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."

Post by:
Filed under: Libya
soundoff (485 Responses)
  1. Jane

    So knowing the conditions in Benghazi, the US ambassador, US and the rest of NATO (France shares the most blame for the Libya fiacso) still decided to ARM the rebels to defeat Gaddafi. We are reaping what we sowed. Libya is a disaster but the press and the US intentionally fanned sentiments against Gaddafi and portrayed the rebels sympathetically . This was always a sectarian war never a democratic move. Same thing is happening in Syria where the US has been arming the rebels. The US will never learn. These rebels don't like you, will use you and then attack you once they have used you to accomplish their purpose.

    September 12, 2012 at 8:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jean Sartre

      Yes, FRANCE is to BLAME!

      No, President Obama is to BLAME!

      Now, with WILLARD as president, we can bomb the hell out of FRANCE, OBAMA, wherever he goes and then RUSSIA, then CHINA, then INDIA and then...

      Jane, please take a nap...

      September 13, 2012 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Jane

      Jean you are very rude and seem unable to respond to peoples comments without name calling and insults when they don't agree with you. I hope that is not how you live your life offline . If you do even a little research you will realize that Sarkozy was the main cheerleader for NATO involvement in Libya and Obama went along with it. So yes both Sarkozy and Obama are to blame for the mess that Libya was in. If they hadn't armed the rebels and helped to destroy major parts of Libya this would not have happened. Libya is a mess but I guess since it was under Obama's watch you would rather insult people than admit it.

      September 13, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Your Are So Wrong

      Jean, too bad you don't have a touch of spiritual awareness. That is very sad and explains a lot about your mindset as seen in your posts.

      September 13, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  2. saywhat

    @ Ruth
    let us see how Hindus in India would react if someone writes a book or makes a movie reviling one of their holy deities or Budhdhists if Budhdha is reviled or say if someone makes a movie questioning or negating the Holocaust.
    Muslims are the only other people on this planet who recognize and revere Jesus Christ. If Jesus is insulted or made mockery of they are the ones who protest.
    We do not take our religion seriously most have Christian names and do not even believe in religion.

    September 12, 2012 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
  3. famous quotes

    "I love Jesus Christ yet I despise Christians. For they do not live as Christ lived."-Mohandus Ghandi

    September 12, 2012 at 8:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • quotehelp

      Mohandas Gandhi did not despise anyone....research your quote a bit more...Gandhi would be appalled for saying that he despised anyone.

      "I like your Christ but I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are nothing like your Christ" - Mohandas Gandhi

      September 12, 2012 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
  4. US to ME

    The majority of middle eastern citizens view US citizens as infidels all, and many as invading infidels. American Muslims are viewed as renegades.
    This holds true for israel as well. One-fourth of Israels population view US citizens as infidels, with the other 3/4ths viewing US as gentiles.
    Mohandus Ghandi viewed most of US as hypocrites.

    September 12, 2012 at 8:41 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Actually

    Our nationwide obesity epidemic coupled with the fact that we waste 40% of our food has done more to energize peoples of the world against US than any foreign policy decisions made ny politicians.
    Lard ass democrats like to blame Bush, fatso republicans, Obama. Neither group of partiers like to look into the mirror of US as it refelcts around the world.

    September 12, 2012 at 8:53 pm | Report abuse |
  6. pooting-in-mouths-since-1927

    i just pooped.

    September 12, 2012 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Actually

    ...and the "uprising" in Libya was a coverup what was really happening: Libya being purged of citizens whom would never side with invading infidels.

    September 12, 2012 at 8:58 pm | Report abuse |
  8. wastewater1

    CNN has lost many audience viewers globally.

    As Independent voters here in the US, we concur with many from canada, Australia and other who have switched the channel as this pulpit for spewing biased commentary and analysis has over time become very apparent to many folks.

    Unfortunately, media has lost its credibility as responsible journalism and bringing the news to the forefront as factual has forced us to discount much which is said and even government numbers reporting Black America's versus the actuality of soaring numbers far worse than the stats for whites cause much alarm as this half white man promised so much help to inner cities and he has even failed the voters who came out in '08 and willNot vote this election!

