Almost immediately following the Benghazi attack, the Obama administration possessed information indicating some Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood participation in the assault, yet the Obama administration kept this critical piece of information from the public, reveals a new book, “The Real Benghazi Story,” by New York Times bestselling author Aaron Klein.
The attack took place less than two months before the November 2012 presidential election. Klein notes Obama could have found himself in a political quandary if it were determined the Muslim Brotherhood had been involved in the Benghazi attack in any way.
After the U.S. president called for the resignation of Egypt’s long-time secular leader, Hosni Mubarak, Obama helped to support the election of the Brotherhood’s Mohamed Morsi and then proceeded to open ties to Morsi’s group.
The possible involvement of Egypt could be central to understanding the motivation of some of the attackers. The attack could be linked 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 was a central foreign policy issue for Morsi.
In July 2013, 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, was based on purported confessions of some of the jihadists arrested at the scene.
The report states “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.”
However, the claimed interrogations likely were carried out under duress if they were carried out at all, Klein notes.
Unsubstantiated Arabic-language reports from the Middle East also claimed a passport belonging to the alleged killer of Stevens had been recovered at the home of Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood deputy leader Khairat Al-Shater. Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., reportedly visited al-Shater in prison in August 2013, spending over an hour talking to the Brotherhood leader.[
YouTube videos of the attack show some of the jihadists speaking a distinct Egyptian dialect of Arabic.
One of the videos shows a jihadist advancing on the U.S. special mission 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.
The original Obama administration claim of popular protests outside the U.S. Benghazi mission over an obscure anti-Muhammad film might come back to haunt the White House in more ways than one, writes Klein.
In perpetuating the now discredited talking points about the film, 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 to be acts of defiance against the anti-Muhammad movie. However, the protests were actually 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.
In fact, 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.
An Egyptian group was reportedly behind previous attacks targeting Western diplomats in post-Gadhafi Libya.
The State Department-sanctioned ARB report on Benghazi itself noted a jihadist group seeking the release of the blind sheik and calling itself the Omar Abdul Rahman Brigades was 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 that murdered U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens or another U.S. employee was the target of the June 6 attack.
The SITE monitoring group documented the Rahman Brigades saying 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.
Hillary’s Benghazi investigator confirms Egypt link
In a development largely unreported by news media, the State Department’s lead Benghazi investigator, Thomas Pickering, apparently leaked what was at the time classified information at a House hearing, revealing the government possessed evidence that an Egyptian organization was behind the Benghazi attack.
Pickering was the author of the State Department’s ARB report on Benghazi. His revelation raises the question: Why was the government hiding information that an Egyptian group was involved in the attack?
At a September 2013 House Oversight and Government Reform committee hearing on Benghazi, Rep. Cynthia Lummis, R-Wy., asked Pickering whether Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood may have been behind the attack.
“Is it true that there’s documentation that the Muslim Brotherhood and operatives from Egypt were involved in the attack?” she asked.
Pickering replied: “Our report indicates that one Egyptian organization which is named in the report was possibly involved. And I am not sure, I think that that’s in the unclassified. I hope it is.”
The unclassified ARB report, however, does not name any Egyptian organization as possibly being behind the attack.
The only mention of an Egyptian group in the report is in relation to a May 18, 2012, RPG attack on the Benghazi International Committee of the Red Cross as well as a May 28, 2012, threat issued by the group on social media against the U.S.
The organization named in the ARB report is the “Omar Abduurrahman group,” which, like Morsi, was demanding the release of the so-called “blind sheik.”
The unclassified report names the Egyptian group in a section on previous attacks in Benghazi in the run-up to the Sept. 11, 2012, attack. The unclassified ARB does not name the organization as possibly being behind the Benghazi attack.
However, it would later emerge the group Pickering was most likely referring to was the Muhammad Jamal Network.
In October 2013, the State Department declared the Jamal Network an official terrorist organization. Strangely, the official indictment of the group doesn’t mention anything about Benghazi.
The State Department document only says, “Jamal formed the MJN after his release from Egyptian prison in 2011 and established several terrorist training camps in Egypt and Libya.”
In contrast to the State designation, the Senate’s 88-page report on the Benghazi attack states there is information the Jamal Network participated in the assault.
Klein contends questions need to be immediately asked as to why in its indictment of the Jamal Network, the State Department does not mention the information the group may have participated in the Benghazi attack, an act of war against the U.S.
Even the United Nations fingers Jamal for the Benghazi attack.
A U.N. Security Council resolution from October 2013 added the Jamal Network to its list of sanctioned al-Qaida groups.
Unlike the State Department description, the U.N. resolution details Jamal’s alleged involvement in the attack on the U.S. special mission and nearby CIA annex.
The Daily Beast confirmed an October 2012 Wall Street Journal report that fighters affiliated with Jamal participated in the Benghazi attack.
The Daily Beast’s Eli Lake further quoted Seth Jones, associate director for the international security and defense policy center at the RAND Corporation, about Jamal’s involvement.
“There was at least one member and may have been more members from the Mohammed Jamal network on the compound for the attack on Benghazi along with members of Ansar al-Sharia and members of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb,” Jones stated.
Klein reports it was non other than militants from Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood who sprang Jamal Network leader Muhammad Jamal from Egyptian prison after the downfall of abandoned U.S. ally Mubarak.
Also freed from prison during the Brotherhood-led revolution of 2011 was Mohammed al-Zawahiri, the brother of al-Qaida leader Ayman al-Zawahiri.
Mohammed al-Zawahiri was one of the backers of a protest at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, Egypt, the same day as the Benghazi attack.
Book breaks “REAL” Benghazi story
Besides the Clinton material, the extensively sourced book breaks news on significant issues related to the Benghazi attack.
A sampling of what the publisher says is contained in the book:
- Everything is covered from the secretive activities transpiring inside the doomed facility to shocking new details about the withholding of critical protection at the U.S. special mission.
- Information that raises new questions about what really happened to Ambassador Chris Stevens that night.
- Answered for the first time is why the State Department hired armed members of the al-Qaida-linked February 17 Martyrs Brigade to “protect” the facility.
- New reasons are revealed for not sending air support or Special Forces during the assault, while extensively probing jihadist groups behind the attack.
- How Benghazi has implications that go beyond the Sept. 11, 2012, attack and may have created major national security threats the U.S. now faces, fueling conflicts from Mali to Syria to Gaza and elsewhere.