Report: Ambassador Stevens Killed By Lethal Injection After Prisoner Swap Plan Went Wrong
Bill Gertz is reporting at The Washington Times that a recent online post by an al Qaeda terrorist indicated that U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens was killed by lethal injection after plans to kidnap him during the Sept. 11 attacks in Benghazi went bad. According to the post on a prominent jihadist web forum, the plan was "based on the abduction and exchange of high-level prisoners.”
This story lends a degree of credibility to one of the "crazier" conspiracy theories out there.
Under this operating theory, had all gone according to plan, the Obama administration would have secretly facilitated the capture of Ambassador Stevens. This would have permitted Obama to safely trade the Ambassador through the release of the Blind Sheikh. All of this would occur, of course, just before the election. Obama would take very public credit for Stevens' safe return as well as a newly strengthened relationship with Egypt's Morsi.
Gertz notes that while the veracity of the claim made by Abdallah Dhu-al-Bajadin, a weapons expert for al Qaeda, could not be determined, U.S. officials have not dismissed the terrorist’s assertion.
A State Department Accountability Review Board report and an interim House Republican report on the attacks gave no cause of death for Stevens, whose body was recovered by Libyans in the early hours of Sept. 12.
The House report, “Interim Progress Report for the House Republican Conference,” said that “Libyan doctors tried unsuccessfully to resuscitate Ambassador Stevens upon his arrival at the hospital.”
To date, no official cause of death for Stevens has been made public, although it was reported that a Libyan doctor who examined Stevens said he died from apparent smoke inhalation and related asphyxiation.
Video and photos of Stevens being handled by a mob in Benghazi were posted on the Internet. It is not clear from the images whether he was dead or alive at the time.
According to a March 14 posting on an al Qaeda-linked website, Dhu-al-Bajadin stated that Stevens was given a lethal injection that was overlooked during the autopsy.
The “plan was based on abduction and exchange of high-level prisoners,” the terrorist wrote on the prominent jihadist Web forum Ansar al-Mujahideen Network. “However, the operation took another turn, for a reason God only knows, when one of the members of the jihadist cell improvised and followed Plan B.”
Dhu-al-Bajadin’s claim of assassination also was copied to the Ansar al-Mujahidin website from the al Qaeda-accredited website Shumukh al-Islam. That site is open only to members, and the claim initially was posted for Dhu-al-Bajadin by a member identified as Adnan Shukri.
The reference to Shumukh al-Islam has boosted the credibility of the claim among some U.S. intelligence analysts. A Western intelligence official said Dhu-al-Bajadin is a well-known jihadist and a key figure behind a magazine called Al Qaeda Airlines.
Gertz reports that the FBI is aware of the claim but declined to comment because of the ongoing investigation. A State Department spokesman had no comment.