As previously reported, Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri had called for Americans to be targeted in Libya the day before the mission was attacked. He praised the attackers on October 12th.
Some analysts believe al-Zawahiri might have been given advance notice of the attack by an affiliate and his speech on the 10th was the go-ahead.
In an audio tape posted on jihadist websites last week, al-Zawahiri took credit for violent protests outside US embassies in Egypt and Yemen and referenced Libya but did not take responsibility.
“They were defeated in Iraq and they are withdrawing from Afghanistan, and their ambassador in Benghazi was killed and the flags of their embassies were lowered in Cairo and Sanaa (Yemen), and in their places were raised the flags of tawhid (monotheism) and jihad,” al-Zawahiri stated, according to a translation by the SITE Intelligence Group.
It is interesting that he made no mention of the video trailer being the cause of the riots outside the embassies in Egypt and Yemen.
U.S. and Libyan officials believe the attack in Benghazi was carried out by pro al-Qaeda jihadists, and are investigating the possible involvement of members of a local constellation of Islamist militants known as Ansar al Sharia, as well as regional extremist networks, including al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI).
US officials now agree the attacks were not “spontaneous” but are still claiming they were quickly put together. The fact that al-Zawahiri did not take responsibility for Benghazi might mean the core of al-Qaida was not behind the attack (they just called for it).
In any case, it sometimes takes al-Zawahiri a long time to take credit for his planned attacks. He would not want to suffer any backlash in the region from those who were opposed to the attack.
In 2011, al-Zawahiri told his followers to prepare to attack Western interests. It was his intent at that time to create an al-Qaida safe haven in Libya.
Read more at CNN
All this information should not be news to the administration.
Director Petraeus will voluntarily testify before Congress this Friday. Some of the hearing will be held in public. Hopefully, we will get truthful answers about Benghazi and we will also find out if al-Qaida is growing throughout the region.
Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri is also calling on Muslims to kidnap Westerners to exchange for imprisoned jihadists.