Don’t Put Terrorists on Trial

by Daniel Pipes
National Review Online
July 14, 2014

The Obama administration has brought an accused Libyan terrorist named Ahmed Abu Khattala to Washington for trial. His saga reveals how the government views the Islamist threat, and it’s discouraging. Fortunately, a much better alternative exists.

 

Ahmed Abu Khattala.

Abu Khattala stands accused of taking part in the murder of an ambassador and three other Americans in Benghazi in September 2012. After an achingly slow investigation, during which time the suspect lived in the open and defiantly gave media interviews, the American military seized him on June 15. After being transported by sea and air to Washington, D.C., Abu Khattala was jailed, provided with a defense attorney, Michelle Peterson, indicted, arraigned, and, after listening to an Arabic translation of the proceedings, pleaded not guilty to a single charge of conspiracy and requested a halal diet. He potentially faces life in prison.

 

An artist’s rendering of Abu Khattala, wearing a headphone, next to his attorney Michelle Peterson, being sworn in by Judge John Facciola at his hearing on June 28, 2014 in the federal U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.

This scenario presents two problems. First, Abu Khattala enjoys the full panoply of protections offered by the U.S. legal system (he actually was read his Miranda rights, meaning his right to stay silent and to consult with a lawyer), making conviction uncertain. As the New York Times explains, proving the charges against him will be “particularly challenging” because of the circumstances of the attacks, which took place in the midst of a civil war and in a country brimming with hostility to the United States, where concerns about security meant that U.S. law investigators had to wait for weeks to go to the crime scenes to collect evidence, and the prosecution depends on testimony from Libyan witnesses brought over to the United States who may well falter under cross-examination.

Secondly, what good does a conviction bring? If all goes well, a minor operative will be taken out of commission, leaving the ideological sources, the funding apparatus, the command and control structure, and the terrorist network untouched. A years-long, cumbersome, expensive, and draining effort will prove a point, not damage the enemy. If Abu Khattala is convicted, administration officials can crow but Americans will be only marginally safer.

This futility recalls the 1990s, when terrorist attacks were routinely treated as criminal incidents and handled in courts of law, rather than as warfare to be dealt with using military force. In response, I complained in 1998 that the U.S. government saw terrorist violence “not as the ideological war it is, but as a sequence of discrete criminal incidents,” a mistaken approach that turns the U.S. military “into a sort of global police force and requires it to have an unrealistically high level of certainty before it can go into action,” requiring it to collect evidence of the sort that can stand up in a U.S. court of justice.

George W. Bush discarded the criminal paradigm when he dramatically declared a “war against terrorism” in the evening of 9/11. While that is a clumsy phrase (how can one make war on a tactic?), what became known as the Bush Doctrine had the great benefit of declaring war – as opposed to a police action – on those attacking Americans. But now, 13 years later and in part because of the success of this war, the Obama administration has reverted to the pre-9/11 approach of apprehending criminals.

 

George W. Bush addressing the nation and declaring a “war against terrorism” on 9/11.

Instead of this, the U.S. response to terrorist attacks on Americans citizens should be immediate and lethal. As I wrote 16 years ago, “anyone who harms Americans should know that retribution will be certain and nasty. … When reasonable evidence points to Middle Eastern terrorists having harmed Americans, U.S. military force should be deployed. If the perpetrator is not precisely known, then punish those who are known to harbor terrorists. Go after governments and organizations that support terrorism, not just individuals.”

Skip the fine-grain analysis of who carried out the attack. Security depends not on complex court procedures, but on a record of U.S. deterrence established by “years of terrible retribution against anyone who so much as harms a single American citizen.” Enemies must expect to face the full fury of the United States when they harm its citizens, thereby dissuading them from committing such attacks in future.

American taxpayers turn over $3 trillion a year to the federal government and in return expect to be protected from foreign threats. This holds doubly for citizens who venture abroad on behalf of their country, such as the four embassy personnel killed in Benghazi.

Crimes require rules of evidence, Miranda rights, lawyers, judges and juries. Warfare requires full-throated retaliation by the American military.

Mr. Pipes (DanielPipes.org) is president of the Middle East Forum. © 2014 by Daniel Pipes. 

Released House Testimony confirms author Ken Timmerman’s Dark Forces allegations about the Benghazi Attack

Gen. Carter F. Ham, former head of the U.S. Africa Command, shown here in June 2014, testified about the Benghazi attacks in a closed-door meeting with lawmakers. (Thibault Camus / Associated Press)

Gen. Carter F. Ham, former head of the U.S. Africa Command, shown here in June 2014, testified about the Benghazi attacks in a closed-door meeting with lawmakers. (Thibault Camus / Associated Press)

NER, by Jerry Gordon, July 10 2014:

Testimony of senior military released yesterday by  House Armed Services and Government Oversight Committees confirms author Ken Timmerman’s allegations in his expose, Dark Forces: The Truth About What Happened in Benghazi .  That the mortar attack on the CIA annex that killed ex-Navy Seals and CIA contractors, Tyrone Woods and Glen Guthrie was professionally planned and executed.  However, the closed door testimony by retired US Army General Carter F. Ham, Former AFRICOM commander and the Tripoli embassy defense attaché, did not connect the dots with evidence presented in Timmerman’s book.That the Benghazi attacks were coordinated and planned by Iran’s Quds Force with the Ansar al-Shariah Al Qaeda militia as a cover pick up team.

In our interview with Timmerman published in the July NER he noted:

Gordon:  Ken, what happened at the Annex? We know that unfortunately two ex-Navy Seals and CIA Contractors were killed with mortar fire. Could the Ansar al-Sharia pick up team do that?

Timmerman:  That is one of the specific things that I discovered in writing this book. The Libyans had no experienced mortar men, not in the Libyan Army and not amongst the guerilla fighters. The mortar men were Iranians. I believe they were Iranian nationals who came as part of a special unit that arrived in Benghazi on July 31st with a specific intent and orders to carry out this terrorist attack.

AP reported the release of closed door testimony earlier this year from nine senior military, including former AFRICOM commander retired Gen. Ham.   The House Armed Services Committee and the House Committee on Oversight and Investigations conducted interviews with these military officers on separate days over the period from January to April, 2014.   Their testimony suggested that there may have been two separate groups of terrorists, with the one attacking the CIA Annex professionally capable of a complex mortar attack,“New testimony suggests separate Benghazi attacks”.   As Timmerman has argued in Dark Forces, the Benghazi attack was planned and executed by senior Iranian Quds Force and Hezbollah operatives under the direct control of Maj. Gen. Qassem Suleimani, chief of the covert force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps. The AP cited the following in support of Timmerman’s revelations in Dark Forces:

The second attack in the eastern Libyan city, which killed two American security contractors, showed clear military training, retired U.S. Gen. Carter Ham told Congress in closed-door testimony released late Wednesday. The assault probably was the work of a new team of militants, seizing on reports of violence at the diplomatic mission the night before and hitting the Americans while they were most vulnerable, Ham said.

