Video reportedly shows key suspect from Benghazi attack


Muhammad Jamal al Kashef, a main suspect in the Benghazi consulate assault, from a video posted by the Al Marsad News Network. Courtesy of SITE Intelligence Group.

One of the main suspects in the Sept. 11 attack on the US consulate in Benghazi appeared in a recent video posted online by an Egyptian media organization, according to the SITE Intelligence Group.

Muhammad Jamal al Kashef (a.k.a. Abu Ahmed) is suspected of training some of the terrorists responsible for the consulate assault, during which Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed.

On Oct. 28, the Al Marsad News Network posted a short interview with Jamal on YouTube.

It is not clear where or when the interview was filmed, but Jamal says he “always came to this place inside a State Security vehicle, and this is the first time” he did not. Jamal does not add much more.

The interviewer concludes by congratulating him, according to SITE’s translation. “A thousand congratulations, Sheikh Abu Ahmed, a thousand congratulations, Muhammad Jamal Abu al Kashef. Peace be upon you O Sheikh!”

Jamal’s ties to the Sept. 11 terrorist attack in Benghazi were first reported by The Wall Street Journal. US officials cited by the paper said “initial reports” indicated that some of Jamal’s fighters took part in the assault. In addition, the paper cited a former US official as saying that intelligence reports “suggest that some of the attackers trained at camps [Jamal] established in the Libyan Desert.” Those same camps are being filled with recruits from Egypt and elsewhere. Suicide bombers are also being indoctrinated in the camps.

The Wall Street Journal’s sources added that Jamal had “petitioned” Ayman al Zawahiri, “to whom [Jamal] has long ties, for permission to launch an al Qaeda affiliate and has secured financing from al Qaeda’s Yemeni wing.”

Mohammed al Zawahiri, Ayman al Zawahiri’s younger brother, reportedly put Jamal in touch with al Qaeda’s emir. Mohammed al Zawahiri has denied this in interviews and also proclaimed Jamal’s innocence with respect to the Benghazi attack.

But Mohammed al Zawahiri was also involved in the events of Sept. 11. He was one of several al Qaeda-linked jihadists who helped incite a protest in front of the US embassy in Cairo. [See LWJ report, Al Qaeda-linked jihadists helped incite 9/11 Cairo protest.]

Jamal has longstanding ties to the Zawahiri brothers. He reportedly became a top Egyptian Islamic Jihad (EIJ) commander after returning from Afghanistan in the 1990s. The EIJ’s longtime chieftain is Ayman al Zawahiri, who merged his organization with al Qaeda.

Some Arabic press accounts have claimed that Jamal now leads al Qaeda’s operations in Egypt and Libya. Al Hayat, a London-based Arabic newspaper, recently reported that Ayman al Zawahiri has given Jamal the go-ahead to launch terrorist attacks in Egypt, Libya, and elsewhere. This explanation of the relationship goes further than the one initially reported by The Wall Street Journal.

In a series of raids, Egyptian authorities have cracked down on terrorists they allege are affiliated with Jamal and the Benghazi attack. According to Reuters, a Libyan was killed in Cairo during a “a raid targeting him and other militants with suspected links to al Qaeda in Cairo’s eastern district of Nasr City.” Four Egyptians were arrested during the raid while the Libyan, “identified as Karim Ahmed Essam el-Azizi, was killed by a bomb he had tried to use against the security forces.”

Given the scrutiny Jamal’s network inside Egypt has received in the past week, it is especially curious that a new video of him has surfaced.

Thomas Joscelyn is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Senior Editor for FDD's Long War Journal.

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  • Charles says:

    imho the egyptian intelligence aided him ostensibly in the cause of the caliphate but really to blind the US in easter libya in preparation for an invasion of Libya. Why. Why else? Egypt is broke. Libya has oil money and oil revenue.
    Its the old story about bank robber who when asked why he robbed banks, replied. “because that’s where the money is.”
    Saddam thought something similiar in 1991.
    Islam is never about creating wealth.

  • rainbow says:

    Egypt…the next Pakistan…playing games with us. We should know better. The Sunni VS Shiite war has started for real and all we can hope for is that both sides have much success in killing off the other.

  • Matt says:

    There was a recent raid on Al Qaeda operatives in Indonesia. The were reportedly planning to attack the US Embassy or a consulate. The interesting thing is after Indoesia said they were Al Qaeda I read a story from the AP which did not mention Al Qaeda but did say they were motivated by the infamous video. I suspect the US might have pressured someone to hide the truth just as they tried to do with this Libya attack. I believe the video was a false pretext for Al Qaeda to conduct multiple attacks across N. Africa, the ME, and SE Asia. The White House reportedly denied help to the SEALs at the annex because they claimed they were protesters not terrorists. AP also recently ran an article of an interview with eyewitnesses claiming 150 men carried out the attack in Benghazi and before the attack got 20 youths to protest the video in an obvious ploy to avoid attributing the attack to Al Qaeda. Why did we believe it then and why do we continue to falsely attribute these seperate attacks to the video instead of Al Qaeda? We seem to be working with Al Qaeda almost…very disturbing.

