Chris Stevens Thought He Was on al-Qaeda Hit List

Sources say al-Qaeda is linked to Libya attack
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 20, 2012 1:55 AM CDT
Updated Sep 20, 2012 7:49 AM CDT
Al-Qaeda Linked to Libya Consulate Attack: Sources
Libyan military guards check a burnt-out US consulate building in Benghazi.    (AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon)

(Newser) – As investigators look into the likelihood that al-Qaeda was behind the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi last week, CNN reports that Chris Stevens, the US ambassador killed in the attack, believed he was on an al-Qaeda hit list. A source says Stevens had become increasingly worried about security in Benghazi and al-Qaeda's growing influence in Libya. And intelligence sources tell Fox News investigators do believe al-Qaeda was behind the attack—specifically Sufyan Ben Qumu, a former Guantanamo detainee, who was involved and may even have led the attack. Qumu was returned to his native Libya in 2007 on the condition that he be kept in custody, but was released by the Gadhafi regime the following year. Counterterrorism officials also tell the Wall Street Journal they are probing possible al-Qaeda links to the attack.

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"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," the director of the National Counterterrorism Center testified before a Senate committee yesterday, calling the assault "a terrorist attack." He described the attack as an "opportunistic attack" that "evolved and escalated over several hours," but said there is no specific intelligence that there was "significant advanced planning or coordination for this attack." Libya's president says the attack was planned by foreigners who had entered Libya months earlier. (Read more al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb stories.)

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