Benghazi ringleader: Anti-Muslim video inspired attack

Well, isn’t that embarrassing. Libyan national Ahmed Abu Khattala, a ringleader of the deadly attack on America’s diplomatic consulate in Benghazi, Libya, apprehended this weekend by US Special Forces, reportedly said that the attack was motivated as a response to an anti-Muslim American video.

The admission by Khattala is more than a bit inconvenient for congressional critics of President Obama’s handling of the crisis, as those “Benghazi truthers” had claimed until this point that it was absurd to suggest that the inflammatory video played any part in inspiring the attacksthat left an American ambassador, and three other US citizens, dead.

Khattala’s statements back up an earlier NYT report that suggested the video did in fact play a role.

More from the NYT:

Actual scene from "Innocence of Muslims."

Actual scene from “Innocence of Muslims.”

Mr. Abu Khattala told other Libyans in private conversations during the night of the attack that he was moved to attack the diplomatic mission to take revenge for an insult to Islam in an American-made online video.

An earlier demonstration venting anger over the video outside the American Embassy in Cairo had culminated in a breach of its walls, and it dominated Arab news coverage. Mr. Abu Khattala told both fellow Islamist fighters and others that the attack in Benghazi was retaliation for the same insulting video, according to people who heard him.

The video in question is called “Innocence of Muslims,” and it suggested, among other things that the Muslim prophet Mohammed was a gay pedophile.

Apparently, Muslims were less than impressed by the American film’s suggestion that their God rapes children.

Keep in mind that at this point, there had already been violence in a number of cities around the world in response to cartoons criticizing Mohammed.  That’s not to suggest that the violence was merited.  It is, however, to suggest that violence as a response to criticism of Mohammed should not come entirely as a surprise.

Let me put it another way. You decide to walk home alone at 3am through a really bad part of town, while twirling your gold necklace in the air and counting the money in your wallet, out loud, by counts of 100. No one would suggest that you deserve to be mugged. But we wouldn’t be terribly surprised if you were.

In any case, the GOP outrage machine made great hay out of the Obama administration claim that the video may have played a role in the attack. And now we find out that — what do you know? — the Obama administration was right all along.

The Department of Justice announced last night that terrorism charges have been filed against Khattala. From DOJ:

The charges were announced upon the unsealing of a three-count criminal complaint. The lead count in the complaint is a death-eligible offense. The complaint, which was filed under seal on July 15, 2013, in the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, charges Khatallah with:
— Killing a person in the course of an attack on a federal facility involving the use of a firearm and dangerous weapon and attempting and conspiring to do the same.
— Providing, attempting and conspiring to provide material support to terrorists resulting in death.
— Discharging, brandishing, using, carrying and possession of a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence.

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CyberDisobedience on Substack | @aravosis | Facebook | Instagram | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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22 Responses to “Benghazi ringleader: Anti-Muslim video inspired attack”

  1. Duxburian says:

    And here is where you post your source for your claim.

    Or we laugh at you some more.

  2. DanaCrispovi says:

    just before I looked at the receipt ov $8130 , I
    didn’t believe that my sister woz like actualy bringing in money part-time from
    there pretty old laptop. . there aunts neighbour has been doing this 4 only
    about 22 months and at present repayed the mortgage on their appartment and
    bought themselves a Chrysler . see here M­o­n­e­y­d­u­t­i­e­s­.­C­O­M­

  3. BeccaM says:

    Or the nearly 3000 who died on 11 September 2001.

  4. Naja pallida says:

    Not to mention, not a peep about the sixty people who died in embassy/consulate attacks during the Bush presidency.

  5. Naja pallida says:

    Any such case would be thrown out before it even got anywhere in the courts. No sane judge would risk ruling against such a blatantly obvious First Amendment argument.

  6. BeccaM says:

    “Bin Laden Determined to Strike in U.S.”

    Let’s deal with that ‘foreseen organized terrorist attack’ first, shall we? Or is that too far back to remember?

  7. PeteWa says:

    oh yeah, well I’ve got one thing to say in response!

