By Ben Barrack
There is a very distinct reason why any Egyptian connection to the Benghazi attack on 9/11/12 is extremely important. That reason is simple. The parent organization of all Sunni Islamic terror groups – including al-Qaeda and Ansar Al-Sharia – was the official governing body of Egypt at the time, led by President Mohammed Mursi. This leads to the findings in a Senate Committee report.
A Select Bipartisan U.S. Senate Committee (SSCI) has confirmed that the title of a report we first published on June 30th of last year – and have continued updating since – is accurate. Egypt was involved in the Benghazi attacks, according to the exhaustive 85-page report released this week. In the report, there were two references to the network named after Muhammad Jamal Abdo Al-Kashif; it’s called the Jamal Network.
The first, on page 10, in which a CIA report from July of 2012 is excerpted:
In the report, CIA stated: “Al-Qa’ida-affiliated groups and associates are exploiting the permissive security environment in Libya to enhance their capabilities and expand their operational reach. This year, Muhammad Jamal’s Egypt-based network, al-Qa’ida in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP), and ai-Qa’ida in the Lands of the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) have conducted training, built communication networks, and facilitated extremist travel across North Africa from their safe haven in parts of eastern Libya.”
In that instance, the CIA identifies the Jamal Network as an “al-Qaeda-affiliated group”, which places it squarely under the Muslim Brotherhood umbrella, an entity led in Egypt by President Mursi at the time of the attack on 9/11/12.
The second instance in which the Jamal Network was referred to in the report was on page 40 and this is where the group is identified as having been involved:
Individuals affiliated with terrorist groups, including AQIM, Ansar alSharia,  AQAP, and the Mohammad Jamal Network, participated in the September 11, 2012, attacks.
This is extremely important territory because the significance of an Egyptian group being involved in the Benghazi attacks appears to be lost on committee members who have no excuse for not understanding it. As an example, take notice of the footnote “134” in that excerpt. Here is what the footnote itself says at the bottom of that page:
After the Benghazi attacks, the IC began to distinguish Ansar al-Sharia into two groups: (1) AAS-Benghazi; and (2) AAS-Damah.
Five days prior to the SSCI report’s release, the State Department identified Ansar Al-Sharia in Darnah and Benghazi as being involved in the attack. However, it did not implicate the Jamal Network, which the SSCI did.
There is one branch of Ansar Al-Sharia that is conspicuously absent in that footnote – AAS-Egypt. Again, let’s go back to our “Ironclad” Report. In particular, have a look at Exhibit Z, which includes an excerpt from an article by Long War Journal’s Thomas Joscelyn about the younger brother of al-Qaeda number 1, Ayman al-Zawahiri:
…there is already at least one group calling itself “Ansar al Sharia in Egypt.” The group is run mainly by former members of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ), a terrorist organization headed by Ayman al Zawahiri that merged with al Qaeda. Mohammed al Zawahiri, Ayman’s younger brother, stars at the group’s events.
The EIJ is significant indeed because, according to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), al-Kashif (Jamal) was the “top military commander” of the group.
Mohammed and Ayman are like-minded and very close. In fact, Mohammed was outside the U.S. Embassy in Cairo on 9/11/12, just prior to the attack on that embassy, which preceded the attack on the Benghazi compound. Mohammed was there with none other than the son of Omar Abdul Rahman (the “Blind Sheikh”). The protest taking place outside the U.S. Embassy had nothing to do with a video; it had everything to do with demanding the release of the “Blind Sheikh”. How do we know this?
Because CNN’s Nic Robertson was there and put together a news report about it.
Again, via Exhibit Z:
As a brief but important aside, on page 13, the SSCI report denotes six terror “incidents” in Benghazi that preceded the 9/11/12 attack. Four of those incidents did not identify the attackers. The two that did, pointed to the “Omar Abdul Rahman Brigade”. The primary goal of such a group is to secure the release of the “Blind Sheik”, who is held in a U.S. prison, serving a life sentence.
During his tenure as President of Egypt, Mursi sought the release of the “Blind Sheikh” as well (See Exhibit M).
Let’s get back to the Jamal Network’s namesake, al-Kashif. His connections to Ayman al-Zawahiri are extensive and irrefutable. None other than the UNSC admitted this in the aforementioned report that implicated al-Kashif’s network in the Benghazi attack. The Long War Journal’s Joscelyn goes into great detail about the al-Zawahiri / al-Kashif relationship that was revealed thanks to the confiscation of al-Kashif’s computer.
This all has served to even further bolster a Libyan Intelligence Document created in the days after the Benghazi attacks. In it the confessions of six “Egyptians” who had been arrested and identified as belonging to “Ansar al-Sharia in Egypt” and even allegedly implicated Mursi by name during the interrogation.
Though the SSCI report names al-Kashif specifically one time (as Muhammad Jamal), it never makes mention of the man who is believed to actually lead the Jamal Network – Tarek Taha Abu Al-Azm. One of the reasons Al-Azm may be so enigmatic could have to do with how embarrassing his involvement in the Benghazi attack would be. He was in the Egyptian military and was trained by the U.S. Air Force according to multiple reports.
Simply identifying the Jamal Network as “Egyptian” and moving on misses a much larger point. As we have long maintained, if Mursi was in any way involved in the Benghazi attack, it would have meant an act of war was perpetrated on the U.S. by a nation state, not simply a terrorist group. This fact very well could serve as at least one motive for not wanting to publicly acknowledge such a reality.
The SSCI report is heavily redacted, which means that those who compiled it have access to more information than we – and others – have. It also means the Committee members know quite a bit more than they’re telling us.