6:00 AM, Aug 1, 2014 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
A key figure in the security failures surrounding the September 11, 2012, terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya is fighting alongside members of Ansar al Sharia, which is one of the terrorist groups responsible for the assault on the U.S. mission and annex that night.
Wissam Bin Hamid’s name has surfaced time and again in the investigation into the Benghazi attack. He admittedly met with American officials in Benghazi just days before the assault to discuss security, and he reportedly refused to provide assistance once the attack was underway. The post-revolution Libyan government also worked with Bin Hamid and his Libya Shield militia, which was supposedly one of the strongest “security” forces inside Benghazi.
But in recent days Bin Hamid has been pictured with Ansar al Sharia’s leader in Benghazi, as well as the group’s fighters. The pictures show Bin Hamid and Ansar al Sharia overrunning a Libyan special forces base and capturing a large amount of weaponry.
One of the pictures was posted by Ansar al Sharia on its official Twitter feed on July 22. The accompanying text reads, “The mujahid Sheikh Mohammed al Zahawi accompanied by the battlefield commander Wissam Bin Hamid - May Allah protect them both - during the course of their leadership of the invasion.” Mohammed al Zahawi is the head of Ansar al Sharia.
The pictures can be seen at the end of this article.
A declassified State Department cable dated September 11, 2012 recounts a meeting between Bin Hamid and American officials that took place just two days prior, on September 9. The cable was released by the House Oversight Committee. Bin Hamid’s name is spelled “bin Ahmed” in the cable.
The cable says that Bin Hamid and one of his fellow militiamen “discussed the very fluid relationships and blurry lines they say define membership in Benghazi-based brigades,” as they were both “members of multiple brigades.” The pair claimed to “control” the chief of staff of Libya’s armed forces, Yousef Mangoush, adding that he “often provides the brigades direct stocks of weapons and ammunition.”
In their September 9 meeting with the Americans, Bin Hamid and his colleague portrayed themselves as indispensable when it came to providing security in eastern Libya. The duo also said that they supported the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood’s Justice and Construction Party candidate for prime minister, and they “criticized” the U.S. for supporting National Forces Alliance (NFA) leader Mahmoud Jibril. Bin Hamid and his counterpart argued that their brigades would receive significant positions in the Libyan government should the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate win, giving them “tacit control of the armed forces.” But if Jibril won the prime minister’s seat, “they would not continue to guarantee security in Benghazi, a critical function they asserted they were currently providing.”
On October 1, 2012, the Washington Post reported on an interview with Bin Hamid in which he confirmed that, along with “two officials from another [Libyan] government-sanctioned militia,” he had “met with three U.S. officials posted in Benghazi three days before the attack.” (The cable says the meeting actually took place on September 9, 2012.)
“They wanted to know who was in control in Benghazi,” Bin Hamid recalled, according to the Post. “It was like an introductory meeting. They asked us what we needed to bring security to Benghazi, what the Americans could possibly bring to help.” According to Bin Hamid’s account, he told the Americans that Benghazi was comparatively safe.
11:45 AM, Jun 16, 2014 • By FREDERICK W. KAGAN and WILLIAM KRISTOL
It’s widely agreed that the collapse of Iraq would be a disaster for American interests and security in the Middle East and around the world. It also seems to be widely assumed either that there's nothing we can now do to avert that disaster, or that our best bet is supporting Iran against al Qaeda. Both assumptions are wrong. It would be irresponsible to embrace a premature fatalism with respect to Iraq. And it would be damaging and counterproductive to accept a transformation of our alliances and relationships in the Middle East to the benefit of the regime in Tehran. There is a third alternative.
Mosul has fallen, and al Qaeda is on the march towards BaghdadJun 23, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 39 • By MAX BOOT
Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city, has long been hard for the central government to control because of its combustible mix of Arabs and Kurds. The first time I visited Mosul was in August 2003 when a tenuous calm was maintained by the 101st Airborne Division. Its commander, a then-obscure two-star general named David Petraeus, had on his own initiative opened the Syrian border to trade, struck deals with Syria and Turkey to provide badly needed electricity, restored telephone service, and held elections to elect local leaders.
10:19 PM, Jun 11, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
In a statement released just now, the White House press secretary says that the U.S. government will "increase" assistance to the government of Iraq "as required." The White House also "strongly condemns the recent attacks in Iraq by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL)."
6:16 PM, Jun 9, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
In an interview that will air tonight, Hillary Clinton will tell Diane Sawyer that the Benghazi terrorist attack that left four Americans dead is "more of a reason to run" for president of the United States.
7:29 AM, Jun 6, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
Time magazine is reporting that during an interview about the deal to trade Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl for five Taliban detainees from Guantanamo, when "[a]sked whether the Taliban would be inspired by the exchange to kidnap others, a commander laughed.
7:01 AM, Jun 5, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
Addressing a Center for Strategic and International Studies forum earlier this week, Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence Michael G. Vickers detailed a laundry list of national security threats that the United States faces today, the American Forces Press Services reports, including:
5:48 PM, May 31, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Two top ranking Republicans on the House and Senate Armed Services committees released a joint statement on the release of Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl in exchange for the release of five Taliban operatives from Guantanamo Bay. From Buck McKeon, chairman of the House Armed Services committee, and James Inhofe, ranking member of the Senate Armed Services committee:
11:03 AM, May 29, 2014 • By DANIEL HALPER
Steve Hayes, with Mara Liasson and Charles Krauthammer, last night on Fox News:
And here's the Internet-only aftershow:
Al Qaeda runs amok.May 19, 2014, Vol. 19, No. 34 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
Forty-one recently declassified State Department documents obtained by Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group, have reignited the controversy over the September 11, 2012, terrorist attack in Ben-ghazi, Libya. One document in particular, an email authored by Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser and speechwriter for the president, has garnered the most attention.
2:04 PM, May 1, 2014 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN
The State Department released its annual Country Reports on Terrorism yesterday. And once again the U.S. government has highlighted al Qaeda’s relationship with the Iranian regime. While the Iranians hold some al Qaeda members under house arrest, others are allowed to operate. And these terrorists, based on Iranian soil, play a prominent role in al Qaeda’s international network.
11:01 AM, May 1, 2014 • By MICHAEL WARREN
A retired military officer serving in the U.S.'s Africa Command headquarters in Germany told the House oversight committee Thursday that it was his belief at the time that the September 11, 2012, attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya was attributable to an Islamic extremist group and not an internet video.
Robert Lovell was an brigadier general with the Air Force, stationed in Germany, when four Americans were killed in Benghazi. In his congressional testimony, Lovell said that his role was to focus on "attribution" of the attack.
Troop levels to fall to below 10,000.12:38 PM, Apr 22, 2014 • By FREDERICK W. KAGAN
Media reports suggest that President Obama is looking to declare victory and withdraw from Afghanistan, as he did from Iraq. The military commander in Afghanistan, General Joe Dunford, has said that he needs 10,000 US troops to accomplish the missions the president has said he wants to accomplish after this year.