Ex-Gitmo detainee reportedly tied to consulate attack


Qhumu_Ben.jpg

Sufyan ben Qumu.

A former Guantanamo detainee named Sufyan ben Qumu has been tied to the Sept. 11 attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya that killed four Americans, including the US ambassador, FOX News has reported.

Senior US intelligence officials contacted by The Long War Journal say that Qumu is suspected of playing a direct role in the attack.

The details of Qumu's alleged involvement remain to be confirmed, but it isn't surprising that his name has surfaced in intelligence circles in connection with the Benghazi assault.

An unclassified report written in August fingers Qumu as a key al Qaeda operative in Libya. The report ("Al Qaeda in Libya: A Profile") was prepared by the research division of the Library of Congress (LOC) under an agreement with the Defense Department's Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office.

The report details al Qaeda's plans for Libya, including the growth of a clandestine terrorist network that has attempted to hide its presence. The US military has concluded that al Qaeda is in the final phase of a three-step process for developing a full-blown al Qaeda affiliate.

One of the al Qaeda-affiliated parties inside Libya is called Ansar al Sharia -- a brand used by al Qaeda chapters elsewhere, including inside Yemen. According to the report, Qumu leads an Ansar al Sharia brigade, which "has increasingly embodied al Qaeda's presence in Libya, as indicated by its active social-media propaganda, extremist discourse, and hatred of the West, especially the United States."

In interviews with the press, a representative of Ansar al Sharia Libya has denied direct involvement in the consulate attack.

In the LOC report, Qumu is described as "a former al Qaeda operative believed to have links with the al Qaeda's clandestine network in Darnah," which is in eastern Libya and has exported jihadists to the battlefields of Iraq and elsewhere. The report says that Qumu "is thought to be responsible for several bombings that targeted former public servants." And witnesses in eastern Libya also say that he has targeted "people who disagree with al Qaeda."

Qumu was first noticed in the press during the uprising against Qaddafi's regime. While not hiding his animosity for the US, he claimed that he was not really affiliated with al Qaeda.

But the LOC report indicates that al Qaeda "continue[s] to mask its presence under the umbrella of the Libyan Salafist movement," even though it is in an "expansion phase." The terrorist organization does not want to draw international attention to the al Qaeda brand, so it is deliberately hiding its intentions, as well as the full scope of its capabilities.

Qumu was transferred from Guantanamo to Libya in 2007. In a leaked memorandum dated April 22, 2005, Joint Task Force-Guantanamo (JTF-GTMO) recommended that Qumu be transferred out of US custody, but only "if a satisfactory agreement can be reached that allows access to detainee and/or access to exploited intelligence." JTF-GTMO warned: "If a satisfactory agreement cannot be reached for his continued detention in Libya, he should be retained under [Defense Department] control."

Libyan authorities initially detained Qumu, but he was released from prison in 2010, reportedly as part of a general amnesty offered to jihadists during the Qaddafi regime's waning days.

JTF-GTMO pieced together the details of Qumu's career. He was trained as a tank driver in the Libyan military, but had some run-ins with the law. The Libyan government told the US that Qumu became a drug addict and was accused of a number of other crimes, including murder and assault. He was sentenced to 10 years in prison, but somehow escaped, making his way to Sudan, where he became a driver for one of Osama bin Laden's companies. When al Qaeda returned to Pakistan and Afghanistan, so did Qumu.

Qumu developed a constellation of connections to senior al Qaeda leaders, including some of the 9/11 conspirators. Qumu's alias was found on Mustafa Al Hawsawi's laptop. Al Hawsawi helped finance the 9/11 attacks. Qumu is listed on the computer "as an al Qaida member receiving family support."

Although the Qaddafi regime would eventually free him, the dictator's intelligence service had no illusions about Qumu's identity or capabilities. Qaddafi's spooks told US officials that Qumu is a "dangerous man with no qualms about committing terrorist acts," according to the JTF-GTMO file. The Libyans added that Qumu "was known as one of the extremist commanders of the Afghan Arabs."

US officials agreed with this assessment. JTF-GTMO deemed Qumu "a MEDIUM to HIGH risk, as he is likely to pose a threat to the US, its interests and allies."


[Note: A version of this article was first published by The Weekly Standard.]



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READER COMMENTS: "Ex-Gitmo detainee reportedly tied to consulate attack"

Posted by Winghunter at September 20, 2012 2:24 AM ET:

"In a leaked memorandum dated April 22, 2005, Joint Task Force-Guantanamo (JTF-GTMO) recommended that Qumu be transferred out of US custody..."

If the scumbag terrorist is such a high risk, WTF recommend the transfer out of the most secure environment possible!?

Posted by Rookie at September 20, 2012 4:21 AM ET:

To have blood-thirsty islamists in your hands and give them away time and time again instead of hanging them, borders stupidity or complicity.

