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. Osman Eliyasu

    We love to all american were killed all over world.

    September 13, 2012 at 5:32 am | Report abuse |
  2. dave

    It is kinda funny the way Democrats start talking facts and when the common republican cannot dispute those facts they all of a sudden become english majors and start correcting your grammer like a sixth grade elementry school teacher...

    September 13, 2012 at 5:39 am | Report abuse |
    • mrs. grundy

      You mean grammar!

      September 13, 2012 at 6:52 am | Report abuse |
  3. fiftyfive55

    White people in the mideast are like white folks in one of Chicago's black neighborhoods....need I explain more?

    September 13, 2012 at 6:24 am | Report abuse |
  4. ug

    This is just a spin by the liberal media to blame Bush when it is obamas fault.

    September 13, 2012 at 7:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Jean Sartre

      The fault, if you really must assign one to this FUBAR is:

      America occupation of foreign countries – when will we get it that these people don't want us in THEIR COUNTRY!

      Secondly, the root of all evil on the planet: RELIGION!

      Put those 2 elements together, along with poverty and the massive disparity in wealth across the planet, give it a little careful thought and analysis, and you now have the reasons for all the world's problems...

      September 13, 2012 at 8:39 am | Report abuse |
    • David Marriot

      Wes; Hey numb nots, Obama put the muslim brotherhood into power in both Libya and Egypt when he rolled over on Mubarack and Ghadafi! Where have you been? I see you're still drinking the liberal cool-aid and apparently it has some good stuff in it! ...its not nice to indulge, if you didn't bring enough for everybody!

      September 13, 2012 at 8:43 am | Report abuse |
    • Spam bot

      Why even respond to such silliness?

      September 13, 2012 at 8:56 am | Report abuse |
    • MG.

      Lib=tart alert!!

      September 13, 2012 at 9:09 am | Report abuse |
    • DB

      So while we are fiercely protective of our freedoms and democracy, when these nations rise up against dictators we should help the dictators in question stamp out dissent? Frankly not very American of you...

      September 13, 2012 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
    • streetdude66

      Riiiiiiiight Obama told Dubya to ignore RONALD REAGANS TERRORIST EXPERT RICHARD CLARKS warning of 911 & dont forget the time Obama told Dubya to let OBL go instead of killing him when the Us had him cornered @ Bora Tora. How many Amer lives could have been saved from Sept 11. 2000 thru the time Dubya the Decider decided to set OBL FREE?

      September 13, 2012 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Blucorsair

      DB; Why should we replace 1 tyrrant 3000 miles away with 3000 tyrrannts that live1 mile away in these countries? The muslim brotherhood and Al Kaeda aren't my idea of freedom! ...that's kind of like jumping out of the frying pan into the fire!

      September 13, 2012 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
  5. obama is Out Of Touch with reality

    They can burn our flag and kill our people, it is time for all Americans to come together and put down these dogs and put them down permanently ! Make the burn in hell.

    September 13, 2012 at 7:21 am | Report abuse |
    • Lionel

      Is this the Romney / Ryan plan? Wars bankrupt nations. Read it in the "Art of War".

      The middle east is very complex. Religion is the root of all evil.

      September 13, 2012 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Go Ducks

      Give it time, things are only going to get worse. Eventually we will find ourselves in a global holy war, and Islam will be all but wiped out.

      September 13, 2012 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  6. obama is Out Of Touch with reality

    They can burn our flag and kill our people, it is time for all Americans to come together and put down these dogs and put them down permanently ! Make them burn in hell.

    September 13, 2012 at 7:22 am | Report abuse |
  7. BigHwasdemo

    It appears we can take out more radical muslims by just drone striking our own consulates?

    September 13, 2012 at 7:42 am | Report abuse |
  8. bilk7

    One thing this tragic event has shown us is that Mitt Romney is not ready to lead the free world. It is too late for us to find a new nominee for the party but Romney should immediately fire his advisors who thought making that asinine false statement was the right thing to do. He should then apoligize to the President and the American people for lying and to the families of those murdered for the disrespect he showed towards them and the deceased.

    September 13, 2012 at 7:52 am | Report abuse |
    • ForGoodOfAll

      Great post. I agree 100%. Romney is a rich businessman who thinks he can buy the presidency, but he knows nothing about foreign policy. This will be extremely evident in the upcoming presidential debates.

      September 13, 2012 at 9:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Lionel

      Agree 100%. This would be the right thing for Robme to do.

      But he will not just like he will not release his tax returns.

      Can't wait for the wikileaks to come out and show us his returns.

