Officials at the U.S. Department of State on Friday torpedoed the controversial New York Times story on the Benghazi terrorist attack which blamed an Internet motion picture that "blasphemed" against the Muslim religion for the destruction of the U.S. consulate and the killing of four Americans including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens.
A State Department announcement blamed certain terrorist groups for the 2012 Benghazi attack, designating them as terrorists which refutes President Barack Obama's and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's claims that the attack was spontaneous, as well as contradicts the New York Times recent news story which many believe was written in order to provide "cover" for Hillary Clinton in her pursuit of the presidency.
"It is unacceptable that the New York Times would lie to its readers and tell them that the attack wasn't a planned assault by al-Qaida aligned terrorists, but instead was a spontaneous political protest over a YouTube video," said officials at the Conservative Campaign Committee.
The State Department also reported that the leader of the al-Qaeda-affiliated terrorist group that attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi had been released from the military detention center in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
According to the U.S. Department of State, Ansar al-Sharia in Benghazi, Ansar al-Sharia in Darnah, and Ansar al-Sharia in Tunisia are now separately Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) and Specially Designated Global Terrorist entities.
Besides the group designations, U.S. officials also designated Ahmed Abu Khattalah, Sufian bin Qumu, and Seifallah Ben Hassine, a/k/a “Abou Iyadh,” as Specially Designated Global Terrorists. Bin Qumu's background includes training at Osama bin Laden's training camp and being a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay (Gitmo). He was released in 2010 from the detention center and became a top Ansar al-Sharia commander.
Catherine Herridge of Fox News had previously reported Ansar al-Sharia was a prime suspect in the Bengahzi attack. And despite State Department claims that Al Qaeda leadership was not involved and the recent New York Times news report echoing that assessment, Fox News had learned that bin Qumu has Al Qaeda ties, according to his Gitmo records.
Created separately after the fall of Libyan dictator Col. Moamar Khaddhafi, Ansar al-Sharia in Benghazi and Ansar al-Sharia in Darnah have been involved in terrorist attacks against civilian targets, frequent assassinations, and attempted assassinations of security officials and political actors in eastern Libya, and the September 11, 2012 attacks against the U.S. Special Mission and Annex in Benghazi, Libya, according to past Examiner news stories.
Members of both organizations continue to pose a threat to U.S. interests in Libya.Ahmed Abu Khattalah is a senior leader of Ansar al-Sharia in Benghazi and Sufian bin Qumu is the leader of Ansar al-Sharia in Darnah.