By Walid Shoebat and Ben Barrack
A break in the Banghazi attacks came when one terrorist was killed during the raid in Nasr City in Egypt in late October, 2012. One terrorist killed during the raid was a man by the name Karim Ahmed Essam al-Azizy, a Libyan national which Reuters reported was connected to the US Consulate attack in Benghazi.
Al-Azizy had been working under Muhammad Jamal Abdo Al-Kashif – the man seen as the head of the “Jamal network” who is widely regarded in the West as being a leader of the Egyptian group behind the Benghazi attacks.
But according to the lead Egyptian investigators Ziad Al-Sadeq and Shady Albrkoqy, the leader of the terror cell was someone else, which explains much about the silence in this whole fiasco at Nasr City; the ringleader is a terrorist named Tarek Taha Abu Al-Azm. Al-Azm wasn’t just the main organizer; he received top military training in the U.S.A.
Al-Kashif, according to the Supreme State Security Prosecution in Egypt, was simply “second defendant” and was the one who “sent the message to Ayman Zawahiri”.
According to Egyptian security forces investigation, Al-Azm became a captain after studying in the U.S. Al-Watan Egyptian newspaper added more information. They stated:
“We obtained the minutes of what took place between Al-Azm and the prosecution after closing the investigation… Al-Azm traveled to the United States during his mission in the Egyptian Air Force.”
Of Al-Azm, the pro-Jihadi website Arabian Sword reports (translated):
“(He) is a former Major in the Egyptian armed forces who graduated from high school and joined the military academy, graduating as an officer of the Armed Forces Officers. Al-Azm traveled to the United States for military courses until he reached the rank of captain and was put in charge of an air base for the [Egyptian] armed forces.”
To illustrate this relationship, Al-Azm would be akin to Mohamed Atta, the cell ringleader on 9/11/01 and Al-Kashif would be like one of the other pilots.
In fact, speaking of Islamic terrorists trained to fly planes in the U.S., Al-Azm was one such terrorist but unlike Atta, Al-Azm received training in the U.S. Air Force (USAF) and knows how to fly fighter jets according to multiple sources.
Like Atta, Al-Azm expressed disgust and disrespect for America. Another major Jihadi website, Muslim.org (like Al-Watan) published an article from Al Bayan Media Foundation that included excerpts from a police interview with Al-Azm after the Nasr City cell he was a part of, was broken up earlier this year:
“Al-Azm stated that he was an air force pilot and was sent to America by the Egyptian Air Force to gain military training.”
Al-Azm is reported to have said of Americans in the minutes by Al-Watan:
“America tried to impress us but I was not impressed. They have administrative capacity only and do not understand things. They are easy to know.”
Elwatan News reported:
“(Al-Azm) did not just see Americans as stupid but that Egyptians as far more intelligent and experienced … we saw how they used to soil their pants when captured.”
Not long after the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak, Al-Azm and Al-Kashif were released. Here is a very rare video of Al-Azm shortly thereafter:
The Egyptian fighter pilot who received training from the USAF most certainly did not renounce terrorism after his 2011 release. On June 6, 2012, the U.S. Special Mission Compound (SMC) in Benghazi that would be hit later on September 11th of that year suffered an explosion at the hands of the Brigades of the Imprisoned Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman. This explosion blew a large hole in the perimeter wall of the compound and Egyptian security forces believe that Al-Azm alongside Al-Azizy led this operation.
On September 11, 2012, the U.S. Embassy in Cairo was attacked. In the months prior – and as early as that same day – protesters were outside the Embassy demanding the release of the Blind Sheikh. Later that evening, the SMC in Benghazi was attacked again. This time, it resulted in the deaths of four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
An Egyptian contingent is suspected of having been involved – the “Jamal network”. According to the Long War Journal’s Joscelyn, Ayman Al-Zawahiri defended Al-Kashif by saying the latter was in Egypt at the time of the Benghazi attacks. As Joscelyn points out, being in Egypt doesn’t preclude involvement. In fact, Al-Azm was implicated in the Benghazi attacks. He’s a logical suspect, in light of his alleged involvement in the June 6th attack.
