Dee Finney's blog

start date July 20,2011

today's date September 12, 2012

page 297




The US ambassador to Libya and three other American staffers died on Tuesday night in an attack on the US consulate in the eastern city of Benghazi, US officials have said.

An armed mob attacked and set fire to the consulate building during a protest against an amateur film deemed offensive to Islam's prophet, Muhammad, after similar protests in Egypt's capital.

The two incidents came on the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 al-Qaeda attacks in the US.

The US government confirmed that Ambassador Chris Stevens and information technology officer Sean Smith, in addition to two unnamed personnel, died in the attack. Libyan security source told Al Jazeera that Stevens died from smoke inhalation.

US President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pledged to bring the attackers to justice in public remarks on Wednesday morning and said the attack would not break the bonds between the United States and Libya.

In a press conference, Libyan Prime Minister Abdurrahim al-Keib said the government "will do all in our power to respond to this incident in order for all the perpetrators to be arrested and penalised."

Mustafa Abushagour, the deputy prime minister, called the killings "an attack on America, Libya and the free world".

US officials said a team of roughly 50 specialised rapid response Marines trained in protecting government personnel abroad had been dispatched to reinforce security in Libya.

Stevens was paying a short visit to the city when the consulate came under attack, Al Jazeera's Suleiman El-Dressi reported from Benghazi.

Two staff members were injured, El-Dressi reported. Up to 10 Libyan security guards who battled the attackers also died, said Ibrahim Dabbashi, Libya's envoy to the United Nations.

Clinton and Obama praised the Libyans who attempted to defend the consulate and brought Stevens's body to a hospital, where a doctor reportedly tried to revive him for 90 minutes.

Attack appeared 'planned'

Libyan Deputy Interior Minister Wanis al-Sharif blamed loyalists of former Libyan ruler Muammar Gaddafi for the attack, while stressing that the United States should have removed its personnel from the country when news of the film's release broke.

"It was necessary that they take precautions. It was their fault that they did not take the necessary precautions," he said.

Sharif cited protests that broke out earlier this summer when al-Qaeda second-in-command and Libyan citizen Abu Yahya al-Libi was killed in a US drone strike in Pakistan. On Tuesday, in a little-noticed development, al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri publicly confirmed Libi's death.

Quilliam, an British think tank that aims to oppose Muslim extremism, asserted on Wednesday that the attack on the consulate was not part of a protest but a "planned terrorist assault" to avenge Libi's death.

Quilliam said that the evidence pointing to such a conclusion came from witness statements that those outside the consulate were carrying RPGs and that the assault came in two apparently calculated waves, the second of which targeted the Americans after they had fled the consulate for a safe house.

Sharif said that those who attacked the consulate were more heavily armed that the Libyan security services tasked with protecting the embassy. The group Ansar al-Sharia, or Supporters of Islamic Law, had initially been blamed for the attack but claimed in a press conference on Wednesday morning that it did not take partm, thought it did support the action.

The bodies of the dead were transported to the Benghazi airport, to be flown to Tripoli and then onwards to a major US airbase in Germany.

On Wednesday morning, the compound stood empty, with passersby freely walking in to take a look at the damage. Walls were charred and a small fire burned inside one of the buildings. A small group of men was trying to extinguish the
flames and three security men briefly surveyed the scene.

Some blood stains could also be seen in front of one of the buildings. Three cars were torched.

Stevens, a career member of the US foreign service, arrived in Tripoli to take up the post of ambassador in May 2012, having served for years in Libya.

He was the US government's representative to the opposition National Transitional Council during the 2011 uprising against the government of Muammar Gaddafi and had previously been the second-ranking US diplomat in Libya.

Mystery film

The origins of the film, supposedly called "Innocence of Muslims," remained shrouded in uncertainty on Wednesday. At least two news organisations quoted a man calling himself Sam Bacile, who said he was a 52-year-old Israeli-American from California who had written, produced and directed the film with $5 million in donations from "100 Jews".

Bacile said he was a real estate developer, but no online trace of Bacile or his occupation could be found. Steve Klein, a right-wing Christian activists in California who has been described as a consultant to the film, told the Atlantic magazine that he had met Bacile, and that the man was not Israeli, probably not Jewish and likely using a pseudonym.

The film was promoted by Morris Sadek, an extreme anti-Muslim Egyptian Christian who lives in California.

Speaking by phone to the Associated Press from an undisclosed location, the man calling himself Bacile remained defiant, maintaining that he intended his film to be a provocative political statement.

Bacile admitted he had not anticipated such a furious reaction to his film and said: "I feel sorry for the embassy. I am mad".

He also said the film was produced in English and that he did not know who had dubbed it in Arabic. The full film has not been shown yet, he said, and he said he had declined distribution offers for now.

Lukewarm reaction in Cairo

Just hours earlier on Tuesday, thousands of Egyptian demonstrators apparently angry over the same film - a video produced by expatriate members of Egypt's Coptic community resident in the US - tore down the US flag at the embassy in Cairo and replaced it with a black Islamic flag.

While Tunisian President Moncef Marzouki was quoted as describing the Benghazi attack as a "terrorist act," the recently elected government of Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi offered a lukewarm response.

In a statement, Morsi condemned the film's portrayal of Muhammed while stressing that the Egyptian government had a responsibility to guard diplomatic premises.

Nearly 3,000 demonstrators, many of them supporters of the ultraconservative Salafist movement, gathered at the US embassy in Cairo in protest against the amateur film.

A dozen men scaled the embassy walls and one of them tore down the US flag, replacing it with a black one inscribed with the Muslim profession of faith: "There is no God but God and Muhammad is the messenger of God."

Demonstrators also scrawled the first part of the statement "There is no God but God" on the walls of the embassy compound.

Al Jazeera's Sherine Tadros, reporting from outside the US embassy in Cairo, said that the protesters want the film - portions of which can be found online - "out of circulation".

"Most of the people I've spoken to here ... say that they've seen the trailer to this film and that they're here outside the American embassy to stay until the film is pulled," she said.

Egyptian police intervened without resorting to force and persuaded the trespassers to come down.

The crowd then largely dispersed, leaving just a few hundred protesters outside the US mission.


Al Jazeera and agencies



After attacks in Egypt and Libya, USA asks: Why?

by Sarah Lynch, Oren Dorell and David Jackson, USA TODAY

CAIRO -- Emad El-Tohamy was lifted onto the shoulders of other Egyptian protesters Wednesday outside the U.S. Embassy here and denounced America for allowing a film that depicts the Islam prophet Mohammed in a vulgar, insulting manner.

"I see the U.S. government allowed the Web to spread this link all over the world without limiting freedom, without banning it," said Mohammad Umma, who like many in the crowd believes that because America is a democratic nation it should censor media that insult any religion.

"America tells us they are the country of freedom, democracy and tolerance," Umma said. "We considered America democratic, but now with what happened, we hate America."

Attacks in Libya that left four U.S. diplomats dead -- including Ambassador Christopher Stevens -- and a mob invasion of the U.S. Embassy in Cairo in which the U.S. flag was torn to shreds have left many to wonder: How can people the USA helped free from murderous dictators treat it in such a way?

"Many Americans are asking -- indeed, I asked myself -- how could this happen?" Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said. "How could this happen in a country we helped liberate, in a city we helped save from destruction? "

The Arab Spring was lauded in the West for bringing in rapid succession the ouster of dictators like Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali in Tunisia, Hosni Mubarak in Egypt, Moammar Gadhafi in Libya and Ali Abdullah Saleh in Yemen.

