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Archive for January 20th, 2014|Daily archive page

U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee Report on 9/11/12 Benghazi Embassy Attack

In Al-Qaeda, Archive, Libya on January 20, 2014 at 11:16 AM


The Senate Intelligence Committee has issued a declassified report on the September 11-12, 2012, terrorist attacks against U.S. personnel at the Temporary Mission Facility and CIA Annex in Benghazi, Libya. The committee found the attacks were preventable, based on extensive intelligence reporting on the terrorist activity in Libya—to include prior threats and attacks against Western targets—and given the known security shortfalls at the U.S. Mission.

Key Findings of the Report:

  • Significant Strategic Warning Provided by the Intelligence Community—In the months before the attacks on September 11, 2012, the IC provided strategic warning through numerous intelligence reports that the security situation in eastern Libya was deteriorating and that U.S. facilities and personnel were at risk in Benghazi.
  • State Department Failed to Increase Security Enough to Address the Threat—The State Department should have increased its security posture more significantly in Benghazi based on the deteriorating security situation on the ground and IC threat reporting on the prior attacks against Westerners in Benghazi—including two previous incidents at the Temporary Mission Facility on April 6, and June 6, 2012.
  • “Tripwires” Were Crossed, But Other Nations Kept Their Facilities Open Along with the U.S.—There were “tripwires” designed to prompt a reduction in personnel or a suspension of operations at the Mission facility in Benghazi and although there is evidence that some of them had been crossed, operations continued with minimal change. Some nations closed their diplomatic facilities in Benghazi as the security conditions deteriorated during the summer of 2012, but other nations stayed along with the United States, contrary to some public reports and statements that the U.S. was the last country represented in Benghazi.
  • U.S. Military Assets Were Not Positioned to Respond in Time to Save the Four Americans Killed—There were no U.S. military resources in position to intervene in short order in Benghazi to help defend the Temporary Mission Facility and its Annex. Unarmed U.S. military surveillance assets were not delayed when responding to the attack, and they provided important situational awareness for those under siege during the attacks.
  • The Intelligence Picture After the Attacks Contributed to the Controversial CIA Talking Points—In intelligence reports after September 11, 2012, intelligence analysts inaccurately referred to the presence of a protest at the U.S. mission facility before the attack based on open source information and limited intelligence, but without sufficient intelligence or eyewitness statements to corroborate that assertion. The IC took too long to correct these erroneous reports, which caused confusion and influenced the public statements of policymakers.
  • Failure to Bring the Attackers to Justice—More than a year after the Benghazi attacks, the terrorists who perpetrated the attack have still not been brought to justice. The IC has identified several individuals responsible for the attacks. Some of the individuals have been identified with a strong level of confidence. However, insight into the current whereabouts and links between these individuals in some cases is limited due in part to the nascent intelligence capabilities in the region.

Key Recommendations in the Report:

  • The State Department must ensure that security threats are quickly assessed and security upgrades are put into place with minimal bureaucratic delay.
  • Only in rare instances—and only after a formal risk management plan has been put into place—should State Department facilities that fall short of current security standards be allowed to operate, and facilities that do not meet these standards should be prioritized for additional security measures.
  • The IC should expand its capabilities to conduct analysis of open source information including extremist-affiliated social media, particularly in areas where it is hard to develop human intelligence or there has been recent political upheaval. Analysis of extremist-affiliated social media should be more clearly integrated into analytical products, when appropriate.
  • It is imperative that the State Department, Department of Defense and the IC work together to identify and prioritize the largest gaps in coverage for the protection of U.S. diplomatic, military and intelligence personnel in the North Africa region and other high-threat posts around the world.
  • Intelligence analysts should more aggressively request and integrate eyewitness reporting—especially from U.S. government personnel—in the aftermath of a crisis.
  • In responding to future requests for unclassified talking points from Congress, the Intelligence Community should simply tell Congress which facts are unclassified and let Members of Congress provide additional context for the public.
  • The U.S. government cannot rely on local security in areas where the United States has facilities under high threat or where the host nation is not capable of providing adequate security.
  • The U.S. government must swiftly bring the attackers to justice, in spite of the unwillingness or lack of capacity of the Libyan government to assist in this effort.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed Manifesto: Statement to the Crusaders of the Military Commissions in Guantanamo

