The State Department suspects former Guantanamo Bay detainee Abu Sufian bin Qumu was involved in the assault at the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, according to reports released Wednesday.
Now WND has learned that one month before the Sept. 11, 2012, attack, a Library of Congress report that received almost no media attention warned Qumu was setting up shop in Libya and that his activities increasingly embodied al-Qaida’s presence in the country.
The report revealed Qumu had a vendetta against the U.S., claiming he was tortured in the prison.
The document further noted that from June 7 to 8, 2012, there was a gathering of groups supporting Islamic law openly held at Liberation Square in Benghazi.
The event was hosted by Ansar al-Sharia, for which Qumu served as a leader, and reportedly was attended by members of at least 15 militias, including al-Qaida-affiliated organizations.
Despite the growing al-Qaida activity, including Qumu’s noted presence, the U.S. facilities in Benghazi remained poorly protected.
The Martyrs of 17 February Brigade, which was hired by the State Department to protect the U.S. facility in Benghazi, operates under the Ansar-Al-Sharia banner.
The Washington Post reported gunmen under the command of Qumu, participated in the Benghazi attack, according to a U.S. official.
The Post identified Qumu as “leader of Ansar al-Sharia in the Libyan city of Darnah,” while the extensive, 54-page Library of Congress document said Qumu in 2012 was “the leader of Ansar Al-Sharia” in Libya and not just in Darnah.
The Post reported witnesses told American officials that Qumu’s militia arrived in Benghazi before the attack and that the State Department was set to implicate him in the deadly assault.
That information will be used in part to designate Qumu’s branch of Ansar al-Sharia as a terrorist group, along with two other al-Sharia branches, reported the Post.
Qumu, formerly a driver for Osama bin Laden, was released by the U.S. from Guantanamo Bay in 2007 and was transferred to a Libyan prison where he remained until he was freed in a 2010 amnesty deal.
WND has learned that Qumu’s name was mentioned in an August 2012 document prepared by the Federal Research Division of the Library of Congress under an inter-agency agreement with the Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office’s Irregular Warfare Support Program.
The congressional report documented al-Qaida and affiliated organizations were establishing terrorist training camps and pushing Taliban-style Islamic law in Libya while the new, Western-backed Libyan government incorporated jihadists into its militias.
The report said Qumu became “the leader of the al-Qaida-affiliate Ansar Al-Sharia in Libya,” which espoused anti-Western ideology. The document noted Qumu had increasingly embodied al-Qaida’s presence in Libya.
The report warned Qumu’s group was particularly dangerous “as indicated by its active social-media propaganda, extremist discourse, and hatred of the West, especially the United States.”
The document cited an Arabic interview in which Qumu was said to have “discoursed at length about his resentment of the United States, which he accused of torturing him during his Guantanamo detention, an experience that he said will not go away.”
The document warned Qumu’s views were so extreme that “Darnah’s residents have accused [him] of carrying out attacks, especially targeting former Libyan officials but also people who disagree with al-Qaeda.”
The report noted AQSL’s goals remain “restoration of the caliphate, instituting sharia, and ending the Western presence in Muslim lands.”
“Al-Qaeda’s primary goal in Libya is to establish an Islamic emirate as part of its overall objective to reestablish the caliphate,” the report said.
“The al-Qaeda clandestine network in Libya is most likely espousing a Taliban-like religious orientation that calls for strict adherence to the practice and principles of Islam as interpreted by radical clerics.”
From June 7 to 8, 2012, there was a gathering of groups supporting Shariah openly held at Liberation Square in Benghazi. The event was hosted by Ansar al-Sharia and reportedly attended by members of at least 15 militias, including al-Qaida-affiliated organizations.
The report noted the July 2012 elections in Libya “failed to generate a strong and unified national leadership that could address the chronic insecurity posed by the multiplicity of local militias, which al-Qaeda’s clandestine network has probably infiltrated.”
Further, the Western-backed National Transitional Council in Libya “never fully controlled the rebel movement.”
Following the 2012 elections, the Libyan army and police have reconstituted their ranks “by incorporating whole militias regardless of the militants’ background.”
“Al-Qaeda adherents in Libya used the 2011 Revolution to establish well-armed, well-trained, and combat-experienced militias,” stated the report.
With additional research by Joshua Klein.