- A report prepared for the government in August 2012 described a massive military presence of Ansar al-Sharia, the group behind the Benghazi attack
- It warned ‘assassinations’ would follow, and said the first attack on the U.S. diplomatic station quickly followed the two-day June rally in Benghazi
- U.S. State Department intelligence undoubtedly saw the report, yet the agency denied frequent requests for extra security in the city
- The Sept. 11, 2012 attack left U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and three other Americans dead, and razed the facility
PUBLISHED: 15:24 EST, 13 November 2013 | UPDATED: 15:37 EST, 13 November 2013
Al-Qaeda terrorists held a massive military rally just a few miles from the U.S. State Department compound in Benghazi, Libya during the summer of 2012 and called for the murder of U.S. diplomats, it was revealed today.
And the U.S. government knew about it by August, a full month before the attack that left the American ambassador and three others dead, official papers state.
Black al-Qaeda flags were out in full force at the June 7-8 event, a two-day rally including 300 armed men gathered in Benghazi’s Al-Tahrir Square.
Just days later on June 11, bombers targeted the Benghazi U.S. mission, blowing 40-foot hole in the installation’s perimeter wall. The larger attack came three months later.
The U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi erupted in flames during a terror attack by armed militants on September 11, 2012, just months after al-Qaeda-linked groups rallied in the city with dozens of military vehicles
Ansar al-Sharia, the group behind the Benghazi attack, frequently holds rallies in Northern Africa like this one in Tunisia. The U.S. government knew a similar event happened in Benghazi in June 2012, yet did nothing to shore up security
The Library of Congress report, prepared for a Defense Department intelligence subagency, described the June Benghazi rally in detail, saying it involved ‘battalions’ of jihadis from several Libyan cities
The report, delivered to the federal government two months later, predicted al-Qaeda would soon begin employing ‘selective terrorism, threats, intimidation and assassination.’
It described ‘dozens of military vehicles’ on display in June, including heavy automatic machine guns, rocket launchers and truck-mounted anti-aircraft weapons.
‘They had a crapload of stuff,’ a former U.S. security officer told IBD. ‘They were itching to use it.’
Islamists at the event, organized by the al-Qaeda-linked group Ansar al-Sharia, made credible threats that terrorists were prepared to assassinate U.S. personnel in the city.
‘It was like a team pep rally before the game, only for jihad,” a U.S. intelligence analyst told the newspaper.
‘Organized and deadly. You saw what followed. People died.’
The U.S. military has long known that al-Qaeda’s model moves quickly from the establishment of clandestine terror cells to open attacks on Westerners in urban areas
Military hardware is everywhere in Benghazi: A truck-mounted heavy machine gun belonging to Katiba al-A’hrar Libya — ‘Libya shield’ — a group the State Department trusted to help secure the Benghazi compound. They fled when the fighting erupted, and some reports say they joined in the attack
Katiba al-A’hrar Libya posted a photo of this self-propelled antiaircraft gun on Facebook, showing the kind of military muscle jihadi groups in Benghazi had at their disposal
Ansar al-Sharia was later named as the group most likely behind the September 11 attack, which left the U.S. diplomatic station and a nearby CIA annex in ruins.
According to the August 2012 report, American intelligence analysts documented a ‘military show of force’ consisting of ‘a parade in which some 30 battalions from Benghazi, Darnah, Misrata, Al-Nufilyah, Ajdabiyah, and other Libyan towns took part in the first meeting in support of sharia in Benghazi.’
‘Islamist leaders pointed out that the aim of the military parade was to “terrorize” those who do not want to be judged by God’s law.’
The unclassified August report, issued under an agreement with the Defense Department’s Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office, coincided with a State Department warning, telling U.S. citizens to avoid traveling in Libya.
But during the same time the agency refused to provide Ambassador Chris Stevens and his team with long-requested additional security.
Flags like this al-Qaeda banner flew above Benghazi in June 2012 during a rally designed to terrify westerners and anyone else who refused to accept shariah law
Ansar al-Sharia, an al Qaeda-affiliated group, has tanks, rocket launchers, and other heavy weapons at their disposal throughout the Arab world. This image was captured in southern Yemen on April 28, 2012
Ansar al-Sharia openly holds rallies, marches and news conferences in the Middle East, often boasting that they hold power in cities where police presences are nonexistent and government control is weak
The analyst quoted in the IBD story said that the U.S. intelligence community was well aware of the threats documented in the August report.
‘We all read the same stuff,’ the analyst said. ‘It gets circular, going through all the relevant government agencies. That report for the Irregular Warfare office got passed around a lot.’
The report also warned that al-Qaeda’s senior leadership had issued ‘strategic guidance’ to followers in Libya, telling them to ‘gather weapons, establish training camps, build a network in secret, establish an Islamic state, and institute sharia.’
The State Department did not return a phone call seeking comment.
U.S. ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens was viciously killed during the September 11, 2012 Benghazi attack, and security analysts now believe his death was preventable given available intelligence from the region
The attack was led by Ansar al-Sharia militants, the same group that paraded its military might and made threats of assassinations in Benghazi three months earlier
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