Apparently the basic lessons contained in Organizing 101 are just now beginning to seep into the august realms of Washington DC as they ponder the Libyan protest.
The attack that killed four Americans in the Libyan consulate began as a spontaneous protest against the film “The Innocence of Muslims,” but Islamic militants who may have links to Al Qaeda used the opportunity to launch an attack, CIA Director David Petreaus told the House Intelligence Committee
Yes, that’s precisely what seasoned organizers and radicals do. They lay the groundwork, build whatever organization they can, wait for an external event to ignite a spark of protest, toss gasoline on the spark, and try to get in front of the disaffected to lead the charge. I’ve no doubt this is what happened in the Libyan protest. This has nothing to do with political ideology and everything to do with basic political organizing.
Also, saying that the militants might have links to Al Qaeda somewhat confuses the issue as it implies they might be taking orders from AQ and that’s not necessarily the case. In any fringe political grouping, everyone mostly knows or knows of each other. The chain of command can get blurry, if there even is one. Since everyone is in general agreement on doctrine and the cause, then much remains unspoken simply because it never needs to be voiced. That’s why groups like this are so hard to infiltrate. They’re all on the same wavelength and if you don’t know the frequency, they won’t trust you.
But it is a mistake to say they follow a central command as their organization generally resembles a network not a hierarchy. However, they do know how to exploit situations to further the cause.