Benghazi: The Cover-Up Timeline


1990s-2010: Libyan Muslim Brotherhood & Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), an Al-Qa’eda affiliate struggled unsuccessfully to oust Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi, even with extensive UK MI 6 backing

2008-2010: Tripoli Embassy DCM Christopher Stevens & USG pressured Qaddafi to release jihadis from prison, who then organized to launch revolution against him

17 Feb 2011: Libyan revolt began w/US, EU, NATO backing

March 2011: Despite repeated Qaddafi efforts to negotiate abdication & exile, Obama White House & Clinton State Dept. insisted on official support to Libyan Muslim Brotherhood & al-Qa’eda militias; a Presidential Intelligence Finding authorized covert assistance & Chris Stevens managed the weapons flow from Qatar to Libyan al-Qa’eda militias

20 Oct 2011: Qaddafi was killed, the Libya MB-led Transitional National Council took over & soon black flag of jihad was seen flying over Benghazi courthouse

Jan-Sep 2012: Security conditions in Benghazi deteriorated drastically, Ansar al-Sharia formed from earlier AQ-MB-linked militias & attacked Western interests, including the US mission

Jan-Sep 2012: AMEMB Tripoli repeatedly requested more security but all requests were denied even after specific intelligence warning of “imminent” attack was received ca. late Aug 2012

Nov 2011-Dec 2012: Kristi Rogers, wife of HPSCI Chm. Mike Rogers & President/CEO of Aegis Defense Services LLC, won large global security contract from DOS under which Welsh Blue Mt. firm was hired in Benghazi, which then sub-contracted w/17 Feb Martyrs Brigade to defend the Special Mission Compound (SMC)

Jan-Sep 2012: CIA Base of Operations Benghazi (Annex) tasked w/recovery of Qaddafi’s looted weapons, especially SAMs; CIA managed weapons collection/shipment on Libyan ships from Benghazi to Turkish ports for overland delivery to AQ-and-MB-dominated Syrian rebels

22 May 2012: J. Christopher Stevens named Ambassador to Libya

July-Sep 2012: “Innocence of Muslims” YouTube film posted to Internet w/few views until producer got Egyptian TV host to play clips on 9 Sep 2012, sparking widespread Muslim outrage

10 Sep 2012: AQ chief Ayman al-Zawahiri posted Libya attack video on jihadi websites

10 Sep 2012: Amb. Stevens traveled from Tripoli to Benghazi w/only 5 DSS officers; Sean Smith, NSA officer, arrived Benghazi from The Hague

11 Sep 2012: Anti-YouTube film protests turned violent vs AMEMB Cairo, elsewhere

11 Sep 2012 (NLT 2000): Ansar al-Shariah set up blockade cordon around SMC neighborhood

11 Sep 2012 (1930-2030): Turkish Consul General Ali Sait Akin dinner meeting w/Amb. Stevens at SMC but sent no warning as he departed through gathering militia forces

11 Sep 2012 (ca 2100): Amb. Stevens & Sean Smith retired for evening; one DSS officer manned the TOC, w/others elsewhere on compound, but w/o their gear or weapons per DOS orders those be kept in separate bldg.

11 Sep 2012 (2123): Dozens of attackers armed w/ARs & RPGs stormed SMC & Alec Henderson, DOS communication officer, contacted Annex, where GRS team immediately grabbed gear, weapons & asked COB permission to go to aid of Amb. Stevens & SMC; COB denied permission, told them “Stand Down” while he tried to reach 17 Feb Martyrs Brigade for help

11 Sep 2012 (2142 BT): Amb. Stevens phoned DCM Greg Hicks at USEMB Tripoli to tell him “We’re being attacked”

11 Sep 2012 (2145 BT): Henderson called Annex again, requested help but COB refused to allow GRS team to go ¾ mi. to SMC; 10 min. later, Henderson called again, said building on fire and if no help arrives, “we’re all gonna die” – but COB refused for 3rd time to allow GRS team to go

