Cairo Bureau Chief should know better
The New York Times’ David D. Kirkpatrick may have a motive for wanting to leave out any evidence of an Egyptian connection to the Benghazi attacks on 9/11/12; he is the Cairo Bureau Chief. After reading what amounts to his “novel” – replete with actual chapters – in the New York Times, two things are made clear about what he believes. The attackers were Libyans exclusively and the central figure – Ahmed Abu Khattala – may have been central but his involvement was entirely questionable (doesn’t make sense, does it?).
Months of investigation by The New York Times, centered on extensive interviews with Libyans in Benghazi who had direct knowledge of the attack there and its context, turned up no evidence that Al Qaeda or other international terrorist groups had any role in the assault. The attack was led, instead, by fighters who had benefited directly from NATO’s extensive air power and logistics support during the uprising against Colonel Qaddafi. And contrary to claims by some members of Congress, it was fueled in large part by anger at an American-made video denigrating Islam.
No international terrorist groups? Really?
That assertion by Kirkpatrick is contradicted by none other than Ambassador Thomas Pickering, the top man tasked by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton with getting to the bottom of what happened in Benghazi. Pickering headed Clinton’s Accountability Review Board (ARB), which released a report of its findings earlier this year.
On September 19th of this year, at a House Oversight Committee Hearing, Pickering was asked by Rep. Cynthia Lummis (R-WY) about the possibility of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood being involved in the Benghazi attack. Not only did Pickering fail to answer that question directly but in so doing, he identified an Egyptian group as being involved. Shortly after doing so, Pickering seemed to catch himself divulging information that was only available in the classified ARB report (the unclassified report makes no mention of an Egyptian group).
Here is the video of the exchange between Lummis and Pickering (relevant portion takes place in first thirty seconds):
As we have reported previously, the group Pickering was more than likely referring to is the Jamal Network, named after its founder, Muhammad Jamal Abdo Al-Kashif. Long War Journal’s Thomas Joscelyn rightfully points out that al-Kashif was recently identified by the State Department as a terrorist and by the U.N. as a suspect in the Benghazi attacks.
Earlier this year, at a House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee hearing, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher introduced our “Ironclad” Report into the record and asked expert Daveed Gartenstein-Ross about Egyptian involvement in Benghazi. Gartenstein-Ross seemed to comfortably imply that the Jamal Network itself was involved:
However, all of this was apparently lost on Kirkpatrick.
Note what we wrote about Ahmed Abu Khattala back on August 12, 2013:
Ahmed Abu Khattala was a commander with the group that attacked the Benghazi compound. He had also been a leader in the group charged with protecting the compound.
Witnesses said they saw vehicles with the Ansar Al-Sharia logo at the scene of the attack, and that Ansar al-Sharia commander Ahmed Abu Khattala was present. Khattala was once the leader of Al-Jarrah Brigade, which formed the February 17 Martyrs Brigade.
Yet, here is how Kirkpatrick describes Khattala:
At 42, he has never completed high school or married. He earns a modest living as a construction contractor in blue Dickies coveralls, and lives with his mother in a house decorated with a vase of plastic roses in its living room.
While he seemingly attempts to paint Khattala as both the ringleader and an innocent bystander, Kirkpatrick comes off as being just as schizophrenic as such a figure would almost have to be.