  8. WilmRoget says:

    Shouldn’t charges be filed against the makers of the film, for inciting terrorism?

  9. MyrddinWilt says:

    Actually no, there is no evidence that the attack was organized more than a few hours in advance.

    And how exactly was Obama supposed to know about the attack if it was planned in advance? Intelligence is never perfect and the attack was in fact on a CIA outpost. Were they meant to send more spies out there or something?

    The wingnuts claim to care so much about 2 deaths in Benghazzi but couldn’t get enough US deaths in Iraq. They wanted more of them.

  10. jack_k1 says:

    Fox? No. This is something the administration has since acknowledged.

  11. 2karmanot says:


  12. nicho says:

    Because Fox hasn’t told him yet. They’re working on it.

  13. hoplite_i says:

    Ok then, why don’t you tell us how long it had been planned. Since you claim to know.

  14. jack_k1 says:

    The issue at hand is whether or not this was a spontaneous attack or an organized terrorist attack. The facts are quite clear. The administration presented this as a spontaneous attack that they could not foresee, and the reality is that it was a planned attack by an established terrorist organization that was both foreseen by the ambassador and ignored by the administration.

  15. jomicur says:

    The GOP/Tea Party crowd will be bleating any minute now (if they’re not already) that Abu Khattala, like all Muslims everywhere, is a liar and only said this to help his bff, fellow Muslim Barack.

  16. Bill_Perdue says:

    No. I’m was never daft enough or dense enough to want to be a polyscifi student. I’m reality based. I don’t care How Mr Bill Becomes A Law, but in who bribed who.

  17. Elijah Shalis says:

    Actually Mark Basseley Youssef is a conservative christian, close enough

  18. doug105 says:


  19. Elijah Shalis says:

    Guess you have a degree in Political Science.

  20. Bill_Perdue says:

    In the end, the attack was a response to the US/NATO attack on Libya to regain control of it’s oil resources.

    Many Libyans wanted Gaddafi out but they didn’t want NATO and the US to replace him because, like Saddam Hussein, he was playing ball with the west when he attacked Iran. He began as a radical nationalist, peremptorily closing a US base and he nationalized the oil industry. He created an extensive welfare state and in a short time life expectancy rose from 51 to 74 years.

    “For a long time the Western powers were very hostile to Gaddafi. The US attempted to kill him by bombing his Tripoli compound in 1986. The Western powers also imposed economic sanctions on Libya and supported attempts by Gaddafi’s opponents to overthrow him. The sanctions caused considerable difficulties for Libya, and Gaddafi made big concessions in an effort to end them. … 2003-2004 normal diplomatic and economic relations with the Western powers were re-established. Gaddafi began implementing neoliberal policies..”

    The squabbles between Democrats and Republicans over the real origins of the continuing upsurges in Libya are unimportant compared to what going on there now which is the growth of popular revulsion with US and NATO backed militias. “In recent months there has been a wave of protests against militias in Libya’s cities. The militias are armed groups originally formed during the 2011 civil war. … There is widespread resentment at their arbitrary exercise of power.”

    Many of the militias have a strong islamist component. The left and the antiwar movement will be watching developments in Libya and Iraq very closely. In Iraq we’ll do all we can to prevent another bloodbath of Iraqis by the US.

  21. Elijah Shalis says:

    I bet conservative neocons were behind making that video too

  22. hoplite_i says:

    The GOP needs to be put on trial over this in the court of public opinion. There needs to be a coordinated and sustained effort on behalf of the non corporate media, Dems, progressives, etc to force the corporate media to report this (currently no mention of it on CNN), and hold the GOP to account for their two year long lie fest and slandering of Susan Rice, Clinton and the Obama administration. People need to pressure the media to report this and implore their Dem representatives to talk about it. In whatever way, in every way, in any way, this information needs to be used a weapon to smite the Republican party.

    After Obamacare out turned pretty well the GOP switched off that and back onto BENGHAZI! full time. They are even more vulnerable to this truth as a result. It’s a perfect vehicle in which to drive right down the gullet of the GOP right now, and just in time for mid terms. We need to take advantage with an immediate, sustained, offensive.

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