Slain ambassador warned in '08 about extremists near Benghazi
September 12th, 2012
03:32 PM ET

Slain ambassador warned in '08 about extremists near Benghazi

Before he became U.S. ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens warned in a 2008 diplomatic cable of jihadist sentiment growing not far from Benghazi.

Stevens, who became ambassador to Libya this year,  was killed this week in an attack that U.S. sources tell CNN was planned by a pro-al Qaeda group of extremists. While it is not definitively clear whether this group, or what group specifically, is behind the attack, it's clear that Stevens expressed concern about a radical movement fomenting in the port city of Derna.

The cable was leaked in the trove that WikiLeaks released in 2010 and 2011, and CNN reported on it last year.

In his 2008 missive Stevens, who at the time was U.S. deputy chief of mission in the North African nation, wrote about that "one Libyan interlocutor likened young men in Derna to Bruce Willis' character in the action picture "Die Hard", who stubbornly refused to die quietly."

There is "frustration at the inability of eastern Libyans to effectively challenge" Moammar Gadhafi's regime, Stevens wrote.

That and "a concerted ideological campaign by returned Libyan fighters from earlier conflicts, have played important roles in Derna's development as a wellspring of Libyan foreign fighters in Iraq."

Moammer Gadhafi was killed in October 2011, at the hands of Libyans.

"Other factors include a dearth of social outlets for young people, local pride in Derna's history as a locus of fierce opposition to occupation, economic disenfranchisement among the town's young men. Depictions on satellite television of events in Iraq and Palestine fuel the widespread view that resistance to coalition forces is justified and necessary," Stevens wrote.

Stevens describes Derna: "The lower-middle class neighborhood, comprising poured concrete homes crowded along largely unpaved streets, sits on a hill overlooking the town ... A number of residents were on the streets; however, they were visibly more wary and less friendly than in other Libyan towns."

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Filed under: Libya
soundoff (485 Responses)
  1. rosie

    Ok folks, try this one on for size. You are Al-Qaeda and are having trouble killing Americans anywhere but Afghanistan so what do you do? You go to a place that has little or no security and give it a go. Libya will be like that for a very long time. I think we should pull all our folks out of there until sometime in the future when it settles down.

    September 12, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Joe User

      They didn't "go" to Libya. They were already living there. 20% of all foreign fighters in Iraq were from Eastern Libya. Please stop clogging the Internet with your uninformed opinions...and that's what they are. Opinions!

      September 12, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Herman from Hartford

      Great Post. Lybia is no place for an American to hang out. If you hang out there you are taking the ultimate risk which we saw yesterday. The only way to hang out there is if you have marines guarding you. No one wants to mess with the US Marines

      September 12, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
  2. DocReality

    Where's the president's response. He apologized to Cairo yesterday; is he planning to issue another apology to Libya?

    This website and its affiliated t.v. network are a disgrace to this country. Anyone catch the news last night the birth certificate has YET AGAIN been declared a forgery?

    Let's all WAKE UP and face facts:
    1) Obama is a hoax and a traitor to this country and its people.
    2) Obama should be proven a traitor and impeached.
    3) This needs to happen NOW. Even if he loses the election he still has several more weeks to destroy more of this country.

    September 12, 2012 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • carl

      "Anyone catch the news last night the birth certificate has YET AGAIN been declared a forgery?" Really? By anyone with a shred of credibility? I think not.

      September 12, 2012 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Karonkc

      I could not agree more. I think someday we will have justice and he will be held accountable. There is so much more about him to come out. Time will tell.

      September 12, 2012 at 4:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • jfb

      wow, you really lost it completely LOL aw! it's okay take your bipolar disorder medication you'd feel better "hopefully"

      September 12, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Fred Evil

      Thanks for the laugh Doc!

      September 12, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • cw

      Can you point to the actual apology? Did he actually say, "I'm sorry" or "I apologize". Oh, he didn't? Then you can shut right up.

      September 12, 2012 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aurora Chuck

      Obama facts:

      1. his father was a marxist
      2. his mother a socialist
      3. raised by a communist mentor and grandparents
      4. tied to Bill Aires (weather underground).

      Do I need to go on?

