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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Attacks on U.S. Embassies May Have Been Coordinated

I'm not going to repeat the basic facts of the attacks, but the various embassy attacks appear to have been planned and coordinated. 

Fox News reports:
But hours before the bloody assault, [Sean] Smith [a foreign service information management officer assigned to the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi] sent a message to Alex Gianturco, the director of "Goonswarm," Smith's online gaming team or "guild."

“Assuming we don’t die tonight,” the message, which was first reported by Wired, read. “We saw one of our ‘police’ that guard the compound taking pictures.”

Within hours of posting that message, Smith, a husband and father of two, was dead.
The most recent Reuters article indicates:
Libya's Deputy Interior Minister Wanis Al-Sharif said U.S. staff were rushed to a Benghazi safe house after the initial attack on the consulate and an evacuation plane with U.S. commando units then arrived from Tripoli to evacuate them from the safe house.

"It was supposed to be a secret place and we were surprised the armed groups knew about it. There was shooting," Sharif said. Two U.S. personnel were killed there, he said. Two other people were killed at the main consular building and between 12 and 17 wounded.
The article also indicates:
U.S. government officials said the Benghazi attack may have been planned in advance and there were indications that members of a militant faction calling itself Ansar al Sharia - which translates as Supporters of Islamic Law - may have been involved.

They also said some reporting from the region suggested that members of Al-Qaeda's north Africa-based affiliate, known as Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, may have been involved.

"It bears the hallmarks of an organized attack," one U.S. official said. However, some U.S. officials cautioned against assuming that the attacks were deliberately organized to coincide with the September 11 anniversary.
(I could have sworn that I had read an earlier version that said that security forces were seen pointing out the safe house to the attackers, but I neglected to copy it at the time, and now can't find any reports of that).

Meanwhile, this article states:
Intelligence experts and U.S. government officials are starting to view the attack in Libya that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others in Benghazi as a coordinated attack.

Congressman Mike Rogers, R-Mich., went as far Wednesday to say the attack had all the hallmarks of al-Qaida.

"This was a coordinated attack, more of a commando style event. It had both coordinated fire, direct fire, indirect fire," Rogers said following an intelligence briefing on Capitol Hill.

Other sources, including officials at the Pentagon and the State Department, are also discussing the possibility that it was a planned operation, and some say several developments support the possibility.

The incident does not appear to be a random mob scene, but rather an opportunity that militants seized, sources say. The attackers used a rocket-propelled grenade, a weapon not traditionally carried by protesters, but commonly used by terrorists.

The attack is believed to have come in two waves. The first wave got inside of the compound, and a second wave penetrated a secure location inside the building. This development raises questions about how the attackers knew the location of that secure facility, sources say.
The Washington Times similarly states:
A member of the Senate intelligence committee on Wednesday raised the possibility that attacks on U.S. diplomatic missions in the Middle East and North Africa this week were connected to al Qaeda.

Sen. Bill Nelson, Florida Democrat, said the attacks "have the markings of revenge by al Qaeda." He said they could be connected to the killing in June of Abu Yahya al-Libi, a top leader of the terrorist network.
Meanwhile, Egyptian protesters that attacked the embassy compound in Cairo were copying Occupy protesters, including spray pointing the same graffiti ("ACAB" for "All cops are bastards") and wearing Guy Fawkes masks.

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