11 Sep 2012 (2205 BT): Ty Woods & 5 other GRS members, Libyan national translator decided to ignore COB orders, piled into two Level 7 armored vehicles & drove to the SMC

11 Sep 2012 (shortly after attack began): DSS guard Scott Strickland w/Amb. Stevens, Sean Smith inside safe room, escaped through barred window, but car kept per SOP beneath window for E & E was not there; Stevens & Smith did not follow out window

11 Sep 2012 (1600 EST/2200 LT): Unarmed Predator drone diverted from Derna mission to Benghazi by AFRICOM J-3, Director of Operations

11 Sep 2012 (by 1622EST/2222 BT): DoS Ops Center, SecDef Panetta, Chm JCS Gen. Dempsey, all combatant commands including AFRICOM CMDR Ham all were informed that US mission in Benghazi was under attack by scores of armed men; Panetta, Dempsey met w/Pres. Obama as UnderSecState Patrick Kennedy refused request to send FEST to Libya while SecState Clinton phoned CIA Director David Petraeus to coordinate

11 Sep 2012 (2200+ BT): GRS team cleared SMC of attackers, located & removed Sean Smith’s body from inside one building still on fire. Also located & escorted out 6 persons including DSS guards found hiding in safe rooms. Unable to locate Stevens. DSS guards told them 17 February Martyrs Brigade guards opened SMC gates to attackers, then either fled or joined in attack.

11 Sep 2012 (2350 BT): CIA GRS arrived back at Annex under heavy fire, took up positions on rooftops, repelled multiple waves of attackers while remaining in constant secure communication over emergency channels w/WDC

11 Sep 2012 (2330 TT): Former Navy SEAL Glenn Doherty, 2 members SST, 2 USMC departed Tripoli in leased C-130, arriving Benghazi airport ca 0130 on 12 Sep 2012, where they were delayed by Libya Shield jihadis for 3 hrs. before getting to the Annex

11 Sep 2012 (1915 EST/0115 BT): U.S. DOD Chief of Staff Jeremy Bash sent email to DOS leadership, immediately offering “forces that could move to Benghazi” – “we have identified the forces that could move to Benghazi. They are spinning up as we speak.” F-16 jets at Aviano AFB, 130-man USMC team at Sigonella AFB, 10th Group SF in Croatia all available, ready to go, never given “Go” order, possibly told to Stand Down, an order that could only come from Commander-In-Chief.

11 Sep 2012, (0200 TT/ca 2000 EST): DCM Greg Hicks spoke by phone w/SecState Clinton & advisors, told them it was terrorist attack, video a “non-event” in Libya but SecState Clinton next on phone w/President, then issued DOS press release blaming YouTube video for attack; she withheld cross-border authority for rescue

12 Sep 2012 (0100 BT): Amb. Stevens’ body found at SMC by Libyan casuals/looters, taken to Benghazi Medical Center where doctor tried to revive him, to no avail

12 Sep 2012 (0430 BT): Tripoli rescue team arrived CIA Annex, joined fight; Doherty took up position on one Annex building rooftop while others stayed below.

12 Sep 2012 (0500 BT): Final Ansar al-Shariah attack w/mortar; Ty Woods, Glenn Doherty killed on roof; DSS agent David Ubbin, GRS Mark Geist (“Oz”) gravely injured

12 Sep 2012 (ca. 0530 BT): Libyan rescue team arrived, attack ended, survivors plus bodies of Stevens & Smith departed Benghazi on a Libyan C-130 plus the leased C-130 from Tripoli; no official US forces ever sent, no official USG help ever arrived at Benghazi entire night

That very day, the official White House/State Department/CIA cover-up began & continues to this day. Multiple Congressional investigations, the State Department’s Accountability Review Board (ARB), and Rep. Trey Gowdy’s Select Committee on Benghazi all have failed to explain why the U.S. supported Libyan al-Qa’eda & Muslim Brotherhood to overthrow Qaddafi at a time when he was an ally against AQ in N Africa, why the U.S. facilitated gun-running to al-Qa’eda in both Libya (2011) and Syria (2012), why the Special Mission Compound in Benghazi was stripped of desperately-needed security, why the Obama administration failed to pre-position forces even in the face of multiple warnings, and why the Obama White House to this day leads an official cover-up about the true cause of the attacks against the U.S. mission in Benghazi as well as its failure to even attempt a rescue of beleaguered mission personnel there that resulted in the deaths of four Americans, the loss of the mission, and the descent of Libya into an utterly chaotic failed state that now threatens the entire region and even Europe.

