Washington, D.C. – Today, the U.S. State Department designated Ansar al-Sharia as a foreign terrorist organization and confirmed that the group was “involved” in the September 11, 2012 terrorist attacks on the U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi, Libya.  On Wednesday, when a news report of the imminent terrorist designation surfaced, U.S. Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said he would welcome such a designation and issued the following statement:

“16 months after the terrorist attacks in Benghazi, the Administration is confirming what it has long known – that Ansar al-Sharia carried out an attack against the United States that killed four Americans in Benghazi, Libya. The Obama Administration should be doing all it can to hunt down those responsible for this terrorist attack.  I’m gravely concerned that they are not.”

Note: After the initial attack on the Benghazi Special Mission Compound, the State Department Operations Center alerted senior Department officials, other agencies, and the White House that Ansar al-Sharia had claimed responsibility on Facebook and Twitter for the attack.  On November 27, 2012, then-United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice stated that, in fact, the talking points provided by the intelligence community, which formed the basis for her public comments on the Sunday talk shows of September 11, 2012, were “incorrect in a key respect: there was no protest or demonstration in Benghazi.”