But while the revolutions brought democracy, they have also empowered leaders of a stringent brand of political Islam to push for changes not always in line with Western values such as freedom of expression.

And they are using anti-Islamic material from the West to stir up opposition to the West. The latest example is the use of a previously unnoticed film produced in California that depicted Mohammed as a child molester and murderer.

"The growth of democracy in the Middle East is going to bring forward a lot of anti-American sentiment that has been suppressed for a long time by dictators who were seeking friendly relations with America," said Joshua Landis, head of Middle Eastern studies at the University of Oklahoma.

"There are a lot of people who are very resentful towards the West and believe that the West is anti-Islamic so forth," he said. "I think we are going to see a lot more of this. They are remaking their identities, and America, the West and Islam are at the very center of how different factions are going to position themselves."

â??A deliberate attack'

It remains unclear who was behind the attack on the consulate in Benghazi, which came on the 11th anniversary of 9/11. In 2001, members of the Islamist terror group al-Qaeda hijacked four planes and killed nearly 3,000 people.

U.S. officials investigating the Benghazi killings believe it was a deliberate attack and not the result of a spontaneous riot.

Two senior administrations officials who spoke to reporters on the condition of anonymity because they were unauthorized to discuss details of the incident, described a harrowing, hours-long firefight between heavily armed gunmen and U.S. and Libyan security personnel attempting to defend the diplomatic mission.

Stevens, 52, a career diplomat who Clinton said fell in love with the Middle East as a young man when he traveled to Morocco as a Peace Corps volunteer, was on a routine visit to the consulate in Benghazi when the compound came under fire.

Within 15 minutes the gunmen were in the compound. Stevens was in the building with Sean Smith, a foreign service officer and Air Force veteran who was on assignment in Benghazi. Smith also was killed.

Stevens was taken later to a Benghazi hospital. It is not clear whether he was dead at the time.

On Wednesday, the Pentagon dispatched a team of Marines to secure the embassy in the Libyan capital of Tripoli. Two warships were sent to the region.

"This wasn't a riot. It was a deliberate attack," said a Defense Department official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the record.

The protest in Egypt was a riot, planned by extremist Egyptians known as Salafists, anti-Western clerics and political representatives who used the video ridiculing Mohammed to gain supporters, said Eric Trager, an analyst at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

He said the protest outside the U.S. Embassy in Cairo was announced Aug. 30 by Jamaa Islamiya, a group the State Department has designated as a terrorist organization. The demonstration was to protest the ongoing imprisonment of its spiritual leader, Sheikh Omar abdel Rahman, who is serving a life sentence in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center.

When a movie trailer for Innocence of Muslims, a film made by an unknown producer identified as Sam Bacile, started circulating on YouTube, Nader Bakkar of the Egyptian Salafist Noor Party, a hardline Islamist group that holds about 25% of the parliament seats, called on people to protest.

On Monday, the brother of al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahri, Mohamed, posted a message on Twitter urging people to go to the Cairo embassy and "defend the prophet," Trager said.

Bakkar condemned the killings of the U.S. diplomats on Wednesday.

"This bloody attack is very strange," Bakkar said. "We will never agree to what happened in Libya, and we will never call for any violence against embassies or consulates. "

The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, whose political arm holds 47% of parliament seats and is led by Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, announced protests for Friday at Tahrir Square. Morsi has said nothing of the incident.

The attack raises the question: Can the U.S., or for that matter the leaders of fledgling governments in Muslim states, do anything to tamp down the vitriol that ignites such incidents?

"Violence in the country is taking on a more ideological bent as radical Islamist groups suppressed under the old regime begin to reassert themselves," said Richard Cochrane, who specializes on the Arab World at IHS analysts in London.

The recent protests are not the first violent response to Western pop culture that has been deemed by some as anti-Islamic.

Dutch filmmaker and writer Theo Van Gogh was killed in 2004 in response to his works that were critical of Islam. After a Danish newspaper published a series of cartoons caricaturing Mohammad in 2005 and early 2006, violent protests erupted around the world--leaving some 200 dead in the Middle East and Africa.

Some Muslims believe that any depiction of Mohammed, positive or negative, is not allowed.

"Depicting the prophet Mohammed isn't forbidden, but it is discouraged because deifying a human being can distract the faithful from worshiping God," says M. Zuhdi Jasser, Muslim author of the book A Battle for the Soul of Islam: An American Muslim Patriot's Fight to Save His Faith.

"These crowds are using the movie as an excuse to wreak violence on Americans in Libya and Egypt," Jasser says. "Uneducated populations will viscerally react. There is no quicker way to get a mob enraged than by using religious intonations."

??I'm not politically correct'

Bacile said that his movie -- which claims that the Mohammed is a fraud who approved of child abuse -- was financed with the help of more than 100 Jewish donors. .

Steve Klein, who said he was a consultant to the film, said Bacile is using a pseudonym to protect his life and is proud of his film but frightened for his safety. "I don't care if people call me names," Klein said. "I'm not politically correct. I tell the truth. If they don't like it, I don't care. If they want to kill me, I don't care."

Florida pastor Terry Jones, the Gainesville-area pastor known for his virulent opposition to Islam, issued a statement on his website defending the film. Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called Jones on Wednesday and asked him to withdraw support for the video.

Two years ago, then-Defense secretary Robert Gates asked Jones not to go through with a public burning of the Quran, the threat of which had triggered violence in Afghanistan; the public burning did not take place.

Stephen Prothero, a religion professor at Boston University, says extremists in the West and the Muslim world deserve blame. "You have people essentially shouting â??Fire!' in a crowded theater. They know what's going to happen," he said.

Some in Egypt blame their own. "The movie is ridiculous; it's an insult to one of the world's major religions," said Belal Farouk, 28, a poet in Cairo. "But I blame the violent reaction too. The film doesn't represent the views of the American people either, just a few fanatics."

Many believe that the extremists are drowning out the voices of the majority in the region, most of whom are moderate.

"It's extremists on both sides playing with each other," Said Sadek, a professor at the American University in Cairo, said, referring to those who made the film and the hardliners who protested. "And the victims are usually the moderates and the majority of people."

Contributing: Jim Michaels, Aamer Madhani in Washington, D.C.; Jabeen Bhatti and Louise Osborne in Berlin; Natalie DiBlasio in McLean, Va.; and Bryan Alexander in Los Angeles.


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09/12/2012 07:47 PM CDT

Official Details Benghazi Attack, Vows to Support Libya

By Cheryl Pellerin
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 12, 2012 - A senior government official today revealed details of yesterday's deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four State Department officials and wounded three others.

Today, President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta all condemned the attack and the senseless deaths of Americans, and extended their deepest sympathies to the families and colleagues of those who were killed and wounded in Benghazi.

During a teleconference given on background to reporters, the official described the scene of an attack whose elements are unclear or unknown but that killed U.S. Amb. J. Christopher Stevens, Foreign Service information management officer Sean Smith and two others whose names are being withheld until State Department officials notify their families. Three other Americans were wounded in the attack.

All Benghazi consulate personnel have been evacuated to the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli in a series of flights that included the three wounded personnel and the remains of the fallen State Department officials, the official said.

The Benghazi consulate staff will be transported to Germany, she said.