As I said before, seems that parts of US government wants an islamic superstate in ME and Africa, otherwise this actions are incomprehensible. It happened under Bush and it happens big time now under dear Hussein.

koran specifically ask for the death of apostates and for submission of non-muslim by taxes and loss of their rights - a field day for any attorney in US, where people sue everyone around if they slip on a banana peel on street. Still the narrative is that of "moderate" islam vs fundamentalist one. There is no difference, look at Dearbornistan incident in July 2012 with 10-12 years old muslims threathening to kill some Christians protesters.

Posted by g at September 20, 2012 10:18 AM ET:

How many times do we have to get burned by a former Gitmo prisoner? It has been proven that these guys cannot be deprogrammed.

Posted by sundoesntrise at September 20, 2012 11:05 AM ET:

"As I said before, seems that parts of US government wants an islamic superstate in ME and Africa, otherwise this actions are incomprehensible."

I hate to stir the pot here, but some times it seems that way. Why is the U.S. supporting armed Salafists, financially or morally, in almost every country affected by the "Arab Spring"? Why are we ignoring rebel atrocities in Syria while focusing on Assad's atrocities? Why does the White House keep apologizing for freedom of expression and western personnel being brutally killed?

I still don't believe the U.S. truly wants an Islamic Caliphate in the middle east, I just think the current administration is so inexperienced and incompetent they don't know WHAT they're doing anymore, it's like leaving a bunch of kids alone in a house for the weekend. Remember Home Alone? That's the White House right now!

Posted by Will Fenwick at September 20, 2012 1:19 PM ET:

I suspect that "Ansar al Sharia" will eventually attempt to carve out a AQ controlled/aligned ministate/emirate in some parts of libya as it did in Yemen and as Ansar Dine and MOJWA are doing in Mali. Libya fits the model of a state with a weak central government and undisciplined armed forces, just as Mali and Yemen did. I would not be surprised if AQ statelets appeared in other African nations as well, especially in west and central africa where national militaries are rather weak.

Posted by blert at September 20, 2012 4:13 PM ET:

Wing...

From Gitmo to the Duck of Death did not look bad, then.

1) Ducky would be able to query the jihadist without US process of law -- military law.

2) The general idea of rendition was being used very widely at the time.

3) The fall of K'duck was not considered possible.

4) The assumption was that the Duck would dispatch the salafist without any further muss -- AND Bush could tally up another unlawful combatant removed from the cells of Gitmo.

Posted by sundoesntrise at September 20, 2012 9:29 PM ET:

blert, when you say "K'Duck", are you referring to Muammar Gaddafi?

If so, I know you have a reputation around here for making somewhat witty comments that don't refer to the topic at hand. But an American ambassador died because Salafists that helped get rid of Gaddafi brutally murdered him in a cold blooded frenzy of mob rage.

I know it's obvious at this point, but under Gaddafi that never would have happened. I'm tired of pro-war advocates thinking that just because the west does something militarily, we can never be in the wrong. The world has changed too much for backwards thinking like that to be relevant anymore.

I quote from the comments policy:

"Please refer to current and former elected officials and public leaders respectfully,"

Yes, I know Muammar Gaddafi was not exactly an angel, but if you make fun of him when he's dead, you set the precedent for other people to make fun of the dead ambassador and the embassy staff and any other dead westerners from this Long War. And do you want people to disrespect THOSE guys, do you?

Posted by Nic at September 21, 2012 12:26 PM ET:

@Bill: Would you please publish the Gitmo Year Book plus the Gitmo Alumni Club Monthly/Annual Bulletin. Everything Gitmo. The Gitmo Alumni Club publication can start with a chapter called Above Ground / Under Ground, also known as Dead (YEA!) or Alive. Chapter Two can be devoted to the various rehab programs and their success rate. Chapter Three can be called "Loose and in the Wind" or "Wanted, Dead or Alive." This information would be quite timely in an election year.
@LWJ Land: comments welcomed especially subjects for additional chapters.

Posted by Dan from AZ at September 22, 2012 1:32 AM ET:

Posted by sundoesntrise: "I still don't believe the U.S. truly wants an Islamic Caliphate in the middle east, I just think the current administration is so inexperienced and incompetent they don't know WHAT they're doing anymore, it's like leaving a bunch of kids alone in a house for the weekend. Remember Home Alone? That's the White House right now!"

Please pay attention. Qumu was transferred from Guantanamo to Libya in 2007. That was a year before the present President took office. Read the article, understand the article and then comment. If you have issues with the present President do your homework or shut up.

