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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soundoff (485 Responses)
  1. advocatusdiaboli

    Non-news: all diplomats in unstable nations are warned routinely and get security briefings regularly. Nothing new here nor out of the ordinary.

    September 12, 2012 at 9:25 pm | Report abuse |
  2. yosief Abraha

    There is so much you can go with political correctness or tolerating ignorance i n the hope that it takes time to educate the wrong side. However, it has to be clear that you do this kind of thing you will have '0' chnace of being educated and more!!

    September 12, 2012 at 9:25 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Vince

    What If:

    Small business grew jobs-Which grows the economy and those without jobs had jobs. And those with jobs made a little more year over year. However paid MAYBE 2,000 more in taxes but made MORE and had MORE opportunity to grow year over year rahter than having a cap on their potential.

    What If:

    You made less than $200,000 per year and were able to have tax free investment income.

    When people with money make money so does eveyone else. A very simple question:

    What if you had an opportunity to have a business that have annual sales volume of $1,000,000 and you made $200,000. However if you did $2,000,000 in volume you would make $250,000 with twice the head ache. Which route would you choose?

    Those with commen sense understand risk with reward. When theres no reward why risk it. We need risk takers to grow the economy.

    Vote Romney and get Obama out. We are not a socialist country. We are CAPITALIST. We capitalize off others and when one comes up with a great idea we patent it until the next genius exploids the opportunity provided by his peers and makes a giid idea better.


    September 12, 2012 at 9:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ekaterina Kaverina

      Tom Paine, I am glad that somebody out there has kept brains. Cheers.

      September 12, 2012 at 10:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Go Ducks

      I'd go for the 200k with no headaches.

      September 13, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Helen

    Why President Obama wasn't this Ambassador better protected on 9/11???? What a shameful failure.

    September 12, 2012 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Ron

    The words of our Glorious Leader. "I will stand with the Muslims should the political winds shift in an ugly direction." This is from page 261 of the "Audacity of Hope." This is our leader speaking.

    September 12, 2012 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tom Paine

      Out of context and reworded. Stop perpetuating lies:

      September 12, 2012 at 10:14 pm | Report abuse |
  6. iwillrun2016

    ok, stop with the war rhetoric. let's work on OUR country and quit screwing around with others. oh, yeah, we can't. it's all about oil...

    September 12, 2012 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
  7. wolf eye

    well 1st of all fox news i'm also a veteran and for the 1st time a president is allowing it's spe/op gen to make sounds decisions to assess the course of action..... you of all people should know never allow your opponent to no what your next move is going to be or at-least pretend .... listening to fox news only closes your mind think outside the box sir.......

    September 12, 2012 at 10:02 pm | Report abuse |
  8. nitrous

    Jesus. Learn how to friggin' spell. You come off as an ignoramus.

    September 12, 2012 at 10:05 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Tom Paine

    Free speech comes with responsibility; you cannot yell "fire" in a crowded theater when there's no fire. It's no secret how these people react to insults to Mohammed. Their actions are not justified, nor are they a surprise. That stupid film had no other purpose than to insult the radicals, and now blood is on the hands of the filmmakers.

    September 12, 2012 at 10:07 pm | Report abuse |
  10. angel of crisis

    oh what a grave Obama has dug for our once great country. Gaddafi's bullet riddled corpse was dragged through the streets as we left rebels now fighting eachother over who gets what land while the extremists move in to take control.

    September 12, 2012 at 10:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Go Ducks

      Obama didn't dig it you nitwit. Our entire government from the local to federal level for generations has dug the grave of America.

      September 13, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
  11. jason

    Please, not another war. Frank, if you want another war, please suit up and get your fanny to the middle east. I am so sick of wars. people in the middle east don't have a clue what democracy is all about. the egyptians thought they did but they don't understand what it means to be free. freedom of speech no matter how disgusting is part of a democratic country. the only thing the people in middle east understand are dictators who keep them in line. So we should not support democracy in the middle east because it is all a sham. if any middle eastern wants to be free, then get the hell out and go to a country that practices true democracy. I agree with Ron Paul that we should mind our own business but am not a complete isolationist because i do think that there are some countries that we should support and maintain diplomatic ties.

    September 12, 2012 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
  12. sandie shuck

    Thank you for your common sense. Think about this. With these 2 countries hot spots in the Mid East and Israel not feeling safe how come Obama did not take the time to secure these embassies on (9/11/12)
    and CNN covers for Obama.
    Then Obama apologizes for the video this Californium man made for hurting the Muslims feelings. The last thing on my list is the feelings of the radical Muslims. I feel for my fellow citizens and the poor people who are ruled by these nuts. Who cares if they get their feelings hurt.
    They say terrible things about us-let them who cares.
    And the much of the media makes Romney the amateur.
    Then the Afghan President comes out and attacks the Americans for insulting the Muslims.
    You tell these people we do not give a crap what you think. You play ball our way or you loose all our money.
    How dare Obama keep giving these peoples money when millions of our own people are hurting and Obama is worried about hurting feelings.
    In Obama's own state the graduation rate is about 50%. He has elementary kids where only about 30% are proficient in reading and we talk about radical feelings.

    September 12, 2012 at 10:13 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Ekaterina Kaverina

    Frank, what, another war? Just the thing...

    September 12, 2012 at 10:15 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Ekaterina Kaverina

    Sandy, last I heard the conservatives wanted less money spent on schools. And if this attack is the President's fault, then definitely the WTC attacks were the fault of Bush junior. Have some common sense. Since when is war better than peace?

    September 12, 2012 at 10:20 pm | Report abuse |
  15. jason

    Vince the core of any capitalist society is its middle class and let's face it, your example only erodes the middle class because it begets greed. What you propose is a society that rewards the mentality of survival of the fittest and that isn't what America is about. In fact, that isn't what democracy is about. Your "what if" is down south (MX). The wealth in the hands of a few, with no real middle class, lots of poverty, and a country that is fast becoming a failed state because the rich don't give to hoots what happens to the rest of the citizenry. Tax the rich, reward the middle and working class, and get able-bodied welfare recipients to get a job.

    September 12, 2012 at 10:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • Go Ducks

      I agree with Ron Paul on those points as well, but he is also a radical nutjob.

      September 13, 2012 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
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