[…]

The military attaché to the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, the Libyan capital, told Congress the first attack showed some advance planning. The Libyan police officer guarding the diplomatic compound fled as it began.

The defense attaché, whose name wasn’t released, suggested the attackers “had something on the shelf” — an outline of a plan based on previously obtained information about the compound and its security measures, so they were ready to strike when the opportunity arose.

“They came in, and they had a sense of purpose, and I think it sometimes gets confused because you had looters and everyone else coming in,” he said. “It was less than kind of full, thought-out, methodical.”

Gen. Ham noted this about the CIA Annex mortar attack:

Given the precision of the attack, it was a well-trained mortar crew, and in my estimation they probably had a well-trained observer,” …. The attack showed “a degree of sophistication and military training that is relatively unusual and certainly, I think, indicates that this was not a pickup team. This was not a couple of guys who just found a mortar someplace.”

Ham said the nearly eight-hour lapse between the two attacks also seemed significant. “If the team [that launched the second attack] was already there, then why didn’t they shoot sooner?” he asked.

“I think it’s reasonable that a team came from outside of Benghazi,” he said of the second attack in testimony on April 9. Violent extremists saw an opportunity “and said, “Let’s get somebody there.”  He also acknowledged that the absence of American security personnel soon enough after the first attack “allowed sufficient time for the second attack to be organized and conducted”.

At the State Department Press Briefing today, spokesperson Ms. Jen Psaki doubled down on the fiction that Benghazi was a spontaneous attack by local al Qaeda militia groups provoked by the cheaply made US internet anti-Muslim video.  Note this exchange with a Questioner at today’s press briefing:

QUESTION: But how come a year and a half after the attacks, we’re still hearing about reports? And this wasn’t testimony to Congress; this wasn’t General Ham being interviewed by members of the State Department or members of the Administration.

MS. PSAKI: Well, these were interviews that were released that were closed-door interviews. But just like any different reports or different individual accounts, you have to take those as one of many. And obviously, assessments are made about – through investigations and through an overall review about what actually happened, but it’s ongoing.

QUESTION: Are you ready to finally acknowledge that the attacks were not spontaneous?

MS. PSAKI: Well, Lucas, I think we’ve been pretty clear or we’ve stated many times and very consistently that we believe it was an opportunistic attack on our mission that did not involve significant preplanning. It still doesn’t change the fact that at the time, there were known protests all around the region dominating the news at the time. There were a range of reports on those that probably every outlet in this room reported on. So we’re not in a position to make any conclusive confirmation today of anything. We’ll let the investigation conclude.

QUESTION: And I noticed you didn’t mention the video this time. Have you guys dropped that one?

MS. PSAKI: I think we’ve referred to the video before. Nothing has changed on that particular point.

A few days before its publication, Timmerman had personally presented a copy of Dark Forces to Rep. Trey Gowdy who will lead the House Select Committee on Benghazi investigations and hearings that might begin later this year following the mid-term elections.  In the interim both the House Armed Services and Government Oversight Committees might hold public hearings on yesterday’s revealed testimony with independent experts including Timmerman. For starters, news media like FoxNews might invite Timmerman for interviews to connect the dots in what is quickly emerging as a possible act of state terrorism by Iran.

Also see:

Herridge: Court Filings Reveal Benghazi Attack Had Nothing to Do with Anti-Islam Video

BY: :

Catherine Herridge, Chief intelligence correspondent for Fox News, revealed documents filed by the U.S. Justice Department against Libyan militant Ahmed Abu Khatallah hurt the claim made by the Obama administration that the Benghazi attack developed from from an anti-islam video.

Speaking to host Bill Hemmer, Herridge said “Based on the documents, what the government is saying is that there was a conspiracy, it began in the days leading up to the 9/11 attack and that it was coordinated and premeditated.”

Herridge also reported “There is no reference in these documents to spontaneity, or the video being a catalyst, and that is significant given that on her recent book tour, former secretary of state Hillary Clinton said that it was entirely possible that some in the crowd may have been motivated by the video. But the people who are filing this against Khatallah say at least at this point was not part of the equation.”

Benghazi panel ramps up

Trey Gowdy, John KoskinenBy LAUREN FRENCH:

There are no Benghazi hearings on the House calendar, but the silence doesn’t mean the investigation is fading away.

Rep. Trey Gowdy is launching a special committee to wrangle a probe that’s sprawled across the jurisdictions of multiple headline-hungry committee chairmen.

And while the South Carolina Republican isn’t committing to specifics, such as whether there will be public hearings with high-profile witnesses like former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, his methodical approach could help the GOP savor a scandal that has at times looked more like a political sideshow.

“No one [has] defended the five-minute questioning [process] as the most calculated way of eliciting the most amount of information,” Gowdy said in an interview. “There is most assuredly a place for hearings but not if your primary focus is to gather facts.”

While there isn’t much happening publicly, the House select committee investigating the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks on the U.S. facility in Benghazi, Libya, is busy behind the scenes.

The panel is examining subpoenas from committees that previously investigated the Benghazi attacks to develop a list of unanswered questions from the Obama administration. There is also outreach to agencies that received requests for information.

Meanwhile, Gowdy is planning a series of closed-door meetings this month that could include a screening of a classified video from the Benghazi compound. He’s also checking with the 11 other lawmakers on the panel about working through the August recess.

Read more at Politico

 

How Not To Indict a Terrorist

pic_giant_070514_SM_How-Not-to-Indict-a-TerroristBy Andrew C. McCarthy:

What happens when the president who has politicized law-enforcement to a degree unprecedented in American history meets a terrorist responsible for killing Americans he has recklessly failed to protect, decimating his pretensions about “decimating” al-Qaeda?

What happens is: You get the most politicized terrorism indictment ever produced by the Justice Department. Behold United States v. Khatallah, Case No. 14 Crim. 141, quietly unsealed in a Washington courtroom last Saturday while the country dozed off into summer-vacation mode.

Ahmed Abu Khatallah, of course, is the only suspect apprehended in connection with the Benghazi massacre, a terrorist attack on a still-mysterious U.S. diplomatic installation. J. Christopher Stevens, the United States ambassador to Libya, and three other Americans — State Department official Sean Smith and two former Navy SEALs, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty — were killed. Until recently, such attacks have been known as acts of war carried out by the enemy. In the age of Obama, they are now known as “crimes” for which “defendants” like Khatallah are “brought to justice” — rather than brought to Gitmo. Meaning: They are whisked into our country when no one’s paying much attention. The red carpet is rolled out at a federal courthouse, where the “defendant” is given Miranda warnings, taxpayer-funded counsel, and all the rights of the American citizens they plot to kill, including lavish discovery-of-intelligence files relevant to their civilian trial.