"The staff that is well is going to stay in Europe on standby while we assess the security situation," she said. "The wounded will be treated [at the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center] in Germany, and the remains will come home."

In the meantime, the official said, "we have taken our embassy in Tripoli down to emergency staffing levels and ... we have requested increased support from the Libyans while we access the security situation."

Last night, she said, State Department officials ordered all diplomatic posts around the world to review their security posture and to take all necessary steps to enhance that posture.

During the briefing, warning that details may change as the attack is investigated, the official offered a timeline of events surrounding the attack.

The consulate in Benghazi is an interim facility acquired before the fall of Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi. It consists of a main building, several ancillary buildings, and an annex a little further away, she said.

"At about 4 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time yesterday, which was about 10 p.m. in Libya, the compound ... in Benghazi began taking fire from unidentified Libyan extremists. By about 4:15 p.m. attackers gained access to the compound and began firing into the main building, setting it on fire," she said, "and the Libyan guard force and mission security personnel responded."

At the time, three people were inside the building -- Ambassador Stevens, a regional security officer, and Smith -- and while trying to evacuate they became separated by heavy, dark smoke.

"The regional security officer made it outside and then he and other security personnel returned into the burning building in an attempt to rescue Chris and Sean," the official said.

They found Smith, who had died, and pulled him from the building. They were unable to locate Stevens before fire, smoke and small-arms fire drove them from the building, the official said.

"At about 4:45 p.m. Washington time, U.S. security personnel assigned to the mission annex tried to regain the main building but that group also took heavy fire and had to return to the mission annex," the official said.

"At about 5:20 p.m.," she added, "Libyan security personnel made another attempt and that time were able to regain and secure the main building."

The rest of the staff were evacuated to the nearby annex, which itself came under fire at around 6 p.m. Washington time and continued under fire for about two hours, she said.

During that ongoing attack, the official said, two more U.S. personnel were killed and two more were wounded.

At about 8:30 p.m. Washington time, or 2 a.m. in Libya, Libyan security forces helped regain control of the situation, she said.

"At some point in all of this, and frankly we do not know when, we believe that Ambassador Stevens got out of the building and was taken to a hospital in Benghazi," she said, adding, "We do not have any information about his condition at that time. His body was later returned to U.S. personnel at the Benghazi airport."

The official said Stevens made regular and frequent trips to Benghazi to check on developments in the east.

"He had been the secretary's and the president's representative to the Transitional National Council before the fall of Gadhafi and had spent a lot of time in Benghazi and built deep contacts there," she explained. "So this was one of his regular visits."

She said security in Benghazi included a local guard force outside the compound, "which is similar to the way we are postured all over the world. We had a physical perimeter barrier and ... a robust American security presence inside the compound, including a strong component of regional security officers."

About the protests, the official said, "We frankly don't have a full picture of what may have been going on outside the compound walls before the firing began [and] ... we are not in a position to speak any further to the perpetrators of this attack."

The complex attack will require a full investigation, she added.

"We are committed to working with the Libyans both on the investigation and to ensure that we bring the perpetrators to justice," the official said.

 "The FBI is already committed to assisting in that but it's just too early to speak to who [the attackers] were and if they might have been otherwise affiliated beyond Libya."

As Clinton said very clearly today, the official added, "We are as committed today as we have ever been to a free and stable Libya that is still in America's interest, and we are going to continue to work very strongly to help them have the future that they want and they deserve."

She added, "I would simply note how quickly and how strongly senior members of the Libyan government came forward to condemn this attack, to offer support to us.

She noted that the consulate's Libyan security forces stood with U.S. security forces in defending the consulate buildings.

"One of the local militias that was friendly to the embassy came to assist as well," the official added, "and I think that really speaks to the relationship that we have built with Libya."

Also here this afternoon, Libyan ambassador to the United States Ali Suleiman Aujali held a press conference to condemn the attack on the Benghazi consulate and the deaths of embassy personnel.

"It is a sad day in my life. I knew Chris personally. He's my tennis partner. He comes to my house. We have breakfast together. I've known him for more than six years. He may be the first American diplomat to [have arrived] in Tripoli ... after the revolution. He's very welcomed by the people. He visited the Libyans. He [ate] with them. He [sat] with them," Aujali said.

Aujali also offered his country's "deep condolences" to the American people, to the families, and the president.

"We are very sorry for what happened," Aujali said. "We will do everything possible ... to [ensure] that we have better relations, better protection [for] the American diplomats and [for] the international community ... working in our country."

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U.S. Department of State

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Sabrina Siddiqui



Obama Responds To Libya Criticism: Romney Tends 'To Shoot First And Aim Later'



President Barack Obama (R) makes a statement in response to the attack at the U.S. Consulate in Libya as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton (L) looks on. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

President Barack Obama responded to Mitt Romney's charge that the White House mishandled its response to the embassy attacks in Egypt and Libya by accusing his challenger of having a tendency to "shoot first and aim later."

"There's a broader lesson to be learned here: Governor Romney seems to have a tendency to shoot first and aim later, and as president, one of the things I've learned is you can't do that," Obama said in an interview with CBS News on Wednesday. "It's important for you to make sure that the statements that you make are backed up by the facts and that you've thought through the ramifications before you make them."

When asked if he found Romney's statement "irresponsible," Obama responded, "I'll let the American people judge that."

The Republican presidential nominee has faced significant backlash for targeting the president for a public statement, made by the U.S. embassy in Cairo, that did not come directly from his administration. The statement was made by the embassy prior to an Egyptian demonstration in reaction to an anti-Islamic video. Other officials have accused Romney of prematurely politicizing an episode that took the lives of four diplomatic officials, including U.S. ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens.

Romney released his first statement on Libya and Egypt Tuesday night, in which he called the president's handling of the situation "disgraceful." He reiterated that criticism in a press conference Wednesday, stating, "The president takes responsibility not just for the words that come from his mouth but also from the words of his ambassadors, from his administration, from his embassies, from his State Department."

"They clearly sent mixed messages to the world," Romney said. "The statement that came from the administration -- and the embassy is the administration -- the statement that came from the administration was a statement which is akin to apology. And I think was a severe miscalculation."

Obama delivered his own statement on the crisis in Libya on Wednesday, with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by his side, but chose not to engage with Romney during his speech. He instead focused on the incident and lives lost, while making it clear that those responsible would be brought to justice.

"We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others," Obama said, "But there is no justification for this kind of violence. None."

UPDATE: 6:19 p.m. -- While aboard Air Force One on Wednesday evening, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney read more quotes from a transcript of Obama's "CBS News" interview, which makes up one portion of a larger package in this Sunday's edition of "60 Minutes."

From the pool report:

"I think most Americans, Democrats or Republicans, understand that there are times when we set politics aside, and one of those is when we've got a direct threat to American personnel who are overseas," President Obama said.

"And so I think that if you look at how most Republicans have reacted, most elected officials, they've reacted responsibly, waiting to find out the facts before they talk, making sure that our No. 1 priority is the safety and security of American personnel."

"It appears that Gov. Romney didn't have his facts right. The situation in Cairo was one in which an embassy that is being threatened by major protests releases a press release saying that the film that had disturbed so many Muslims around the world wasn't representative of what Americans believe about Islam."

"In an effort to cool the situation down, it didn't come from me, it didn't come from Secretary Clinton, it came from people on the ground who are potentially in danger. And my tendency is to cut folks a little bit of slack when they're in that circumstance, rather than try to question their judgment from the comfort of a campaign office," Obama said.

