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Home » Libya » Joint Communique on Libya

Thursday 4th October 2012 

Sensitive documents detailing American operations in Libya remain left behind at the U.S. consulate more than three weeks after the attack which killed ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

The documents – some still scattered across the floors of the looted compound – include information about weapons collection efforts, emergency evacuation protocols, the complete itinerary of Ambassador Stevens’s trip, and the names, photographs, phone numbers and other personal information of Libyans who were contracted to secure the U.S. mission.

In the days following the attack on September 11, looters were free to roam the remains of the embassy and other highly sensitive documents are expected to have been taken.

The compound in Benghazi is now locked, but only two private security guards – paid for by the Libyan owner of the complex – watch over site, reports the Washington Post.

The compound consists of two adjoining villa complexes and in some parts is only protected by an eight foot high wall.

President Obama has ordered both the CIA and the Pentagon to hunt down the terrorists who attacked the consulate.

It’s unclear what the president plans to do once the perpetrators of the assault in Benghazi are found, but he has mobilized the military’s Joint Special Operations Command to help carry out the mission.

JSOC and the CIA teamed up to send Navy SEAL commandos into Pakistan in 2011 for a raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

The White House plans for retaliation come after it was revealed that security officials missed key signs that the consulate and US Ambassador Chris Stevens were in danger.

Stevens, a member of the foreign service and two former Navy SEAL bodyguards were killed after terrorists overran the consulate and set fire to it. Stevens was the first US ambassador to die in the line of duty since 1979.

The terrorist plot stunned America on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington.

The New York Times reports that Obama has now ordered intelligence operatives to gather ‘target packages’ on the perpetrators and track them down in Benghazi or wherever they might have fled.

‘They are putting together information on where these individuals live, who their family members and their associates are, and their entire pattern of life,’ one US official said.

Once the targets and their locations are confirmed, Obama could order any number of actions — from drone strikes to commando raids to joint operations with the Libyans.

The Times reports that the operations is focusing on at least a dozen targets, though the exact number is not known.

As with the bin Laden raid, Obama would likely make the final call on an raids or strikes to kill or capture the perpetrators.

The consulate, located in the city of Benghazi, was reportedly bombed twice in the months leading up to the attack, which occurred on the 11th anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks.

The Daily Beast reported that various whistleblowers have come forward since the attack to testify about prior attacks and a series of threats, which are described in a letter from Rep Darrel Issa and Rep Jason Chaffetz to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The letter, obtained by the site, says that both the consulate and Stevens were prime terror targets because threats had been made against both on Facebook.

One such post mentioned the route that Stevens took on his morning jog, prompting the diplomat to briefly stop running for his own safety.

The letter also mentions two separate bombings on the consulate – one on April 6 (when two former security guards hurled improvised explosives at the building) and another on June 6.

Neither attack resulted in deaths or injuries.

The revelations came as the White House announced it was pulling all U.S. personnel out of Benghazi, Libya’s second-largest city.

State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told The Washington Post: ‘Everybody who was in Benghazi and posted there has been withdrawn.’

Yesterday, new evidence suggested that there were obvious clues that terrorism was involved in the attack, despite initial claims by officials that it was a protest gone wrong.

Stevens and three other Americans – Sean Smith, Tyron Woods and Glen Doherty – perished in the assault.

Confusion over what sparked the Benghazi violence may have stemmed from the CIA, which distributed ‘talking points’ to top officials on September 14.

The unclassified documents, obtained by The Daily Beast, said in part: ‘The currently available information suggests that the demonstrations in Benghazi were spontaneously inspired by the protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and evolved into a direct assault against the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi and subsequently its annex.’

‘There are indications that extremists participated in the violent demonstrations.’

Likely working off the CIA document, government officials like UN Ambassador Susan Rice and White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, said there was little evidence the violence was planned.

However, the document went on to say that the ‘assessment may change as additional information is collected’ and that the investigation is ‘on-going.’

Additionally, The Daily Beast reported that an intercepted phone call between a local militia group called Ansar al-Shariah and al-Qaeda’s north Africa arm, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), indicated that the two factions worked and planned the attack together.

On Saturday, the Obama administration admitted that it knew within 24 hours that the strike was a pre-planned terrorist attack and not by crazed protestors enraged by an anti-Islam film.

Senior U.S. officials have now confessed the government privately labelled the attack a terrorist act almost immediately after it happened, and even knew that the perpetrators had links to al-Qaeda.

Shawn Turner, a spokesman for Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, said that as U.S. intelligence subsequently learned more about the attack, ‘we revised our initial assessment to reflect new information indicating that it was a deliberate and organized terrorist attack carried out by extremists.’

Turner said it remained ‘unclear’ if any individual or specific group commanded the attack. U.S. agencies nonetheless believe that some of the militants involved in the attack were ‘linked to groups affiliated with, or sympathetic to al-Qaeda.’

Rep Peter King, a senior Republican from New York, demanded last week that Rice resign over her statement that the Benghazi attack was not premeditated.

The State Department rejected King’s call this afternoon, defending Rice and saying she has done ‘a superb job.’

Last week, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton admitted there was an explicit link between the al-Qaeda network in North Africa and the deadly attacks that killed Ambassador Stevens as well as information management officer Sean Smith and security personnel Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty..

Speaking at a Security Council meeting at the United Nations, Mrs Clinton said an Algerian-founded branch of the al-Qaeda network was situated in the area, using their location to plan and execute attacks, like the one in Benghazi on September 11.

Source: The Daily Mail 

Categories: News, Press

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