  • 4 Sep 12: Film producer, ex-pat Egyptian Coptic Christian (Morris Sadek?) phoned al Youm al Sabaa (Seventh Day) daily newspaper in WDC area & emailed copy of film trailer
  • 6 Sep 12: Gamel Girgis wrote 3-para article, calling movie ‘shocking’
  • 8 Sep 12: ‘other newspapers’ began running the story & al Youm al Sabaa ran a follow-up 
  • 8 Sep 12: Gama’at al-Islamiyya & EIJ jointly issued statement threatening to burn down Embassy unless Blind Sheikh released
  • 9 Sep 12: Arabic-language forum posted statement inciting Egyptians [O, sons of Egypt!] to target the U.S. Embassy, indicating “U.S. Embassy shouldn’t remain in Egypt” until Blind Sheikh released
  • 9 Sep 12: al-Nas Egyptian TV host Khaled Abdullah aired clip of “Innocence of Muslims”, invited outrage
  • 9 Sep 12: al-Azhar Mufti condemned clip for ‘insulting the prophet’
  • Facebook pages appeared, calling for 9/11 protests; callers asked US Emb, which was clueless about video
  • 11 Sep 12 : CNN Nic Robertson outside Cairo Embassy interviewing protesters who want Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman (Blind Sheikh) released – including one-on-one with Mohamed al-Zawahiri – violence broke out immediately afterwards
  • CNN began to push false film narrative
  • 11 Sep 12 : Protests break out ( > 3 dozen countries 13-29 Sep – YouTube clip eventually > 17m hits)
  • Cairo : Embassy perimeter breached, US flag torn down, burned, black flag of jihad raised in its place
  • Cairo Embassy tweeted its apologies
    • “We condemn the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims”
  • 13 Sep 12: Obama phoned Morsi about protests, need to protect US Embassy Cairo
  • 11 Sep 12: Military assault on Benghazi base began 2140 (Annex security team says it was 2123) that night – there was no demonstration or protest
  • Staff, guards knew something up since morning
  • Ran out of phone cards by 0920
  • PAO Smith blogged “if we don’t die tonight”
  • Letters to Libyan FoMin, Benghazi police chief
  • Ansar al-Shariah setting up outside hours before
  • Stevens oblivious? Dinner mtng. w/Turkish ConGen, then on phone w/US MD for next am mtng.
  • Phone calls, cables, aerial drone all live time
  • Tripoli CIA rescue team couldn’t get to Benghazi hospital due to AAS outside


  • 11 Sep 12 (2200+ ET): SecState Clinton spoke by phone w/President Obama
  • 11 Sep 12 (2208 ET)SecState Clinton issued a statement saying, “Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet.”
  • 11 Sep 12 (2312 ET): SecState Clinton sent email (Subject line: ‘Re: I’m in my office’) to daughter Chelsea that said “Two of our officers were killed in Benghazi by an Al-Qaeda-like group…”
  • 12 Sep 12 (1250 ET): Sid Blumenthal sent SecState Clinton a briefing that stated “a senior security officer told Libyan president el-Magariaf that the attacks on that day were inspired by what many devout Libyan viewed as a sacrilegious internet video on the prophet Mohammed originating in America.”
  • 12 Sep 12 (1300 ET): Unknown sender sent email to SecState Clinton. It contained a link to a Max Blumenthal (son of Sid Blumenthal) blog post about Steve Klein connecting the YouTube video to right-wing extremists, including “Robert Spencer, Pamela Geller, and Daniel Pipes.” Post no longer online because was taken down, but can also be viewed hereBethany Stotts (AIM) has PDF copy of it if that one is also taken down. Sender’s digital signature same as on October 15, 2012 Sidney Blumenthal It states, “Sent from my Verizon Wireless 4G LTE DROID.”
  • 12 Sep 12 (1411 ET): SecState Clinton requested this blog entry be printed
  • 12 Sep 12: Obama in Rose Garden: “no act of terror…”
  • 12 Sep 12 (1806 EST): Beth Jones, acting assistant secretary of state for Near East, sentemail to top State Department official: “[T]he group that conducted the attacks, Ansar al-Sharia, is affiliated with Islamic extremists.” 
  • 12 Sep 12 (1816 ET): Note sourced to Tyler Drumheller, w/sender redacted, forwarded to SecState Clinton. Comes from same email signature & claims that Libyan government blaming Cairo video & that “immediate events were set in motion by a statement made by a Muslim Cleric in Egypt saying that the internet film was going to be shown across the United States on September 11 in an effort to insult Muslims on the anniversary of the attacks on the New York World Trade Center in 2001.”