Gold-plated due process for our enemies begins with the constitutional right to an indictment returned by a grand jury, providing the “defendant” with notice of the charges against him. In Khatallah’s case, the first thing you’ll notice is that the indictment is tiny: less than two pages long — 15 measly lines of text once you discount the caption, citations, and signature lines. This is a startling departure from Justice Department indictments in jihadist terror cases, a turn to brevity that cannot be explained solely by Obama’s banning of words like “jihadist” from the government lexicon.

Read more at National Review

Death in Benghazi, Part II: Will the House Select Committee Find the Truth?

New English Review, by Jerry Gordon and Mike Bates (July 2014)

Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi National Press Club, Washington, DC, April 22, 2014

Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi
National Press Club, Washington, DC, April 22, 2014

Death in Benghazi, Part I: The Attack featured an interview with Kenneth R. Timmerman, author of Dark Forces: The Truth About Happened in Benghazi which presented a thesis that the attack on 9/11/2012 at the Benghazi diplomatic compound that killed four Americans; Ambassador Chris Stevens, communications aide Sean Smith, ex-Navy Seals CIA-contractors, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty on 9/11/2012 was a state sponsored act of terrorism by Iran’s al Quds Force with the paid assistance of Al Qaeda militia, Ansar al-Sharia. Timmerman argues based on his investigations that the attack in Benghazi were preventable. He believes that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton bears responsibility for ignoring those warnings, and preventing a military response. Ambassador Stevens and his security team had repeatedly warned Clinton of the precarious security situation in Tripoli and Benghazi and had requested additional resources. Clinton, for reasons of her own, opposed any military response to the attacks. U.S. Special Forces operators on the ground 9/11/2012 could have saved the Americans who perished. 

Death in Benghazi, Part II: Will the House Select Committee Find the Truth? presents the views of  Roger Aronoff, Chairmen of Accuracy in Media’s Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi reflected in its April 22, 2014 interim report. The report supports Timmerman’s central arguments. Larry Ward of Special Operations Speaks discusses his organization’s campaign to have a House Select Committee on Benghazi created with Rep. Trey Gowdy as chair. He assesses the prospects for truth to emerge from the Committee’s investigations and hearings that might occur following the 2014 mid-term elections in November 2014.

Mike Bates:  Good afternoon. Welcome back to Your Turn. The first half hour we spoke with Kenneth Timmerman, author of the book, Dark Forces: The Truth About What Happened in Benghazi. We want to continue talking about Benghazi because it is such an important issue so we have joining us for this half hour, Jerry Gordon in the studio with us here in Pensacola and we have joining us by telephone Roger Aronoff who is the Chairman of the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi. Welcome Roger.

Roger Aronoff:  Thank you Mike. Great to be with you today. 

 

Bates:  What can you tell us about the Citizens Commission on Benghazi? What is it?

Aronoff:  Accuracy In Media about a year ago decided that we were no longer going to just sit by while Congress held these series of hearings and the media was continuing to treat this as if it was a phony scandal. Just as the Obama Administration called it. So we decided to see if we could put together a group of former top military and intelligence officials to conduct our own investigation whether Congress continued or not. We were going to try to hold peoples’ feet to the fire to push this thing. We reached out originally to a few people. Retired Admiral James Lyons, Retired General Tom McInerny, Retired General Paul Vallely and a number of other people joined us, including Former Representative Allen West and Pete Hoekstra, Former Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee.

Bates:  We also have joining us on the telephone Larry Ward who is with Special Operations Speaks (SOS). Larry, welcome to Your Turn.

Larry Ward:  Hi, thank you for having me.

 

Bates:  What can you tell us about SOS?

 

Ward:  Many of our SOS members are part of the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi and so we really appreciate everything that Roger and his group have done to put that together. SOS is an organization primarily of veterans that have served in the Special Operations. Whether it is Special Forces or Navy Seals or Commandos. They are high ranking officials who as veterans have a history of not only serving the country but being bonafide heroes. This group of veterans got together in mid 2012 after the Bin Laden raid; following the Obama Administration leak of secrets about Navy Seals and their role in that raid. SOS stood up and said enough is enough. This community is relatively quiet politically. It took a lot for them to come together. However, once they did they have become a force. The organization has lit the fire. Kept the fire roaring even after Obama won reelection. Every pundit, every reporter, every member on the Hill kept telling us Benghazi is dead. We said no, we are going to go and demand a special prosecutor or select committee. We kept pushing it until we made strong headway in April when the oversight hearings occurred. Then the funniest thing happened. Lois Lerner told on herself as we were getting close to Benghazi. That took Benghazi off the front pages for awhile. However, we fought and brought it back. We held a press conference on Capitol Hill and got a thousand Special Operations Veterans to sign a petition to demand a select committee. We unrolled a sixty foot by four foot scroll on the Capitol lawn, the longest petition ever delivered to the Congress with a thousand signatures with name and rank on it. We also delivered close to a million citizens’ petitions to Members of Congress demanding a select committee. We didn’t stop there. When the government closed down with the Sequester, they put barricades in front of the war memorials. We were the organization that held the Million Veteran March at the World War II Memorial and returned those barricades to the Presidential residence at the White House.

Gordon:  Larry, the SOS was cited in Ken’s’ book Dark Forces as providing some valued assistance. I wonder if you could tell us about that.

 

Ward:  It was Colonel Dick Brauer who is one of the founders of SOS and he was cited as was Captain Larry Bailey and Ken Benway.

Gordon:  Roger, the Citizens’ Commission put out an interim report in April, is that correct?

Aronoff:  Yes, that’s correct.

Gordon:  What were the conclusions of the interim report?

Aronoff:  Let me just mention that the three members of SOS that Larry just spoke of are all part of the Citizens Commission. Another person, Admiral Chuck Kubic, contacted us after we held our original conference last September and he came to us with the story on the Libyan civil war. When we held the April 22nd press conference he said that the whole war in Libya could have been averted. By way of background he was an Admiral during the Iraq and the Afghanistan wars and he stayed over in North Africa. He was working in Libya doing engineering projects. Qaddafi‘s government approached Kubic who then went over to AFRICOM just in the days when NATO was about to start its bombing campaign. The reports were that a humanitarian crisis was about to happen because Qaddafi was poised to invade Benghazi and Misrata. Kubic came to them and said Qaddafi was prepared under certain circumstances to abdicate under a white flag of truce. Kubic went to AFRICOM, and they went to Washington with this request; let’s negotiate. Give peace a chance. The Nobel Peace Prize winning President said no and the bombing continued. Thousands of people died as a result what happened. Qaddafi knew that we knowingly facilitated the delivery of arms to Al Qaeda and Al Qaeda related groups in Libya and this became the title of our interim report: “How America switched sides on the war on terror.” The arms went generally from East Europe into Qatar, financed by the UAE and shipped into Libya. This was at a time when NATO controlled the airspace, the ports and the entries into Libya. Chris Stevens, the Ambassador, was even there at the docks as these arms came in and the groups were not even attempting to hide it. They were under the black flags of Al Qaeda, Ansar al-Sharia and the weapons went to them. This led to the overthrow of Qadaffi and eventually the same people were involved in the attack on the Special Mission Compound in Benghazi.

