But what we said at the time is our intelligence community assessed that the attack began spontaneously following protests earlier that day at our embassy in Cairo. OK? Again, this is a moving picture, and people who on the night of an attack or the day after claim they know all the facts without making clear that what we know is based on preliminary information aren't being straight, and they're in some cases trying to politicize a situation that should not be politicized. I think that's what the president was getting at. And I think many other people felt the same way."
"It seems to me there was a lot of talk about the videos in relation to the tragedy that unfolded," Tapper said.