If you haven’t read David Kirkpatrick’s New York Times piece on the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, you should do so. It’s good work. Very good work. Unfortunately, it’s solid investigative journalism that goes out of its way to downplay the nature of Ansar al-Sharia and its ties to al Qaeda. Mr. Kirkpatrick also seems to inflate the significance that the obscure anti-Islam film, “Innocence of Muslims,” had in the whole affair. If what he says about “Innocence of Muslims” is true, it further demonstrates the incredibly dysfunctional and backwards nature of much of the Middle East.

Mr. Kirkpatrick’s ‘A Deadly Mix in Benghzi’ centers around a Mr. Abu Khattala, the leader of an extremist militia in Libya. The journalist’s own investigative work clearly demonstrates the overlap between local militias and Ansar al-Sharia, but then he intellectually twists and turns to dismiss the possibility that al Qaeda was involved.

  • Mohammed Ali al-Zahawi, the leader of Ansar al-Shariah, told The Washington Post that he disapproved of attacking Western diplomats, but he added, “If it had been our attack on the U.S. Consulate, we would have flattened it.”
  • At one point, a fighter asked Mr. Abu Khattala what to do with the remains of the compound. “Flatten it,” he said.
  • [Mr. Abu Khattala] volunteered that the leaders of Ansar al-Shariah had joined him in the operations room shortly after the attack began — underscoring the permeability of the line between threat and protector among Benghazi militias.

According to the New York Times, Ansar al-Shariah wasn’t involved in the planning for the Benghazi terror attack, but happened to show up to the local militia’s “operations room” once the bullets started flying. Readers are supposed to ignore Ansar al-Shariah’s ties to al Qaeda (long-established by the CIA and the State Department), and yet the leader of the organization and Mr. Abu Khattala both used “flatten” as the word-of-choice to describe what they would do when put in a position to decide the fate of the Benghazi compound. What a coincidence.

How do you write an extensive piece on the Benghazi terrorist attack and not mention Muhammad Jamal al Kashef? Answer: You can’t — unless the existence of al Kashef throws off a specific narrative you’re trying to create.

After “months of investigation,” the Times found “no evidence” of a connection between the Benghazi attack and al Qaeda.

In several hours of interviews, including ones conducted in the days before he became a prime suspect in the assault, Mr. Abu Khattala said he had no connections to Al Qaeda. But he never hid his admiration for its vision.

Translation: “Yes, it is well-known that my allies have connections with al Qaeda, we both share the exact same vision for the world, we both wanted to ‘flatten’ the Benghzi compound … but I swear that al Qaeda had nothing to do with the terrorist attack on a strategic or operational level.”

Over a decade after 9/11, it strains credulity to believe that al Qaeda did not have a hand in the September 11, 2012 Benghazi terrorist attack. I’m not going to completely discount the Times’ theory because, over a decade after the September 11, 2001 attacks, you would also think that U.S. diplomats would be familiar with “Taqiyya” — a form of deception that is permissible in Islam if the end result is beneficial to the religion. Apparently not.

The more moderate leaders of the big militias developed close ties to the Westerners.

At least one Islamist militia leader liked to play basketball at the British compound. Mr. Bukatef of the February 17 Brigade was a fluent English speaker who visited the American compound in Benghazi so often that “it was like he was my best friend,” one diplomat joked.

“We thought we were sufficiently close to them,” said one Western diplomat who was in Benghazi not long before the attack. “We all thought that if anything threatening was happening, that they would tip us off.”

Why are U.S. diplomats “joking” about the Bengahzi terrorist attack and the culpability their own ignorance played in allowing it to happen? The “moderates” are not moderates at all. They do not like us. They are willing to tolerate the United States only as long as our money and our weapons are useful to them, and that’s about it.