Posted by Rookie at September 22, 2012 3:10 PM ET:

@sundoesntrise

"I hate to stir the pot here, but some times it seems that way [..] I just think the current administration is so inexperienced and incompetent they don't know WHAT they're doing anymore"

I respectfully disagree. I'm not from Us but Eastern Europe - I remember the creation of the Bosniac muslim State. Remember the news back then? Serbians - my neighbours - were the bloodiest murderers in history, poor muslims slaughtered and so on. Not a word about HUNDREDS of churches burned, thousands of Orthodox Serbians killed/raped/beheaded by chechens, arabs, magrebians you name it. Internet was not developed, MSM had a field day.

Common denominator: Clinton, the "guy" not pressing the button on OBL then, Clinton the "she" today. Hussein is just a saudi-king-kissing-hand puppet, in external affairs. My 2 cents.

Posted by TLA at September 22, 2012 4:20 PM ET:

'As I said before, seems that parts of US government wants an islamic superstate in ME and Africa, otherwise this actions are incomprehensible.'

I suppose, Rookie, that a new Cold war would be the result, and that ain't a bad thing compared to the hot war we've been fighting since 9-11.

And Sundoesntrise: 'I still don't believe the U.S. truly wants an Islamic Caliphate in the middle east, I just think the current administration is so inexperienced and incompetent they don't know WHAT they're doing anymore, it's like leaving a bunch of kids alone in a house for the weekend.' I think that the banning of Islamic culture/worship from the West would be necessary. Hard choices/decisions in Cold Wars, aren't they?

Posted by sundoesntrise at September 23, 2012 12:38 AM ET:

Dan From AZ,

I don't know what chip you have on your own shoulder, but my comment was not referring to the specific thing you mentioned. In fact, Dan, my comment was referring to the way Obama has handled the Arab Spring and the recent attacks on America/Western interests around the globe. Apologizing for free speech ans grovelling before Islamists is a pathetic way of handling the crisis at hand. You should learn what 'context' is Dan, it would help you out a lot.

Also, Dan - Obama led the charge in turning enemies into friends when it came time for the Libyan intervention. Whatever terrorist label anybody had, as long as they were filling to fight AGAINST Col. Gaddafi, then Obama and Hillary would be willing to look the other way when it came to their terrorist activities and who they were affiliated with. Sure, what I just said is a very bold claim, but just think about it like this: If what I just said was not true, we would target AQ in Libya with airstrikes at the time when we could. It only makes sense, right? Libya is one big open desert country, and guys with black flags in huge convoys moving from one place to another isn't hard to stop at all when you have the power of NATO.

I realize Dan, that being who you are, your brain tends to accept emotion over the facts of any given situation, hence the reason you told me to 'shut up', because you thought it would add the extra "oompf" to your otherwise plain and useless post. But before you flip out with two weird, rude posts, please understand that all the info I'm talking about was out there from the start and if you want to defend your cult leader Obama, fine, just don't be upset when someone points out the absolutely massive failures he has accumulated during his tenure.

Posted by sundoesntrise at September 23, 2012 12:49 AM ET:

Rookie,

To clarify a little, I meant since 9/11 and the events that have occurred. But, I still don't think they want a superstate. I don't even really think that the U.S. ever wanted an Islamic caliphate anywhere, it's just that in this world the enemy of your enemy is your 'friend'.

What you said about Bosnia reminds me of Tawergha, where the NTC with NATO air support purged the entire black town of all it's occupants, and preceded to burn and loot the entire town with some people still in it. The targeting of blacks in Libya, along with the destruction of Sirte and other cities supportive of the old government, hardly went noticed by the media. Just because we live in these modern times doesn't mean the media will acknowledge everything.

TLA,

Banning Islam would probably create a lot more enemies than we have right now. Granted, I don't like religion, and I would be fine with getting rid of it all together, but we just can't do that right now. Jihadist groups would have a field day recruiting people to "defend the faith", etc. A widely spread view when it comes to Jihad is if Muslims are not allowed to practice OR propagate their religion, then Jihad is the response to that. And the West is too weak to fight such a battle anyways, I don't think our population has the backbone for such a fight.

Posted by TEM at September 23, 2012 7:13 PM ET:

Our friends at the Center for Constitutional Rights strike again! They seem to make a habit of representing terrorists and their symphatizers. Rachman,Lynne Stewart,and now this individual.
Blood is once again on the hands of Michael Ratner.

Posted by TLA at September 23, 2012 8:33 PM ET:

Sundoesntrise,

Whether we like it or not, there is no choice. They hate infidels anyway, and a change of our opinion won't change the number of enemies we have. You can't fight Allah's will. You can't! And the only way of dealing with this war is to completely ban its practise. They changed the rules, not us.

