CIA in Libya: Eye on the Wrong Ball

From “Ansar al-Sharia’s Role in Benghazi Attacks Still a Mystery,” Eli Lake, The Daily Beast:

“One of the main participants in the Sept. 11 anniversary assault on the U. S. diplomatic mission and Central Intelligence Agency annex in Benghazi is a group formed earlier this year called Ansar al-Sharia, according to the current U. S. intelligence assessment of the attack.

“Before the attack, the U. S. intelligence community didn’t consider Ansar al-Sharia a threat to American interests, and the group wasn’t a priority target for the CIA officers monitoring jihadists in Libya, according to U. S. intelligence officials with knowledge of the investigations into the Benghazi attacks.

“Because Ansar al-Sharia wasn’t designated as a terrorist group or thought to have significant connections to al Qaeda, there were fewer resources deployed to monitor the organization’s members, these officials say.

“Some analysts in the intelligence community disagreed with the official assessment, however.   A public report released in August by the Library of Congress at the direction of a Pentagon organization that focuses on counter-terrorism research concluded that Ansar al-Sharia ‘increasingly embodied al Qaeda’s presence in Libya.’  But this wasn’t the prevailing view.

“One U. S. intelligence contractor working on the investigation into the Benghazi attacks said, ‘We were not focused on these guys.’

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