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
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  1. volsocal

    There is a growing jihadist movement everywhere there are moslems, including Murfreesboro, TN and Dearborn, MI.

    September 12, 2012 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
  2. banasy©

    ....Paid for by Fox

    September 12, 2012 at 6:23 pm | Report abuse |
  3. JC

    I like how the White House says that they will hunt down and punish those responsible for the attack. Those most responsible for the attack are those responsible for the leadership and security failures that made the attack possible. If I were the Secret Service, I would advise the president not to respond when someone shouts "Marco!" from down the hall.

    September 12, 2012 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ruth

      Obama has shown that his administration can hunt down terrorists and kill them. Osama Bin Laden hid for years, it was the Obama administration who finally brought justice to the 3000 people killed by him. I bet in the next few weeks, we will hear that the president of Syria suffered an untimely death, this administration may not take credit it but they will be behind it.

      September 12, 2012 at 6:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • JC

      Really? I was under the impression that it was the US Navy SEALs that got Bin Laden. They were aided by the CIA network that Bush (whatever else he did wrong) began assembling when he could finally turn his attention to the real war. I'm not sure, but I don't remember Obama being much of a sportsman, although I think we could trust that he would understand what end of the gun the bullet comes out of. Obama didn't catch anyone! The CIA, FBI, Military intelligence, cooperating locals, field officers, NSA, Special Forces, and individual mission units did. All Obama had to do was give the green light. Please, don't make the president out to be something he is not.

      September 12, 2012 at 6:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • ddtrey

      Ruth – Wow! Sounds like you speak with a lot of experience in foreign policy and military experience!!!! Maybe you should be the one to call over to these radical Islamist and apologize for all of us who have "hurt their religious freedoms!" Then, you and Osama, I mean Obama can go read the Koran and talk about how to steal from the rich and give to the poor. Liberal nutjob!

      September 12, 2012 at 7:15 pm | Report abuse |
  4. sara

    Jerome, did anyone comment about their hatred towards Jews on this blog or that all Jews should be killed? What wouldve your reaction have been then if the tables were turned? Blaming a whole culture, religion, and population for a groups mistake not what this country is founded on.

    September 12, 2012 at 6:28 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Argle Bargle

    Hunt down the killers and evaporate them.

    September 12, 2012 at 6:45 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Frank

    People of the United States of America and President Obama and Administration
    People, you all know I have to comment on the Embassy Massacre in Libya and Egypt.
    One question, where were the U.S. Marines that a supposed to be protectors of the Staff, where was the planning for any 9/11 type of attack on of people overseas..
    As someone who served in Vietnam and was at one point in my first tour assigned as a backup for Security at the Embassy in Saigon do not want to hear their were no Marine Guards assigned to those Embassies, because if true, the Obama Administration is really, really, really incompetent because they must be living in an alternate universe not to have recognized the threat overseas to our people on 9/11 and for the long term. The Obama Administration must think everyone in the United States just fell off the “Turnip Truck” Now we hear the Usual BS from the Administration that “Our Thoughts and Prayers go out to the Victims Families” and “Justice will be done” what BS, nothing will be done, and how are they going to find the killers with Predator Drones, just stop the BS.

    September 12, 2012 at 6:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • JC

      There we no Marines. The security detail consisted of contracted security operatives and largely self-appointed Libyan security personal. Yes, the same ones you saw with the machine gun-equipped pickups. And that's a simple fact. Why? Two reasons, probably both true. First, if you have American Marines in Libya, you cannot say that there are "no American boots on the ground" to the U.S. public in an election year. Second, the administration, as an effort of appeasement, may have felt that the presence of U.S. troops might have created a dangerous potential for local conflict. Besides, as Hillary so carefully pointed out, the Libyans are so much out friends that they got the ambassador to the hospital... before then releasing his location to all interested parties. How that jives with reports that his body was dragged through the streets, I'm not sure. This one comes home to the president to roost. If he had any balls at all, he would come out and say "It was my call. I made a decision, for these reasons, and it was the wrong decision." But he won't man up that much. Well, we now have an excuse to put boots on the ground in Libya, don't we. Brilliant.

      September 12, 2012 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • ddtrey

      Frank – Thank you for your service. Question: Why should King Obama think he needs to protect anyone in these radical countries? He did apologize to them and asked Americans to stop hurting their religious feelings? Haha! Its ok though my brother, we vote him out in 55 days! Then he will make more history as a black president...the first one to only serve one term!!! I would vote for freaking Palin or Bill Clinton's wife (couldn't bring myself to say her name) before I voted for King Obama!!!

      September 12, 2012 at 7:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jean Sartre

      There is this amazing new invention, I know you probably have not hear of it since you are from the Vietnam area, but it is called "human intelligence." There are many people in Libya who do support the USA and who do "know" and can find out just "who these people are."

      Once we find out just who they are, we will ship them, well, to your house for a proper introduction...

      September 13, 2012 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
    • janey33

      Jean Sartre...You speak of intelligence. Read your posting. Vietnam "area", "hear", and bad sentence structure. There's this amazing new's called proofreading.

      September 13, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  7. It's Like Velcro

    Take any event or non-event- posters attach politics and reasons to bash a candidate.
    It's like mental velcro.