Bates:  You just said something which, if I understood you correctly, is shocking. Did you in fact say the United States has switched sides in the war on terror?

Aronoff:  That’ is what I said. One of the people in our commission is Clare Lopez of the Center for Security Policy. We have several retired CIA officers and she is one of them. Lopez is very knowledgeable on the history of the Muslim Brotherhood, Al Qaeda and Hezbollah. With her assistance we have documented this. We have a confidential informant who came to us and provided much evidence that we have in emails and other records to show how these arms flowed and the exact route through Qatar back into Libya. It is equivalent to the situation we are faced with today in Iraq. Are we actually going to go in when we know the Quds Forces are already in Iraq trying to prop up the Maliki government and start bombing on their behalf when they are aligned with the Iranians? We saw this happening from the very beginning of the Administration when Obama went to Cairo, made his speech and invited the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood to come and attend there while not allowing Mubarak to come. I agree it is a shocking charge. However, we lay it out and defend it. I encourage people to go to aim.org/benghazi and you can see the entire report and the documentation. You can watch our conferences and see Clare Lopez, Admiral Lyons and Admiral Kubic tell their stories. All of this is there on the record and available on-line. Another one of our key findings that aroused  these retired military people to get involved, that Ken Timmerman referred to in Dark Forces, was we did not use our military assets to attempt to rescue these people. As Admiral Lyons has pointed out we had a hundred thirty man Marine forces at Signorelli on Sicily an hour and a half to two hours away at the most. Obama claimed that we did everything we could to rescue those people, however his orders were either ignored or he never gave them.

Bates:  I side with the, he never gave them part. I concur that the United States under Barack Obama has switched sides on the war of terror. I was just shocked to hear other people say it because most people won’t. Larry Ward, I’ve got a question for you representing SOS. Barack Obama asked permission to go into Libya from the Arab League, the United Nations and NATO. He never asked Congress. Do you have a problem with that?

Ward:  Well of course! There is something called the Constitution which the President believes is just an obstacle for him to either ignore or shred on a daily basis. Quite frankly his foreign policy has been haphazard at best. 

Bates:  Jerry, It is my understanding that MANPADS man portable air defense systems is what the acronym stands are basically shoulder fired anti-aircraft missiles. My understanding is that a significant number of them went missing from Libya. What do we know about that?

Gordon:  You heard Roger and Ken refer to Qatar. During the rebellion Qatar flew in a number of weapons of that type to locations outside of Libya, either Chad or in Niger and they were filtered into Libya. You also had MANPADS in Qadaffi’s arsenal, a combination of Russian and others. They were filtered out of Libya into Niger by the former head of the Libyan military command, Abdulhakim Belhadj who is basically Al Qaeda. In Niger they were fitted with CIA–improved battery packs and according to Ken’s discussion these weapons traveled across the desert in something he called the “ant trade.” Some of them were intercepted at the Egyptian border. However, a number of them also found their way into the Sinai where the Salafist and Al Qaeda affiliated terrorists are using them. 

Bates:  Is there any reason to believe that they are going to end up on U.S. soil?

Gordon:  Not that we know of. According to Ken’s account, some of the MANPADS found their way to the Taliban in Afghanistan courtesy of the Qataris in 2012 when a U.S. Army CH47 helicopter was apparently hit. They found forensic evidence that some of this material was related to the MANPADS with the CIA battery packs. Some former CIA officers who knew about this were alarmed. One of them that Ken cites in his book is John Maguire. He was former Deputy Chief of Station in Baghdad. He had been involved with monitoring Al Quds activities in Iraq, especially the deadly IED campaign. He went to then CIA Director, General Petreaus, and told him, there are MANPADS going into places we don’t particularly like. Can I come and sit down with you and talk about this? Before Maguire could even do that John Brennan, who was White House counterterrorism czar called Petreaus and said you will not discuss this, period. The discussion between former CIA officer Maguire who discovered this MANPAD trade and Petreaus never occurred. The question arises what was going on inside the White House?

Bates:  This is why it is so critical that the House of Representatives hold hearings which they are doing.  Larry Ward of SOS where do you see these Congressional hearings going and do you really expect them to uncover the truth?

Ward:  If you have seen the news recently they are not planning on convening the Benghazi Select Committee until the fall. When I last checked no definitive date has been fixed in October or November.  Most likely it would occur after the mid-term elections. I do trust Rep. Trey Gowdy to prosecute very competently and successfully. However, Trey Gowdy will only be allowed to prosecute to the fullest extent any witness that John Boehner allows to testify.

Bates:  Oh gee, that instills a lot of confidence in me that we are actually going to get to the truth.

Ward:  I think we are going to get to the truth of things that don’t circle back to John Boehner and/or Mike Rogers. That is my personal opinion. I think both of those Members of Congress are part of the Super 8, the folks in Congress that have the highest level of clearance and are briefed at the highest level in the House. They likely knew or at the least had a heads up or maybe even gave the thumbs up to whatever covert Black Ops mission was going on in Libya. We suspect that they are going to do whatever they can to conceal that.

Gordon:  Roger, doesn’t this have a ring of familiarity with the secret war that the CIA, the Saudis and the Pakistani ISI were running during the 1980′s in Afghanistan?

Aronoff:  Yes, that’s right. The situation we find ourselves in is there are strict laws against doing anything to arm any Al Qaeda groups and Ansar al-Sharia certainly was one. Yet it happened under a presidential directive signed back in March of 2011 just as we were about to go to war in Libya. Moreover, there was another finding signed in September 2013 by President Obama that allowed arms to be shipped to the so-called moderate rebels in Syria.

Bates:  Robert Aronoff and Larry Ward thank you for giving us an insight into what the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi and Special Operations Speaks is doing to support the House Select Committee on Benghazi.

Watch the April 22, 2014 Accuracy in Media Citizens’ Commission National Press Club Briefing on the Interim Report:

Watch the April 22, 2014 Accuracy in Media Citizens’ Commission National Press Club Briefing on the Interim Report, Press Roundtable, Question & Answer:

 

See also:

UPDATE: Listen to 1330amWEBY Middle East Roundtable Discussion on Dark Forces Behind Benghazi

 

Update IV of The Benghazi Brief – “Operation Zero Footprint” – What We Know About The Benghazi Mission, And Subsequent Attack…

benghazi4-e1351495805540By Sundance, June 25, 2014:

UPDATE IV -  In response to the Times of London report, and in a generally dismissed part of her congressional testimony,  Senator Rand Paul asked outgoing Secretary Hillary Clinton a very specific question - (See @2:20 of this video and pay attention to the “duping delight”):

 

Which would bring us to a series of now reconcilable questions surrounding the joint State Dept. and CIA Benghazi Mission.

