Was Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood involved in the deadly Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya?
Circumstantial evidence possibly links the attack to Morsi’s campaign to free the so-called blind sheik, Omar Abdel-Rahman, who is serving a life sentence in the U.S. for conspiracy in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing.
Rahman’s release has been one of the Morsi’s main foreign policy issues.
Last week, several major Arabic newspapers ran with a story, first reported by the Kuwaiti paper Al Rai, quoting a Libyan intelligence report on the Benghazi attack that mentions an alleged connection to Morsi and other prominent Egyptian figures.
The report, prepared by Mahmoud Ibrahim Sharif, director of national security for Libya, is based on purported confessions of some of the jihadists arrested at the scene.
The report states that “among the more prominent figures whose names were mentioned by cell members during confessions were: Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi; preacher Safwat Hegazi; Saudi businessman Mansour Kadasa, owner of the satellite station Al-Nas; Egyptian Sheik Muhammad Hassan; former presidential candidate, Hazim Salih Abu Ismail.”
‘Dr. Morsi sent us’
While the credibility of the confessions solicited in Libya, probably under duress, can easily be called into question, there is other information pointing to Morsi’s possible involvement in the Benghazi attack.
YouTube videos of the attack find some of the jihadists speaking an Egyptian dialect of Arabic, as previously reported by FrongPageMag.
One of the videos shows a jihadist carrying out the attack while stating in an Egyptian dialect, “Don’t shoot, don’t shoot, Dr. Morsi sent us.”
There were also unconfirmed reports Egypt would not allow the U.S. to interrogate suspects in the attack.
Originally, the Obama administration claimed there were popular protests outside the U.S. Benghazi mission over an obscure anti-Muhammad film. It would later be determined no such demonstrations took place; instead the attacks were a coordinated jihadist assault.
The White House sought at first to connect the Sept. 11, 2012, Benghazi attack to protests that same day in Cairo, Egypt, in which rioters climbed the walls of the U.S. Embassy and tore down the American flag.
The Cairo protests were widely reported as acts of defiance against the anti-Muhammad movie. However, the protests were announced days in advance as part of a movement to free Rahman.
In July 2012, Rahman’s son, Abdallah Abdel Rahman, threatened to organize a protest at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and detain the employees inside.
On the day of the Sept. 11, 2012, protests in Cairo, CNN’s Nic Robertson interviewed the son of Rahman, who described the protest as being about freeing his father. No Muhammad film was mentioned. A big banner calling for Rahman’s release can be seen as Robertson walked to the embassy protests.
Targeting ‘Christian overseers’
The release of Rahman has been a key issue for Morsi. One week before the attack in Benghazi, Morsi once again called for the U.S. to free Rahman.
A jihadist group seeking the release of the blind sheik and calling itself the Omar Abdul Rahman Brigades reportedly was previously responsible for a June 6, 2012, bomb attack on the U.S. facility in Benghazi. The bomb exploded at the perimeter to the facility, wounding one.
There is information murdered U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens or another U.S. employee was the target of the attack. The SITE monitoring group documented the Rahman Brigades said they were “targeting a group of ‘Christian overseers’ who were preparing to receive one of the ‘heads of instigation’ from the State Department.”
The group was calling for Rahman’s release as well as vengeance for the death of Abu Yahya al-Libi, one of the most senior al-Qaida operatives. Al-Libi, of Libyan descent, was killed by a U.S. drone in Pakistan in June 2012.
CNN previously cited a report that the Omar Abdul Rahman Brigades was also responsible for a rocket attack against the convoy of the British ambassador in Benghazi on June 11 and an attack against the Red Cross in Misrata on June 12, 2012.
Further, the deadly January 2013 assault on an Algerian natural-gas plant was reportedly carried out as part of an attempt to trade hostages for the release of Rahman. Thirty-eight people were killed in a three-day siege that ended the hostage crisis.
WND previously reported on the ties of the Algerian assault crisis to the attack in Benghazi. The ties run through al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, or AQAP.
CNN quoted sources disclosing several Yemeni men belonging to AQAP took part in the Benghazi attack.
CNN further quoted one source revealing counter-terrorism officials learned the identity of the three men and later traced them to northern Mali, where they are believed to have connected with the jihad organization led by Moktar Belmoktar.
Belmoktar, an Algerian, is a senior leader of the Islamic Maghreb. He claimed responsibility for the Algeria gas facility attack.
Another intelligence source told CNN that Belmoktar had received a call in the aftermath of the Benghazi attack from someone in or close to the city.
The person on the other end of the call stated, “Mabruk, Mabruk!” meaning “congratulations” in Arabic, according to the source.
With additional research by Joshua Klein.