News / Middle East

New York Times: No Al-Qaida Role in 2012 Benghazi Killings

Burnt house, car inside U.S. embassy compound following overnight attack, Benghazi, Sept. 12, 2012.
Burnt house, car inside U.S. embassy compound following overnight attack, Benghazi, Sept. 12, 2012.
Kent Klein
An investigation by The New York Times newspaper has raised new questions about the killing of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans on September 11, 2012.
 
The Times says it spent months talking to Libyans in Benghazi who had direct knowledge of the assault on the U.S. consulate there and the circumstances surrounding it. None of the sources produced any evidence that al-Qaida was behind the rampage in which the angry mob killed the four Americans — including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
 
In the immediate aftermath, the Obama administration said the deaths were the result of an anti-West demonstration that got out of control.
 
At the time, Muslims around the world were angered by a crude video made in the United States that ridiculed the Prophet Muhammad, and some news media reports said that the attack was organized by an al-Qaida-linked terrorist group.

The Obama administration came under harsh criticism from Republicans in Congress for the alleged failure to detect and prevent the attack, with many placing blame directly on then-secretary of state Hillary Clinton.
 
The paper's new investigation adds fuel to the largely partisan debate in Washington about the Obama administration's response to the killings, saying the attack was led by local fighters who had benefited from NATO support during the uprising against Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.
 
According to the paper, the assault was intensified in part by anger over the amateur video that was seen as insulting Islam. That finding appears to partially support a statement by then-U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, on a television talk show five days after the incident.
 
"We believe that folks in Benghazi, a small number of people, came to the embassy ... to replicate the sort of challenge that was posed in Cairo," she said in the 2012 television appearance. "And then as that unfolded, it seems to have been hijacked, let us say, by some individual clusters of extremists."
 
Some members of Congress, mostly opposition Republicans, charged that the assault was not a spontaneous reaction to the video, but a planned attack by terrorist groups, which was covered up by the White House.
 
Republican Senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain questioned Susan Rice about the incident in the days that followed, and said they were not satisfied with her answers.
 
The debate intensified in the weeks before the November 2012 presidential election. President Barack Obama was said to have been considering appointing Rice to replace Hillary Clinton as secretary of state in his second term, but as criticism mounted, Rice withdrew her name from consideration.
 
Meanwhile, Clinton responded angrily to tough questioning from senators about what happened in Benghazi.

Clinton: Benghazi Attack Part of Broader Terrorist Challenge in Africai
X
January 23, 2013 8:35 PM
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says last September's attack on the U.S. consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi was part of wider terrorist insecurity across North Africa. As VOA State Department correspondent Scott Stearns reports, Clinton testified before Congress Wednesday about what she is doing to prevent such an attack in the future.
CLICK TO EXPAND VIDEO - Clinton's Benghazi Testimony
"With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans," she told legislators. "Was it because of a protest, or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they'd go kill some Americans? What difference, at this point, does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again"
 
According to The Times investigation, threats from local militants have multiplied throughout the Middle East, and the focus on battling al-Qaida may be distracting the United States from protecting its interests.
 
The report was released hours after the State Department said the Libyan government released four U.S. military personnel it had briefly detained.
 
A State Department spokeswoman said the four had been taken into custody near Sabratha, where they were participating in "security preparedness efforts."
 
David Kirkpatrick's report says the central figure in the September 11 attack in Benghazi was anti-Gadhafi militia leader Ahmed Abu Khattala.

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by: George from: Boston
December 28, 2013 10:01 PM
This is laughable journalism. Can one of these reporters explain how reports by on the ground foreigner intelligence agencies, Arab, Spanish, Russian and Israeli got it all wrong and the New York Times has it right?
How could you print such rubbish???

by: B. Montgomery from: USA
December 28, 2013 10:00 PM
Well, say what you want - "president" Hussein is definitely not a Christian... there are doubts about whether he is even an American... and reading the angry responses here - this country is definitely disintegrating... "yes we can..." - idiots
our economy is in the toilet, we betrayed all our allies and friends... there are more intrusive surveillance on our citizens... Iran is mocking us... "yes we can..." LOL
In Response

by: jay from: whatever
December 28, 2013 10:54 PM
yes we can... LOL... good one!!!

by: cybersense from: maryland
December 28, 2013 9:48 PM
Your article if full of crap, and don't think because you printed this article it is what everyone will believe. Your paper is pathetic.

by: Anon from: Washington
December 28, 2013 9:48 PM
How comical to read the comments to this article - talk about humor! Most comments represent right wing wackos who think the Times is potitical propaganda machine, the president is a Kenyan - or that he wants Americans to die. Seriously? You only show how dumb you are by these hilarious statements. I guess Fox News is more legit, huh?
In Response

by: B 17 from: usa
December 28, 2013 10:19 PM
you really think this is some sort of humor..?? i really doubt that it is... solyndra, Obamacare, Benghazy, Muslim Brotherhood, Iran... the list is too long... "ah ah ah ah let me be clear..." idiot!!!
In Response

by: TDonovan from: NY
December 28, 2013 9:55 PM
Please respond with thought and care.