      September 13, 2012 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
  3. saywhat

    Libya has turned into another Somalia. Unlike Tunisia and Egypt it was not a popular uprising against Ghaddafi that saw us aid the rebels and get rid of him. Let us get on with the aiding and arming the rebels in Syria. Al-Qaeda is now our partner there.
    Egyptians did not brook our continuing to prop up the military rule after Mubarak's ouster and our interference in there affairs. They showed it aplenty and in no uncertain terms when Hillary had visited Egypt recently ( covered up and suppressed by our media). That sentiment simmers to explode at any excuse.

    September 12, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  4. George

    Two American Embassy compounds with rocket-granades on 9-11 are no coincidence. Forget bashing John or FOX or CNN, NBC, CBS and realize that we are being held hostage at home and abroad. Rising security costs in our country alone are slowly but surely bankrupting our cities. We simply can not go on this way and neither the President or the Secretary of State or the Congress or the Presidential candidates have articulated any strategy or plan to just plain put an end to this constant threat of violence and terror. We are told this is the new normal. As a citizen choking in taxes and fees, I don't buy it. On the home front, the council of Mayors is lining up against the teachers in Chicago under the guise of accountability. Making teachers accountable for test scores is like making dentists accountable for cavities. If there are bad educators, get rid of the administrators that allow them to continue and if the administration is not doing it's job, get rid of the superintendent. Accountability for student achievement is shared with teachers, administrators and parents – a tripod that simply must exist for any measurable success.

    September 12, 2012 at 4:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill


      September 12, 2012 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
    • Craig

      Very well said!

      September 12, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • fearlessdude

      If you hired a bad teacher, it is your fault. If you hired a good teacher that became a bad teacher, it is also your fault.

      September 12, 2012 at 6:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • ddtrey

      Hmmm, why did you not say "get rid of the teachers before the administrators? My opinion is bad teachers are a HUGE problem in our country. Get rid of them if they do not meet standards. THEN get rid of the administrators if they fail to hole the teachers accountable. I think that is what you meant?

      September 12, 2012 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • DeTamble

      Accountability for student achievement is shared with teachers, administrators and parents ...

      No its not.
      Parents take no responsibility for thier children.
      The Bush Administrations "no child left behind"
      was to pass all children, even if they are not qualified.

      You bash teachers, who can no longer teach,
      when the classroom is full of unruly children,
      teachers can no longer "teach" as they have now become "babysitters".

      If your child cannot take a test and pass it, dont blame
      the teachers, blame the parents who dont spend enough time with
      thier children, and encourage, OR DISCIPLINE them
      to do what is right.
      Its called "RESPONSIBILITY" !!!

      The teachers are not the problem.
      They are a scapegoat.

      September 12, 2012 at 9:26 pm | Report abuse |
  5. saywhat

    Why do my posts end up somewhere between older posts and not where they should be in the Q?
    Though I do appreciate your letting them get thru at all.

    September 12, 2012 at 4:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Go Ducks

      It's the blog gnomes' fault.

      September 13, 2012 at 11:49 am | Report abuse |
  6. Kristin

    First of all, Obama never apologized to anyone. Please check your facts. The Embassy in Cairo, before the riots started, tried to calm the crowd by letting them know they they didn't support the movie that was instigating their anger. Not at all a quote from the President. Really not that hard to do some research.

    September 12, 2012 at 4:47 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Kristin

    To back up my statement, here's a quote from a recently published CBS article, "Romney released a statement last night – on Sept. 11 – asserting "that the Obama administration's first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks." The criticism was in response to a statement put out by the U.S. embassy in Egypt, not the Obama administration. In addition, the statement was released before violence began in an apparent effort to head off the attacks."

    September 12, 2012 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Adam

    So either Obama approved the message beforehand, and is a weak apologist, or the Embassy spoke for the US government without authorization, in which case Obama is an incompetent that can't control it's own administration's message. Which is it?

    September 12, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Kristin

    It's called Freedom of Speech, and the Consulate can say what it wants. Either way, it was before any violence was committed. What's the harm in trying to dull down a potential riot with, you know, diplomacy. What a horrible thing, right? Letting the people know that, even though the video was produced in the US, that the US Gov't in no way supported its message. Either way, there was no "apology" ever even made. Just a statement of fact.

    September 12, 2012 at 4:57 pm | Report abuse |
  10. lapedro

    while people storm across our southern border the inept corrupt political leaders are focused on the other side of the world and their sheep go on grazing like the herd they are

    September 12, 2012 at 5:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brightstar

      U said that right bro! All the sheep under the leader of the biggest ARAB in the world. HUSSEIN OB_MA!

