State Dept acknowledges Egyptian Terror Group in Libya

**NOTE: This Post constitutes EXHIBIT AF in our “Ironclad” Report.**

Regular visitors to our site are likely familiar with the name Muhammad Jamal Abdo Al-Kashif. He is an Egyptian whose name inspired the Jamal Network that has been widely acknowledged to have played a role in the Benghazi attack on 9/11/12. Al-Kashif was released from prison shortly after the fall of Hosni Mubarak in 2011. Al Wafd reported that he was released by Egypt’s then Muslim Brotherhood president Mohammed Mursi.

Al-Kashif: Now State Dept designated terrorist.

Al-Kashif: Now State Dept designated terrorist.

The State Department has now officially given Al-Kashif and his network a terrorist designation (h/t Thomas Joscelyn at Long War Journal):

The Department of State has designated the Muhammad Jamal Network (MJN) and founder, Muhammad Jamal, as Specially Designated Global Terrorists under Executive Order (E.O.) 13224, which targets terrorists and those providing support to terrorists or acts of terrorism.

State Dept: Formally acknowledges Jamal Network as terrorist entity.

State Dept: Formally acknowledges Jamal Network as terrorist entity.

The State Department release concludes thusly:

Jamal formed the MJN after his release from Egyptian prison in 2011 and established several terrorist training camps in Egypt and Libya. AQAP has provided funding to the MJN and Jamal has used the AQAP network to smuggle fighters into training camps. Suicide bombers have trained at MJN training camps, and Jamal established links with terrorists in Europe.

Jamal was re-arrested by Egyptian authorities in November 2012. His confiscated computer contained letters to al-Zawahiri in which Jamal asked for assistance and described MJN’s activities, including acquiring weapons, conducting terrorist training, and establishing terrorist groups in the Sinai. {emphasis ours}

Did you catch that part about training camps in Egypt and Libya? While the State Department release says nothing about the Jamal Network’s involvement in the Benghazi attack, the implication is that the terror designation likely includes such a connection. Also not mentioned in the release is Jamal’s partner in terrorist crime who is likely the real leader of the network – Tarek Taha Abu Al-Azm. Naming Al-Azm would be quite an embarrassment for the U.S. as he was reportedly trained in the U.S. Air Force.

Al-Azm: Jamal Network terrorist leader, trained by USAF.

Al-Azm: Jamal Network terrorist leader, trained by USAF.

There is something else potentially noteworthy here. Notice that Jamal is designated as a terrorist but readers of the press release are led to believe he’s still in prison (arrested in November of 2012). That Jamal would be identified by State as a terrorist while he’s still incarcerated is a bit odd, which takes us back to the Al Wafd article, which reported in May of this year that he was released by Mursi.

Joscelyn reported back in February that American officials had been denied acces to Jamal. That was during the presidency of Mursi, whose government was receiving more than $1 Billion in aid from the U.S. Another leader in the Jamal Network Joscelyn mentions is Sheikh Adel Shehato, who was also arrested in late 2012 after being released in early 2011.

Sheikh Adel Shehato: As leader in Jamal Network, he's designated a terrorist by State Department.

Sheikh Adel Shehato: As leader in Jamal Network, he’s designated a terrorist by State Department.

This leads to a video we posted a link to before that shows Al-Azm after his 2011 release. The first half of the video shows Al-Azm being greeted by friends and supporters. At approximately the 1:00 mark, the camera turns toward a figure who appears to be Shehato. That both of these men are seen together in this video bolsters the claims that they are both prominent leaders within the Jamal Network:

So, are we to believe that Al-Azm, Shehato, and Al-Kashif (Jamal) are all now in prison, despite the Al Wafd article, which reported that Jamal was released prior to Mursi’s ouster?

Back on September 19th, Ambassador Thomas Pickering, who also chaired the Benghazi Accountability Review Board (ARB) appeared to commit a gaffe when he appeared to reveal information from the ARB’s classified report. In this exchange with House Oversight Committee member, Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Pickering conceded that there was an Egyptian connection to Benghazi before catching himself, saying that he hoped what he had just revealed was in the unclassified report; it was not.

It’s quite likely Pickering was referring to the Jamal Network in this clip. While the State Department did not formally allege the Jamal Network was involved in Benghazi, Pickering acknowledged an Egyptian terror group was involved in Benghazi. If he was referring to the Jamal Network, it’s almost as good as a State Department admission. After all, Pickering was appointed to lead the ARB by then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Whether Pickering’s gaffe had anything to do with the State Department’s public designation is unknown:

**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.

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