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Libya attack: US doubts that Al Qaeda planned ahead (+video)

UN Ambassador Susan Rice said Sunday she doubts the deadly attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was a pre-planned Al Qaeda operation that could have been detected. As protests to an anti-Islam video continued, some knowledgeable lawmakers aren't so sure.

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Rice’s comments put her at odds with Libyan officials, who continue to insist that the attack that killed Ambassador Stevens and the other Americans was planned well in advance of the protests that began on the anniversary of 9/11 and spread around the world.

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"It was planned, definitely, it was planned by foreigners, by people who entered the country a few months ago, and they were planning this criminal act since their arrival," Libyan President Mohammed Magarief said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” Sunday.

So far, Libyan authorities have arrested some 50 individuals suspected of being connected to last week’s attack. President Magarief told CBS the suspects are connected to Al Qaeda, or are affiliates and sympathizers.

"We don't know what are the real intentions of these perpetrators," he said. "They entered Libya from different directions. Some of them definitely from Mali and Algeria."

While they do not go that far in detailing their suspicions, some knowledgeable US lawmakers still think Al Qaeda may have been involved.

"There's huge gaps in what we know," US Rep. Mike Rogers (R) of Michigan, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and a former FBI agent, said on “Fox News Sunday.” "There's other information, classified information we have that just makes you stop for a minute and pause.”

Following days of protest, the Pentagon dispatched elite Marine rapid response teams to Libya and Yemen, but a team deployed to Khartoum was turned back when the Sudanese government objected.

The Navy also moved two warships to positions off the coast of Libya. The two destroyers are largely meant as a show of force, but they carry Tomahawk missiles and can also be available for evacuations or other missions as needed.

"I think our approach right now is to not do anything until we've been requested to do it by the State Department," Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told reporters traveling with him to Asia. But he noted that, "I think that we have to continue to be very vigilant because I suspect that ... these demonstrations are likely to continue over the next few days, if not longer."

This report includes material from the Associated Press.

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