The entire weapons operation was labeled “Operation Zero Footprint”.  The intent is outlined in the operational title – to leave no visible record of U.S. involvement in arming the Libyan “rebels”.   No visible footprint.

We know from congressional inquiry Ambassador Chris Stevens had asked for more security in the months prior to Sept. 11th 2012.   Requests sent to the State Dept that were denied.

We also know that NO MARINE DETACHMENT was ever put in place to defend the Benghazi Mission.

We also know the Benghazi Mission was initially, and mistakenly by media, called “a consulate”, or a “consulate outpost”.  But there was no State Dept record of any consulate office in Benghazi.

All of these seeming contradictions can be reconciled with the simple understanding that this “Mission” was unofficial.   Remember the goal – No visible footprint.

Why were security requests denied?   Remember the goal – No visible footprint.

We know from General Carter Ham (AFRICOM Commander now retired) the Department of Defense was not even aware the State Dept was operating a mission in Benghazi during 2012.   Remember the goal - No visible footprint.

How could Hillary Clinton, Charlene Lamb, or Patrick Kennedy approve or request a marine security detachment knowing the entire mission around Benghazi was covert?  Such a request would have travelled outside the small group of State/CIA insiders.  The request would have gone to DoD.  Short answer, they couldn’t.

Hence the disconnect between what seemed to be obvious and/or simple questions and the inability to accurately discuss in the public venues of congressional inquiry.

To the public Chris Stevens was a U.S. ambassador, a diplomat.  To the folks inside the State Dept and CIA, Chris Stevens was a U.S. Ambassador, AND a CIA operative coordinating covert arms sales.

Even after death the public face of Chris Stevens, the official role, was able to be discussed.   The covert, or unofficial role, was not.   Again, we see the disconnect between inquiry that could be answered, and inquiry that could not be answered.  Many irreconcilables surface because of this intelligence role - even through today.

The second role of Stevens, the covert and CIA aspect, still causes problems for people trying to understand the “why not” questions.   The broader public asking why have we not seen, or heard from the survivors of the attacks?

The short answer is, we have not – but the intelligence community has.

Twice some of the survivors have given testimony to congress.   The problem for the public is that those hearings are closed door, classified, intelligence hearings – led by Chairman Mike Rogers and the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.   Again, go back to the beginning of Operation Zero Footprint and you see the congressional Intelligence Gang of Eight were fully aware of the intents.

Why was Speaker Boehner reluctant to establish a Select Committee on Benghazi ?

Simple, again he is one of the Gang of Eight – and he was briefed of the operation.   How is he going to call for a select committee when he knows the substance of the committee investigation is classified under national security.   Such a committee would not, because it could not, deliver what the public was requesting, sunlight.

The only reason Trey Gowdy was finally assigned the task of a Select Committee, was simply because the public lies of the White House and administration were contradicting themselves.

The White House “talking points”, which is a ridiculous squirrel hunt, were created to reconcile the problem faced when unable to discuss a covert operation.  It is far easier to look at the reality of the problem faced by the White House than any nefarious intention.

Unfortunately for the administration they are not that good.   Team Obama was so committed to keeping the covert operation “Zero Footprint” a secret (because of  the political embarrassment from factually arming al Qaeda) that the cover story they manufactured (on the fly) was fraught with contradictions.

How could President Obama dispatch help to the Benghazi team, when DoD was not even aware of it’s existence?   Sending help would have compromised OpSec, Operational Security.

The dispatch of F.A.S.T. would lead to increased knowledge of a covert operation.

Hopefully you are beginning to see the root of the contradictions.  Once you understand the truth of what was going on within the backstory - there’s almost nothing left which would dangle as an unanswered question.   It all reconciles.

Read more at The Conservative Tree House (scroll down for Update IV)

(Update Part III): “Operation Zero Footprint” – What We Know About The Benghazi Mission and Subsequent Attack…

benghazi4-e1351495805540By Sundance, June 22, 2014: (Hat tip Allen West)

We now have a pretty good understanding of who, what, where, and why surrounding the 9/11/12 attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi Libya. We are also better positioned to understand why, or perhaps more importantly why not, certain actions were taken before, during, and in the immediate aftermath of the attack itself.

We know from the Bret Baier interview with Hillary Clinton that she was physically located at her 7th floor office in Washington DC on the night of the attack. Unfortunately we also know during the November 2012 Thanksgiving holiday a mysterious fire took place in that building. Well, actually directly above her exact office - cause undetermined.

A “fire” which preceded an unfortunate slip and fall for the Secretary, resulting in a concussion, which led to the discovery of a blood clot, that ultimately delayed her congressional testimony before a Senate Hearing into the events of the night in question.

We know the Libyan uprising began on February 10th of 2011, and we also know that sometime around the end of February 2011 President Obama signed a presidential directive authorizing the State Dept and CIA to begin a covert operation to arm the Libyan “rebels”.

We know the “rebels” were positioned in two strategic places. Benghazi, and the port city of Darnah, both located in Eastern Libya.

We know this covert operation came to be known as “Operation Zero Footprint“, and fell under the military command authority of NATO not (important to repeat), NOT, the U.S. Military.

We know by the time operation “Zero Footprint” began, AFRICOM commander General Carter Ham was removed from OPSEC oversight in the Libyan campaign and NATO commander Admiral James G. Stavridis was in charge.

Stavridis was the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) at the time of the Libyan uprising. He retired as SACEUR in 2013

In 2011, 57-year-old Stavridis was the perfect pick for NATO Libyan intervention considering he is the son of Turkish immigrants. Turkey played a key role in what might be the most politically dangerous aspect of the events to the White House once the goals changed to redirection of the weapons from Operation Zero Footprint.

We know Operation Zero Footprint was the covert transfer of weapons from the U.S to the Libyan “rebels”. We also know the operation avoided the concerns with congressional funding, and potential for public scrutiny, through financing by the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

We also know that officials within the government of Qatar served as the intermediaries for the actual transfer of the weapons, thereby removing the footprint of the U.S. intervention.

We know the entire operation was coordinated and controlled by the State Department and CIA. We also know (from the Senate Foreign Relations Benghazi hearings) that “Zero Footprint” was unknown to the 2011 Pentagon and/or DoD commanders who would have been tasked with any military response to the 9/11/12 attack – namely AFRICOM General Carter Ham.

