Leder av USAs kontraterrorsenter sa onsdag at angrepet på konsultatet i Benghazi var et terrorangrep, men president Barack Obama ville ikke bruke t-ordet.
Matthew G. Olsen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, who told a Congressional committee Wednesday that J. Christopher Stevens, the United States ambassador to Libya, and three other Americans had died “in the course of a terrorist attack.”
Olsens uttalelse fikk pressetalsmann Jim Carney til å bruke t-ordet.
“It is self-evident that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack,” the White House press secretary, Jay Carney, told reporters aboard Air Force One on Thursday. “Our embassy was attacked violently and the result was four deaths of American officials.”
Asked if the president drew a connection between the Libyan attack, which occurred on Sept. 11, and the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon 11 years before, Mr. Carney said, “The attack occurred on Sept 11, 2012, so we use the same calendar at the White House as you do.”
In a highly charged political atmosphere, the mere use of the term “terrorist” is loaded, not least, as one administration official acknowledged privately, because the phrase conjures up an image of America under attack, something the White House wants to avoid.
Beyond that, different government agencies have different definitions for what defines terrorism, said Brian Fishman, a counterterrorism expert at the New America Foundation, a nonpartisan research group.