Man Believed to be Behind Attack That Killed U.S. Ambassador Was Ex-Guantanamo Inmate Released to Libya by the U.S.
The man who is believed to be the leader of the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans, including the U.S. Ambassador, was a former al-Qaeda terrorist released from Guantanamo Bay.
Sufyan Ben Qumu is said to have formerly been Osama bin Laden's driver. He was let out of the U.S. military detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in 2007, when he was turned over to the government of Muammar Gaddafi on the condition that he remain behind bars. While in U.S. custody, Qumu, 53, was characterized as "medium to high" risk to national security, and he refused to cooperate with authorities and explain his past associations with Islamic extremists.
It is now believed that he led the September 11th attack on the U.S. consulate, in which John Christopher Stevens became the first U.S. ambassador killed by overseas violence since 1979.
Qumu is a Libyan army veteran jailed by Qaddafi who later escaped and moved to Sudan, where he worked for one of Osama bin Laden's holding companies. It is believed that he was bin Laden's driver during his time at the company, but he denies this. He later moved to Pakistan and slipped across the border into Afghanistan where he began to work at a charity that was a front for al Qaeda in the summer of 2001. Qumu was arrested in Pakistan by local authorities after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, and was taken to Guantanamo Bay where he was held for six years.
In 2005, the military recommended sending him back to his home country of Libya. Qumu was released in 2007 and turned over to Gaddafi on the condition that he was kept imprisoned. However, Gaddafi freed him from the infamous Abu Salim prison in 2010, along with 37 other prisoners to celebrate his 41st year in power.
The White House insists, however, that there is no evidence that the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya was pre-planned by a terrorist organization. Instead, they say that it looks to be a spontaneous mob of Islamic extremists, but are looking into if individuals involved in the attack may have had connections to al Qaeda.