WASHINGTON, DC – Wednesday night, one day after the 9/11 anniversary protests/attacks in Cairo, Egypt and Benghazi, Libya, I wrote about a September 6, 2012 memo issued by the Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC), part of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security under the U.S. Department of State. Both Jim Geraghty of National Review Online and Paul Bedard/Washington Secrets of the Washington Examiner picked up the story. The memo, to my knowledge the only one issued by the government specifically relating to 9/11 anniversary threats (or lack thereof) read as follows:
Terrorism and Important Dates
OSAC currently has no credible information to suggest that al-Qa’ida or any other terrorist group is plotting any kind of attack overseas to coincide with the upcoming anniversary of September 11. However, constituents often have concerns around important dates, holidays, and major events, Often times, these concerns are the result of increased media attention to the issue, rather than credible evidence of a terrorist plot.
Obviously, although there is no smoking-gun proof yet that the government had, or should have had, “credible information” about any of these attacks, in retrospect the memo is an embarrassing reminder of how the United States and its overseas embassies were caught flat-footed on Tuesday. The phrasing of the last sentence of the memo (“these concerns are the result of increased media attention to the issue, rather than credible evidence” [emphasis mine]) could have even inspired complacency with its rather glib assessment of the potential threat.
There is now evidence that someone at the State Department drew the same conclusion about the memo, because as of today, it is no longer listed on the OSAC website.