Al Qaeda's Presence in Libya Well Known, Then and Now
October 19, 2012 • 3:10PM

Al Qaeda's Presence in Libya Well Known;

Key Operatives Funded and Directed by British/Saudi Networks

The presence of Al Qaeda in Libya, as de facto allies of the Obama Administration, was well known during the process leading up to the 2011 ouster and murder of Muamar Gadhafi; and in the 2012 vulnerability of the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, where four Americans were killed.

A few points, from a preliminary grid:

* Sept. 15, 2012. Libya's interim President, Mohamed Yusef al Magariaf, said that he was certain that the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi on Sept. 11, was "premeditated'' and organized by "experienced masterminds'' from Al Qaeda. Armed militias, many of them neo-Salafi allied with al-Qaeda, had been gaining strength and had penetrated all of the relevant security institutions of the region. (Al Jazeera, Sept. 15)

* Sept. 15, 2012. The Ansar al-Sharia group, an off-shoot of Al-Qaeda, was clearly directly involved in the Sept. 11 attack on the Benghazi U.S. consulate, an LPAC statement said. The leader of the group is Sufyan bin-Qumu, who has a long biography as a terrorist. Back in 2001, bin-Qumu was arrested by Pakistani police soon after the original Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on New York and the Pentagon because of his affiliations with Al Qaeda. Bin-Qumu was detained at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba from 2002 until Sept. 2007, when he was returned to Libya and eventually released from prison. Libyan officials have been warning U.S. counterparts for months that the Benghazi area was dangerous. According to one senior U.S. intelligence source, Ansar al-Sharia had directly penetrated the Benghazi regional public safety committee, and had full access to information on U.S. personnel and facilities, including a U.S. safehouse which was also attacked on Sept. 11, 2012.

* Sept. 11, 2012. Ahmed Abu Khattalah, the founder of Ansar al-Sharia, was present during the attack at the U.S. consular mission in Benghazi which killed U.S. Amb. Christopher Stevens. Abu Khattalah has not been apprehended. (Wall Street Journal, Oct. 17, 2012)

* April 6, 2012. An IED was thrown over the wall of the Benghazi U.S. consulate, by two suspects, who were taken into custody, then released, by members of the February 17 Brigade, which is reported to be infiltrated by Al-Qaeda. The same two men later got hired on as security guards by the British Blue Mountain Group, for the Benghazi U.S. compound, subsequently attacked. (from State Department emails, reported by the Wall Street Journal, Oct. 17, 2012)

* April 18, 2011. Abdelhakim Al-Hasadi, the al-Qaeda leader, was very active in Libya at this time. Then-government spokesman Musa Ibrahim said at a press conference, "the famous Abdelhakim Al-Hasadi, the very famous Al-Qaeda leader, who has a jihadist history and fought in many countries including Iraq and Afghanistan," had at the time left Benghazi to go to the besieged Misrata. Hasadi, said Ibrahim, is "very well known to intelligence services around the world." He has been operating from an old Egyptian ship, the Al-Shahid Abdelwahab, equipped with weapons and advanced communications, and accompanied by 25 "highly trained fighters." Musa Ibrahim said, "And unfortunately, the [Western] coalition knows about this, as they are observing our waters, and unfortunately, they are prepared to allow known al-Qaeda members to pass from Benghazi to Misrata..." (Agence France Presse, April 18, 2011).

* April, 2011. Training for some 200 fundamentalist fighters was taking place in Benghazi in the "April 7" military camp there, led by Ismail Sallabi, an Islamist member of the Fighting Islamic Group in Libya (GICL) and Al-Qaeda, with the support of about 20 experts sent in from Qatar. This was reported by Musa Ibrahim at the April 18 press conference. (AFP, above).

* April, 2011. A self-described Al-Qaeda member since the 1980s, Abdelmonem Al-Madhuni, was recently killed west of Benghazi, near the Bregaoil terminal. (AFP, above)

* March, 2011. The presence of Al-Qaeda in Libya was raised by top NATO Commander U.S. Admiral James Stavridis. He raised the question of who and what were among the rebels, being aided by the Western-coalition air strikes. "We have seen flickers in the intelligence of potential Al-Qaeda, Hezbollah. We've seen different things," he said. (AFP, above)

* Spring, 2011. Abu Yahya al-Libi, a Libyan Al-Qaeda militant, urged on Al-Qaeda in North Africa to do everything possible in the rebellion against Gaddafi. (AFP, above)

* 2008. The U.S. Embassy in Tripoli sent a secret cable to Washington, D.C. entitled, "Extremism in Eastern Libya," on the hotbed of anti-American, pro-jihad sentiment. This evaluation was confirmed be the earlier Al-Qaeda personnel documents that came into American hands in 2007, and were analyzed by the Combatting Terrorism Center, at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.