"I do have to say that, more broadly, we believe in the First Amendment. It is one of the hallmarks of our Constitution that I am sworn to uphold, so we're always going to uphold the rights of individuals to speak their minds. On the other hand, this film is not representative of who we are, and our values, and I think it is important for us to communicate that. That's never an excuse for violence against Americans, which is why my No. 1 priority and my initial statement focused on making sure that not only are Americans safe, but that we go after anyone that would attack Americans."

Obama said the U.S. will "remain vigilant," and that "even as we apply pressure on al Qaeda and other elements that are affiliated in big chunks of the world, such as North Africa and the Mideast, we've got a lot of dangerous characters, and we've got to make sure we're continuing to apply pressure on them. And that's something I'm determined to do."


09/13/2012 04:37 PM CDT

Pentagon Deploys Security Team to Libya

By Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 13, 2012 - Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta has authorized deployment of a Marine Corps fleet anti-terrorism security team to Libya to protect U.S. citizens there and to secure the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said here today.

During a Pentagon news conference, Little said Panetta strongly condemns the recent attacks on U.S. diplomatic facilities in the Middle East.

"The secretary extends his deepest sympathies to the families of the victims and to the entire State Department family," Little said. "The department has been working with the White House and State Department to provide resources to support the security of U.S. personnel and facilities in Libya."

Little said the Defense Department supported the evacuation of American personnel and casualties out of Libya and is supporting the repatriation of the remains of the four State Department personnel, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, who were killed in the attack late Tuesday on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi.

Panetta and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey also have worked over the past 48 hours with combatant commanders throughout the region to conduct reviews of their force postures, he said. They also are working "to ensure that we have the flexibility to respond to requests for assistance or orders as directed by the president of the United States," he added.

Little said the focus of the Defense Department is now on supporting whole-of-government efforts to provide security to American personnel in Libya and elsewhere, working closely with the State Department, "and then supporting any efforts that we may be called upon to assist in the effort to, as the president said, 'deliver justice.'"

"The FBI and Department of Justice have opened an investigation into this tragic event," Little said. "Obviously, we will cooperate fully if called upon to support their investigation.

"Rest assured that this department is going to work very closely with our interagency partners to help investigate [and], if we're called upon, to assist," he continued. "And we will play our part in getting to the root of what happened."

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09/12/2012 11:23 AM CDT

Attack in Libya Should Shock World's Conscience, Clinton Says

By Claudette Roulo
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Sept. 12, 2012 - The attack in Benghazi, Libya, that resulted in the deaths of four Americans should "shock the conscience of people of all faiths around the world," Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said here today.

U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens and Sean Smith, a Foreign Service information officer and Air Force veteran, were killed in the attack. The State Department is withholding the identities of the other Americans, pending next-of-kin notification.

"All over the world every day, America's diplomats and development experts risk their lives in the service of our country and our values because they believe that the United States must be a force for peace and progress in the world," Clinton said. "Alongside our men and women in uniform, they represent the best traditions of a bold and generous nation."

Stevens risked his life to stop former Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi and then gave his life trying to help in building a better Libya, Clinton said.

"The world needs more Chris Stephenses," she added.

Although this happened in a country the United States helped to liberate and in a city it helped to save from destruction, Clinton said Americans must remain "clear-eyed, even in our grief."

"This was an attack by a small and savage group, not the people or government of Libya," she added. Libyans stood and fought to protect Americans during the attack, and Libyans carried Stevens' body to the hospital, Clinton noted.

The United States will not waver in its mission in Libya, the secretary pledged.

"The mission that drew Chris and Sean and their colleagues to Libya is both noble and necessary," she said. "A free and stable Libya is still in America's interest and security, and we will not turn our back on that."

Clinton said the United States is working closely with Libyan authorities to bring those responsible for the attacks to justice.

"Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior, along with the protests that took place at our embassy in Cairo yesterday, as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet," Clinton said, referring to a video that is purported to blaspheme Islam.

"Let me be clear, there is no justification for this," she said. "Violence like this is no way to honor religion or faith. And as long as there are those who would take innocent life in the name of God, the world will never know a true and lasting peace."

Clinton noted that the attack took place as Americans observed the anniversary of the 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States.

"It's an anniversary that means a great deal to all Americans," she said. "Every year on that day, we are reminded that our work is not yet finished -- that the job of putting an end to violent extremism and building a safe and stable world continues."

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Report: Hillary Ignored Warnings
(Breitbart) - Today, the Independent is reporting shocking details about the attack on the Libyan consulate that resulted in the death of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. The details are so explosive that they will result in a Congressional investigation. In fact, they’re so explosive that they should result in the resignation of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The only question now: What did Hillary Clinton know, and when did she know it?

Yesterday, we reported that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was responsible under the law for the “security policies and programs that provide for the protection of all US government personnel … on official duty abroad.” Clinton herself seemed bewildered by the attacks on the Libyan consulate, asking, “How could this happen in a country we helped liberate, in a city we helped save from destruction?”

But according to the Independent, she had no reason to be puzzled. Quoting senior diplomatic sources, the paper reports, “the US State Department had credible information 48 hours before mobs charged the consulate in Benghazi, and the embassy in Cairo, that American missions may be targeted.” Nonetheless, “no warnings were given for diplomats to go on high alert and ‘lockdown,’ under which movement is severely restricted.”

It gets worse. According to security sources, the State Department had greenlit a “health check” at the consulate I preparation for 9/11. Nonetheless, the attackers broke the perimeter within 15 minutes of the Libyan mob forming. Local guards did nothing. One witness reported, “The security people just all ran away and the people in charge were the young men with guns and bombs.” According to sources, the Ambassador died from smoke inhalation after he was trapped in a building set on fire and besieged by rioters.

The Libyan government, for all its supposed regret, seems less than troubled by the whole incident. Wissam Buhmeid, who commands the Tripoli government-sanctioned Shield Brigade, which operates as police in Benghazi, stated, “There were definitely people from the security forces who let the attack happen because they were themselves offended by the film; they would absolutely put their loyalty to the Prophet over the consulate. The deaths are all nothing compared to insulting the Prophet.”

Why wasn’t there better protection at the consulate? Because that’s the way Secretary of State Clinton wanted it; the State Department posted no Marines to the consulate. It was staffed instead by those Libyan “security” forces. The consulate also had “no bulletproof glass, reinforced doors or other features common to embassies.”

Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL), who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee, “I am asking my colleagues on the committee to immediately investigate what role al-Qa’ida or its affiliates may have played in the attack and to take appropriate action.”

The story isn’t over in Libya. Violence continues. And classified documents have been stolen from the consulate, reportedly including the names of Libyans working with the Americans. Safe houses across Libya are now unsafe.

Secretary of State Clinton is responsible for the security of our staff, consulates, and embassies abroad. If the Independent’s report is correct, she has violated the most basic standard of duty. Both she and her boss, President Obama, must be held responsible.


Revealed: inside story of US envoy's assassination

Exclusive: America 'was warned of embassy attack but did nothing'

The killings of the US ambassador to Libya and three of his staff were likely to have been the result of a serious and continuing security breach, The Independent can reveal.

American officials believe the attack was planned, but Chris Stevens had been back in the country only a short while and the details of his visit to Benghazi, where he and his staff died, were meant to be confidential.

