BREAKING: Leader of Attack on U.S. Consulate in Libya May Have Been Released From Gitmo

Fox News reported moments ago that the leader of last week's attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, may have been Sufian bin Qumu who was released from the detention center in Guantanamo Bay in 2007.

The New York Times reported April 24, 2011, on the release of a prisoner named Abu Sufian Ibrahim Ahmed Hamuda bin Qumu that appears to be the same man:

For more than five years, Abu Sufian Ibrahim Ahmed Hamuda bin Qumu was a prisoner at the Guantánamo Bay prison, judged “a probable member of Al Qaeda” by the analysts there. They concluded in a newly disclosed 2005 assessment that his release would represent a “medium to high risk, as he is likely to pose a threat to the U.S., its interests and allies.”

Today, Mr. Qumu, 51, is a notable figure in the Libyan rebels’ fight to oust Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, reportedly a leader of a ragtag band of fighters known as the Darnah Brigade for his birthplace, this shabby port town of 100,000 people in northeast Libya. The former enemy and prisoner of the United States is now an ally of sorts, a remarkable turnabout resulting from shifting American policies rather than any obvious change in Mr. Qumu.

He was a tank driver in the Libyan Army in the 1980s, when the Central Intelligence Agency was spending billions to support religious militants trying to drive Soviet troops out of Afghanistan. Mr. Qumu moved to Afghanistan in the early 1990s, just as Osama bin Laden and other former mujahedeen were violently turning against their former benefactor, the United States.

He was captured in Pakistan after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, accused of being a member of the militant Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, and sent to Guantánamo — in part because of information provided by Colonel Qaddafi’s government.

The British Telegraph published a Department of Defense file on bin Qumu on April 27, 2011, obtained via Wikileaks.

According to the file, bin Qumu escaped from a Libyan prison in 1993 fleeing to Egypt. From there he went to Afghanistan actually training at a camp run by Osama bin Laden.

Bret Baier of Fox News reported Wednesday that bin Qumu "was released from the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay in 2007, released from Gitmo, and transferred to Libyan custody under the condition back then that he would be kept in jail. He wasn't."

The previously referenced Times piece said bin Qumu was sent from Guantanamo to Libya and released the next year in an amnesty for militants.

According to Baier, bin Qumu also had ties to 9/11 financiers.

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.