Benghazi attack suspect Ahmed Abu Khattala, who was captured by U.S. forces on Sunday, told people the move against the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya was intended as revenge for an American-made online video that was seen as an attack to Islam, according to the New York Times.
The New York Times reported Tuesday:
What he did in the period just before the attack has remained unclear. But Mr. Abu Khattala told other Libyans in private conversations during the night of the attack that he was moved to attack the diplomatic mission to take revenge for an insult to Islam in an American-made online video.
An earlier demonstration venting anger over the video outside the American Embassy in Cairo had culminated in a breach of its walls, and it dominated Arab news coverage. Mr. Abu Khattala told both fellow Islamist fighters and others that the attack in Benghazi was retaliation for the same insulting video, according to people who heard him.
In an interview days after the attack, he pointedly declined to say whether he believed an offense such as the anti-Islamic video might indeed warrant the destruction of the diplomatic mission or the killing of the ambassador. “From a religious point of view, it is hard to say whether it is good or bad,” he said.
The day after the September attack, the New York Times' David Kirkpatrick reported fighters involved in the effort were moved "by anger over a 14-minute, American-made video that depicted the Prophet Muhammad, Islam’s founder, as a villainous, homosexual and child-molesting buffoon." The Times did have a reporter -- not Kirkpatrick -- on the ground that night.
White House emails made public in April 2014 supported reports that the Obama administration wanted Susan Rice, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, to “underscore these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy.” In September 2012, Rice said the attack was not premeditated.
Read more at the New York Times.
Michael Calderone contributed to this report.
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