Posted by Dan from AZ at September 24, 2012 12:20 AM ET:

@ Sund: Your quote that Obama is:
"Apologizing for free speech and "grovelling" before Islamist is a pathetic way of handling the crisis at hand" is a Fox news talking point and is a false fabrication of the facts and shows some of the things you are saying are nothing more than GOP extreme right talking points. Sorry, but I disagree with your pretense and your superior attitude in talking down to people. Earlier I wrote you need to do your homework or "shut up". That was not a proper way to say I disagree with your views. I will strive to improve in the future. But you had inferred that Obama was responsible for the release of Qumu. Which is another fabrication to further muddy the facts and a falsehood. That was the reason for my post. Nothing more.
By the way the "chip on my shoulder" is people that spout lies and falsehoods without regard of the facts. Nothing more.

Posted by Brian Scott at September 24, 2012 4:00 AM ET:

what a shame.

Under GW Bush, dozens of Gitmo Detainees were "Cleared for Release."

Certified to be there in error.

Functionally innocent of the reasons they were taken there in the first place.



but instead of releasing those guys, he gives one to K'Daffy / K'Duck to shore up their relationship.



Today, there are at least 55 men held prisoner at Gitmo who are Cleared for Release.

After 10 years of prison and torture, they prob'ly aren't positively disposed toward the USA.

They prob'ly constitute a threat to our security.
But golly, they're innocent. It's un-American to hold them.

who here favors a return to the Rule of Law, and the Constitution ?

Posted by sundoesntrise at September 24, 2012 2:35 PM ET:

"Apologizing for free speech and "grovelling" before Islamist is a pathetic way of handling the crisis at hand" is a Fox news talking point and is a false fabrication of the facts and shows some of the things you are saying are nothing more than GOP extreme right talking points."

Oh please Dan, stop using partisan talking points as a substitute for your lack of real points to make in a discussion. It's getting really old, and you contribute nothing to the discussion anyways. How many times did the administration apologize for the movie? How many times did they mislead the public on exactly HOW the embassy attacks were conducted? Can you answer that, or do you those questions are just "right wing"? lol. Dan, I'm a Canadian, left-leaning, and I don't watch FOX news (I don't even get it on my cable package), and I'm not a part of the GOP. It's obvious that you would have next to nothing to say if you didn't parrot the "OMG you're a right winger GOP guy that watches FOX!!!!!11" party line. And besides, when ant-warwar people from the "American left" all of a sudden pro-war, that's when it becomes obvious that you really are pro-war, but only when someone with a (D) in front of their name bombs a country.

"Sorry, but I disagree with your pretense and your superior attitude in talking down to people. Earlier I wrote you need to do your homework or "shut up". That was not a proper way to say I disagree with your views. I will strive to improve in the future."

Well, if you do the same thing you accuse me of don't expect me not to call you out on it, especially when YOU replied to ME first. That's the way it happened, Dan, and I don't have a "superior" attitude in dealing with people, you do. All I've been doing so far here is replying to people and stating my opinion/facts, you were the one that initiated the negative posts, read from the start of the thread to see clear proof of that.

"But you had inferred that Obama was responsible for the release of Qumu. Which is another fabrication to further muddy the facts and a falsehood. That was the reason for my post. Nothing more."

Alright well I had never mentioned "Qumu" before you did. Look up Abdel Hakim Belhadj, for example, who is a renowned Islamist that led the battle last year in west Libya. Or an AQ-linked rebel commander that was killed by Gaddafi forces while meeting with rebels, the same man who met OBL and planned for 'jihad' just before 9/11.

"By the way the "chip on my shoulder" is people that spout lies and falsehoods without regard of the facts. Nothing more.

Well then, maybe you shouldn't come across as so disturbed with yourself and you won't get my "bad" replies back. That's the way it works, Dan, you be rude to me for no reason I be rude to you. You certainly do have a chip on your shoulder for attacking someone you don't know.

"spout lies and falsehoods without regard of the facts. Nothing more."

Instead of being so broad with your statements, you have only been able to come up with ONE example of that, and that's the Qumu thing, which I explained above. And the funny part is I never talked about him in the first part, which you claimed I did, trying to put words in my mouth. Nice try, Dan. If you were to read over my posts on this entire subject you will find I have produced ten-fold more evidence and facts on the subject than you have. You have no regard to the facts, that's why you use partisan talking points in place of your OWN thoughts and words.

And to the moderators: I apologize for getting involved in what seems like such a petty argument, but there is some things he said that I feel needed to be responded to.


Posted by sundoesntrise at September 25, 2012 3:15 AM ET:

Excuse my poor grammar, this keyboard is old. The paragraph should say:

And besides, when anti-war people from the "American left" all of a sudden become pro-war, that's when it becomes obvious that you really are pro-war, but only when someone with a (D) in front of their name bombs a country.

Just a little clarification so those following the discussion don't get confused, thanks.