By John Solomon
How the government's punishing of the exposure of official wrongdoing can linger for years
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
Senior State Department, defense and intelligence officials were well aware that Benghazi and its surrounding area harbored al Qaeda-linked extremists long before the Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in the eastern Libyan city.
Congressional Republicans on Wednesday spotlighted a newly revealed email that shows Obama administration officials were told within hours of the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that an al-Qaeda-inspired militant group had claimed responsibility for the assault.
A State Department officer was killed and another injured Tuesday in separate attacks on a U.S. Consulate in Libya and the U.S. Embassy in Cairo by hard-line Islamic protesters angry about an anti-Islamic film.
He noted that the Algerian extremist groups, out of which AQIM grew, had networks of supporters in Algerian immigrant communities across Europe and North America during the 1990s and the early part of the past decade.
"There are still a lot of unanswered questions about [AQIM's] ability to strike outside of the region," said Aaron Y. Zelin, a scholar at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. "So far, they've only conducted attacks in the region."