Al Qaeda weapons expert says U.S. ambassador to Libya killed by lethal injection.
BY: Bill Gertz
An al Qaeda terrorist stated in a recent online posting that U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens was killed by lethal injection after plans to kidnap him during the Sept. 11, 2012 terror attack in Benghazi went bad.
The veracity of the claim made by Abdallah Dhu-al-Bajadin, who was identified by U.S. officials as a known weapons experts for al Qaeda, could not be determined. However, U.S. officials have not dismissed the terrorist’s assertion.
An FBI spokeswoman indicated the bureau was aware of the claim but declined to comment because of the bureau’s ongoing investigation into the Benghazi attack.
“While there is a great deal of information in the media and on the Internet about the attack in Benghazi, the FBI is not in a position at this time to comment on anything specific with regard to the investigation,” Kathy Wright, the FBI spokeswoman, said.
A State Department spokesman also had no comment.
The FBI is investigating the death of Stevens, State Department information officer Sean Smith, and former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty. They were killed in the attack U.S. officials say was carried out by an al Qaeda-linked group known as Ansar al Sharia.
A State Department Accountability Review Board report and an interim House Republican report on the attack gave no cause of death for Stevens, whose body was recovered by local Libyans in the early morning hours of Sept. 12.
The House report, “Interim Progress Report for the House Republican Conference,” said “Libyan doctors tried unsuccessfully to resuscitate Ambassador Stevens upon his arrival at the hospital.”
To date, no official cause of death for Stevens has been made public, although it was reported that a Libyan doctor who examined Stevens said he died from apparent smoke inhalation and related asphyxiation.
Video and photos of Stevens being handled by a mob in Benghazi were posted on the Internet. It is not clear from the images whether he was dead or alive at the time.
However, according to the March 14 posting on an al Qaeda-linked website, Abdallah Dhu-al-Bajadin, the al Qaeda weapons expert, stated that Stevens was given a lethal injection and that the injection was overlooked during the medical autopsy.
According to Dhu-al-Bajadin, “the plan was based on abduction and exchange of high-level prisoners.”
“However, the operation took another turn, for a reason God only knows, when one of the members of the jihadist cell improvised and followed Plan B,” he wrote on the prominent jihadist web forum Ansar al-Mujahideen Network.
Dhu-al-Bajadin’s claim of assassination also stated that it had been copied to the Ansar al-Mujahidin website from the closed and al Qaeda-accredited website Shumukh al-Islam. That site is only open to members and was initially posted by a member identified as Adnan Shukri for Dhu-al-Bajadin.
The reference to Shumukh al Islam has boosted the credibility of the claim among some U.S. intelligence analysts.
A western intelligence official said Dhu-al-Bajadin is a well-known jihadist weapons experts and a key figure behind a magazine called Al Qaeda Airlines.
According to this official, intelligence analysts believe that Dhu-al-Bajadin’s claim of assassination by lethal injection appears in part aimed at putting pressure on the U.S. government over its handling of the Benghazi attack.
The article did not say what substance was used in the lethal injection. It also stated that the State Department had come under criticism for not providing adequate security in Benghazi prior to the attack.
Dhu-al-Bajadin also said he had further details of the attack and the assassination but would not reveal them in the posting.
The Washington Free Beacon obtained a copy of the translation of Dhu-al-Bajadin’s posting in Arabic.
The article stated that use of lethal injection is done “more than one place in the human body that autopsy doctors ignore when they see that the symptoms are similar to another specific and common illness.”
“Anyone who studied the art of silent assassination that spies applied during the Cold War would easily identify these parts of the body,” he said.
Dhu-al-Bajadin also stated that he was discussing the assassination of Stevens’ death months later because “the cell” behind “the infiltrative and secret operation is now completely safe from intelligence bureaus.”
On 21 September 2012, after massive anti-militia protests in Benghazi which largely blamed Ansar al-Sharia for the attack, hundreds of protesters stormed the militia headquarters, pulled down flags of the militia and torched a vehicle inside the base. Afterwards, crowds swelled to several thousand strong and breached into Ansar al-Sharia military base where militants retreated before the civilians got to the base and led a pro ansar sharia peaceful protest. Another compound was taken later that night. Elements of Libyan National Army and Libyan police came to the support of the civilians the rioters later took over control of the bases of different brigades such as Martyrs of 17 February and The first Libyan Shield.
Susan Rice's Benghazi sacrifice pushes Obama confidante to greater heights
Secretary of state may have been the more prestigious job, but core of US foreign policy lies with the national security adviser
Susan Rice will replace US national security adviser Tom Donilon. Photograph: Spencer Platt/Getty Images
The redemption of Susan Rice, President Obama's next national security adviser, advances a recent institutional trend in US foreign policy: jobs that don't require Senate approval are often more powerful than the ones that do.
