2012 Benghazi attack
|2012 Benghazi attack|
|Part of the |
From top to bottom, and left to right: President, Vice President updated on situation night of September 11, 2012; President Obama, with Secretary Clinton, delivering statement in the Rose Garden, September 12, 2012; two photographs released through a FOIA request; Secretary Clinton testifying before the Senate Committee on January 23, 2013; portion of "wanted" poster seeking information on the attacks in Benghazi.
|Date||September 11–12, 2012 |
21:40 – 04:15
|Target||United States diplomatic post and CIA annex|
|Coordinated attack, armed assault, |
|Deaths||US Ambassador |
|4 Americans, 7 Libyans|
At 9:40 p.m., September 11, members of Ansar al-Sharia attacked the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi resulting in the deaths of
There is no definitive evidence that al-Qaeda or any other international terrorist organization participated in the Benghazi attack. The United States immediately increased security worldwide at diplomatic and military facilities and began investigating the Benghazi attack. Many Libyans condemned the attacks. They staged public demonstrations condemning Ansar al-Sharia, which had been formed during the
Despite persistent accusations against President Obama, Hillary Clinton, and
On August 6, 2013, it was reported that the U.S. had filed criminal charges against several individuals alleged to have been involved in the attacks, including militia leader
Within months of the start of the Libyan revolution in February 2011, the CIA began building a covert presence in Benghazi. During the war, elite counterterrorist operators from U.S.
Eastern Libya and Benghazi were key intelligence-gathering hubs for intelligence operatives. Before the attack, the CIA was monitoring
Multiple anonymous sources reported that the diplomatic mission in Benghazi was used by the CIA as a cover to smuggle weapons from Libya to
During Congressional hearings, Ambassador Stevens' top deputy in Libya, Gregory N. Hicks, testified that Ambassador Stevens was in Benghazi in 2012 because "Secretary [of State Hillary] Clinton wanted the post made permanent", and it was understood that the secretary hoped to make an announcement to that effect during a visit to Tripoli later in the year. He also stated that "Chris [Stevens] wanted to make a symbolic gesture to the people of Benghazi that the United States stood behind their dream of establishing a new democracy."
In April 2012, two former security guards for the consulate threw an
In May 2012, an Al-Qaida affiliate calling itself the "Brigades of the Imprisoned Sheikh
The Brigades of the Imprisoned Sheikh
British ambassador to Libya
On the day of the attack, two consulate security guards spotted a man in a Libyan police uniform taking pictures of the consulate with his cell phone from a nearby building that was under construction. The security guards briefly detained the man before releasing him. He drove away in a police car and a complaint was made to the Libyan police station.
According to a local security official, he and a battalion commander had met with U.S. diplomats three days before the attack and warned the Americans about deteriorating security in the area. The official told CNN that he advised the diplomats, "The situation is frightening; it scares us."
Ambassador Stevens' diary, which was later found at the compound, recorded his concern about the growing al-Qaeda presence in the area and his worry about being on an al-Qaeda hit list.
U.S. security officer Eric Nordstrom twice requested additional security for the mission in Benghazi from the State Department. His requests were denied and according to Nordstrom, State Department official Charlene Lamb wanted to keep the security presence in Benghazi "artificially low".
On December 30, 2012, the United States Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs released a report, "Flashing Red: A Special Report on the Terrorist Attack at Benghazi", wherein it was determined:
In the months [between February 2011 and September 11, 2012] leading up to the attack on the Temporary Mission Facility in Benghazi, there was a large amount of evidence gathered by the U.S. Intelligence Community (IC) and from open sources that Benghazi was increasingly dangerous and unstable, and that a significant attack against American personnel there was becoming much more likely. While this intelligence was effectively shared within the Intelligence Community (IC) and with key officials at the Department of State, it did not lead to a commensurate increase in security at Benghazi nor to a decision to close the American mission there, either of which would have been more than justified by the intelligence presented. ... The RSO [Regional Security Officer] in Libya compiled a list of 234 security incidents in Libya between June 2011 and July 2012, 50 of which took place in Benghazi.
The desire of the State Department to maintain a low profile in Benghazi has been cited as the reason why the State Department circumvented their own Overseas Security Policy Board (OSPB) standards for diplomatic security.:74–75 In the aftermath, Clinton sought to take responsibility for the security lapses at Benghazi and expressed personal regret. In her January 2013 testimony before Congress, Secretary Clinton claimed security decisions at the Benghazi compound had been made by others, stating, "The specific security requests pertaining to Benghazi ... were handled by the security professionals in the [State] Department. I didn't see those requests, I didn't approve them, I didn't deny them."