  • Ghost Soldier says:

    I’m going to lay this out for the American public because, frankly, I am personally fed up with the politicization of events like the embassy attack in Benghazi and the attempts to use it for political advantage.
    If you think that Presidents Bush and Obama were intentionally scuttling operations or deliberately allowing things like attacks in Benghazi, you’re delusional. Plain and simple.
    The American public, specifically the commentators on television and radio, are doing a disservice to our efforts to combat international and transnational terrorism. The emotional and political reactions to issues like Benghazi only serve to make us look less than unified against out enemies.
    This is how it works:
    Intelligence assets, collectors, and analysts will get all the necessary information to identify those responsible for the attack. They will submit that information, gain authorization for an action to execute a mission to remove those responsible from the battlefield, and they will conduct the mission.
    Too many people think of themselves intelligence experts in our society. And frankly, too many people with opinions have no idea what they’re talking about. It’s tearing our country apart piece by piece. Intelligence is patience. Just allow the professionals to do their work.

  • Stu says:

    After bin Laden, Ayman al Zawahiri (not his younger brother, Mohammed) is clearly public enemy number one, with Mullah Omar close behind in Afghanistan and Pakistan. What is astounding to me is how AZ is mentioned by the media only when serious violence occurs. Is our intelligence really that befuddled as not to know where these two mass murderers are hiding? Makes you wonder what’s going on? We fret about this “emir”, that “sheik”, etc. while the mastermind of all this killing sits comfortably in Pakistan or in some other safe haven. It’s absolutely maddening to have this go on.

  • Ghost Soldier says:

    Ayaman Zawahiri does not command the same allegiance and loyalty that OBL did. This is likely due to a myriad of factors, most importantly being his Egyptian background and his lack of charisma.
    It’s not a lack of ‘knowing’ by the intelligence community. What exactly would be gained by constantly mentioning his name on the news and spinning up an entire country to focus on Zawahiri? What is gained by that? Is it just to fulfill a visceral need or something? Intelligence is not an emotional endeavor. It’s not a sport. It’s a profession. It takes patience.
    Sometimes, you don’t want the public to be ‘obsessed’ with a target. He’s a personality in a terror group, not a reality TV star.

  • kimball says:

    Mullah Omar !? Alive or not, nobody knows for ten
    years, maybe just a patsyname today.
    Massmurderers are in the fold of USA, eg. ISI and Pak.
    you let them cheat all the way to the first nuke and now this warmongering about Iran. Israel stoled their
    way to present facist statues.
    So all in all, the true agenda is hidden deep deep and away from the public eye.
    So cool to have a Buddisth take on matters:-)

  • rational enquirer says:

    Ghost soldier — You are missing the point. No one is accusing the Obama administration of deliberately allowing attacks. But the administration’s statements about the Benghazi attack and the media coverage are legitimate subjects of discussion. To simply say, “Don’t worry, US intelligence always has everything under control” is insulting to the intelligence of the common man.

  • Mr T says:

    Ghost, if you think the intelligence community will get the perps, why has Zawahiri or Mullah Omar not been got? Not to mention when they do get someone, they let them go back to the battlefield. But we are supposed to trust them?
    Trust but verify. We are trying to verify but the Administration is not cooperating. That leads us to believe they can’t be trusted. See how that works?
    Show us the facts and you won’t have a problem. Unless the facts don’t support your actions. We are not Pakistan. We need the truth and we need it now.

  • mike merlo says:

    @Ghost Soldier
    Think what you want & feel free to characterize “Intelligence” any way you see fit. Fact of the matter remains is that a well coordinated assault was launched by heavily armed individual’s numbering possibly over 100 people targeting the US Consulate & the CIA’s “Annex” in Benghazi Libya.
    To date the assault has been determined to have lasted multiple hours. During which time Real Time Video Feed was being observed by highly placed individuals within the US Gov’ts security apparatus & in the US State Dept. These video ‘feeds’ were also augmented by repeated communique requesting armed assistance. All of which were denied & ignored.
    Who are you running cover for?

  • sifter says:

    Moh Zawahiri / muslim brotherhood hierarchy & political “peacefull” means jihad. Zawahiri al q /terrorist army wing of MBH now that one eye blind OBL was given up? Rift of brothers is over but Who controls concert? How much leverage & why does MBH (via legal means, cair,posisitions of power.. etc) have with appeasing U.S. administration? The constitution is not a suicide pact.

