In a briefing to Capitol Hill staffers delivered the day after the deadly Sept. 11 attack in Benghazi, a top aide to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the killings appeared to be the result of a terrorist attack.

Under Secretary of State for Management Patrick F. Kennedy — who exercises responsibility for all department personnel, facilities, and operations, and who is one of the department’s most respected civil servants, having served in his position under both the George W. Bush and Obama administrations — delivered the assessment in an unclassified, half-hour conference call with staff aides to House and Senate lawmakers from relevant committees, and leadership offices, on the evening of Sept. 12. Capitol Hill sources described the call to Fox News.

That a State Department official of Kennedy’s rank — one with direct oversight of the installations and people targeted in Benghazi — reached so swiftly the conclusion that the attacks were premeditated and coordinated stands in stark contrast to the opposing narrative pressed at that time, and for several days afterward, by other top officials at State, the White House, and the intelligence agencies.

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