U.S. government knew about al-Qaeda ‘pep rally for jihad’ in Benghazi that included calls for the murder of American diplomats – just months before terror attack

By  David Martosko, U.s. Political Editor

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


On Wednesday Investors Business Daily drew on research by the nonprofit American Media Institute  to detail parts of a damning August 2012 report by the Library of  Congress’s federal research arm.

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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