The US administration is now facing a crisis in Libya. Sensitive documents have gone missing from the consulate in Benghazi and the supposedly secret location of the "safe house" in the city, where the staff had retreated, came under sustained mortar attack. Other such refuges across the country are no longer deemed "safe".

Some of the missing papers from the consulate are said to list names of Libyans who are working with Americans, putting them potentially at risk from extremist groups, while some of the other documents are said to relate to oil contracts.

According to senior diplomatic sources, the US State Department had credible information 48 hours before mobs charged the consulate in Benghazi, and the embassy in Cairo, that American missions may be targeted, but no warnings were given for diplomats to go on high alert and "lockdown", under which movement is severely restricted.

Mr Stevens had been on a visit to Germany, Austria and Sweden and had just returned to Libya when the Benghazi trip took place with the US embassy's security staff deciding that the trip could be undertaken safely.

Eight Americans, some from the military, were wounded in the attack which claimed the lives of Mr Stevens, Sean Smith, an information officer, and two US Marines. All staff from Benghazi have now been moved to the capital, Tripoli, and those whose work is deemed to be non-essential may be flown out of Libya.

In the meantime a Marine Corps FAST Anti-Terrorism Reaction Team has already arrived in the country from a base in Spain and other personnel are believed to be on the way. Additional units have been put on standby to move to other states where their presence may be needed in the outbreak of anti-American fury triggered by publicity about a film which demeaned the Prophet Mohamed.

A mob of several hundred stormed the US embassy in the Yemeni capital Sanaa yesterday. Other missions which have been put on special alert include almost all those in the Middle East, as well as in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Armenia, Burundi and Zambia.

Senior officials are increasingly convinced, however, that the ferocious nature of the Benghazi attack, in which rocket-propelled grenades were used, indicated it was not the result of spontaneous anger due to the video, called Innocence of Muslims. Patrick Kennedy, Under-Secretary at the State Department, said he was convinced the assault was planned due to its extensive nature and the proliferation of weapons.

There is growing belief that the attack was in revenge for the killing in a drone strike in Pakistan of Mohammed Hassan Qaed, an al-Qa'ida operative who was, as his nom-de-guerre Abu Yahya al-Libi suggests, from Libya, and timed for the anniversary of the 11 September attacks.

Senator Bill Nelson, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said: "I am asking my colleagues on the committee to immediately investigate what role al-Qa'ida or its affiliates may have played in the attack and to take appropriate action."

According to security sources the consulate had been given a "health check" in preparation for any violence connected to the 9/11 anniversary. In the event, the perimeter was breached within 15 minutes of an angry crowd starting to attack it at around 10pm on Tuesday night. There was, according to witnesses, little defence put up by the 30 or more local guards meant to protect the staff. Ali Fetori, a 59-year-old accountant who lives near by, said: "The security people just all ran away and the people in charge were the young men with guns and bombs."

Wissam Buhmeid, the commander of the Tripoli government-sanctioned Libya's Shield Brigade, effectively a police force for Benghazi, maintained that it was anger over the Mohamed video which made the guards abandon their post. "There were definitely people from the security forces who let the attack happen because they were themselves offended by the film; they would absolutely put their loyalty to the Prophet over the consulate. The deaths are all nothing compared to insulting the Prophet."

Mr Stevens, it is believed, was left in the building by the rest of the staff after they failed to find him in dense smoke caused by a blaze which had engulfed the building. He was discovered lying unconscious by local people and taken to a hospital, the Benghazi Medical Centre, where, according to a doctor, Ziad Abu Ziad, he died from smoke inhalation.

An eight-strong American rescue team was sent from Tripoli and taken by troops under Captain Fathi al- Obeidi, of the February 17 Brigade, to the secret safe house to extract around 40 US staff. The building then came under fire from heavy weapons. "I don't know how they found the place to carry out the attack. It was planned, the accuracy with which the mortars hit us was too good for any ordinary revolutionaries," said Captain Obeidi. "It began to rain down on us, about six mortars fell directly on the path to the villa."

Libyan reinforcements eventually arrived, and the attack ended. News had arrived of Mr Stevens, and his body was picked up from the hospital and taken back to Tripoli with the other dead and the survivors.

Mr Stevens' mother, Mary Commanday, spoke of her son yesterday. "He did love what he did, and he did a very good job with it. He could have done a lot of other things, but this was his passion. I have a hole in my heart," she said.

Global anger: The protests spread


The furore across the Middle East over the controversial film about the Prophet Mohamed is now threatening to get out of control. In Sana'a, the Yemeni capital, yesterday around 5,000 demonstrators attacked the US embassy, leaving at least 15 people injured. Young protesters, shouted: "We sacrifice ourselves for you, Messenger of God," smashed windows of the security offices and burned at least five cars, witnesses said.


Egypt's Islamist President Mohamed Morsi yesterday condemned the attack in Benghazi that killed the US ambassador. In a speech in Brussels, Mr Morsi said he had spoken to President Obama and condemned "in the clearest terms" the Tuesday attacks. Despite this, and possibly playing to a domestic audience, President Obama said yesterday that "I don't think we would consider them an ally, but we don't consider them an enemy".

Demonstrators in Cairo attacked the mission on Tuesday evening and protests have continued since.


Militants said the anti-Islamic film "will put all the American interests Iraq in danger" and called on Muslims everywhere to "face our joint enemy", as protesters in Baghdad burned American flags yesterday. The warning from the Iranian-backed group Asaib Ahl al-Haq came as demonstrators demanded the closure of the US embassy in the capital.


Islamists warned they may "besiege" the US embassy in Dhaka after security forces stopped around 1,000 protesters marching to the building. The Khelafat Andolon group called for bigger protests as demonstrators threw their fists in the air, burned the flag and chanted anti-US slogans.


There was a Hamas-organised protest in Gaza City, and as many as 100 Arab Israelis took to the streets in Tel Aviv. In Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai postponed a trip to Norway, fearing violence. Officials in Pakistan said they "expected protests". Protesters in Tunis burnt US flags.

*Patrick Cockburn: The murder of US ambassador Christopher Stevens proves the Arab Spring was never what it seemed

*Editorial: Obama must measure his response

*US defends itself to the world - but back home it's war

*Jerome Taylor: Fear and loathing - Another unholy row about Islam

*The softly spoken diplomat who lifted the rebels' resolve

*Robert Fisk: The provocateurs know politics and religion don't mix


Dear Friend of America's Survival, Inc.:

The real foreign policy scandal is that the U.S. Ambassador in Libya may have been killed by terrorists backed by the United States.

Mitt Romney is in a fix over criticizing Obama's foreign policy because his buddy Senator John McCain endorsed the Obama policy that has resulted in the murder of the American Ambassador in Libya! The Obama/McCain intervention in Libya was illegal and unconstitutional.

John McCain in Benghazi showing support for the "rebels" that
have now killed U.S. Ambassador Stevens (on the right of McCain in the photo).

My friends, I was a speaker at a special 9/11 conference in New York City. I have a lot to report. But first, we have to examine developments in the Middle East

The blood is on the hands of the Islamists and Obama, who backed them. But McCain backed Obama's pro-Muslim Brotherhood policy. This is a bipartisan scandal and disgrace.

Remember that McCain was a prominent GOP Convention speaker.

McCain said, at a press conference in Benghazi, Libya, on April 22: "I have met with these brave fighters, and they are not Al-Qaeda. To the contrary: They are Libyan patriots who want to liberate their nation. We should help them do it."