Again, Mr. Kirkpatrick’s piece sums up the situation quite well:

  • Unlike other Libyans, Mr. Abu Khattala expressed no gratitude for the American role in the NATO air campaign that toppled Colonel Qaddafi. If NATO had not intervened, “God would have helped us,” he said, insisting, “We know the United States was working with both sides” and considering “splitting up the country.”
  • Mr. McFarland struggled to make sense of their contradictory signals. “The message was, ‘Don’t come here because there is no security, but come right away because we need you,’” Mr. McFarland later told colleagues.

Ah yes, “God” would have intervened if President Obama did not. The president put his chips in with militia leaders like Mr. Abu Khattala, thinking they would help bring “hope and change” to Northern Africa, but instead he received “no gratitude,” a blown up U.S. compound, and dead Americans. The Libyans don’t want us to be there…but they do. Translation: “Give us money and things that go ‘boom’ and then leave us to our own Islamic-extremist devices.”

One last time: Do you believe this guy has no ties to al Qaeda?

On a June afternoon, Mr. Abu Khattala joined a column of as many as 200 pickup trucks mounted with artillery as they drove through downtown Benghazi under the black flags of militant Islam. …

Western diplomats who watched said they were stunned by the scale and weaponry of the display.

Even David Kirkpatrick acknowledges that al Qaeda has made significant inroads into Libya since the 2012 Benghazi terror attack. If you were to believe everything he says at face value (i.e., the Obama administration wasn’t trying to cover up anything and al Qaeda wasn’t involved in the attack on the U.S. compound), what you’re left with — at the present moment in Libya — is a nation teeming with al Qaeda terrorists and a whole host of other Islamic extremist organizations. Bravo, Mr. President.

If you have time, read ‘A Deadly Mix in Benghazi.’ It really is the end-product of top-notch investigative journalism. Unfortunately, it appears to have been pieced together to give cover and concealment to the political leaders most-closely connected with the tragedy.

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About the Author Douglas Ernst

I'm a former Army guy who believes success comes through hard work, honesty, optimism, and perseverance. I believe seeing yourself as a victim creates a self-fulfilling prophecy. I believe in God. I'm a USC Trojan with an MA in Political Science from American University.

5 comments

  1. “Unfortunately, it appears to have been pieced together to give cover and concealment to the political leaders most-closely connected with the tragedy”

    Which makes it dishonest, political, and blatent propaganda. Clever, sure. Well written? Of course.

    But it’s still propaganda.

    1. Regardless of the author’s motivations, I do have to give him props for the legwork he did. Even though this will now be the gospel for people who want to shove Benghazi under the rug during the 2016 presidential campaign (i.e., “Oh Come on now George, everyone knows the New York Times’ David Kirkpatrick established no al Qaeda link to the Benghazi attack back in 2013…Durrr-hurrrm.”) there is still a lot of educational value within it. The details embedded within his own piece undercut his primary assertion.

    1. Astute point. It’s one that is rarely made by people with large microphones. Since 9/11, too many people seem to think al Qaeda is the only terrorist organization that exists or that we should be concerned about. It’s rather odd. So under terrorist organization ‘x’ you can listen to any music as long as it’s not Western, but under terrorist organization ‘y’ no music is allowed — because ‘x’ is officially affiliated with al Qaeda it gets news coverage.

    2. They’re still trying to peddle the false narrative that it was inspired by some obscure anti-Islam video on YouTube? Yeesh. They’re just trying to shove it under the rug and they know that the LIVs have short attention spans and will repeat the Obama narrative that it was a “phony scandal” as their own thoughts.

      The left is always hesitant to tie terrorist attacks to radical Islam, even if there’s a mountain of evidence suggesting it. They’re more likely to blame the “right-wing conspiracy” boogeyman instead.

      There are tons of Islamist terrorist groups: Al-Shabab, Ansar al-Sharia, Boko Haram, the Muslim Brotherhood (Egypt’s provisional government actually labelled them as such), etc. Al Qaeda is the only one people seem to think exists.

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