In Al-Qaeda, Archive on January 20, 2014 at 9:58 AM

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed

36-page document written by alleged al-Qaeda kingpin Khalid Sheikh Mohammed from behind the barbed wire in Guantanamo Bay. Mohammed, who has been imprisoned in the US military-run camp in Cuba for more than seven years, is thought to have typed the first of a planned 3-part manifesto titled “Statement to the Crusaders of the Military Commissions in Guantanamo” on a laptop computer and signed it off on 31 October last year. Part 1 of the document called “Invitation to Happiness” is being revealed for the first time by Huffington Post in conjunction with Channel4 News. It is the first time the terror detainee has been allowed to communicate his thoughts to the outside world since his capture.



In a departure from his previous stance, which led the Guantanamo Bay prisoner to tell a military commission, “it would have been the greatest religious duty to fight you over your infidelity,” KSM, as he’s known in intelligence circles, instead seeks to convert the court to Islam through persuasion and theological reflection, going so far as to argue that “The Holy Quran forbids us to use force as a means of converting” and that reaching “truth and reality never comes by muscles and force but by using the mind and wisdom.”

“Don’t believe the media that the Mujahedeen believe that Islam spread in the past and will prevail in the future with the sword,” writes KSM, who has previously admitted to his role in the 9/11 attacks that killed thousands of Americans. He uses the bulk of the manifesto to put his newfound principle into practice, attempting to persuade his captors, prosecutors and lawyers that the path to true happiness lies in Islam.

KSM, who grew up in Kuwait and attended college in North Carolina, turns 50 this year. He has been held at the Guantanamo prison camp since 2006, after several years of being tortured by the CIA at “black sites” in undisclosed locations, and faces the death penalty for his 9/11 crimes.

In his new writing, while contending that he does not believe Islam should be instituted by force, KSM justifies the terrorist attacks for which he claims credit as acts of “self defense sanctioned by every constitution and international laws as the right of everyone whose land is occupied and whose people are attacked.”

KSM seeks to clarify one particular critique of al-Qaeda: He and the organization do not hate American freedoms.

“Do not believe those who claim that the Mujahedeen fight infidels to turn them to Islam or that we are fighting you because you practice democracy, freedom or claim that you uphold human rights,” he says, instead repeating the al-Qaeda narrative of a “jihad” or cosmic war against America in retaliation for attacking and oppressing Muslims and supporting Israel. He singles out the media and the intelligence services as responsible for misleading the public, claiming that “They hide from them why the Mujahedeen carried out 9/11 and what the truth is about the War on Terror.”

In the manifesto, KSM touches on a wide array of other issues, from video game consoles to marriage equality, military suicides, U.S. prison overcrowding, AIDS, the military-industrial complex, scientific evidence of evolution, the Catholic Church’s sex scandal, former President Richard Nixon.

Mohammed, the highest-value al-Qaeda operative in U.S. custody, wrote his “Statement to the Crusaders of the Military Commissions in Guantanamo” in October, addressing a copy to each member of the military court. The military judge overseeing the commissions process ruled last month that the experiences of “high-value detainees” being held in military custody at Guantanamo are no longer presumed to be classified — a decision that enabled HuffPost to obtain a copy of KSM’s manifesto, which is being published in collaboration with Great Britain’s Channel 4 News.

The October document, KSM’s first significant communication with the outside world since 2009, is presented as the first of three chapters. His next section, yet to be completed, will lay out “why the Mujahedeen carried out 9/11 and whether it was a terrorist operation or an act of self-defense,” and a final chapter will delve into “the truth about the so-called ‘War on Terror’.”

“For whose benefits or interests were these wars fought?” KSM writes in previewing that final chapter. “Did these wars take place to defend the American people and their interests? Were they fought to defend freedom and human rights? Women’s rights? Or were they fought for the benefits and interests of individuals and corporations? Who are those individuals and corporations? What are their interests and benefits? Isn’t it true that they work for the weapons industry lobbies, security contractors or Halliburton sister companies etc.?”

Q&A: Khalid Sheikh Mohammed’s Lawyer

Related Link: LEAKED: Secret Diary of Guantanamo Prisoner Abu Zubaydah

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