In an exclusive interview with NBC’s Ann Curry, Libyan President Mohamed Magarief declared the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi a “pre-planned act of terrorism” that was not a spontaneous response to an anti-Muhammad YouTube video.
“I have no doubt about that and it’s a pre-planned act of terrorism directed against American citizens,” Magarief said. “If we take the facts about the way it was executed, you can see there is enough proof that it is a pre-planned act of terrorism.”
Magarief believes the attack was deliberately carried out on September 11 in order to “carry a certain message.” Additionally, he noted the “high degree of accuracy” with which the attack was carried out, concluding that the perpetrators had training and experience with rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.
When directly asked if the YouTube video was a catalyst, Magarief responded, “it had nothing with this attack,” saying there were no protests at the consulate before the attack.
President Barack Obama and his administration have vacillated on whether there is a connection between the video and the slaughter of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three American diplomats.
In a clip that aired on “The View” Tuesday, Obama encouraged people to “marginalize” the video by ignoring it. He did exactly the opposite in a Tuesday speech to the United Nations, mentioning the video seven times. (WATCH: The anti-Muhammad video blamed for worldwide riots, murder)
“That is what we saw play out in the last two weeks, where a crude and disgusting video sparked outrage throughout the Muslim world,” Obama said, later adding, “There is no video that justifies an attack on an embassy.”
The Obama administration has also been unclear on whether or not it believes the deadly attack in Benghazi was a premeditated act of terrorism. On September 17, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland refused to say the attack was an act of terrorism. By September 20, White House spokesman Jay Carney said it was “self evident that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack.”
Obama has not said if the attack was a planned terror strike, but instead has repeatedly denounced the YouTube video. In his United Nations speech, the word “terrorist” only appeared once – in reference to Iran and their continued “support of terrorist groups abroad.”
Magarief is confident that investigations will confirm the “terrorist attack” was premeditated and involved al-Qaida operatives. CBS reported Tuesday that the FBI has yet to arrive in Benghazi to investigate the attack.