An alleged attempt to discredit a Benghazi guard possibly has backfired.
A leaked four-page incident report could prove that two days before then-U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice famously told the nation that Benghazi was a spontaneous protest in response to a “hateful video,” the State Department was provided a first-person account stating the attack was a coordinated jihadist assault.
The unsigned report, dated Sept. 14, 2012, was allegedly written by Dylan Davies, a private security contractor at the Blue Mountain Group.
Davies has been in the news in recent days since releasing a book about Benghazi under the pseudonym Morgan Jones.
Davies also gave a news-making interview last week to “60 Minutes” in which he recounted his attempt to defend the U.S. compound. He criticized the government for not doing enough to prevent the attack despite what he said were early warning signs.
The Washington Post reported details of a Blue Mountain Group incident report it claimed was submitted by Davies to Blue Mountain three days after the attack. The report differed from the story Davies told in his book and in his CBS interview.
The incident report has been widely cited in media as evidence Davies is not credible.
Davies, however, told the Daily Beast he did not write the report and has never seen it. The report was not signed by anyone.
Whether Davies wrote the incident report or not, the State Department confirmed the report leaked to the Post matches the version sent to the U.S. government by the Blue Mountain Group.
The Post further reported the State Department and Republican congressional aides confirmed the Sept. 14, 2012, report “was included among tens of thousands of documents turned over to lawmakers by the State Department this year.”
If, indeed, the report was submitted Sept. 14, it would mean the State Department had in its possession a first-person account stating the incident was a planned jihadist attack and not a spontaneous protest.
On Sunday, Sept. 16, 2012, Rice appeared on five morning television programs to discuss the White House response to the Benghazi attack. In nearly identical statements, she asserted that the attack was a spontaneous protest in response to a “hateful video.”
Other Obama administration officials made similar claims.
The author of the report said he received a phone call at 9:30 p.m. local time on Sept. 11 stating that the U.S. mission was under “sustained attack” and that the front gate had been breached.
The writer said a man inside the mission told him the “attackers were all over the compound.”
Further indicating it was not a spontaneous protest, the author said he attempted to drive to the mission 30 minutes into the attack but could not get near it, because “roadblocks had been set up by the Sharia brigade.”
The author of the report said he went back to the U.S. mission the next morning to find jihadists still inside.
He said “there were five members of the Sharia brigade inside dressed in desert camouflage uniform.”
The writer stated he returned to his villa immediately after the attack while Davies writes in his book he attempted to reach the Benghazi compound but couldn’t do so because of Ansar al-Sharia roadblocks.
The report’s author said he learned of Stevens’ death from a Blue Mountain guard who had apparently secretly gone to the hospital and had taken a photo of the ambassador’s body. Davies writes in his book, however, he was the guard who infiltrated the hospital and verified Stevens was dead.
A State Department official confirmed that the report obtained by the Daily Beast matches a version sent to the U.S. government by the Blue Mountain Group. Davies told the Daily Beast he failed to report his personal involvement at the hospital and the fated compound because a top Blue Mountain executive had asked him to stand down.
While most of the news coverage surrounding the Blue Mountain report focuses on how the version conflicts with the story told by Davies in his book, a missed detail is how the report also conflicts with the original Obama administration talking points on Benghazi.
The talking points were reportedly edited to remove references to terrorism or other instances that would contradict the “spontaneous” demonstration narrative.
According to an interim House report on Benghazi, after a White House deputies meeting Sept. 15, 2012, the administration altered the talking points to remove references to the likely participation of Islamic extremists in the attack.
The administration also removed references to the threat of extremists linked to al-Qaida in Benghazi and eastern Libya, including information about at least five other attacks against foreign interests in Benghazi.
Charged the report: “Senior State Department officials requested – and the White House approved – that the details of the threats, specifics of the previous attacks, and previous warnings be removed to insulate the department from criticism that it ignored the threat environment in Benghazi.”
With additional research by Joshua Klein.