However, it would be implausible to think that then Defense Secretary Bob Gates or Joint Chiefs Chair Admiral McMullen were completely unaware of the operation, this aspect remains murky.

Both Secretary Gates and Joint Chiefs Chair McMullen were in place when Operation Zero Footprint began but retired from their jobs in Sept of 2011, and were replaced by Bob Gates and Martin Dempsey respectively.

Leon Panetta was CIA Director at the beginning of Operation Zero Footprint (March 2011) and was replaced by CIA Director David Petraeus in the fall of 2011 as Panetta replaced Bob Gates and became Secretary of Defense.

However, Panetta (now as Def Sec) and JC Martin Dempsey were the two who initially briefed President Obama on the night of Sept 11th 2012. Leon Panetta definitely had knowledge of the intents of the joint State Dept/Cia mission in Benghazi, Dempsey may not have.

We know the White House appears to have followed “The Intelligence Oversight Act of 1980” in informing the congressional “Gang of Eight” of Zero Footprint.

The Gang of Eight in 2011 would have included: Speaker – John Boehner, Minority Leader – Nancy Pelosi; House Permanent Select Committee on Intel Chairman – Mike Rogers, and his Democrat counterpart Charles Ruppersberger; Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid; along with Senate Intel Chair Diane Feinstein and her Republican counterpart, Saxby Chambliss.

From Hillary interviews we also know the White House liaison for Secretary Clinton and CIA Director Leon Panetta during Operation Zero Footprint was National Security Advisor To the President, Tom Donilon.

With this information we can assemble a cast of people “IN THE KNOW” of Operation Zero Footprint on two specific date blocks. March 2011 through Pre 9/11/12 attack – and – Post 9/11/12 attack forward.

Read more at The Conservative Tree House

Hillary Blames Obama for Benghazi Cover-Up

US-POLITICS-OBAMA-ISLAM-UNRESTBy Daniel Greenfield:

Bad news for Barack. There’s apparently room under the bus for him too.

She had no doubt that a terrorist attack had been launched against America on the anniversary of 9/11. However, when Hillary picked up the phone and heard Obama’s voice, she learned the president had other ideas in mind. With less than two months before Election Day, he was still boasting that he had al Qaeda on the run.

If the truth about Benghazi became known, it would blow that argument out of the water.

“Hillary was stunned when she heard the president talk about the Benghazi attack,” one of her top legal advisers said in an interview. “Obama wanted her to say that the attack had been a spontaneous demonstration triggered by an obscure video on the Internet that demeaned the Prophet Mohammed.”

This adviser continued: “Hillary told Obama, ‘Mr. President, that story isn’t credible. Among other things, it ignores the fact that the attack occurred on 9/11.’ But the president was adamant. He said, ‘Hillary, I need you to put out a State Department release as soon as possible.’”

After her conversation with the president, Hillary called Bill Clinton, who was at his penthouse apartment in the William J. Clinton Presidential Library in Little Rock, and told him what Obama wanted her to do.

“I’m sick about it,” she said, according to the legal adviser, who was filled in on the conversation.

“That story won’t hold up,” Bill said. “I know,” Hillary said. “I told the president that.” “It’s an impossible story,” Bill said. “I can’t believe the president is claiming it wasn’t terrorism. Then again, maybe I can. It looks like Obama isn’t going to allow anyone to say that terrorism has occurred on his watch.”

This is so ridiculously specific that it either came directly from Clinton’s people, with her approval, or it was made up without their authorization.  And why bother making up a story that casts Hillary in such a positive light when a sizable chunk of your likely audience for Blood Feud, a book about a feud between the Obamas and the Clintons is conservative?

There isn’t one.

Hillary Clinton, despite her vengeful streak, does have a history of converting even vehement critics into supporters, or at least exploiting them with planted material.

It’s plausible that Bill Clinton, who had a better grasp of common sense politics than Obama, would realize that the story wouldn’t hold up. It is however wildly unlikely that Hillary Clinton would be this opposed to it.

It’s not just that Hillary Clinton has never shown any sign of being bogged down by principles,  something that even most politically active Democrats will admit, it’s that there’s never been any sign of her dissenting from the core premise of minimizing terrorism.

Read more at Front Page

 

Shadowy Iranian spy chief helped plan the Benghazi attack

According to the book "Dark Forces," Major General Qasem Soleimani, right, was the powerful figure behind the 2012 attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, left. Photo: EPA/Ay-Collection/Rex USA

According to the book “Dark Forces,” Major General Qasem Soleimani, right, was the powerful figure behind the 2012 attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, left.
Photo: EPA/Ay-Collection/Rex USA

As a radical Islamic army marches across Iraq, America is making a deal with the devil. Qassem Suleymani, the head of Iran’s secretive Quds Force, is allied with us in Baghdad — but he’s plotted to kill Americans elsewhere.

As Kenneth R. Timmerman reveals in his new book, “Dark Forces,” Suleymani was even the shadowy figure behind the killing of Ambassador Christopher Stevens in Benghazi, Libya.

He’s the Wizard of Oz of Iranian terror, the most dreaded and most effective terrorist alive.

He is Qassem Suleymani, the head of the Quds Force, an organization that acts as a combination CIA and Green Berets for Iran, and a man who has orchestrated a campaign of chaos against the United States around the world.

Today, the Obama Administration has allied itself with Suleymani to fight the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

In this case, Iran’s goals — a Shi’ite-friendly government in Iraq — coincides with America’s hope that the country doesn’t fall apart.

But don’t be fooled: It’s only a partnership of convenience, and one that won’t last.

“Iran wants chaos. They want to generate anti-American anger, radicalize the rebels, and maintain a climate of war,” a former Iranian intelligence chief for Western Europe told me. “They are very serious about this. They want to damage the reputation of the United States as a freedom-loving country in the eyes of the Arabs.”

Suleymani has orchestrated attacks in everywhere from Lebanon to Thailand. The US Department of Justice accuses him of trying to hire a Mexican drug cartel to blow up the Saudi Ambassador to the United States while he was in Washington, DC.

My sources, meanwhile, say Suleymani was involved in an even more direct attack on the US — the killing of Ambassador Christopher Stevens in Benghazi, Libya.

Read more at New York Post

 

A ‘Moderate Muslim’ at the Heritage Foundation?

By Andrew Harrod:

“Who is the head of the Muslim peace movement,” journalist Chris Plante asked of my Facebook friend Saba Ahmed at a recent, nationally notorious exchange at a Heritage Foundation panel.

Despite Ahmed answering with a willingness to lead any such movement, her past provokes deeply disturbing questions about oft-sought “moderate Muslims” and their ability to counter aggressive Islamic agendas.

Having previously met, the veiled Ahmed smiled to me in the audience during the first panel of a June 16 seminar on the September 11, 2012 attack upon America’s Benghazi, Libya, consulate.