Al Queda was NEVER considered the issue in Benghazi...this is a 3-card monty article to get the reader's attention....the purpose of this was to whitewash for Hillary.

The Times re-submitted the complete nonsense (the Lybian leader at the time said this to anyone who would listen) that there was NO MOVIE INFLUENCE....and he was being paid by the U.S. Please this is about telling the truth....so pay attention to the 3-card monty dealer at the NYTimes...

by: TDonovan from: NY
December 28, 2013 9:42 PM
The interest in whitewashing Hillary out of responsibility for what occured in Benghazi is nearly criminal, but run-of- the-mill for the Ivy League post-America crowd. Obama will need her in power to give him the pardon he's likely to need.

Sure......it was a "movie" that hardly anyone in the world saw until the administration talked about it.....psst...wanna buy a bridge?

The NY Times has long since ceased being reputable when dealing with Obama's international policy, just look at the situation in Egypt that Hillary supported and Obama created. One of the world's great and courageous society's thrown under the Muslim Brotherhood Bus.....and the US cut and ran.....this is disgusting if not dangerous to America and our children .

Cover the dismissals of military leaders during this administration if you want credibility, until then please just publish the complete articles and advertising and leave your spin out.

by: gunner from: boston
December 28, 2013 9:24 PM
It is the cover up and the inaction. We had eyes in the sky and could see this real time. This could have been stopped in a few ways. Instead Obama decided to let Americans die. He said he gave the go ahead on the kill shot in other events like he was the calling all the shots. Now he doesn't know where he was or what he was doing. The is so much BS I can't deal with it anymore or the NYT. God Bless America and God Damn the American Media. Right, Left or on the fence vote them out!!!
In Response

by: wonderYrednow from: Venice
December 28, 2013 9:33 PM
More lies from your Tee Vee, Fair and Imbalanced as usual.

by: Jas
December 28, 2013 9:21 PM
Good on the NYT to investigate and report. I hardly think they'd risk their reputation by fabricating their findings. Less partisanship and more working together as Americans to get to the bottom of this.
In Response

by: Bruce Evans
December 28, 2013 10:29 PM
What reputation? Oh you mean the one where they are the lap dogs for the Obama and Clinton cabal. There is very little honesty coming out of the New York-Clinton Times.

by: Errol Davidson from: California
December 28, 2013 9:20 PM
How can you believe anything written by the New York "CRAP" Times
In Response

by: Bruce Evans
December 28, 2013 10:35 PM
I find it hard to believe the NYT would cover for Hillary, after all this is a woman who even her husband did not respect. Since I am sure he knew her better than anyone in the world there must be reasons for not respecting her. I know I see them everyday. Barabra Walters thinks she is the most fascinating person in 2013? My God, someone has completely sold out or has gone senile.

by: charliedog2 from: Oregon USA
December 28, 2013 9:04 PM
It's time for the NY Times to shut down. I can't believe they are printing propaganda that we have already heard from Susan Rice who we remember is part of the Obama administration. Democrats and Republicans will not forget the Hilary comment, " What difference, at this point, does it make? I will not forget hearing the mother asking about the bloody prints on the wall. We cannot put Benghazi behind us....not yet.

by: Chris Thomas from: Philadelphia
December 28, 2013 8:21 PM
Propaganda at its finest. It's not obvious. It presents what could be considered believable. It doesn't sound partisan, but it is.
In Response

by: Chris Thomas from: Philadelphia
December 29, 2013 7:19 PM
JR, I find people such as yourself who live in San Francisco to be particularly tiresome. Anything that threatens your precious president is a witch hunt and a fantasy. This NYT “report” offers no way to verify its claims, which sound a lot more like the president and administration’s line of bull the first month than anything he or others have said afterward. Was he lying at first? Or later? He’s taken both positions, so this article actually confirms he is a liar.
In Response

by: JR from: S.F,
December 28, 2013 9:09 PM
Over $50 million spent on a witch hunt, every report to Congress, and they find it was a local gang that did this and all the evidence is ignored and called propaganda. Denial at it's most obvious.
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