The CNN report came the same day White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters for the first time that President Obama believes the deadly assault was, in fact, a "terrorist attack."
The Obama administration had come under fire from Republican lawmakers for what they called inaccurate characterizations of the incident, particularly citing U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice's early description of the attack as being a protest against an anti-Islam film that was "hijacked" by violent actors.
For days the administration did not use the phrase "terrorist attack," even as reports emerged suggesting it was a well-coordinated assault that may not have been connected to any demonstrations. National Counterterrorism Center Director Matthew Olsen became the first high-level official to publicly use the term on Sept. 19 and the next day Carney said he believed it was "self-evident" that it was an act of terrorism.
President Obama spoke before the United Nations Wednesday and referred to the incident, but did not use the term "terrorism." The same day, Carney told reporters "it is certainly the case that it is our view as an administration, the President's view, that it was a terrorist attack."