Technically that would be former Al-Qaeda in the Maghreb leader, since Mokhtar Belmokhtar split with Al Qaeda. But the idea that he could have come up with the Benghazi attack is certainly plausible. The only question is why wouldn’t he have taken credit for it?
Shortly after the attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi last September, a phone call was placed from the area.
Whoever made the call was excited. “Mabruk, Mabruk!” he repeated, meaning “Congratulations” in Arabic.
Two sources with high-level access to Western intelligence services have told CNN the call was made to a senior figure in al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, or AQIM. There is no proof that the call was specifically about the attack, in which U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed, but the sources say that is the assumption among those with knowledge of the call.
One of the sources says the phone call was discovered when a Western intelligence service trawled through intercepts of communications made in the wake of the attack. That source told CNN that the call was made specifically to Moktar Belmoktar, leader of an al Qaeda faction based in northern Mali.
CIA officials told CNN they had no comment on whether any call had been intercepted.
The phone call certainly sounds like the kind that would be made to the planner of an attack and Mokhtar Belmokhtar is certainly known for that kind of thing. And he’s reportedly still alive, which would mean the guy behind the attack could be taken down to wipe away any lingering questions about what really happened at Benghazi in a victory celebration.
But the question is why would Mokhtar Belmokhtar pull off one of the biggest terrorist coups in a while and then fail to brag about it? He certainly wasn’t shy about taking credit for other attacks.