o    Examination of Blumenthal’s emails, as leaked by hacker Guccifer, shows that reports sent by Blumenthal were gathered by Drumheller.

  • 12 Sep 12 (2326 ET): SecState Clinton wrote to Jake Sullivan “We should get this [Drumheller note] around asap.”
  • 12 Sep 12 (2330 ET): Clinton forwarded to top aide Jake Sullivan email briefing rec’d that morning from Sid Blumenthal about report to Libyan president el-Magariaf that blamed YouTube video, with the words, “More info.”
  • 13 Sep 12: Jay Carney: “”The protests we’re seeing around the region are in reaction to this movie…”
  • September 13, 2012, Hillary Clinton metwith Moroccan Foreign Minister Saad-Eddine Al-Othmani. She condemned what she called the “disgusting and reprehensible” anti-Muslim video and the violence that it triggered.
  • 14 Sep 12 (0930 ET): SecState Clinton held meeting w/Susan Rice
  • 14 Sep 12: Jay Carney “protests were in reaction to a video”
  • 14 Sep 12 (1415 ET): SecState Clinton attended transfer of remains ceremony. She told Tyrone Woods’ father, Charles Woods,“We’re going to have that person arrested and prosecuted that did the video.”
  • 14 Sep 12 (1832 ET): Sidney Blumenthal sent SecState Clinton memo which states, “In addition, he stated in private that Morsi and al-Katany spoke with Libyan President Mohammed Yussef el Magariaf, and they had all agreed that military and security officials in Egypt and Libya will cooperate in an effort to track links between the violence in Cairo and Benghazi.” (SecState Clinton response that it should be printed dated 23 Sep 12)
  • 14 Sep 12 (1833 ET): DoS Victoria Nuland notified re CIA talking points
  • 14 Sep 12 (NLT 1739 ET): Jake Sullivan included in process
  • 14 Sep 12 (2124 ET): Nuland refers to “issues” the “building leadership” has with the talking points. Sends email to Sullivan at same time
  • 14 Sep 12 (2125 ET): Sullivan indicates he spoke w/Tommy Vietor & talking points would be addressed next day.
  • 15 Sep 12: CIA Acting Director Michael Morell made massive edits to talking points. Sullivan’s name appears on the page
  • Per Judicial Watch email: at Secure Video Teleconference (SVTS), “Morell noted that these points were not good and he had taken a heavy editing hand to them. He noted that he would be happy to work with Jake Sullivan and Rhodes to develop appropriate talking points. McDonough, on Rhode’s behalf, deferred to Sullivan. It was agreed that Jake would work closely with the intelligence community (within a small group) to finalize points on Saturday that could be shared with HPSCI.”
  • 15 Sep 12: Jake Sullivan worked w/UN Amb. Susan Rice to prep her for next day Sunday talk shows. From Judicial Watch: “I spoke to Jake immediately after the SVTS andnoted that you were doing the Sunday morning shows and would need to be aware of the final posture that these points took. He committed to ensure that we were updated in advance of the Sunday  I specifically mentioned Erin Pelton as the one coordinating your preparations for the shows and also strongly encouraged him to loop in Rexon during the process.”
  • 16 Sep 12: Libyan President Mohamed Magariaf told Bob Shieffer on “Face the Nation”: “…this leaves us with no doubt that this was preplanned, determined—pre-meditated months ago, and they were planning this criminal act since their arrival”
  • 16 Sep 12: Amb. Susan Rice on 5 Sunday talk shows, including “Face the Nation,” directly after Libyan president
  • “we do not have information at present that leads us to conclude that this was premeditated or preplanned”
  • “What happened in Cairo, in Benghazi, in many other parts of the region was a result – a direct result of a heinous and offensive video”
  • 16 Sep 12:  Sullivan monitored Susan Rice’s appearances.
  • 16 Sep 12 (1221 ET): Email states, “But she did make clear our view that this started spontaneously and then evolved. The only troubling sentence relates to the investigation, specifically: ‘And we’ll see when the investigation unfolds whether what was — what transpired in Benghazi might have unfolded differently in different circumstances.’”
  • Rice’s comments: “In Cairo, as you know, a few hours earlier, there was a violent protest that was undertaken in reaction to this very offensive video that was disseminated. We believe that folks in Benghazi, a small number of people came to the embassy to — or to the consulate, rather, to replicate the sort of challenge that was posed in Cairo. And then as that unfolded, it seems to have been hijacked, let us say, by some individual clusters of extremists who came with heavier weapons, weapons that as you know in — in the wake of the revolution in Libya are — are quite common and accessible. And it then evolved from there.”
  • 16 Sep 12 (1439): SecState Clinton’s response to Meet the Press transcript of Susan Rice’sappearance has been redacted by State Department
  • 18 Sep 12: Jay Carney “…it was the video that caused the unrest in Cairo, and the video and the unrest in Cairo that helped — that precipitated some of the unrest in Benghazi…”
  • 19 Sep 12: Jay Carney “do not yet have indication that it was pre-planned”
  • 19 Sep 12: Matt Olson, NCTC to Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chairman Joe Lieberman on whether the attack was a terrorist attack: “They were killed in the course of a terrorist attack on our embassy.”
  • 20 Sep 12: Jay Carney admits terrorism
  • 20 Sep 12: Obama at Univision town hall meeting “”What we do know is that the natural protests that arose because of the outrage over the video were used as an excuse by extremists to see if they can also directly harm U.S. interests.”
  • 21 Sep 12: SecState Clinton admits terror and after that, post-UN speech, video narrative was abandoned
  • 28 Sep 12: Film producer Mark Basseley Youssef arrested, sentenced to 1 yr. in jail for “probation violations”