This statement was made in the very place where the terrorists destroyed the U.S. Embassy and killed the Ambassador.

There is a Libyan "government" in place, but we now understand that it has no power or control over the country. The terrorists are in charge and will eventually take power there officially, just as they have in Egypt. No wonder Newsmax is reporting: Libyan Security Showed Radicals Where to Attack Ambassador.

McCain (and Obama) supported the Libyan "rebels" when they challenged the rule of Moammar Gaddafi.

This was the policy of the Muslim Brotherhood.

As I reported at the time, "As radical and anti-American as Libya's Moammar Gaddafi has been, it could conceivably get worse. After all, the U.S. State Department has listed a one-time al-Qaeda affiliate in Libya, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, on its list of foreign terrorist organizations. This is a group that claims Gaddafi has been 'un-Islamic' and has sought his overthrow."

As long as Romney relies on McCain and his advisers for advice on foreign policy, he will never make headway in criticizing Obama. And that is because their policies are basically the same.

In this article, Senator McCain Becomes Shill for Al-Jazeera, I noted how McCain became a backer of the Muslim Brotherhood channel.

But it's not just McCain. It's Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and independent Senator Joseph Lieberman. Columnist Diana West points out their dream of Muslim democracy is a nightmare and a fraud.

She writes, "...there is no evidence of the senators' dream -- millions of Muslims with a deep and abiding connection to the values and principles the senators espouse. That's because such Judeo-Christian-derived values and principles are at odds with the Islamic culture that has, quite naturally, set the perspectives and formed the core of the societies across this region."

McCain and the Republicans should have impeached Obama over his illegal and unconstitutional intervention in Libya. Instead, they supported him!!!

When the U.S. supports the Muslims, we get attacked in return. In this case, the chickens did come home to roost. Four Americans are dead.

No wonder Romney hasn't got a leg to stand on and his campaign is sputtering. He has to break with McCain and kick the McCain advisers out of his campaign. Otherwise, his policy is similar to Obama's.

Here is what I wrote at the time:

Obama's War in Libya is Illegal and Unconstitutional: U.S. Troops Drafted into United Nations Army

For some background on Romney's foreign policy team, please read this:

Romney Urged to Address Muslim Brotherhood Infiltration

Send me your thoughts at Kincaid@comcast.net

For America's Survival,

Cliff Kincaid, President

No. 749-12
September 14, 2012

Readout of Secretary Panetta’s Conversation with Egyptian Defense Minister
Abdel Fatah Al-Sisi

Acting Assistant Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs George Little provided the following readout:

Today the Secretary of Defense called Egyptian Minister of Defense Al-Sisi to reaffirm mutual commitment to the defense relationship between the United States and Egypt and underscore the importance of ensuring the safety and security of the U.S. diplomatic mission. Minister Al-Sisi reassured Secretary Panetta that Egypt remains committed to the defense relationship, which is a cornerstone of the U.S.-Egypt strategic partnership. In light of ongoing protests in Egypt, Minister Al-Sisi reiterated Egypt's commitment to secure U.S. diplomatic facilities and personnel. The Secretary condemned efforts to denigrate Islam, expressed his support for peaceful protests, and thanked Minister Al-Sisi for his Ministry's efforts to protect U.S. diplomats and facilities in Cairo. Secretary Panetta made clear that violence against basic freedoms such as freedom of religion and speech are unacceptable, and that there is never any justification for violence against innocents and acts that endanger U.S. personnel and facilities.




Feds Question Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, AKA Sam Bacile, At LA Sheriff's Station


LOS ANGELES — A Southern California filmmaker linked to an anti-Islamic movie inflaming protests across the Middle East was interviewed by federal probation officers at a Los Angeles sheriff's station but was not arrested or detained, authorities said early Saturday.

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, 55, was interviewed at the station in his hometown of Cerritos, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Deputy Don Walker said.

Federal officials have said they were investigating the activities of Nakoula, who has been convicted of financial crimes. If the probation department determines Nakoula violated terms of his release, a judge could send him back to prison.

Walker said Nakoula traveled voluntarily in a squad car with deputies.

"He went to the Cerritos station to talk with probation officers. He's not under any arrest," Walker said.

The deputy said he doesn't have information on the interview or how long it lasted. KNBC-TV reported that Nakoula went to the station early Saturday morning.

The TV station said that media had been staking out the home at the end of a cul de sac in the Southern California city when the man emerged wearing a coat, hat, scarf and glasses.

There was no answer early Saturday at the federal probation department's California's central district office in Los Angeles.

The probation department is reviewing the case of Nakoula, who was previously convicted on bank fraud charges and was banned from using computers or the Internet as part of his sentence. The review is aimed at learning whether Nakoula violated the terms of his five-year probation.

Karen Redmond, a spokeswoman for the administrative office of the U.S. courts, confirmed Friday the review is under way.

Federal authorities have identified Nakoula, a self-described Coptic Christian, as the key figure behind "Innocence of Muslims," a film denigrating Islam and the Prophet Muhammad that ignited mob violence against U.S. embassies across the Middle East. A federal law enforcement official told The Associated Press on Thursday that authorities had connected Nakoula to a man using the pseudonym of Sam Bacile who claimed earlier to be writer and director of the film

Violent protests set off by the film in Libya played a role in mob attacks in Benghazi that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other American officials. U.S. Embassy gates in Cairo were breached by protesters and demonstrations against American missions spread to Yemen on Thursday and on Friday to several other countries.

Nakoula pleaded no contest in 2010 to federal bank fraud charges in California and was ordered to pay more than $790,000 in restitution. He was also sentenced to 21 months in federal prison and was ordered not to use computers or the Internet for five years without approval from his probation officer.

His attorney cited Nakoula's poor health in a bid for leniency and home detention, stating his client suffered from Hepatitis C, diabetes that require twice-daily insulin shots, and other ailments that required more than 10 medications a day, according to a transcript of the sentencing obtained by the AP.

Many records in case remain sealed, but prosecutors sought a longer prison term and noted that he misused some of his own relatives' identities to open 600 fraudulent credit accounts. Nakoula apologized during the proceedings and his attorney James D. Henderson Sr. said Nakoula had learned his lesson.

"He's clearly gotten the message," Henderson said. "I can't imagine him doing anything stupider than what he did here, but what's done is done."

Henderson said during the hearing that his client had been enlisted by another man to open the accounts and had only received $60,000 to $70,000 from the fraudulent transactions. He got involved in the scheme after losing his job in the gas station industry and had been forced to work for a few dollars a weekend at swap meets to try to support his children and an ailing father, Henderson said, according to the transcript.

It could be difficult to establish a probation violation case against Nakoula. In the federal court system, the conditions of supervised release are geared toward the offense for which a defendant was found guilty and imprisoned.

In Nakoula's case, the offense was bank fraud. His no contest plea was to charges of setting up fraudulent bank accounts using stolen identities and Social Security numbers, depositing checks from those accounts into other phony accounts and then withdrawing the illicit funds from ATM machines.

While it was unclear what might have provoked authorities' interest, the filmmaker's use of a false identity and his access to the Internet through computers could be at issue, according to experts in cyber law and the federal probation system. Nakoula, who told the AP that he was logistics manager for the film, was under requirements to provide authorities with records of all his bank and business accounts.