    September 12, 2012 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Helen

    Getting involved in Libya was a huge mistake, and predictably so. Yes, Qadafi was a jerk. But he kept a handle on the Al Qaeda. Hillary Clinton knew full well from Stevens information what the ground conditions were, and in extraordinarily poor judgemnt intervened anyway. Now Al Qaeda is free to play in another sandbox. Big mistake, Obama.

    September 12, 2012 at 7:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • AmericanWaxwing

      Exactly. Obama has committed major errors in encouraging the Muslim Brotherhood in Libya and Egypt. And let it be known that the Muslim Brotherhood has operants here in the U.S., through various organizations, who are infiltrating and compromising U.S. interests through the guise of "political correctness." Wake up, folks.

      September 12, 2012 at 8:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • PMDU

      FYI, during the conflict in Libya and now in Syria, some GOP leaders are quick to demand that the Obama administration arm these leaders.

      September 12, 2012 at 8:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • ren car


      Getting involved in Iraq was a mistake. Qaddaffi was also killing his own people, same with Saddam. Saddam also kept a handle on Iran and Al Qaeda (it is also a fact that Saddam had not connection with Bin Laden or Al Qaeda). Yet Bush attacked Iran because 1. he said they have WMD which is a blatant lie, 2. Saddam was killing his own people therefore, the Iraqi's must be freed. Besides, Obama never invaded Libya. So it was a mistake to have an ambassador to Libya or was it a mistake by Obama for siding with the people of LIbya? I don't get your mind set.. it's just too hypocritical and just plain non-sense.

      September 12, 2012 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Pete

    Stevens is an inspiration. On top of the everyday hardships of an indefinite overseas posting, he knowingly lived and worked in what he knew to be a hostile and dangerous environment. Not a lot of these armchair experts throwing baseless allegations at the administration would have the courage to travel abroad by themselves, let alone sacrifice their lives in the name of freedom and democracy. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

    September 12, 2012 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Jon


    Oh, you're from Canada? So is my girlfriend. It's a shame you can't meet her. She's super hot.

    September 12, 2012 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Robert

    Obama is sending two "warships" to Lybia. Ronald Reagan would have sent the entire fleet and would have exacted blood. And THAT is why Muslims used to respect us. They don't respect us, as Obama would suppose, because we're nice guys. Obama is a fool and is in WAY over his head. How can he help America when he can't even locate his own birth certificate?

    September 12, 2012 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Vulpecula

      He has long sense produce the short and long form certificates. Your either uninformed or diliberately misrepresenting the truth, and either totally negates your opinion. Now go back to school and learn something about critical thinking skills and intellectual honesty.

      September 12, 2012 at 8:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lavonya

      These are Obama's Muslim buddies. He grew up with them in Indonesia and Kenya. They are the people of his father, grandfather, and ancestors. He even wrote a book about how wonderful he thinks they are. The only reason he is acting angry is because it is an election year.

      September 12, 2012 at 8:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • thelaughingman

      @Robert, did you want a full scale invasion, A-bombs and all? This was the work of a small radical hate group in Libya, not the whole country and as far Obama is concerned,he did find his birth certificate, apparently YOU didn't see it when it was printed. Someone here is over his head and it isn't Obama, take a look in the mirror

      September 12, 2012 at 9:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jean Sartre


      When the Marine barracks and 300 Marines were blown to pieces in Lebanon, under Commander-in-Chief, Ray-Gun, his response was exactly this; "These people are crazy! Let's get the flock out of here!

      Don't even attempt to re-write history on this blog!

      September 13, 2012 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe P.

      When the American marines were killed in Lebanon, Reagan pulled the troops out.

      September 13, 2012 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse |
  12. JohnH

    Ironic how no one listened to Gaddafi when he was claming that militia men have extermist ties and Benghazi was terrorist a safe haven that he was trying to clean out (after multiple bombing).

    Now we see repercussion, extermists from libya are now causing havoc in Africa they carved out a region Mali and causing havoc in Nigeria. So is Obama still calling this a success in his books?

    September 12, 2012 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
  13. cbr

    This attack in Libya was not a random act of violence. Those who perpetrated this incident were not happy because the
    ambassador was well-liked and respected. He was a career diplomat and his intentions all along were to mend relations with the Libyan people.

    We need to realize that we are clueless about the video that started this whole campaign. The people in Libya used that utube piecte to get people angry. They knew exactly what they were doing.

    All of this bickering over news channels, etc., is not helping either. If you do not agree with one group or another then let that network know your feelings. Arguing in this format does nothing.

    We all need to extend our thoughts and prayers to the families of hte people slain in Libya. Concentrate on that for a change so we can show those who spread hatred that murdering a diplomat comes with consequences. Let them know how angry we can be, too.

    September 12, 2012 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
  14. saywhat


    more than 1.2 billion muslims or 50 plus countries on this planet with majority muslims did not attack US or kill 3000 people including muslims.
    Just 4 months after 9/11 the German Defense minister Von Buelow had spilled the beans on 9/11 and the world knew. He had told the German and that " Bush cartel and CIA killed innocent Americans". it was Bush himself and his secy of state who had to visit the german leaders to suppress that info. Read on what he had to say.

    September 12, 2012 at 8:23 pm | Report abuse |
  15. sara

    No holy book should be disrespected and if you believe Islam should be then you have no religion or beliefs.

    September 12, 2012 at 8:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jean Sartre

      I have no religion and certainly no religious BELIEFS... BELIEFS without FACTS are for CHILDREN!

      September 13, 2012 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
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