      September 13, 2012 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
    • pat carr

      I agree too

      September 13, 2012 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  9. Brian

    What is happening...again, is a stark reminder that the war on terror is alive and well. The President appears to have made the proper response. However, I really fear there are some in this country who wouldn't be against fanning the flames a bit, just to be able to point at Obama and say "you failed". This is sort of apparent with Mitt Romney, who's looking desperate at this point.

    September 13, 2012 at 8:10 am | Report abuse |
    • ForGoodOfAll

      Very good point, and very possible given the unrest and hatred seen during this election year. Very sad...

      September 13, 2012 at 9:06 am | Report abuse |
    • David Marriott

      Brian; If you're calling the proper response, "getting your behind back in the white house to do your job", from a NV. fund raiser or apologizing for a You tube film that we as a nation didn't make, I'd have to disagree with you! ...just exactly what response did the president make that was correct?

      September 13, 2012 at 9:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Go Ducks

      The "war on Terror" is a self-perpetuating, and endless war started so that the military-industrial complex can make a fortune, we can destabilize other countries due to the "threat of terror", and joyfully creates new enemies to fight as it progresses. We started the cycle by meddling in other countries' business, and our foreign policy is responsible for the radical Muslim explosion we have seen in the last 20 years or so. We cause it by our meddling, the rich get richer, and our foe grows more implacable.

      September 13, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Clemence

    Honestly, I'm canadian too, and I COMPLETLY disagree with some of my fellow canadians here. FOX news is not news it's entertainment! CNN has an american view of things, but is not biased. I Much prefer CNN to Fox. In any case back to the topic at hand, Romney just proved he was not fit to lead your country with his incendiary remarks. It's disrepectfull to the family of the dead. The criminals, the discusting killers, who did this should be brought to justice properly prove that we are actually are civilized and not run by a barbaric mob! As for the film producers who started all this, they should be smacked upside the head, why don't you just add kindling to the already roaring fire in these countries! i'm not saying america shouldn't defend itself but come on was that movie really necessary?

    September 13, 2012 at 8:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Jean Sartre

      Yes, and next you will want to STOP the showing of Bill Maher's MASTERPIECE MOVIE: RELIGULOUS... probably because some right wing CHRISTIANS might become upset and make POO-PEE on themselves.

      Religious people in the world are going to have to learn to get over themselves... your GOD’S are a feakin' JOKE!

      They are, rightfully so, the source of much comedy and humor in a society that values FREE SPEECH!

      September 13, 2012 at 9:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Go Ducks

      CNN has too much celebrity gossip, and fox has too much politics. In my opinion, you would be a fool to not pay attention to both. You really think CNN is unbiased or not controlled by the same exact interests that Fox is?

      September 13, 2012 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  11. true blue

    did i post or not

    September 13, 2012 at 8:22 am | Report abuse |
  12. fiftyfive55

    Remember everybody,This is the religion of peace our leaders want us to embrace.What a load of hooey

    September 13, 2012 at 8:23 am | Report abuse |
  13. true blue

    If the issues don't co inside with your views it want get posted, who's controlling this crap FOX informers.

    September 13, 2012 at 8:25 am | Report abuse |
  14. true blue

    Don't blame the future for the problems of the past. If Mitt and the weasel get into office we will be fighting each week.Our kids will be fighting another rich mans war. VOTE safe

    September 13, 2012 at 8:30 am | Report abuse |
    • ForGoodOfAll

      Indeed! Obama/Biden 2012

      September 13, 2012 at 9:08 am | Report abuse |
    • David Marriot

      We're already fighting each week under the guise of Obama! You know Iraq, Afghanistan, libya Pakistan Yemen etc. etc..... So what's your point?

      September 13, 2012 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
    • DC Observer

      We have been at war on multiple fronts under Obama ever since he won the Nobel peace proices 10 days intoo office -- Obama will down as the most warring President of all time – just staing the facts

      September 13, 2012 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Blucorsair

      DC Observer; ...right on!

      September 13, 2012 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
    • MG.

      true bue; America can't afford anymore nobel peace prizes for our spend thrift president and his clueless administration! for a weasel is still better than voting for a half wit! ......Romney in 2012!

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

      We're gonna be fighting another war regardless of who gets elected.

      September 13, 2012 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  15. And Why the Frustration

    Rumor has it that the Swiss are about to return $30b to the Libyan government. this money was not part of the frozen assets but graft siphoned off by the ghadaffi family. Mostly from European oil and gas companies.

    September 13, 2012 at 8:40 am | Report abuse |
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