American University law student Saba Ahmed spoke at the Heritage Foundation’s panel on Benghazi June 16, 2014. (Photo: The Heritage Foundation via Media Matters)

American University law student Saba Ahmed spoke at the Heritage Foundation’s panel on Benghazi June 16, 2014. (Photo: The Heritage Foundation via Media Matters)

“How can we fight an ideological war with weapons?” was Ahmed’s not particularly pertinent audience question for the panel.

Ahmed argued that “we portray Islam and all Muslims as bad” while 1.8 billion followers of Islam remained unrepresented on the panel. Agreeing with Ahmed’s emphasis on ideology, Center for Security Policy President Frank Gaffney’s response distinguished between personally pious Muslims and a faith-based political agenda of brutal sharia law.

That Ahmed “stood there to make a point about peaceful, moderate Muslims” while showing no interest in the panel’s discussion of a lethal attack against Americans, however, irritated national security activist Brigitte Gabriel.

“We are not here to bash Muslims… I am glad you are here,” Gabriel stated before asking to a standing ovation, “but where are the others speaking out?”

Gabriel cited intelligence estimates from various countries rating 15-25 percent of Muslims worldwide as radicals, a group perhaps as large as the American population.

“Most Germans were peaceful, yet the Nazis drove the agenda,” Gabriel argued in describing the outsized influence of a militant minority such as jihadists. Just as the peaceful majority were irrelevant in imperial Japan and Communist dictatorships such as in China and the Soviet Union.

“It is time that we take political correctness and throw it in the garbage where it belongs” Gabriel announced to cheers.

Sean Hannity interviewed Saba Ahmed on his Fox News show earlier this week. Photo Credit: Fox News

Sean Hannity interviewed Saba Ahmed on his Fox News show earlier this week. Photo Credit: Fox News

Following this exchange Ahmed left, giving evidence to suspicions that she merely wanted to make a point and not attend the event. Subsequent reception discussion revealed multiple observations of Ahmed’s appearance at other Washington, D.C. events involving Islam. One person noted that Ahmed at another event had similarly unilaterally raised the subject of anti-Muslim hostility.

Curiosity about my casual acquaintance Ahmed prompted by the Heritage event initiated a revealing internet search. An online interview deepened my limited knowledge of Ahmed, a woman raised in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, by an upper-middle class family before coming Oregon with her family at age 12.

Read more at The Blaze

CLARE LOPEZ – Benghazi – Khattala – ISIS, A World on FIRE!

By J. Mark Campbell:

“CenterVision” is a new micro-series produced by The United West
which airs weekly. “CenterVision” will present a short, insightful
video analysis of critical national security issue featuring
subject-matter experts from the preeminent national security
think tank in Washington DC, The Center for Security Policy,
thus the name, “CenterVision.”

This week’s segment is entitled “A WORLD ON FIRE”
focusing on the national security debacles occurring
in warp-speed at the White House. Our subject-matter expert
is the indefatigable, Clare Lopez, Vice President of
Research and Analysis at The Center for Security Policy.
In a former life, Clare retired from the Central Intelligence Agency
after an extremely successful, exciting and…errr…
let’s just say “spooky” twenty-year career.

Watch and listen carefully as Clare and Tom provide
a unique look into another of President Obama’s overt
efforts to transform America into the vanquished “colonizer”
he want her to be!

 

Also see:

 

Apprehension of Jihadist Suspect in Benghazi Massacre

akNational Review, By Andrew C. McCarthy:

I’m out on the Left Coast to talk about Faithless Execution again today. But at the Benghazi Accountability Coalition, which I chair, we’re closely following the apprehension of Ahmed Abu Khatallah. Here is my statement on it:

When it comes to the Benghazi Massacre, what the American people want is accountability. The long overdue apprehension of Ahmed Abu Khatallah, who is believed to be one of the jihadist ringleaders responsible for murdering four Americans and wounding many others, is a step in the right direction — albeit a modest one.

It is curious that it took so long to capture Khatallah, who thumbed his nose at our country while meeting with journalists out in the open over the past 21 months. Indeed the curiosity is heightened by the remarkable statement yesterday by former Secretary of State Clinton, one of the chief proponents of the “Blame the Video” meme, that Khatallah — a terrorist operative — had been seen as a culprit by our government since the night of the terrorist attack.

Obviously, a ringleader needs his ring to do the kind of damage our enemies did on September 11, 2012. It is therefore alarming that, although Khatallah is an enemy combatant who killed Americans in an act of war, the Obama administration appears to be treating him as an ordinary criminal defendant. Administration officials have refused to say whether he has been given Mirandawarnings. Reports indicate he is on a navy ship headed to the United States, where it appears he may immediately be consigned to the criminal-justice system for a civilian trial with all the due-process protections given to American citizens.

If Khatallah’s  interrogation is curtailed because our national security needs are subordinated to the Obama administration’s haste to treat terrorism as a law enforcement matter, critical intelligence about Khatallah’s confederates in the Benghazi Massacre will likely be lost.

At present, there is no reason to reopen the long debate over whether enemy-combatant detainees should be tried by military commission or in civilian trials. There is a five-year statute of limitations on most federal crimes. Moreover, if, as one would assume, Khatallah is regarded as a member of an ongoing terrorism conspiracy against the United States, that conspiracy is ongoing; therefore, the statute of limitations has not even started to run on it yet. The point is: even ifKhatallah were to be treated as a criminal defendant, there is no reason that has to happen immediately.

Khatallah should be detained as what he is: an enemy combatant who has committed acts of war against the United States. Under the laws of war, he may be detained indefinitely so that a competent interrogation can be done, one that is not limited by civilian due process rules that call for the assignment of counsel and that severely limit interrogations.

Whether he is detained on a navy ship, at Guantanamo Bay, or some similar appropriate detention facility for enemy prisoners outside the United States, he should be held outside the criminal-justice system for however long it takes to exploit any useful intelligence he can provide. Intelligence sources often continue to provide useful information for years, as interrogators return to them repeatedly—not just for intelligence about ongoing plots, but for help identifying photographs and voices of terrorists not yet known to the government, and for help interpreting terrorist conversations and documents that are intercepted and seized over time.

There is no reason to rush Khatallah’s interrogation. It would be a travesty if, at a time when our intelligence officials could be acquiring vital information from this enemy combatant by interrogating him about other jihadists who murdered American officials, we are instead treating Khatallah as a civilian defendant and providing him with discovery of our intelligence files — giving him our information instead of getting his, and paying for a lawyer to help him exploit it against us.

Also see:

Doesn’t Hillary Clinton Know the Law?

WSJ, June 18, 2014, By VICTORIA TOENSING:

In her interview with ABC‘s Diane Sawyer last week, Hillary Clinton said “I was not making security decisions” about Benghazi, claiming “it would be a mistake” for “a secretary of state” to “go through all 270 posts” and “decide what should be done.” And at a January 2013 Senate hearing, Mrs. Clinton said that security requests “did not come to me. I did not approve them. I did not deny them.”

