A terrorist group linked to the Sept. 11, 2012 attacks on U.S. compounds in Benghazi, Libya was tied to al-Qaeda and acting on a Muslim religious ideology. Members of the group planned the attacks at least ten days in advance and trained daily, “focusing on religious lessons and scripture including three lessons a day of jihadist ideology.”
That’s according to an internal intelligence report provided by the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) shortly after the attacks. The document was made public this week for the first time after the watchdog group Judicial Watch sued the government under the Freedom of Information Act to obtain improperly withheld public documents.
The information was sent, at the time, to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the White House National Security Council. Obama officials had claimed they had no indication the attack was preplanned. They blamed, instead, a "spontaneous" uprising of ordinary Libyan citizens angered by a YouTube video.
Revelations in the “information report” that contradict the spontaneous narrative include the following information the U.S. had received:
- The Benghazi assault “was planned and executed by The Brigades of the Captive Omar Abdul Rahman (BCOAR),” which was linked to al-Qaeda.
- The group’s leader, known as “AZUZ” was tasked with setting up al-Qaeda bases in Libya. He established the “Oneness of God Al-Tawheed” college in eastern Libya with permission from a Libyan government official who was a presidential candidate and a member of the Muslim Brotherhood movement.
- The group of 120 young men trained in the mountains and were, at times, joined by other radical groups.
- [quote]“They train almost every day focusing on religious lessons and scripture including three lessons a day of jihadist ideology.”[/quote]
- One of the group’s main planning locations was Hamza Mosque and “nobody with the exception of their group is allowed to pray there, everyone in Derna [eastern Libya] is aware of this.”
- The most important location for the group was another mosque, al-Sadaqa Mosque, which contained written documentation including “all of the [al-Qaeda] activity in Libya.”
- The Benghazi attacks were planned at least 10 days in advance. The mission was to kill as many Americans as possible.
- The attacks were in revenge for the U.S. killing of a terrorist leader in Pakistan, and in memorial of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center building.
The email adds to a growing body of evidence that points to Obama officials trying to deflect attention away from the planned, terrorist nature of the attacks in the lead-up to the 2012 presidential election.
Separate emails made public long after the attacks showed that Obama advisor Ben Rhodes wanted then-U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice to give the impression that the incident was not a result of a public policy failure.
On Sept. 16, 2012, Rice appeared on several national television talk shows and implied the attacks were spontaneously inspired by a YouTube video rather than a predictable result of failed U.S. policy.
On CBS’ Face the Nation, Rice stated: “We do not– we do not have information at present that leads us to conclude that this was premeditated or preplanned.”
On ABC’s This Week, Rice stated: “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. In Cairo, as you know, a few hours earlier, there was a violent protest that was undertaken in reaction to this very offensive video that was disseminated.”
On Fox News Sunday, Rice claimed, “The best information and the best assessment we have today is that in fact this was not a preplanned, premeditated attack. That what happened initially was that it was a spontaneous reaction to what had just transpired in Cairo as a consequence of the video…we don’t see at this point signs this was a coordinated plan, premeditated attack.”
On NBC’s Meet the Press, Rice said, “Our current assessment is that what happened in Benghazi was in fact initially a spontaneous reaction to what had just transpired hours before in Cairo, almost a copycat of– of the demonstrations against our facility in Cairo, which were prompted, of course, by the video.
Obama officials at the State Department, CIA and White House, including Rhodes and former Deputy CIA Director Mike Morell, engaged in a flurry of edits to Benghazi talking points that were to be publicly released. The edits removed mention of terrorism and al-Qaeda, among other changes.
The newly-provided public documents were first requested back in 2012. Although some materials have now been released to the plaintiff, Judicial Watch, the government still has not provided them—as required by FOIA law—to other requesters, including me.