Libyan National Charged in 2012 Attack on U.S. Special Mission and Annex in #Benghazi

Posted: 2:22 am ET
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Media reports say that U.S. special forces have captured a militant who was allegedly involved in the 2012 deadly attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound and CIA annex in Benghazi, Libya.  The suspect has been identified as Mustafa al-Imam. An unnamed official told the AP that the suspect was captured in Misrata, on the north coast of Libya and was taken to a U.S. Navy ship at the Misrata port for transport to the United States.

Per DOJ announcement:

Mustafa al-Imam, a Libyan national approximately 46 years old, has been charged for his alleged participation in the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. Special Mission and Annex in Benghazi, Libya, which resulted in the deaths of four Americans.

“The murder of four Americans in Benghazi on September 11, 2012 was a barbaric crime that shocked the American people. We will never forget those we lost – Tyrone Woods, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty and Ambassador Christopher Stevens – four brave Americans who gave their lives in service to our nation,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions.  “We owe it to them and their families to bring their murderers to justice. Today the Department of Justice announces a major step forward in our ongoing investigation as Mustafa al-Imam is now in custody and will face justice in federal court for his role in the attack.  I am grateful to the FBI, our partners in the intelligence community and the Department of Defense who made this apprehension possible.  The United States will continue to investigate and identify all those who were involved in the attack – and we will hold them accountable for their crimes.”

“The apprehension of Mustafa al-Imam demonstrates our unwavering commitment to holding accountable all of those responsible for the murders of four brave Americans in a terrorist attack in Benghazi,” said U.S. Attorney Jessie K. Liu for the District of Columbia.  “Together with our law enforcement partners, we will do all that we can to pursue justice against those who commit terrorist acts against the United States, no matter how far we must go and how long it takes.”

Mustafa al-Imam is charged in a recently unsealed three-count criminal complaint.  The complaint, which was filed under seal on May 19, 2015, in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, charges al-Imam 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.Al-Imam is in U.S. custody, and upon his arrival to the U.S. he will be presented before a federal judge in Washington, D.C.

Read the full announcement here.

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US Embassy Libya: Another Attack on Embassy Personnel

On June 6, there was an IED attack on the USG office in Benghazi:

U.S. citizens are advised that there was an improvised explosive device (IED) attack on the U.S. Office in Benghazi during the early morning hours of June 6. There were no casualties. No one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack. This incident is a reminder of the fluid security situation in Libya.

About a week later, there was an armed attack on a UK diplomatic convoy in Benghazi where two individuals sustained injuries.

Yesterday, there was another armed attacked on a US embassy vehicle:

In the early morning of August 6, U.S. Embassy personnel were attacked by armed assailants in a possible carjacking. The personnel evaded the attack and arrived safely at their destination. This event underscores the uncertain security environment in Tripoli. U.S. citizens are reminded to maintain vigilance at all times. The U.S. Embassy remains open for business.

Ambassador Stevens on a visit to Misrata, Libya, July 2012
(Photo via US Embassy Tripoli/FB)

Above is a photo of US Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens visiting Misrata in northwestern Libya, situated 187 km (116 mi) to the east of Tripoli.  Misrata is the third largest city in Libya and has been called the business capital of Libya. During the Libyan civil war, the city was shelled by artillery, tanks, and snipers, and for over 40 days and had its water supply shut off by Gaddafi’s forces (read more about the Battle of Misrata here).

Hard to say how many of the U.S. citizens who resided in Libya before the civil war are back in the country. While the US Embassy in Tripoli has been pretty good at posting their emergency messages to U.S. citizens online, like other U.S. missions there seems to be a wall between these emergency messages and the embassy’s social media digs.  Perhaps the wall is unintentional, but there is a lack of cohesiveness in the information stream; what gets on the official website, does not always gets amplified in its official Facebook or Twitter pages.

We should note that the US Embassy in Tripoli is looking to hire a bi-lingual Multimedia Specialist in its Public Affairs Office. That individual will be responsible for the analysis of social media sites and reports on trends in Post’s media summary. He/she will also manage the mission’s social media sites including engagement with “followers and coordinating with Washington-based colleagues.”

Which means, one day soon somebody will be able to deal with one of the embassy’s regular fans and fan of OBL who seems to write only one thing on the embassy’s FB wall repeatedly in poor chalk marks:

Selibya Libya We rule and we are all Osama bin Laden and the West knows that we are proud of pigs Qadatna death because they were martyrs, and that death increases our strength and determination to win the battle with al-Qaeda has not yet primitive, but these skirmishes

Well, provided, of course, that State’s Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs has a social media strategy for “engagement” with those on the other lane in this …. ongoing war of ideas, is it? Unless ignoring the “we are proud of pigs Qadatna” or letting him/her have a run of the FB wall is all part of that strategy. Or unless, posts are expected to come up with their own social media strategeries for the non-fans masquerading as fans.

Domani Spero