Hamed and the other militia leader described themselves as members of multiple brigades, the cable said.
Then there are the conflicting reports from U.S. officials.
On September 18th, a U.S. official told CNN that Ansar al Sharia had not been positively identified as responsible for the attack, "which is more likely to turn out to be a bunch of various elements and basically (al Qaeda) militants."
Another senior official told CNN: "Ansar al Sharia is only one of the elements they are looking at. The notion that the intelligence community has zeroed in on either Ansar al Sharia -- its leader Sufian bin Qumu in particular -- is completely untrue."
At the same time, Matthew Olsen, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, told a congressional panel: "We are looking at indications that individuals involved in the attack may have had connections to al Qaeda or al Qaeda's affiliates -- in particular, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb."
The possibility that al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb was somehow involved in the attack was recently revived by U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Carter Ham, commander of the U.S. Africa Command.
"It appears to me very likely that some of the terrorists who participated in the attack in Benghazi have at least some linkages to AQIM," Ham told reporters in Paris this week.
At other times U.S. officials have suggested that Libyan jihadists who fought with al Qaeda in Iraq played a role along with Egyptian militants.
Little is known about who Libyan authorities detained in the wake of the consulate attack, and whether they are still detained.
A Tunisian, meanwhile, has been detained in connection with the attack, though nothing is known publicly about his links to Ansar al Sharia. Ani Ali al Harzi was arrested in Turkey and is now being held in Tunis.
What can be said with some confidence is that the Salafist trend has been revitalized across the Arab world as dictatorships have crumbled. A number of Ansar al Sharia groups have emerged not only in Libya but in Yemen, Tunisia, Egypt and Morocco.
"The Muslims today are not like they were before," al-Tarshani told the BBC. "They cannot stand any action that would insult our Prophet or other symbols."