Does the former secretary of state not know the law? By statute, she was required to make specific security decisions for defenseless consulates like Benghazi, and was not permitted to delegate them to anyone else.

The Secure Embassy Construction and Counterterrorism Act of 1999, or Secca, was passed in response to the near-simultaneous bombings of U.S. embassies in Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on Aug. 7, 1998. Over 220 people were killed, including 12 Americans. Thousands were injured.

Then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton testifying on Capitol Hill in Washington before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the Benghazi attack in January. Associated Press

Then-Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton testifying on Capitol Hill in Washington before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on the Benghazi attack in January. Associated Press

Bill Clinton was president. Patrick Kennedy, now the undersecretary of state for management, was then acting assistant secretary of state for diplomatic security. Susan Rice, now the national security adviser, was then assistant secretary of state for African affairs.

As with the Benghazi terrorist attacks, an Accountability Review Board was convened for each bombing. Their reports, in January 1999, called attention to “two interconnected issues: 1) the inadequacy of resources to provide security against terrorist attacks, and 2) the relative low priority accorded security concerns throughout the U.S. government.”

Just as U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens did in 2012, the U.S. ambassador to Kenya, Prudence Bushnell, had made repeated requests for security upgrades in 1997 and 1998. All were denied.

Because the embassies in Kenya and Tanzania had been existing office structures, neither met the State Department’s security standard for a minimum 100 foot setback zone. A “general exception” was made. The two review boards faulted the fact that “no one person or office is accountable for decisions on security policies, procedures and resources.”

To ensure accountability in the future, the review boards recommended “[f]irst and foremost, the Secretary . . . should take a personal and active role in carrying out the responsibility of ensuring the security of U.S. diplomatic personnel abroad” and “should personally review the security situation of embassy chanceries and other official premises.” And for new embassy buildings abroad, “all U.S. government agencies, with rare exceptions, should be located in the same compound.”

Congress quickly agreed and passed Secca, a law implementing these (and other) recommendations. It mandated that the secretary of state make a personal security waiver under two circumstances: when the facility could not house all the personnel in one place and when there was not a 100-foot setback. The law also required that the secretary “may not delegate” the waiver decision.

Benghazi did not house all U.S. personnel in one building. There was the consulate and an annex, one of the two situations requiring a non-delegable security waiver by the secretary of state.

In October 2012 the Benghazi Accountability Review Board convened, co-chaired by Amb. Thomas Pickering (Ms. Rice’s supervisor in 1998) and Adm. Michael Mullen. It failed even to question Mrs. Clinton for its report about the attacks. It also obfuscated the issue of her personal responsibility for key security decisions by using a word other than “waiver,” the passive voice, and no names. Recognizing that the Benghazi consulate (like the Nairobi and Dar es Salaam embassies) was a previously nongovernmental building, the Benghazi review board reported that this “resulted in the Special Mission compound being excepted [my emphasis] from office facility standards and accountability under” Secca. No Hillary fingerprints revealed there.

Mrs. Clinton either personally waived these security provisions as required by law or she violated the law by delegating the waiver to someone else. If it was the latter, she shirked the responsibility she now disclaims: to be personally knowledgeable about and responsible for the security in a consulate as vulnerable as Benghazi.

Ms. Toensing was chief counsel for the Senate Intelligence Committee and deputy assistant attorney general in the Reagan administration.

*************

Victoria Toensing appeared on Fox News this morning to discuss the odd timing of the apprehension of Ahmed Abu Khattala. She also goes into the legal responsibilities of Hillary Clinton in securing the Benghazi consulate.

US captures Benghazi suspect, but most attackers remain free

benghazi_fire_gunBy 

Ahmed Abu Khattalah, who is suspected of taking direct part in the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, has been detained by the US. Abu Khattalah was the most conspicuous of the alleged attackers. He even granted interviews to journalists from multiple media outlets since the attack.

Abu Khattalah’s accomplices have been less ostentatious, however, preferring to operate in the shadows. Dozens of terrorists who helped overrun the US Mission and Annex in Benghazi, killing four Americans, remain free.

In January, the State Department added Abu Khattalah to the US government’s list of specially designated global terrorists, describing him as a “senior leader” of Ansar al Sharia in Benghazi. Two other jihadists were designated at the same time: Abu Iyad al Tunisi, who heads Ansar al Sharia Tunisia, and Sufian Ben Qumu, who leads Ansar al Sharia in Derna, Libya.

The State Department also added the Ansar al Sharia chapters in Benghazi, Derna, and Tunisia to the list of foreign terrorist organizations. (Ansar al Sharia in Benghazi and Derna operate under the same banner, as simply Ansar al Sharia Libya.)

Ansar al Sharia in Benghazi and Derna were both “involved” in the Sept. 11, 2012 “attacks against the US Special Mission and Annex in Benghazi, Libya,” according to State. Ansar al Sharia Tunisia was responsible for the assault on the US Embassy in Tunis three days later, on Sept. 14, 2012.

Ben Qumu is an ex-Guantanamo detainee and was previously identified by US military and intelligence officials as an al Qaeda operative. According to a leaked Joint Task Force Guantanamo (JTF-GTMO) file, Ben Qumu’s alias was found on the laptop of an al Qaeda operative responsible for overseeing the finances for the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The information on the laptop indicated that Ben Qumu was an al Qaeda “member receiving family support.”

Some of Ben Qumu’s men from Ansar al Sharia in Derna were among the Benghazi attackers, according to US intelligence officials. Neither Ben Qumu, nor his fighters, have been detained.

Like Ben Qumu, Abu Iyad al Tunisi (whose real name is Seifallah Ben Hassine) has a lengthy al Qaeda-linked pedigree that stretches back to pre-9/11 Afghanistan.

Multiple al Qaeda-affiliated parties involved in Benghazi attack and still at-large

In addition to Ansar al Sharia in Benghazi and Derna, jihadists from at least three other al Qaeda-affiliated terrorist groups participated in the Sept. 11 assault in Benghazi.

On Jan. 15, the US Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released its report on the terrorist attack. “Individuals affiliated with terrorist groups, including AQIM, Ansar al Sharia, AQAP, and the Mohammad Jamal Network, participated in the September 11, 2012, attacks,” the report reads.

AQAP, AQIM, and the Mohammad Jamal Network all established training camps in eastern Libya after the rebellion against Muammar el Qaddafi began in 2011.

Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) are both official branches of al Qaeda and have sworn allegiance to Ayman al Zawahiri, al Qaeda’s emir. The head of AQAP, Nasir al Wuhayshi, was also appointed the general manager of al Qaeda’s network in August 2013.

Read more at Long War Journal