That’s not all. Consider that Al-Azm was trained by the U.S. military and achieved the rank of captain in the Egyptian military. This meant he was professionally trained. This leads to EXHIBIT Y of our original report. It is a video from a Fox News broadcast during which host Bret Baier read excerpts from a book that included quotes from witnesses to the attacks in Benghazi:
“They were not members of a ragtag force. Split into small groups, which advanced throughout the compound methodically… They employed military-style hand signals to direct their progression toward their objectives… They had been given precise orders and impeccable intelligence. They seemed to know when, where, and how to get from the access points to the Ambassador’s residence… the U.S. Ambassador, the personal representative of President Barack Obama, was the ultimate target of the attack.” [emphasis ours]
CNN reported that an “armed militia… headed straight for the ambassador’s residence.”
A question that must be asked is: If Al-Azm was the lead in the Benghazi attack, to what extent did his military training in the U.S. help him murder Americans? Such a revelation would indeed be embarrassing.
Among the most embarrassing figures to U.S. intelligence is Ali Mohamed, who was forced out of the Egyptian military in the early 1980’s for “being too religious” after his unit was found to have been behind the assassination of Anwar Sadat. Eventually, Mohamed would join the U.S. Army and later work for the FBI and CIA as an informant. Despite many red flags, he continued his work with the Feds. Mohamed was connected to the first World Trade Center attack in 1993, trained fighters in Somalia to kill Americans, set up an Al-Qaeda cell in Nairobi, admitted to the FBI that he “loved” and “believed in” Osama bin Laden, and yet was never held to account until his conviction in 2000 after pleading guilty to his role in the 1998 embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.
Even then, Mohamed’s plea agreement was sealed; he was never publicly sentenced and his whereabouts remain a mystery to this day.
As was the case before the Benghazi attack, security was a main concern at the embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. Prior to the bombings, the U.S. Ambassador to Kenya sent cables back to the State Department warning that the embassy was vulnerable to attack and asked for more security. Pleas for more security from the Ambassador were made directly to Secretary of State Katherine Albright and were not heeded. The embassies were bombed months later.
The parallels between those embassy bombings and the Benghazi attack – especially when factoring in Mohamed’s involvement in the former – is uncanny. Both have an Egyptian connection, both have a Muslim Brotherhood connection, both have a U.S. Military connection, both had lax security, and both have what appears to be an attempt to cover-up the truth about the perpetrators.
As talk abounds about how to prevent future attacks, the U.S. continues with its failed bad habits that have only led to more attacks. Perhaps this is best exemplified by the inherently contradictory testimony given by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton last January when pressed to answer questions about what happened in Benghazi:
“What difference, at this point, does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again.”
If what happened makes no difference, how will future attacks be prevented?
In 2010, another CIA informant named Humam Khalil Abu Mulal al-Balawi carried out a suicide bombing attack in Afghanistan that left seven CIA officials dead. Again, despite obvious warning signs – like what al-Balawi wrote on his blog – the CIA obviously trusted him too much.
As mentioned earlier, Al-Azm was released from prison soon after the fall of Mubarak. This release would have allowed him to begin work that would ultimately lead to the Benghazi attacks. According to the Egypt Independent, Al-Azm was arrested approximately six weeks after Benghazi for his connection to the formation of a terrorist cell in Nasr City, a neighborhood in Cairo. Al-Kashif was arrested as well, though perhaps weeks later, based on a Wall Street Journal article.
Al-Kashif and Al-Azm were regarded as the “leaders” of that Nasr City cell. Three more members of the cell were arrested in May of 2013. Not dissimilarly from the 9/11/12 attacks, the cell was planning to target a foreign embassy in Egypt, according to a New York Times report.
In a Wall Street Journal article dated December 7, 2012, the arrest of Al-Kashif (identified in the article as Muhammad Jamal Abu Ahmad) was used to indicate that the Muslim Brotherhood government ruling Egypt at the time, was willing to go after such terrorists and was therefore willing to work with the U.S. in targeting individuals and groups wanted for their roles in the Benghazi attacks. What is not reported or widely known is that Mursi granted Al-Kashif a presidential pardon after this arrest.
**UPDATE / CORRECTION at 8:29am EST on October 20, 2013**
After further review of the Al Wafd article we referred to as reporting that Al-Kashif was released by Mursi in May of 2013, we’ve determined this translation to be incorrect. The layout of the article is such that this reference appears just below a separate headline within the article. The end of the first article is not sufficiently separated from the beginning of the subsequent article, which refers to Al-Kashif’s 2011 release from prison. We mistakenly interpreted that Al-Kashif was part of a prisoner exchange referred to at the end of the first article. That prisoner exchange was said to have been coordinated by Mursi. This review was prompted by a report from Al-Arabiya earlier this month that reported Al-Kashif was still in jail.