Video: Benghazi suspect freed from Egyptian prison after Mubarak fall
posted at 11:21 am on October 2, 2012 by Ed Morrissey
How’s that Arab Spring working out for us? So far, our embassies are on fire, our Benghazi consulate sacked, and an American ambassador has been murdered — the first time in 33 years that has happened. These events are not unconnected, as the Wall Street Journal and Fox News report. The leading suspect, according to US intelligence sources, has become a well-known member of Islamic Jihad and a disciple of al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri, who had been safely behind bars in Egypt until the US insisted that Hosni Mubarak had to surrender power immediately:
Fighters linked to one freed militant, Muhammad Jamal Abu Ahmad, took part in the Sept. 11 attack on U.S. diplomatic outposts in Libya that killed four Americans, U.S. officials believe based on initial reports. Intelligence reports suggest that some of the attackers trained at camps he established in the Libyan Desert, a former U.S. official said. …
Mr. Ahmad, although believed to be one of the most potent of the new militant operatives emerging from the chaos of the Arab Spring, isn’t the only one, according to Western officials. They say others are also trying to exploit weaknesses in newly established governments and develop a capacity for strikes that could go well beyond recent violent protests in Libya, Egypt and elsewhere. …
On returning to Egypt in the 1990s, a former U.S. official said, Mr. Ahmad became head of the operational wing of Egyptian Islamic Jihad, which was then headed by Ayman al-Zawahiri, a physician who is now the chief of al Qaeda. Associates of Mr. Ahmad agree he was part of Egyptian Islamic Jihad but say he wasn’t among its leaders.On returning to Egypt in the 1990s, a former U.S. official said, Mr. Ahmad became head of the operational wing of Egyptian Islamic Jihad, which was then headed by Ayman al-Zawahiri, a physician who is now the chief of al Qaeda. Associates of Mr. Ahmad agree he was part of Egyptian Islamic Jihad but say he wasn’t among its leaders. …
Freed last year, Mr. Ahmad is building his own terror group, say Western officials, who call it the Jamal Network. They say he appears to be trying to tap former fellow inmates such as Murjan Salim, a man who, like Mr. Ahmad, has ties to al Qaeda’s Dr. Zawahiri. Former associates of Mr. Ahmad said Mr. Salim is directing aspiring jihadis to Mr. Ahmad’s camps in Libya.
Ahmad was still in prison because he refused to accept the cease-fire and reconciliation offered by Mubarak in 1997. Instead, Ahmad remained in prison, preaching jihad and attempting to convert fellow inmates to terrorism. All he needed was a chance to get out — and the overthrow of Mubarak and the victory of the Muslim Brotherhood finally allowed that to happen.
Fox News reports that Congress has become increasingly unhappy over the lack of information they have received on this rise of Islamist terror networks in North Africa, and now they want Hillary Clinton to testify before Congress on how the US has gotten blindsided by it:
The bigger question is this: how many more Ahmads have we released through our haste to push a key US ally under the bus? We’re probably never going to truly know the answer to that question, but we almost certainly haven’t seen the last of them.