Jihadists Posted Threats on Facebook Before Libya Attack
Jihadists twice set off explosives at the consulate prior to the incident that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens, and announced threats on Facebook about escalating attacks on Western targets in the run-up to the 9/11 anniversary, according to whistleblowers reaching out to House Republicans.
In the five months leading up to this year’s 9/11 anniversary, there were two bombings on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and increasing threats to and attacks on the Libyan nationals hired to provide security at the U.S. missions in Tripoli and Benghazi.
Details on these alleged incidents stem in part from the testimony of a handful of whistleblowers who approached the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in the days and weeks following the attack on the Benghazi consulate. The incidents are disclosed in a letter to be sent Tuesday to Hillary Clinton from Rep. Darrell Issa, the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, and Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the chairman of the oversight committee’s subcommittee that deals with national security.
The State Department did not offer comment on the record last night.
The new information disclosed in the letter obtained by The Daily Beast strongly suggests the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and the late Ambassador Chris Stevens were known by U.S. security personnel to be targets for terrorists. Indeed, the terrorists made their threats openly on Facebook.
For example, following a May 22 early-morning attack on a facility that housed the International Committee on the Red Cross, a Facebook page claimed responsibility, and said the attack was a warning and a “message for the Americans disturbing the skies over Derna.” That reference was likely to American surveillance drones over a city that provided fighters to al Qaeda in Iraq in the last decade.
In June a Facebook page associated with militants linked to the late Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi posted a threat to Stevens based on the route he took for his morning jog. The Facebook page also posted a picture of Stevens. The letter to Clinton notes that “after stopping these morning runs for about a week, the Ambassador resumed them.”
A senior State Department official contacted for this story said the ambassador was “not reckless” with his own security or that of his staff. But this official also acknowledged that the ambassador was “an old-school diplomat” and strongly desired to have as few barriers between himself and the Libyan people.