  • Stephanie says:

    That’s interesting info. It’s so sad that the US is so naive about the Egyptian revolution that they didn’t respond to the threat because these people were just innocent “protesters” and not terrorists.
    It’s possible that they do have an idea where Zawahiri is but he’s not “accessible” without damaging the ever-popular – eh-em – “friendship” with Pakistan. With the plethora of videos he puts out, it’s hard to imagine he hasn’t been tracked. But who knows? God’s mercy allowing one more day to repent …
    Ghost Soldier,
    I agree. What happened to the ambassador and others is so sad; and I think it is something better to grieve about than try to blame someone for. Personally, I am less concerned about [insert politician]’s negligence that allowed it to happen than I am about how they react to it after the fact.

  • ArneFufkin says:

    The emotional and political reactions to issues like Benghazi only serve to make us look less than unified against out enemies.
    You’re right. Nothing to see here. The families, friends and countrymates of the four slain Americans should just shut our mouths and move on. Just because three of our North African embassies had al Qaeda flags flying over them September 12 .- hey, big deal, right?

  • Stu says:

    Ghost Solider,
    I think that AZ should be taken out, along with MO, because they have been complicit in all this terror business for many years, not just because AZ rallied a few boneheads to attack Benghazi. I presume you’ve followed this GWOT since 9/11 or before, going back to the early 90s. Do we simply forgive and forget what he’s been doing all these years? Because Intelligence is a profession does not justify ignoring what was done by these people. And as far as him not having much “charisma,” does that get him off the hook because he wears thick glasses and has a scar on his forehead from banging his head on the floor in prayer? How about putting it this way: As World War II was winding down, how about sending Hitler and Mussolini to a rest home because they were old and no longer had “charisma”?

  • Stavy says:

    We know the order to Stand Down was given by someone, contrary to what the President said he ordered? Who are we to believe? Why won’t they give us any explanation until after the election?
    The administration politicized this by lying to the Families faces when the bodies were returned by telling them they will arrest the video maker when we know they knew there was no protest about the video. Do we all not have a right to demand the truth be told?
    This all points to something that they want to cover up just so Obama can be re-elected. This must be considered by the voters BEFORE the election as it points to a real breakdown in this Administration’s chain of command.

  • Embee says:

    Ghost Soldier – right on. I like your take on things and how you express them.

  • Bill Roggio says:

    I’ll take issue with this:
    “Ayaman Zawahiri does not command the same allegiance and loyalty that OBL did.”
    – We haven’t seen anyone publicly denounce him, nor has there been an anonymous campaign against him in jihadist circles.
    – There is no evidence whatsoever that his appointment to emir has caused rifts in the organization.
    – He is so “unpopular” that all of al Qaeda’s existing affiliates swore allegiance to him, and several local jihadist groups in Gaza and Egypt swore allegiance to him.
    I’d argue that his Egyptian background and his longstanding ties to Egyptian and other jihadists in the region has better suited al Qaeda with respect to the “Arab Spring.”

  • Witch Doctor says:

    What makes people think we don’t know the locations of AZ or that one eyed monster M.O.? Is it because we have not killed them? What would happen to our info trail if we did? It would be cold and useless and the chase would begin again. By keeping them in the game we have more players to capture who may or may not have actionable intel.
    AZ is a powerful man and him being Egyptian makes his influence greater now that OBL is out of the way.
    Same as with Saddam. We should never hung him as he used to keep Iran on guard and kicked their behinds regularly.
    My 2 cents worth.

  • Ghost Soldier says:

    I respectfully advise you to read more Peter Bergen. Zawahiri’s Egyptian background and lack of interpersonal skills eroded quite a bit of the top AQ structure’s ability to direct operational planning. I assume you are familiar with Bergen as an author but you may want to re-assess.

  • CalLady says:

    Those Americans deserved better response by the Administration and better coverage by the media. If either had done their jobs AT THE TIME, we would be looking at things differently today. Week 7 – is the compound secure yet?

  • Bill Roggio says:

    Ghost Soldier, You haven’t addressed my points above. I am quite familiar with Peter Bergen’s view on Zawahiri. All I can say to you is that he is wrong.
    I debated Peter at NAF two weeks ago. He also believes al Qaeda has been defeated and is no longer a threat, and all of this other stuff that is occurring is merely be local Salafist groups unlinked to al Qaeda who pose no threat to the US. I’d call that wishful thinking, and I’m being kind. He is wrong yet again.

  • Matt says:

    FYI, Ghost Soldier has been exposed as a military faker at Foreign and is engaging in misinformation tactics…I could send you some screen shots of a ridiculous conversation where he was exposed lying… you might want to block him in the future if you can. I don’t believe he should be allowed to waist people’s time. Regards, Matt.
    Email me if you want the pics as evidence.


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