Further reading: Libya - Al Qaeda's North African front
A Libyan security officer has claimed that he warned American diplomats about the possibility of violent unrest three days before the attack on the U.S. consulate which left the ambassador dead along with three others.
The country's president also says that the deadly raid in Benghazi was 'pre-planned' by Al Qaeda and other 'foreigners'.
Jamal Mabrouk, of the February 17th Brigade, told CNN that he and a battalion commander sat down with U.S. envoys to discuss the economy and security in the country, which has been going through a turbulent transition since the fall of Moammar Gaddafi last year.
According to Mabrouk, they told the diplomats that the precarious security situation was not beneficial for international business.
‘The situation is frightening, it scares us,’ Mabrouk said they told the U.S. officials. He would not say how they responded.
Mabrouk added that it was not the first time he has alerted foreigners to safety concerns in the face of the growing presence of armed jihadist groups in the Benghazi area.
Libyan President Mohammed el-Megarif, meanwhile, has said he believes the attackers are connected to Al Qaeda and used the protests at the consulate as a cover to attack on the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.
In an interview with NPR, Megarif said foreigners have been infiltrating his country over the past few months, which has been undergoing major changes since the uprising against the late dictator Muammar al-Qaddafi.
'We firmly believe that this was a precalculated, preplanned attack that was carried out specifically to attack the U.S. Consulate,' Megarif told NPR.
On CBS' Face the Nation, Megarif said that 'a few' of those who joined in the attack were foreigners, who had entered Libya 'from different directions, some of them definitely from Mali and Algeria.'
'The others are affiliates and maybe sympathizers,' he added.
But Susan Rice, America's ambassador to the United Nations, told ABC's This Week she believed the assault was the result of ad-hoc protests and had not been planned in advance.
'Our current best assessment, based on the information that we have at present, is that, in fact, what this began as, it was a spontaneous – not a premeditated – response to what had transpired in Cairo,' she said.
Ms Rice added that protests in Egypt against an American-made anti-Muslim video provided the catalyst for the violence in Libya.
'We believe that folks in Benghazi, a small number of people came to... the consulate to replicate the sort of challenge that was posed in Cairo,' she said.
'And then as that unfolded, it seems to have been hijacked by some individual clusters of extremists who came with heavier weapons... And it then evolved from there.'
The disagreement between the U.S. and Libya over the origins of the brutal raid could add to the tensions between the West and the Muslim world in the wake of the ongoing protests around the globe.
Continue reading: Was America warned about Libya