    September 12, 2012 at 9:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jean Sartre

      I and my entire family voted for President Obama in '08 and we will again in'12...

      Wastewater is what your brain seems to be made of... only it has a yellow tint and it is wetting this post.

      September 13, 2012 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
  9. liz48

    thank you president Obama and the m-us-lim b'hood!

    September 12, 2012 at 9:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • liz48isdumb

      Stop being an ignorant fool, for #1 blaming Obama, and #2 saying that he's a Muslim.

      September 12, 2012 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse |
  10. D

    Forget your tin foil hat again?

    September 12, 2012 at 9:13 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Fates Warning

    Soviet Union falls.
    War machine needs a new enemy.
    Osama Bin Laden and Al Queda are created by the CIA and the NEOCON politicians.
    A perpetual state of war has been created.
    We no longer have a "country" to fight.
    We have and "idea" to fight.
    It can pop up anywhere, like playing whack-a-mole.
    It is the perfect enemy.

    The real enemy is the people who have created this enemy.
    You have eyes, but you dont see.
    You have ears but you dont listen.

    Time is short.

    September 12, 2012 at 9:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Go Ducks

      The real enemy is the ultra-rich who control world politics to the point that what you stated happens.

      September 13, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  12. @quotehelp

    I beg to differ, but the point remains unchallenged: Ghandi viwed US Christians as hypocrites, and rightly so.
    US "christians" do NOT pattern their lives after the life of Christ. They obey President Obamas commands and ignore the commands of Jesus Christ. Christ was not a drunk, druggie, army man, nor did he waste food. Jesus was not obese, for example. He didn't borrow money from jew banks so he could live in a home that he simply couldn't afford, for another example.
    US "christians" make a mockery of Jesus.

    September 12, 2012 at 9:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • jay

      Religion is for priest... like the easter bunny if for kids... grow up

      September 12, 2012 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jean Sartre

      Jesus is there to be MOCKED!

      I see you have somehow managed to disparage just about every living minority that exists with your vile hatred an prejudice...

      September 13, 2012 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe P.

      Jesus helped the poor, and the sick, too.

      September 13, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Go Ducks

      I am offended that the United States is still referred to as a "christian" nation. Religion is absurd. I don't know anyone who goes to church, and I haven't for a long time. We are not one nation under "God" we are a nation under fire from our own "elected" officials.

      September 13, 2012 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
  13. badi

    Do you know what ISLAM, do you know the meaning of the Islam!!!!... please, don't over overjudge ..

    September 12, 2012 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Portland tony

    Don't watch to much daytime TV....but the fact remains, the consulate was attacked, but the ambassador wasn't targeted. His presence was a spur of the moment decision. Ignorant rebel tribes don't usually care which westerners they kill.

    September 12, 2012 at 9:23 pm | Report abuse |
  15. D.F. Perkins

    I have been saying this for years. When push comes to shove, Americans can expect Muslims to turn against them. What is happening to our boys in Afghanistan? Think! Their religion takes absolute precedence over citizenship, hands down. What boggles my mind is that there are so many pinko, bleeding-heart liberal, misguided, gullible, naive, patronizing, a$$-kissing, clueless Americans who just don't see the menace! I can see from some of the posts. The menace has already arrived in Europe. They HATE the U.S. What part of this don't Americans with their head in the sand understand? Don't pin this on a mere film. It wasn't the film – they have been hating Americans for years. This attack was meticulously planned. What I learned from mingling with some of these people has made me sad for America's future.

    September 12, 2012 at 9:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jean Sartre

      Sorry you are sad, try taking some anti-depressants, see your psychiatrist, REGULARILY, and take your MEDS, AGAIN, REGULARILY...

      These folks would probably NOT dislike us or hate us if we stopped invading and occupying their countries, AND, stuffing JESUS down their throats!

      September 13, 2012 at 10:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Go Ducks

      @jean sartre,

      He doesn't need to take his meds. You need to wake up and smell the coffee. We aren't shoving Jesus down their throats, hardly nobody really believes that old myth anymore anyways, we are shoving "democracy" down their throats in order to keep them destabilized.

      September 13, 2012 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13