The probation order authorized in June 2010 warned Nakoula against using false identities. Nakoula was told not to "use, for any purpose or in any manner, any name other than his/her true legal name or names without the prior written approval of the Probation Officer."

Federal prosecutors had charged that Nakoula used multiple false identities in creating his fraudulent accounts. Several, Nicola Bacily and Erwin Salameh, were similar to the Sam Bacile pseudonym used to set up the YouTube account for the anti-Islamic film. Other pseudonyms used in the accounts ranged from Ahmed Hamdy to P.J. Tobacco.

Nakoula was also told he could not have any access to the Internet "without the prior approval of the probation officer." Nakoula was ordered to detail any online devices and cellphones to authorities and was told his devices would be monitored and subject to searches.

Jennifer Granick, a criminal defense lawyer who specializes in online crimes, said authorities might not have been aware of Nakoula's online activity even if monitoring devices were placed on his computers. "That may be very hard for a probation officer to catch ahead of time."

Granick also noted that Nakoula's conviction for financial crimes might provide a basis for probation officials to review bank and other monetary records. "Somebody charged with a financial crime might receive some supervision categories where they might re-offend," she said.

Nakoula was arrested in June 2009, pleaded no contest to the bank fraud charges a year later and was released from federal prison in June 2011 after serving a 21-month prison term, according to federal records.

An initial report about the federal probation review appeared in The Wall Street Journal.

There are indications that "Innocence of Muslims" may have already been under way as a film project when Nakoula was arrested. A casting call for actors and crew for a film called "Desert Warrior" ran in Backstage magazine, based in Los Angeles and New York, in May and June 2009. The casting call described the film project as a "historical Arabian Desert adventure" and listed a "Sam Bassiel" as producer.

One notice identified "Pharaoh Voice Inc."as the film's production company. California state records show Pharaoh Voice was incorporated in September 2007 by a "Youssef M. Basseley." The principal address for Pharaoh Voice in Hawaiian Gardens, a southern California community, is the same location where Nakoula lived until 2008, according to state records.

During an interview with AP, Nakoula denied that he was Sam Bacile, but acknowledged knowing him.


Associated Press writers Bob Seavey in Phoenix and Pete Yost, Stephen Braun and Ted Bridis in Washington contributed to this report.

Related on HuffPost:

The anti-Islam film sparked outraged protests across the Muslim world, including violent attacks on U.S. embassies in Libya and Egypt.

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Pakistan Protests: Anti-Islam Film Sparks Mass Demonstrations Across The Country

By RIAZ KHAN 09/21/12 10:59 AM ET EDT AP

PESHAWAR, Pakistan — Pakistani officials say at least 15 people have been killed and more than 160 wounded in clashes between police and people protesting a film that denigrates Islam's Prophet Muhammad.

Officials at two different hospitals, Seemi Jamali and Aftab Channar, say 12 were killed and 82 wounded Friday in the southern port city of Karachi.

Police official Bashir Khan says three others were killed and 61 wounded in the northwest city of Peshawar.

Hospital official Tanveer Malik says 25 people were wounded in the capital, Islamabad.


PESHAWAR, Pakistan — Pakistani officials say at least 15 people have been killed and more than 160 wounded in clashes between police and people protesting a film that denigrates Islam's Prophet Muhammad.

Officials at two different hospitals, Seemi Jamali and Aftab Channar, say 12 were killed and 82 wounded Friday in the southern port city of Karachi.

Police official Bashir Khan says three others were killed and 61 wounded in the northwest city of Peshawar.

Hospital official Tanveer Malik says 25 people were wounded in the capital, Islamabad.


Combined Force Kills Armed Insurgents in Balkh Province
09/20/2012 11:48 AM CDT

Combined Force Kills Armed Insurgents in Balkh Province

From an International Security Assistance Force Joint Command News Release

KABUL, Afghanistan, Sept. 20, 2012 - An Afghan and coalition security force killed two armed insurgents during an operation to arrest a senior Taliban leader in the Balkh district of Afghanistan's Balkh province today, military officials reported.

As the security force approached the Taliban leader's suspected location, the armed insurgents maneuvered toward them and were killed when they displayed hostile intent.

No civilians were harmed during the operation. The security force also detained a suspected insurgent and seized firearms and grenades.

In other operations today:

-- An Afghan and coalition force in Kandahar province's Khakrez district arrested a Taliban informant who is suspected of acquiring and providing information regarding Afghan and coalition security operations to Taliban leaders operating throughout the region. He also is believed to provide guidance to insurgents for roadside bomb attacks. The security force also detained an alleged insurgent and seized explosive materials.

-- In Khost province's Bak district, an Afghan-led security force supported by coalition troops detained suspected insurgents and seized firearms during an operation to arrest a Haqqani network leader who is believed to coordinate attacks throughout the region, specializing in the use of roadside bombs.

In other news, Afghan and coalition forces today confirmed the death of Qari Yahya, an Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan leader, during a Sept. 18 operation in Kunduz province's Qal-al-ye Zal district.

As the security force approached Qari Yahya's location, he and another IMU leader maneuvered from the compound and displayed hostile intent. Qari Yahya was killed, and the other IMU leader was arrested without injury. No civilians were harmed during the operation.

Qari Yahya was directly responsible for facilitating and conducting roadside bomb attacks and maintained communication and logistics ties with senior IMU and Taliban leaders.

The security force also detained other insurgents in the operation.

Related Sites:
NATO International Security Assistance Force

NEW YORK -- The State Department blasted CNN Saturday night for the network's handling of a personal journal belonging to late U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens, which was removed from the site of the deadly Sept. 11 consulate attack.

State Dept. spokesman Philippe Reines said in a statement to The Huffington Post that "given the truth of how this was handled, CNN patting themselves on the back is disgusting."

The Huffington Post contacted CNN Friday afternoon after receiving a tip that it had removed Stevens' journal from the U.S. consulate in Benghazi following the attack that left Stevens and three others dead. CNN did not confirm that information, but later referred HuffPost to Anderson Cooper's on-air acknowledgment during his 8 p.m. Friday show that CNN found Stevens' journal and had used it in their reporting, a fact not previously disclosed.

Shortly after 1 a.m. Saturday, CNN.com posted an un-bylined story explaining that CNN had found the journal four days after the attack "on the floor of the largely unsecured consulate compound where [Stevens] was fatally wounded." The CNN.com story noted that the network notified Stevens' family "within hours after it was discovered," that the personal journal was only used for news "tips" later corroborated by other sources, and that it was then provided to a third party to return to his family. (The Wall Street Journal later revealed an Italian diplomat as the third party).

But the State Dept. has a much different view of what transpired, claiming the network "completely ignored the wishes of the family" in reporting on the contents of Stevens' journal before returning it to them. Reines wrote that CNN "ultimately broke their pledge made to them only hours after they witnessed the return to the United States of Chris's remains."

"Whose first instinct is to remove from a crime scene the diary of a man killed along with three other Americans serving our country, read it, transcribe it, email it around your newsroom for others to read, and only when their curiosity is fully satisfied thinks to call the family or notify the authorities?" Reines asked.

On Saturday night, CNN issued a second statement in its defense, arguing that the network "felt there were issues raised in the journal which required full reporting, which we did," and that "the public had a right to know what CNN had learned from multiple sources about the fears and warnings of a terror threat before the Benghazi attack which are now raising questions about why the State Department didn't do more to protect Ambassador Stevens and other US personnel."

