Chairman King Urges Secretary Clinton to Expeditiously Designate as FTO the Group(s) Deemed Responsible for Benghazi Attack

Oct 11, 2012 Issues: Counterterrorism

King concerned by “rapid evolution” of Ansar al-Sharia

Washington, D.C. – Today, Rep. Peter T. King (R-NY), Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security, urged Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to designate as a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), the organization(s) determined, following an investigation, to be responsible for the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.   

In a letter to Clinton, Chairman King noted news reports indicating involvement by jihadists affiliated with Ansar al-Sharia, an organization that has, to date, not been designated by the State Department as a FTO.

In the letter, King wrote:  “I am deeply concerned about the rapid evolution of Ansar al-Sharia from a virtually unknown organization to a full-blown jihadist terror group working with al Qaeda affiliates.  Ansar al-Sharia’s targeting and tactics closely reflect those of other al Qaeda affiliates that have targeted the U.S. Homeland, most notably al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) on Christmas Day 2009 and Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in Times Square in May 2010.  Designating Ansar al-Sharia – as well as any other jihadist group found to be involved in this attack – as an FTO will ensure that the U.S. Government has every military, intelligence, diplomatic, economic, and legal tool at its disposal to disrupt and deter Ansar al-Sharia’s operations, planning, and fundraising.” 

The signed letter to Secretary Clinton is available HERE.

The text of the letter follows:

 

October 11, 2012

The Honorable Hillary Clinton
Secretary
U.S. Department of State
2201 C Street, NW
Washington, DC 20520

Dear Secretary Clinton:

I am writing to urge you to expeditiously complete the State Department’s investigation into the identity of the perpetrators of the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya and immediately thereafter designate any group deemed responsible for the attack a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO), in accordance with Section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), as amended, and to designate any such groups as Specially Designated Global Terrorist entities (SDGT) under Executive Order 13224. 

As you know, news reports from the region indicate members of Ansar al-Sharia were intimately involved in the planning and execution of the attack on the U.S. consulate where four Americans, including Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens were killed.  According to public reports, in the hours following the attack, U.S. intelligence agencies monitored communications from jihadists affiliated with Ansar al-Sharia and members of al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), the group’s North African affiliate.  The intercepts reportedly indicate that Ansar al-Sharia jihadists conspired with AQIM in the attack and acted as subordinates to mid-level AQIM members during the operation.  If your investigation finds that Ansar al-Sharia played a role in the attack, I would urge its immediate designation as a FTO.

          I am deeply concerned about the rapid evolution of Ansar al-Sharia from a virtually unknown organization to a full-blown jihadist terror group working with al Qaeda affiliates.  Ansar al-Sharia’s targeting and tactics closely reflect those of other al Qaeda affiliates that have targeted the U.S. Homeland, most notably al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) on Christmas Day 2009 and Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) in Times Square in May 2010. 

Designating Ansar al-Sharia – as well as any other jihadist group found to be involved in this attack – as an FTO will ensure that the U.S. Government has every military, intelligence, diplomatic, economic, and legal tool at its disposal to disrupt and deter Ansar al-Sharia’s operations, planning, and fundraising. 

Thank you for your time and consideration of this critical national security matter.                                               

Sincerely,                                                     

PETER T. KING                                   
Chairman    

cc:     The Honorable Eric H. Holder, Jr., Attorney General of the United States

          The Honorable Timothy F. Geithner, Secretary of the Treasury

          The Honorable Robert S. Mueller III, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation

          The Honorable Leon E. Panetta, Secretary, Department of Defense

          The Honorable Janet Napolitano, Secretary, Department of Homeland Security

The Honorable James R. Clapper, Jr., Director of National Intelligence

          The Honorable David H. Petraeus, Director of the Central Intelligence Agency

          The Honorable Matthew G. Olsen, Director of the National Counterterrorism Center

 

 

 

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