Gitmo Alumnus Involved in Deadly Libyan Attack

Fox News has reported that its intelligence sources believe “the deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was directly tied to Al Qaeda — with a former Guantanamo detainee involved.”

Sufyan Ben Qumu, a Libyan, is the former Gitmo detainee.  He is one of a circle of former detainees released from Gitmo who have returned to jihad against the United States.

Qumu was released in 2007 and handed over to the Libyan authorities who were supposed to keep him in jail there.  They did not.  Ironically, the Qaddafi regime released him as part of its attempt to reconcile with Islamists. Obviously, Qaddafi’s efforts at reconciliation did not work out so well for the late dictator.  But the return of Qumu and other Gitmo alumni to jihad has not worked out very well for us either.

The information regarding Qumu’s possible involvement in the Benghazi consulate attack is yet another nail in the coffin of the Obama administration’s absurd initial explanation of the Libyan attack. They at first claimed it was essentially the product of a spontaneous protest against an anti-Muslim video that was exploited by extremists.

Obama’s Press Secretary Jay Carney claimed last Friday that the violence was “in response not to United States policy, obviously not to the administration, not to the American people. It is in response to a video, a film, that we have judged to be reprehensible and disgusting.”  Our UN Ambassador Susan Rice made the rounds of the Sunday talk shows and said pretty much the same thing.  Both Carney and Rice deplored the violence but saw no link to any larger pattern of Islamist terrorism aimed squarely at Americans.

It took several days before a top Obama administration official finally conceded that once again on 9/11 Americans were indeed the target of a terrorist attack.  “We are looking at indications that individuals involved in the attack may have had connections to Al Qaeda or Al Qaeda’s affiliates, in particular Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb,” said Matt Olsen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, at a Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing earlier this week.

It is unclear to what extent Sufyan Ben Qumu, the Guantanamo alumnus, was the leader of the attack on our consulate in Benghazi that resulted in the death of Ambassador John Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. However, the fact that he was involved at all is a tragic unforced error of our catch-and-release policy in dealing with some Gitmo detainees that goes back to the Bush administration.

According to the Defense Department file on Sufyan Ben Qumu made available to Fox News, Qumu was considered “MEDIUM to HIGH risk” and “likely to pose a threat to the US, its interests and allies.”

The Defense Department write-up stated that Qumu had been detained at Guantanamo because of his “long-term association with Islamic extremist jihad and members of Al-Qaida and other extremist groups.”  His behavior was described as “generally uncooperative and aggressive.” Despite this, he was still regarded as having “HIGH intelligence value.”

Nevertheless, Qumu was recommended for transfer “to the Control of Another Country for Continued Detention (TRCD) to his country of origin (Libya) if a satisfactory agreement can be reached that allows access to detainee and/or access to exploited intelligence. If a satisfactory agreement cannot be reached for his continued detention in Libya, he should be retained under DoD control.”

Apparently, a “satisfactory agreement” was reached with the Qaddafi regime, which the Bush administration was foolish enough to trust would keep its word.

Obama came into office vowing to close down Guantanamo altogether.  He changed his mind. Guantanamo remains open, but with a total detainee population as of July 2012 down to 168 — from a high of 680 in May 2003.

The good news is that Obama has kept Guantanamo open as part of a continuation of key elements of the Bush anti-terrorism security policies.  The bad news is that he is also continuing the Bush era detainee release program to bring the Gitmo population down.  All told, approximately 600 detainees have been released during the Bush and Obama presidencies, about a quarter of whom are believed to have returned to their terrorist or insurgent activities.  Although the 2011 National Defense Authorization Act requires the Defense Secretary to certify that steps are being taken by the transferee country to “ensure” that a freed “individual cannot engage or re-engage in any terrorist activity,” it is one of those feel good provisions that has no practical impact.

The Gitmo alumni club is continuing to expand with more “medium to high risk” ex-detainees like Sufyan Ben Qumu.

For example, Ibrahim al-Qosi, who had admitted to being Osama bin Laden’s bookkeeper and driver and pleaded guilty to charges of conspiracy with al Qaida and supporting terrorism, was released this past July.

