The office of the nation’s spy chief issued a statement Friday defending the Obama administration’s accounts of the siege on a U.S. mission in Libya, saying it became clear only in the aftermath that it was “a deliberate and organized terrorist attack.”
The statement appeared aimed at quieting criticism, mostly from Republicans, of the administration’s shifting characterizations of a Sept. 11 assault that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans. Officials initially described the attack as spontaneous but in recent days have said it was an act of terrorism with links to al-Qaeda.
The release from the office of Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. came as lawmakers sought more details about the siege in Benghazi. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee sent a letter to the State Department on Thursday posing questions about intelligence in the period leading up to the attack and the adequacy of the security at U.S. compounds.