A "weapons expert" with al-Qaeda is claiming that slain U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens was killed by lethal injection after plans to kidnap him during the deadly Sept. 11 attacks in Benghazi went awry.
"The veracity of the claim by Abdallah Dhu-al-Bajadin, who was identified by U.S. officials as a weapons expert for al-Qaeda, could not be determined. However, U.S. officials have not dismissed the terrorist’s assertion," The Washington Free Beacon's Bill Gertz reports.
FBI spokeswoman Kathy Wright declined to comment on -- but did not deny -- the report due to the FBI's ongoing investigation into the Benghazi attacks. "The FBI is not in a position to comment on anything specific with regard to the investigation," she said.
In a March 14 online post on an al-Qaeda-linked website, Dhu-al-Bajadin made the explosive claim that Steven was given a lethal injection that wasn't detected during the autopsy.
Gertz has more on the online post:
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.
Dhu-al-Bajadin said he had more details about the attacks and the assassination, but would not reveal them in the posting.
The Washington Free Beacon obtained a copy of the translation of Dhu-al-Bajadin’s posting in Arabic.
While the article didn't say what kind of substance was used for the alleged lethal injection, Dhu-al-Bajadin reportedly wrote the use of lethal injection is done “more than one place in the human body that autopsy doctors ignore when they see that the symptoms are similar to another specific and common illness.”
“Anyone who studied the art of silent assassination that spies applied during the Cold War would easily identify these parts of the body," the post added.
A report by the State Department Accountability Review Board and an interim House report provided no cause of death for Stevens. The ambassador's body was recovered by Libyans in the early hours of Sept. 12, 2012.
As of this writing, no official cause of death for Stevens has been released to the public. However, it was reported that a Libyan doctor who examined him said he died from apparent smoke inhalation and related asphyxiation.
CBS News reported that Stevens was listed as "John Doe" on his Libyan death certificate at the request of U.S. officials.
Read Gertz' full report on the explosive Benghazi claim here.