Even more alarming are reports that the Obama administration is seriously considering moving several Taliban detainees from Guantanamo to a prison in Afghanistan. To entertain for even a moment the idea that we can trust the corrupt, inept government of Afghanistan to  keep these detainees in jail is beyond comprehension. Remember the murder of our own soldiers by Afghans we thought we were training to take over responsibility for Afghanistan’s security.  Do you think for a moment that a Taliban detainee released from Guantanamo will be sitting in an Afghan jail rather than re-joining his friends on the battlefield?

It’s time to stop releasing any Guantanamo detainees deemed a medium or high security risk unless tried and acquitted in a military court. Giving second chances may end up producing more tragedies like the Libyan killings in which one former Gitmo detainee was very likely involved.

  • truebearing

    It wouldn't surprise me if Obama released Khalid Sheik Mohammed, if reelected. I have suspected all along that that is wht he still hasn't been tried. Could it be that Obama and Holder purposely pretended to want to try him in New York because it would create a long delay in the trial? Never underestimate the evil of Obama and his minions. They are constantly calculating ways to destroy this country and please our enemies.

  • W. C. Taqiyya

    The entire issue of how and where to keep enemy prisoners has been mangled from the beginning. It is emblematic of how the entire post 9-11 conflict has been conducted. Bush and his brain trust had no clue and neither does Obama. Let me keep this simple and on topic. What the heck is wrong with keeping prisoners as regular old fashioned PW's? It worked well for the Germans, Italians and Japanese, didn't it? We didn't feel compelled to give those boys trials or lawyers and we didn't feel compelled to torture them. Even though enemy plans would have been nice to know. Plus, if the PW's were lucky enough to be in camps stateside, they farmed. When they were released, most of them harbored no ill will against Americans. So, if we assume for a second that the idiotic invasions were justified, which is silly, we should shoot to kill first and keep any prisoners we happen to capture in a humane manner. I would like to see them clearing irrigation culverts out west, in the desert, where they could be isolated and feel right at home. Maybe even have Friday night bonfire sing along and story telling time, with marshmallows, hot dogs and pork chops. In Texas and Louisiana, they could be employed capturing feral hogs, which we could then transplant into Afghanistan and all points mid-east. Our reconstruction carpetbagger focus would shift from paying for stuff we blow up, to replacing the sheep and goats with pigs and swamp rats. Any weapon fire from any village would mean the elimination of that village and everyone in it. Any weapon fire from any field would mean salting of that field. And, if I was gonna invade anyone for 9-11, it would have been Saudi Arabia. But, I digress. War is heck kids, or should be. But prisoners are just friends you haven't met yet and temporary workers who just need a little training. : )

    • Roger

      There is a distinction.
      During the war our soldiers were caught in uniform while following the accepted rules of conduct in war. Not hiding behind civilians, not attacking civilian targets unless it had a military significance, and wearing uniforms so soldiers could be identified by site.

      These enemy combatants ignore all rules of wartime conduct and don't deserve the protections it provides. We could and might have shot them as spies, if we still used the old rules.

  • Ghostwriter

    Somehow,I'm not surprised by it.

  • Howard-Beale

    Barack Obama’s populist theology……

    "The aim of this network, as the authors show with many examples, is not only to influence elections through indirect means such as Media Matters, which continuously campaigns against conservative ideas, but also to transform the fabric of American society through education initiatives, community organizing projects, lawsuits, harassment campaigns, and tireless attacks on conservative figures. Its over-riding purpose, following the Marcusean strategy of revolution by stealth, is to move radical ideas “from the political margins to the political mainstream” until they become official Democratic policy as well as an accepted part of public debate.

    Ideas that were once thought risibly extreme—that Islamists bent on America’s destruction are actually victims of American aggression, that unlimited access to abortion is a woman’s right—become respectable through repetition."

    See: The Leftist Leviathan

  • curmudgeon

    what bush did due to drooling stupidity, obama does due to cunning malice. same result, different motive.