Fog of Benghazi: Al Qaeda, Dead Americans and an Emerging Threat

Last October, a year after Benghazi, the Jamal Network was designated as an Foreign Terrorist Organization by the United States, but the group's role in killing Stevens and the others was not disclosed then. The UN, however, noted its leader's bomb training by al Qaeda in Afghanistan in the late 1980s and his membership in Egyptian Islamic Jihad, headed by Zawahiri before merging with al Qaeda formally in 1998.

"MJN members were reported to be involved in the attack on the United States Mission in Benghazi, Libya, on 11 Sep. 2012," the UN said.

AQIM, which targeted American and other western oil and gas workers at a BP site in Algeria by one of its offshoots in a raid a year ago, was formed in 1998 and in 2006 pledged bayat -- fealty -- to Bin Laden and adopted the al Qaeda brand name with Zawahiri's videotaped blessing.

The leader of one of the two Ansar al-Sharia groups in Libya designated by the U.S. this month is Sufian bin Qumu, a former Guantanamo Bay inmate who also trained with al Qaeda in Afghanistan.

Nearly a year and a half after the attack on the Benghazi compound, when asked about al Qaeda's role on Wednesday, Harf reiterated past statements.

"We still have no indications that core-al Qaeda was involved in directly planning this attack," she told reporters.

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