But some think al Libi probably doesn't know much about the current operational details of al Qaeda.
"There's a lot of thought out there that al Libi may have sort of gone into semi-retirement," CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr said. "Maybe he was in Libya, of course, to start an al Qaeda operation there, but had sort of moved away over the last 15 years from some of his potential activities."
Libyan counterterrorism analyst Noman Benotman, a former jihadist associate of al Libi's, also said his former colleague has been out of the game for a while.
Al Libi's wife agreed, saying he was living a normal life and was not in hiding. She said he actually reapplied for a job with the oil ministry.
Umm Abdul Rahman said her husband left al Qaeda in 1996 and had no connection to the twin 1998 bombings at U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
"I am sure of what I am saying -- he did not take part in any bombing anywhere in the world," Rahman told CNN's Jomana Karadsheh. "He participated in the jihad in Afghanistan. .... He was a member of al Qaeda and he was personal security for bin Laden -- that's true -- but he did not take part in any operation."
3. Who is Ikrima?
The target of the U.S. raid in Somalia was named Ikrima -- a Kenyan of Somali origin, a senior administration official told CNN. He has been on the U.S. radar for at least three years.
Before dawn Saturday, a team of Navy SEALs zoomed in by speedboat and snuck up on a seaside villa in southern Somalia. Soon afterward, the sounds of heavy gunfire and several large explosions echoed across the port city of Barawe.
After coming under fire, the SEALs made a "prudent decision" to pull back, a senior U.S. official said. They withdrew, unable to confirm whether they killed their target, the official said.
A recent Kenyan intelligence report alleged that Ikrima was behind several foiled terror conspiracies against targets in Kenya between 2011 and 2013.
The most recent was a plot to attack Mandera Airport in Kenya's North Eastern Province in April.
Kenyan officials said last year that Ikrima had a significant role in recruiting and training Kenyans in Al-Shabaab.
He is thought to have been a close associate of the Saleh Ali Nabhan, a fellow Kenyan and senior al Qaeda operative in east Africa, who was believed to have been connected to the embassy attacks. (Ali Nabhan was killed by U.S. forces in 2009 in Somalia.)
Ikrima also appears to be close to Al-Shabaab leader Mukhtar Abu Zubayr, who also goes by Ahmed Abdi Godane.
Al-Shabaab, of course, is the al Qaeda-linked militant group based in Somalia. Most recently, it made headlines when it claimed responsibility for the days-long deadly attack at Kenya's upscale Westgate mall in Nairobi in September. At least 67 people were killed in that siege.
4. Were the raids a coincidence or were they coordinated?
The two missions have one thing in common: the 1998 embassy bombings. Al Libi was wanted for his alleged role in attacks. And Ikrima is closely associated with Saleh Ali Nabhan, also accused of being part of the attacks.
But U.S. officials have not talked specifics about the timing.
"Sometimes that depends on the moment of opportunity. You can be watching and then the moment of opportunity comes up and you have to take it," says CNN foreign affairs correspondent Jill Dougherty.