Benghazi – The Truth: Interviews show Militia and Insults to Islam fueled the assault!

Open the New York Times Link and read the extensive detailed report and Honor Ambassador Christopher Stephens, because he died for what he believed. Jihadists who are really lunatics, killed Ambassador Stephens over the Video that was published Online!

http://www.nytimes.com/projects/2013/benghazi/?emc=edit_na_20131228#/?chapt=0

 

AFTER THE ATTACK, Mr. Obama vowed retribution. “We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act,” he said in a televised address from Washington on the morning of Sept. 12. “And make no mistake, justice will be done.”

 

But much of the debate about Benghazi in Washington has revolved around statements made four days later in television interviews by Ms. Rice, who was then ambassador to the United Nations.

 

“What happened in Benghazi was in fact initially a spontaneous reaction to what had just transpired hours before in Cairo,” she said on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” “almost a copycat of the demonstrations against our facility in Cairo, prompted by the video.”

 

Republicans, pouncing on the misstatement, have argued that the Obama administration was trying to cover up Al Qaeda’s role. “It was very clear to the individuals on the ground that this was an Al Qaeda-led event,” Representative Mike Rogers, a Michigan Republican who is the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said last month on Fox News.

 

“This was a preplanned, organized terrorist event,” he said, “not a video. That whole part was debunked time and time again.”

 

But the Republican arguments appear to conflate purely local extremist organizations like Ansar al-Shariah with Al Qaeda’s international terrorist network. The only intelligence connecting Al Qaeda to the attack was an intercepted phone call that night from a participant in the first wave of the attack to a friend in another African country who had ties to members of Al Qaeda, according to several officials briefed on the call. But when the friend heard the attacker’s boasts, he sounded astonished, the officials said, suggesting he had no prior knowledge of the assault.

 

Al Qaeda was having its own problems penetrating the Libyan chaos. Three weeks after the attack, on Oct. 3, 2012, leaders of the group’s regional affiliate, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, sent a letter to a lieutenant about efforts to crack the new territory. The leaders said they had sent four teams to try to establish footholds in Libya. But of the four, only two in the southern Sahara “were able to enter Libyan territory and lay the first practical bricks there,” the letter said.

 

The letter, left behind when the group’s leaders fled French troops in Mali, was later obtained and released by The Associated Press. It tallied up the “spectacular” acts of terrorism the group had accomplished around the region, but it made no mention of Benghazi or any other attacks in Libya.

More than a year later, the group appears more successful. People briefed on American intelligence say the regional affiliate has established a presence in Derna.

 

In the days after the Benghazi attack, meanwhile, Mr. Abu Khattala was still at work on construction sites and moving at ease around the city, even mocking the American political debate about the ambassador’s death. “It is always the same two teams, but all that changes is the ball,” he said in an interview. “They are just laughing at their own people.”

 

Sitting for an interview on a Benghazi hotel patio three weeks after the attack, Mr. Abu Khattala acknowledged being at the scene. But he said he had stopped near the mission that night only to break up a traffic jam. He then left, he said, and returned later to help rescue a Libyan guard he had heard was trapped inside.

 

But he scarcely hid his sympathy for the attackers. While almost everyone else in Benghazi mourned Mr. Stevens as a friend of the revolution, Mr. Abu Khattala was unmoved by his death. “I did not know him,” he said coolly.

 

And he suggested that the video insulting the Prophet Muhammad might well have justified the killing of four Americans. “From a religious point of view, it is hard to say whether it is good or bad,” he said.

 

But as American investigators focused on Mr. Abu Khattala in the following weeks, other militia leaders closed ranks with him.

 

Mr. Bargathi and Mr. Bin Hamid offered alibis for him, contradicting many witnesses. Mr. Bargathi said that he had received a call from Mr. Abu Khattala after the attack had begun and that Mr. Abu Khattala had seemed surprised by the news.

 

Told that Mr. Abu Khattala had given his name as a corroborating witness, Mr. Bin Hamid said they had stood together outside the compound because it seemed too dangerous to enter.

 

In an interview last spring, Mr. Bin Hamid said he had decided to make Mr. Abu Khattala a kind of local real estate judge, putting him in charge of settling disputes over property deeds.

 

“That made him happy,” Mr. Bin Hamid said. “He is good at this. He is a sincere person. People respect him.”

 

Other Benghazi Islamists insist, bizarrely and without evidence, that they suspect the C.I.A. killed the ambassador.

 

The leaders of Ansar al-Shariah, the hard-line Islamist group allied with Mr. Abu Khattala, declared in a statement read on television the morning after the attack that they had not participated in it. But they lauded the assault as a just response to the video. They, too, insisted that a “peaceful protest” had “escalated as a result of shooting that came from the consulate, which led to the ambassador’s death by suffocation.”

 

As they did with Mr. Abu Khattala, other local militia leaders and even elected officials embraced Ansar al-Shariah more tightly after the attack. Yousef al-Mangoush, the chief of staff of the Libyan military, met with its leaders to confirm their warm ties. “Mangoush has a very good impression of them,” said Ibrahim Bargathi, the chief of the Preventive Security Brigade, who arranged the meeting.

 

Ansar al-Shariah focused on charitable missionary work, including an antidrug campaign with local corporate sponsors, picking up garbage during sanitation strikes and offering exorcisms for those troubled by evil spirits.

 

“They are like Boy Scouts,” Mr. Bargathi said. “Anything that promotes good, they support.”

 

By last summer, United States investigators had interviewed hundreds of witnesses and formally asked the Libyan government to arrest Mr. Abu Khattala, along with about a dozen others wanted for questioning. The United States military also prepared a plan to capture him on its own, pending presidential approval, officials said. But the administration held back, fearing that unilateral United States military action could set off a backlash that would undermine the fragile Libyan government.

 

In the meantime, violence among local groups has scattered the militia. This fall, Ansar al-Shariah fought a citywide gun battle with a defected military unit that left at least nine dead. Opponents burned down Ansar al-Shariah’s headquarters and bombed its clinic, and its fighters were driven into hiding.

 

The fighters are widely blamed for explosions that have destroyed seemingly every police station in the city, as well as car bombings and drive-by shootings targeting the defected unit.

 

Hearing rumors that a revenge-seeking mob was threatening to come after Mr. Abu Khattala this fall, dozens of his neighbors sprang to his defense in scenes reminiscent of Venezia Road on the night of the mission attack. Fighters raced to erect checkpoints on the roads around his house, and they pulled out Kalashnikovs, grenade launchers, truck-mounted artillery and even a tank. Some drove government-issued pickups.

 

Mr. Gharabi said that Libya’s prime minister, under pressure from the Americans, had asked a Benghazi army commander for help apprehending Mr. Abu Khattala.

 

Mr. Gharabi quoted the commander as replying, “You will be lucky if he does not apprehend you.”

AMBASSADOR STEPHENS - LIBYA

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