Now testimony by Gen. Carter Ham, head of AFRICOM at the time of  attack, before the House Committee on Armed Services in June  2013 suggests that Defense officials did not raise the prospect of an  out-of-control demonstration and immediately deemed the incident an attack.

Ham, whose partially  redacted transcript was declassified by the House on Monday, said at the 2013  hearing that he was alerted to the incident 15 minutes after it erupted at 9:42  p.m. Libya Time (3:42 p.m. EST) on Sep. 11, 2012.

“When we saw a rocket-propelled grenade attack, what appeared to be pretty  well aimed small arms fire — again, this is all coming second and third hand  through unclassified, you know, commercial cellphones for the most part  initially. To me, it started to become clear pretty quickly that this was  certainly a terrorist attack and not just not something sporadic,” he  stated.

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