Benghazi burning: Bodies keep falling, U.S. public wants answers

Benghazi burning: Bodies keep falling, U.S. public wants answers
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U.S. Marines bear coffins of those killed in the Benghazi consulate raid more than a year ago.

On Oct. 18, the chief of Libya’s military police, Col. Ahmed Mustafa al-Barghathi, was assassinated outside his house in Benghazi. Wissam bin Hamid, the head of Libya Shield, is believed to be responsible for the murder, and his family home was burned down.

More attacks are planned on military commanders, including Ahmed Bukkattala, who was indicted in New York in August for involvement in the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012, writes Will Wertz of the Executive Intelligence Review.

Wissam bin Hamid, who also has been identified in the Library of Congress’ 2012 report, “Al-Qaeda in Libya: A Profile,” as possibly the head of al-Qaeda in Libya, met with U.S. officials in Benghazi three days before the mission attack. He allegedly threatened that if the U.S. supported one of his political opponents as candidate for prime minister, he would no longer be able to guarantee security for the mission.

Bin Hamid’s Libya Shield also delayed U.S. reinforcements sent from Tripoli on Sept. 11 from leaving the Benghazi airport to relieve U.S. forces at the airport.

“Bin Hamid appeared on Alaseema TV’s Seventh Question in Tripoli for two hours on Oct. 18 denying that he was responsible for the assassination al-Barghathi and vowing to target the people who burned down his home. One person who called in vowed to kill him if he returned to Benghazi through the airport,” Wertz reported.

Bin Hamid, who was introduced as a general coordinator of the Libya Shield, said that Prime Minister Ali Zeidan had passed a list of 100 names to the Americans and that his name had been one of them.

Zeidan has threatened to reveal the names of five congressmen involved in his abduction, but has yet to do so.

Amid the ongoing violence and reprisals in Benghazi, a majority of the American public now supports a special congressional committee to investigate the events surrounding the U.S. mission attack, which left four Americans dead, including chief of mission Christopher Stevens.

A poll by SecureAmericaNow.org found 62 percent of respondents want an independent review of the debacle.

Five House committees found that Hillary Clinton, as secretary of state, approved reduced security at the Benghazi facility before the attack, in contradiction to her Jan. 23 testimony before the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Rep. Frank Wolf, R-Va., has been pushing for an independent probe, but Republican leaders have resisted, according to the Washington Times.

Wolf’s resolution to establish a special committee has 177 co-sponsors.

Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., said the poll underscored what he said was ineffectiveness of the GOP-led probe into the Libyan incident.

Meantime, the Obama administration is drawing up plans for U.S. military personnel to train Libyan soldiers.

Saying relations with the war-torn country have “normalized,” administration officials say the Libyan government deserves better access to U.S. operations.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., demurred.

“We still haven’t gotten to the bottom of the Benghazi terrorist attacks and continue to face additional threats from Libya,” Goodlatte said.


Kenric Ward

Kenric Ward

Kenric Ward is a national correspondent and writes for the Texas Bureau of Watchdog.org. Formerly a reporter and editor at two Pulitzer Prize-winning newspapers, Kenric has won dozens of state and national news awards for investigative articles. His most recent book is “Saints in Babylon: Mormons and Las Vegas.”

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