Rice, the close Obama confidante and United Nations ambassador, became congressional Republicans' scapegoat in the Benghazi affairafter she incorrectly told TV chat shows that the deadly September assault on the US consulate resulted from a protest over a YouTube video. Rice cautioned her statement that the facts were not fully known at the time of her appearances, but the damage was done. The resulting scandal prevented Rice from becoming Obama's second-term secretary of state.
It ended up benefiting her. Later on Wednesday, Obama will announce that Rice will replace national security adviser Tom Donilon. The job may not have been Rice's first choice, but it is the more powerful one.
At the White House, where the national security adviser works, Rice will command no budgets and run no agency. But she will be responsible for something more central to US foreign and national-security policies: co-ordinating the interaction between the various cabinet agencies to forge an unified agenda – and acting as the chief proxy on foreign policy for the president of the United States.
The national security adviser is not formally more powerful than every department in the US foreign policy apparatus. He or she cannot order troops into battle; cannot manage budgets that eclipse those of domestic agencies; cannot release malicious software that ends up damaging the sensitive equipment of foreign adversaries. But the national security adviser channels the wishes of the president at the meetings where such decisions are reached. In the Obama administration, like the Bush administration before it, the White House is the place where US foreign policy comes into existence.
The national security adviser also has a crucial advantage over his or her colleagues who run cabinet agencies and departments. The Senate has no influence over the appointment. He or she cannot be blocked from reaching the job, nor can presidential opponents in the Senate turn his or her confirmation hearings into high-profile forums to attack the administration, as occurred with defense secretary Chuck Hagel. Nor, absent truly exceptional circumstances, does the national security adviser have to testify to Congress about his or her performance on the job.
Perhaps most ironically for Rice's situation, the rise of the national security adviser has eclipsed the role of secretary of state. Over the years, the national security adviser, and even his or her staff, has increasingly played a large diplomatic role, a trend begun when Henry Kissinger occupied both national security adviser and secretary of state jobs simultaneously. Foreign leaders and their aides can wonder whether the secretary of state speaks with the president's voice: Colin Powell, for instance, was famously out of sync with the foreign policy of President George W Bush. No foreign capital has that worry about the national security adviser.
That's why it was Donilon, and not secretary of state John Kerry, who negotiated the upcoming California meeting of Obama and Chinese president Xi Jinping. It is also why former White House counter-terrorism chief John Brennan was Obama's chosen manager of the sensitive relationship with Yemen, increasingly a centerpiece of his shadow wars against al-Qaida. In Washington, as in foreign capitals, secretary of state is the more prestigious job, a vestige of an era when grand strategy began and was managed out of Foggy Bottom. But that era has largely passed: US foreign policy begins at the White House, and its most powerful implementer is the Defense Department, whose budget is an order of magnitude larger than the State Department's.
Speaking of Brennan, he was another example of the trend Rice continues. In 2008, Obama wanted to appoint Brennan, a close campaign aide, as his first CIA director. But liberal critics – including now-Guardian columnist Glenn Greenwald – highlighted statements that Brennan made on television shows that seemed to excuse CIA torture. Brennan withdrew his nomination before the Senate could consider it and opposition could coalesce – and Obama instead appointed him to a broad portfolio in the White House designing, co-ordinating and managing intelligence, counter-terrorism and homeland-security policies. Brennan presided over the drone strikes that have come to define Obama's counter-terrorism efforts, even selecting targets to kill – an extraordinary power for a position unaccountable to the legislature.
This institutional shift in foreign policy and national security undermines the very reason why the constitution granted the Senate an "advise and consent" role over cabinet appointments. The idea, and long-standing American tradition, is to allow the people, through their elected legislative representatives, a measure of influence over the foreign policies conducted in their name – an area where the president's institutional powers are often at their apex. But entrenched partisan acrimony has convinced presidents of both parties that the easier course is to circumvent the Senate and vest power in their relatively unaccountable staffs.
(AP) U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice speaks at a news conference after the U.N. Security Council held... Full Image
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama's top national security adviser Tom Donilon is resigning and will be replaced by U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, marking a significant shakeup to the White House foreign policy team.
A White House official confirmed the personnel changes Wednesday morning ahead of a planned announcement by the president later in the day.
Donilon has been a key foreign policy adviser to Obama since he first took office. But the 58-year-old had been expected to depart sometime this year, with Rice seen as the likely candidate to replace him.
Rice, a close Obama confidante, came under withering criticism from Republicans as part of the investigations into the deadly attack on a U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya. Rice, relying on talking points from the intelligence community, said in television interviews that the attacks were likely spontaneous, which was later proven incorrect.
Obama considered nominating Rice as his second-term secretary of state, but she withdrew amid the GOP criticism, saying she didn't want her confirmation fight to be a distraction for the White House.
Her new post as national security adviser does not require Senate confirmation.
The White House official said Donilon is expected to stay on the job until early July, after Obama wraps up two overseas trips and a summit later this week with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
The official insisted on anonymity in order to discuss the personnel changes before they were publicly announced.