US MB Responses

  • 12 Sep 12: Emails obtained by Judicial Watch in late June 2015 show communication between SecState Clinton’s Chief of Staff Huma Abedin (Muslim Brotherhood connections) and Rashad Hussain about an article discussing how “American Muslim leaders” (MB) were tying the YouTube video to the Benghazi attack.
  • 17 Sep 12: The American Muslim website – Tariq Ramadan

  • “…After the Danish cartoons, the Dutch video Fitna and several low-grade irritants, a short, crudely executed — and scrupulously insulting — film has inflamed deep-seated resentment. Several hundreds of furious demonstrators gathered in front of the American Embassy in Cairo and the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. In the confusion and violence, a US Ambassador and three diplomats were killed.’
  • ‘The violent reactions to the insults uttered against the Prophet [PBUH] have driven many Muslims to behaviours far removed from the principles of Islam.’
  • ‘But behind the celebration of freedom of speech hides the arrogance of ideologists and well-fed racists who feed off the multiform humiliation of Muslims and to demonstrate the clear “superiority” of their civilisation or the validity of their resistance to the “cancer” of retrograde Islam. In criticising this ideological stance there can be no compromise either.’
  • ISNA statement condemning ‘depicting Prophet Muhammad….in a very profane manner’
  • ‘condemn the creation of such a hateful video, and we also call for an end to support for such mechanisms of hatred and bigotry’
  • “…nothing justifies violent acts…”
  • MPAC condemns attacks on US Embs Cairo, Benghazi
  • ‘The attacks come after a low-budget movie on YouTube called “Muhammad” incited anger by depicting Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) in a demeaning and degrading manner.’
  • CAIR issued a video aimed at demonstrators in Nigeria “It is clear that the motive behind the film is to enrage Muslims and to display a hatred of Islam’ appealing for calm
  • ICNA appealed for calm and added: “We also appeal to the larger American public to be wary of such attempts by individuals and groups, who in most cases have foreign ties, engaging in such hateful projects that not only endanger American and others’ lives overseas, but also incite hate attacks against minorities in America as well.”
  • Also to speak 19 Oct 12 – UW-Madison – MSA event on “Islamophobia”


