Benghazi suspects still on the loose
The city of Derna, Libya which remains a stronghold of militant Islamist and jihadist groups.
December 19th, 2012
08:09 PM ET

Benghazi suspects still on the loose

By Paul Cruickshank and Tim Lister

More than three months after the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, not a single person has been charged in connection with the assault.

Most, if not all, of those questioned in Libya since the attack have been released.

A Libyan source with knowledge of the investigation, who did not want to be identified because of the sensitivities involved in the probe, told CNN there are indications that the perpetrators of the attack came from beyond the Benghazi area and slipped away immediately afterward. The source says it is possible the attackers came from the city of Derna or surrounding areas, about 120 miles (200 km) to the east, which remains a stronghold of militant Islamist and jihadist groups.

The September 11 attack killed four Americans, including Chris Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya. The State Department's independent report on security lapses in Benghazi did not focus on who was responsible as part of its mandate, review leader Ambassador Thomas Pickering said Wednesday, but the FBI continues to investigate.
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November 16th, 2012
06:47 AM ET

What is Ansar al Sharia, and was it behind the consulate attack in Benghazi?

By Tim Lister and Paul Cruickshank

Former CIA Director David Petraeus is expected to tell House and Senate committees Friday that soon after the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, it suspected Ansar al Sharia was responsible. But just what is Ansar al Sharia, and why wasn't it identified as a prime suspect two months ago?

There is no easy answer.

Ansar al Sharia is more a label than an organization, one that's been adopted by conservative Salafist groups across the Arab world. The name means, simply, "Partisans of Islamic Law."

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October 24th, 2012
11:38 PM ET

Doubts surface over e-mail on claim of responsibility for Benghazi attack

By CNN's Tim Lister and Paul Cruickshank

The often fiercely political debate over who knew what - and when - about the September 11 assault on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi has taken another turn with the disclosure of a series of e-mails sent from the State Department on the night of the attack.

But the most explosive of the e-mails - which were released late Tuesday - may have been inaccurate, a "spot report" on a rapidly evolving and highly confusing situation.

The disclosure of the e-mail has given new life to the already fevered debate over when the Obama administration learned that the attack was more than a protest that turned deadly but was the work of terrorists.

The e-mail carried the subject line: "Update 2: Ansar al Sharia Claims Responsibility For Benghazi Attack." The message said: "Embassy Tripoli reports the group has claimed responsibility on Facebook and Twitter and has called for an attack on Embassy Tripoli."

That message was sent to a wide range of federal offices, including the FBI, from the State Department at 6:07 p.m. ET on September 11 - seven minutes into September 12 in Libya. At that time, the attack on the consulate was ongoing, and the subsequent assault on the annex building, in which two more Americans would be killed, had not begun.

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October 9th, 2012
01:24 AM ET

The Danish biker and the trail that led to al Qaeda's most wanted

By Paul Cruickshank and Tim Lister

A 36-year-old Dane called Morten Storm says he was the man who led the CIA to Anwar al Awlaki, the al Qaeda cleric killed in a U.S. drone strike in Yemen last year. And he says he did it with a computer thumb-drive that secretly contained a tracking device.

Among the evidence he's produced: recorded telephone conversations, passport stamps showing multiple trips to Yemen, correspondence with Awlaki, and a recording of a conversation with an unidentified American – who acknowledges his role in the pursuit of Awlaki.

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Zawahiri messages underline al Qaeda's focus on Syria
September 13th, 2012
03:27 PM ET

Zawahiri messages underline al Qaeda's focus on Syria

By Paul Cruickshank and Tim Lister

(CNN) - The latest in a flurry of messages from al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri shows his growing interest in exploiting violence in Syria. In a 35-minute audio address posted on jihadist forums on Wednesday, Zawahiri claimed the United States was actually supporting the Assad regime to prevent an Islamist state from taking its place.

"Supporting jihad in Syria to establish a Muslim state is a basic step towards Jerusalem, and thus America is giving the secular Baathist regime one chance after another, for fear that a government is established in Syria that would threaten Israel," Zawahiri said, according to a translation provided by the SITE Monitoring Service.

It is not the first time Zawahiri has cast a covetous eye over events in Syria.

In February, he used most of an address to try to graft al Qaeda onto the growing insurgency.

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Filed under: al Nusra • Al Qaeda • Al-Shabaab • Al-Zawahiri • AQAP • Assad • Iraq • Israel • Libya • Syria • Terrorism