Libya arrests 50 over deadly attack on U.S. consulate
WASHINGTON — Agence France-PresseLast updated Sunday, Sep. 16 2012, 11:50 AM EDTLibya’s parliament chief announced in an interview with CBS News on Sunday the arrests of some 50 people over the killing of U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens in an attack he said was planned by foreigners . . . .“The number reached about 50,” Mohammed al-Megaryef, president of the Libyan National Congress, told CBS News in an interview.
Mr. Stevens and and three other Americans were killed on Tuesday when suspected Islamic militants fired on the U.S. consulate in the eastern Libyan city with rocket-propelled grenades and set it ablaze.
Mr. Megaryef said “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.
Mr. Megaryef said the government has learned the attack was not the result of a spontaneous outburst of anger over Innocence of Muslims, a U.S.-made anti-Islamic movie which has triggered sometimes deadly protests in the Arab and Muslim world.
“It was planned, definitely, it was planned by foreigners, by people who entered the country a few months ago. And they were planning this criminal act since their arrival,” he told CBS.
The US State Department is still suggesting that the attacks were a part of a spontaneous uprising over an Internet video, but in the view of this blog, that is beginning to look rather threadbare.
This is an obvious Al Qaeda strike, under cover of stirred up protests on a YouTube video no-one would have heard of had it not been shown on Egyptian TV by Al Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood affiliated groups, as was discussed here already. After all, the easiest way to make an advance in the face of the enemy is behind a smokescreen. END
U/D, Sept 17: Pam Geller tracks the developments and the gap between the dominant US media and administration narrative and the evidence on the ground. The money clip comes from Rep. Mike Rogers, the House Intelligence Committee chairman:
“The way that the attack took place, I have serious questions. It seemed to be a military-style, coordinated. They had indirect fire coordinated with direct fire, rocket attacks. They were able to launch two different separate attacks on locations there near the consulate and they repelled a fairly significant Libyan force that came to rescue the embassy.”The gap between the narrative of silly Christian fundies stirring up spontaneous riots in the Middle East with an ill-warranted video that smears the revered founder of Islam [cf. here on the history], and the evidence keeps mounting up.
U/D Sept 26: Eli Lake Daily Beast Sep 26th report:
Within 24 hours of the 9-11 anniversary attack on the United States consulate in Benghazi, U.S. intelligence agencies had strong indications al Qaeda–affiliated operatives were behind the attack, and had even pinpointed the location of one of those attackers. Three separate U.S. intelligence officials who spoke to The Daily Beast said the early information was enough to show that the attack was planned and the work of al Qaeda affiliates operating in Eastern Libya.
Nonetheless, it took until late last week for the White House and the administration to formally acknowledge that the Benghazi assault was a terrorist attack. On Sunday, Obama adviser Robert Gibbs explained the evolving narrative as a function of new information coming in quickly on the attacks. "We learned more information every single day about what happened,” Gibbs said on Fox News. “Nobody wants to get to the bottom of this faster than we do.”
The intelligence officials who spoke to The Daily Beast did so anonymously because they weren’t authorized to speak to the press. They said U.S. intelligence agencies developed leads on four of the participants of the attacks within 24 hours of the fire fight that took place mainly at an annex near the Benghazi consulate. For one of those individuals, the U.S. agencies were able to find his location after his use of social media. “We had two kinds of intelligence on one guy,” this official said. “We believe we had enough to target him.”
Another U.S. intelligence official said, “There was very good information on this in the first 24 hours. These guys have a return address. There are camps of people and a wide variety of things we could do.”
A spokesman for the National Security Council declined to comment for the story. But another U.S. intelligence official said, “I can’t get into specific numbers but soon after the attack we had a pretty good bead on some individuals involved in the attack.”
It’s unclear whether any of these suspected attackers have been targeted or arrested, and intelligence experts caution that these are still early days in a complex investigation.
Tennessee Republican, was quoted as saying . . . The question of what the White House knew, and when they knew it, will be of keen interest to members of Congress in the election year. Last Thursday, the Obama administration formally briefed House and Senate members on the attack. Those briefings however failed to satisfy many members, particularly Republicans. “That is the most useless, worthless briefing I have attended in a long time,” Sen. Bob Corker, a