UN Speeches

  • 25 September 2012: Obama’s UN speech cited YouTube film multiple x
  • US president bowed to Islamic Law on slander: “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam”
  • “Voices of tolerance that rally vs….blasphemy” – !!
  • 25 September 2012: Pakistani PM Ali Zardari
  • “The international community must not become silent observers and should criminalize such acts that destroy the peace of the world and endanger world security by misusing freedom of expression”
  • 26 September 2012 : Morsi’s UN speech explicitly rejected free speech, implied speech causes violence, emphasized UN responsibility to ‘address’ speech that causes violence
  • “UNGA as well as UNSC has the principle responsibility in addressing this phenomenon that is starting to have implications that clearly affect international peace & security”
  • “Egypt respects freedom of expression” but “one that is not used to incite hatred against anyone. One that is not directed toward one specific religion…”
  • “The obscenities that I have referred to that were recently released as part of an organized campaign against Islamic sanctities are unacceptable” (YouTube video)
  • “We reject this. We cannot accept it,” Morsi said, his voice thin with anger. “We will not allow anyone to do this by word or deed.”
  • “We have a responsibility in this international gathering to study how we can protect the world from instability and hatred”
  • 28 September 2012: Turkish FoMin Ahmet Davutoglu
  • Unfortunately, Islamophobia has also become a new form of racism like anti-Semitism. It can no longer be tolerated under the guise of freedom of expression. Freedom does not mean anarchy”
  • 29 September 2012: OIC SecGen Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu spoke to OIC FoMins at UN Hqs
  • Annual Coordination meeting of OIC FoMins held on sidelines of UNGA session in NYC adopted declaration condemning the sacrilegious act of releasing the defamatory video
  • Mtng had been postponed from June – to follow orchestrated events of the summer?
  • Blamed Benghazi attack on film: ‘…serious consequences of abusing the principle of freedom of expression…’
  • Called for ‘adopting measures to criminalize incitement to imminent violence based on religion or belief’
  • 29 Sep 12 AP Interview spoke even more directly, Issued thinly-veiled threats
  • Issued thinly-veiled threats:

“If the Western world fails to understand the sensitivity of the Muslim world, then we are in trouble…Such provocations pose “a threat to international peace and security and the sanctity of life.”

“You have to see that there is a provocation. You should understand the psychology of people who revere their prophet and don’t want people to insult him.” 


USG – OIC Relationship Continues

  • 18 Nov 12: OIC website posted notice about Mon 19 Nov 12 OIC Symposium, ‘Defamation Acts vs Islam: Conflict Dimensions & Perspectives of Co-existence between Islam and the West’ – to be attended by Anne Casper, US ConGen Jeddah
  • Report from Symposium: Casper said best antidote to offensive speech is more speech

  • 18 Nov 12: Screen save/report: Patrick Poole, PJ Media – OIC removed ref to Casper attending
  • 28 Nov 12: Egyptian Judge Salif al Nasr Soliman handed down death sentences
  • FL pastor Terri Jones & 7 expat Egyptian Coptic Christians for involvement with film
  • Charges: Insulting the Islamic religion
  • USG, president, SecState all silent

Originally published by Center for Security Policy