      September 12, 2012 at 5:29 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Karonkc

    beatsymphony It was on purpose but thank you...that was kind act of contraction correction.

    September 12, 2012 at 5:19 pm | Report abuse |
  12. sara

    Rather than stating how the Middle Eastern attacks on the American embassies coincide with September 11th, why not focus on how a Jewish individual released an insulting film to the Islamic religion and the million of followers around the world. And why translate it into the arabic language days prior to September 11th? Unfortunately, individuals took matters to an extreme in retaliation against an ill made movie. What would have been the reaction of the Jewish community if an Arab had made a similar film depicting the Torah and the Jewish religion as a hateful and shameful religion?

    September 12, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jerome

      Sara, those type of Anti-Semitism / Anti-Jewish films and television programming are released almost daily in the Arab world. Heck, even Iranian children's programming depict Jews as vampires that survive off the flesh and blood of young Muslims that is the special ingredient in matzah bread. You told someone that they greatly needed an education, well I would offer you the same wisdom. Educate yourself before commenting.

      September 12, 2012 at 5:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Patriotgamer1234

      I bet they wouldn't have attacked the US Embassy, like a bunch of rabid, inhuman dogs! Just sayin'!!! This is the kind of stuff these people do, what a a bunch of animals!!

      September 12, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • sara

      Jerome, please guide me to the web site that depicts jews as flesh eaters. Also guide me to movies that are made in the Arab world that are against Jews.When is the last time a pastor burned the the Torah in the United States of America. How many mosques just this year have been burned or threatened? Are there any comments that say, Kill all Jews on this website? Would you have commented if so? All religions and cultures deserve respect.

      September 12, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ruth

      Muslims can offend other religions, kill 3000 people for no reason but if one dares to criticize their religion, they mark you for death. I know these are the actions of extremists but it is the most violent religion on the face of the earth. Yes, Christians engaged in violent acts but they have learned from history, the same can't be said for Islam. This is a religion that stones women to death because of adultery but men suffer no punishment.

      September 12, 2012 at 6:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • saywhat

      Insulting and reviling the holy book or a holy figure or a religion as long as its Islam is alright with us. Freedom of speech you know. That feelings of more than a billion people on this planet who take these things seriously are hurt and they get provoked doesn't matter to us.

      September 12, 2012 at 8:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • sara

      It was just a few weeks ago that a Christian American killed several Americans in an American movie theater.

      September 12, 2012 at 8:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jean Sartre

      ALL religions are hateful and shameful, and the people that believe in them even moreso...

      The movie, by the way, was translated so that EVERYONE could ENJOY the huge BENEFITS of RELIGION!

      September 13, 2012 at 10:46 am | Report abuse |
    • janey33

      Jean Sartre...So Jesus, who teaches love, tolerance, and forgiveness is hateful and shameful, as is anyone who believes this???? Guess I should start believing in hate and intolerance like the liberals do.

      September 13, 2012 at 1:28 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Shandizworld

    This has been going on for a long time, no attention was paid, it is too late now.

    September 12, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
  14. sara

    An education is greatly needed in your case. If you look at the many tragedies that have occurred in America, the latest being the night of the Batman movie was an American that killed those many innocent lives taken that night. There is no justification as to what happened in Libya but to say kill all arabs shows that you are no more ethical than those that took the Ambassador's life.

    September 12, 2012 at 5:39 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Daniel Hill

    This is act of war. You better handle it in the right way Obama or you are history. Give up your Islamic beliefs and be an American first.

    September 12, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Wakeupsheep

      Brain-less human we have been in war with them for a long time now. We been bombing their countries killing Innocent people all along. Now we are arming Al Qaeda terrorist in Syria, the same people that attacked the embassy.

      September 12, 2012 at 7:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • James

      @Dan, hey bud, the acts of war have been occurring since the one eyed sheik in New Jersey tried to blow the world trade center the first time. And then the Cole, and then the 2 African embassies and then 9-11 ... the Islamic declaration is loud and clear, but the politically correct multicultural earplugs won't let western civilization hear it.

      September 12, 2012 at 7:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jean Sartre

      Give up your pyschosis and think mental health FIRST!

      September 13, 2012 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
    • janey33

      Jean Sartre...from your postings, it seems your mental health needs some work.

      September 13, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
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