"Perhaps the real question here is why is the State Department now attacking the messenger," read the CNN statement.

Reines, who considers CNN's handling of the journal to be "indefensible," wrote that it's "not a proud episode in CNN's history."

Reines' full statement is published below:

Given the truth of how this was handled, CNN patting themselves on the back is disgusting.

What they're not owning up to is reading and transcribing Chris's diary well before bothering to tell the family or anyone else that they took it from the site of the attack. Or that when they finally did tell them, they completely ignored the wishes of the family, and ultimately broke their pledge made to them only hours after they witnessed the return to the United States of Chris's remains.

Whose first instinct is to remove from a crime scene the diary of a man killed along with three other Americans serving our country, read it, transcribe it, email it around your newsroom for others to read, and only when their curiosity is fully satisfied thinks to call the family or notify the authorities?

When a junior person at CNN called, they didn't say, 'Hello, I know this is a terrible time, but I'm sure you want your son's diary, where do you want it sent?' They instead took the opportunity to ask the family if CNN could report on its contents. Contents known only to Chris Stevens, and those at CNN who had already invaded his privacy.

When the seniormost levels of CNN were finally reached, they needed to be convinced to do the right thing. But not before they took a second shot at convincing the family to let them report on the contents. A family member made it crystal clear directly to CNN that they wanted Chris's diary and would not make any other decisions until then. But that wasn't fast enough for CNN, so they helpfully offered to send the family the transcript they'd already made and passed around, to put a rush on it for their own purposes.

It was then made clear to them, for what must have been the fourth time in the same call, that they wanted to look at it privately, together as a family before making any decisions. Period. CNN finally heard their request enough times that they had to accept it, agreed to abide by the clear wishes of the Stevens family, and pledged not to use the diary or even allude to its existence until hearing back from the family.

But the Stevens family was never given that chance. I guess four days was as long as CNN could control themselves, so they just went ahead and used it. Entirely because they felt like it. Anderson Cooper didn't even bother to offer any other explanation as to why the network broke its promise to the family. And only did so after being contacted by a reporter asking about the diary and their convoluted sourcing.

How do they justify that? They have yet to even try to defend the indefensible. Not a proud episode in CNN's history. I'm sure there are many good people in the CNN newsroom equally appalled by this decision and wondering who above them authorized this course of action.


New Details From Libya Consulate Attack: State Department Abandons Claim Of Protest Outside Gates

www.huffingtonpost.com | By Posted: Updated: 10/10/2012 9:20 am EDT


The deadly September attack on a U.S. consulate in Libya was not precipitated by an anti-American protest, as had originally been reported, the State Department disclosed Tuesday night. According to reports from ABC and the Associated Press, the State Department now acknowledges that "gunfire and explosions near the front gate" were the first signs of danger precipitating the attacks that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

This revelation stands in contrast to the story originally reported by the Obama administration and others, who claimed that a protest against the anti-Islam film "The Innocence of Muslims" outside the American consulate was co-opted by violent extremists.

The administration has come under harsh criticism from conservative critics in recent weeks over its actions before and after the attack. The first congressional hearing on the subject is scheduled for Wednesday.

Below is a detailed chronology of the attack, as the State Department now claims it played out (via the AP):

Sept. 10-11, 2012:

Stevens arrives in Benghazi and holds meetings on and off the consulate grounds on Sept. 10. He spends the night, and for the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks on the U.S. holds meetings only inside the compound. It is an enclosed area about 300 yards long by 100 yards wide, with a 9-foot outer wall topped by barbed wire and augmented by barriers, steel drop bars and other security upgrades. There are four buildings in the compound. Five diplomatic security officers are present, along with four members of a local militia deployed by Libya's government to provide added security.

Around 8:30 p.m.:

Stevens finishes his final meeting of the day and escorts a Turkish diplomat outside the main entrance of the consulate. The situation is calm. There are no protests.

Around 9:40 p.m.:

Agents hear loud noises, gunfire and explosions near the front gate. A barracks at the entrance housing the local militiamen is burnt down. Agents viewing cameras see large group of armed men flowing into the compound. Alarm is sounded. Telephone calls are made to the embassy in Tripoli, officials in Washington, the Libyan authorities and a U.S. quick reaction force located at a second compound a little over a mile away.

Grabbing weapons:

One agent, armed with a sidearm and an M4 submachine gun, takes Stevens and computer specialist Sean Smith to a safe room inside one of the compound's two main residences. It has a heavy metal grill and several locks, medical supplies and water, and windows that can be opened only from the inside. The other agents equip themselves with long guns, body armor, helmets and ammunition at other buildings. Two try to make it to the building with Stevens. They are met by armed men and are forced to retreat.

Attackers breach the compound:

Attackers penetrate Stevens' building and try to break the grill locks for the safe room, but cannot gain access. They dump jerry cans of diesel fuel in the building, light furniture on fire and set aflame part of the exterior of the building. Two of the remaining four agents are in the compound's other residence. Attackers penetrate that building, but the agents barricade themselves in and the attackers can't reach them. Attackers try to enter the tactical operations center, where the last two agents are located. They smash up the door but cannot enter the building.

Americans trapped:

Meanwhile, Stevens' building rapidly fills up with thick diesel smoke and burning fumes from the furniture. Inside, visibility is less than 3 feet. Unable to breathe, the Americans go to a bathroom and open a window, but still can't get enough air. They decide to leave the building. The agent goes first, flopping out onto a patio enclosed by sandbags. He takes immediate fire, including probably rocket-propelled grenades. Stevens and Smith don't come out of the building. The agent, suffering severely from smoke inhalation, goes in and out of the building several times to look for them. He then climbs a ladder to the roof of the building and collapses. He radios the other agents to alert them to the situation there.

The other four agents are able to reunite and take an armored vehicle to Stevens' building. They reach the collapsed agent and try to set up a perimeter. They take turns going into the building, searching on hands and knees for the missing Americans. Smith is pulled out, dead. Stevens cannot be found.


A six-person quick reaction security team arrives from their compound across town. About 60 Libyan militiamen accompany them. They attempt to secure a perimeter around Stevens' building, and take turns going inside. Taking fire, Libyan forces determine they can't hold the perimeter. A decision is made to evacuate the compound and return with everyone to the reaction force's compound.


Agents pile into an armored vehicle, with Smith's body, and leave through the main gate. They face immediate fire. Crowds and groups of men block two different routes to the security compound. Heavy traffic means they are traveling only about 15 mph, and trying not to attract attention. On a narrow street they reach a group of men who signal for them to enter a compound. They sense an attack and speed away, taking heavy fire from AK-47 machine guns at a distance of only 2 feet, and hand grenades thrown against and under the car. Two tires are blown out.

They speed past another crowd of men and onto a main street and across a grassy median into opposing traffic. The agents drive against traffic, eventually reaching their compound. Security gets into firing positions around the compound and on the roof. They take more gunfire and rocket-propelled grenades intermittently for several hours.

More reinforcements:

In the night, a team of reinforcements from the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli arrives on a chartered aircraft at the Benghazi airport and reaches the security compound.

Around 4 a.m.:

The compound's building is hit by mortar fire. The roof is hit and two security personnel are killed. One agent involved in the attack from the beginning is severely wounded. The men decide to evacuate the city entirely. They spend the next hours securing the annex and moving a large convoy of vehicles to the airport. They evacuate on two flights.


JAN, FEB, MAR, APR  2012