During this afternoon’s hearings on the deadly 9-11 assault in Benghazi, Rep. Dennis Kucinich asked a basic question of Ambassador Patrick J. Kennedy: Is al Qaeda more or less established in Libya now than it was before the US-led intervention there?
Kennedy refused to answer, saying that as he is not an intelligence specialist, he is not in a position to know the answer. Kucinich asked the question of the other witnesses. Lt Col Andrew Wood answered that al Qaeda is now more established in Libya than it was prior to the 2011 intervention, and that the terrorist group is “certainly more established than we are.”
There were concerns during the intervention that the US and our NATO allies did not even know who made up the forces that were fighting to oust dictator Col. Muammar Ghaddafi. Similar concerns have arisen as the civil war in Syria escalates.
The Muslim Brotherhood, an Islamist group whose ideology gave rise to al Qaeda, has taken power in Egypt after the Obama administration helped push longtime dictator Hosni Mubarak from power there.
Earlier in the hearing, Lt Col Wood, who was the head of the military security team in Libya during much of 2012, said that the security provided there was “weak.” Ambassador Kennedy later indicated that he believed the consulate had adequate security protection. The consulate was attacked and quickly overrun on 9-11-12 and four Americans including the US ambassador to Libya were killed in that attack.