Why was Sid Blumenthal advising Hillary Clinton on Libya?

timthumb (11)AIM, by Kenneth R. Timmerman,  March 11, 2015:

Until Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) revealed last week that his Benghazi Select Committee was investigating Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server for her official State Department communications, no one had a good explanation for why none of the Congressional committees that had previously investigated Benghazi had ever cited a single Hillary Clinton email in their reports.

Congressional Democrats had been pooh-poohing Gowdy’s investigation, claiming that all the important questions about Benghazi had been “asked and answered” by previous committees.

Now the best that Gowdy’s counterpart, Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), can do is object to subpoenas (especially when they are issued to Hillary Clinton in person, through Counsel), and to huff and puff about the investigation becoming a “surrogate” for the “Republican National Committee.”

What a change a single revelation can bring.

We now learn that Hillary Clinton not only used a private server, maintained at her Chappaqua, New York home for official communications, but that she never used a government email at all. Not once.

No secretary@state.gov, or Clinton.hr@state.gov or anything of the kind. Just multiple accounts on her family server, clintonemail.com, including hdr22@clintonemail.com, the same address used by former Clinton White House aide Sidney Blumenthal to communicate with her on Benghazi and related matters.

Federal prosecutors recently finished up their case against former CIA Director David Petraeus, who was conveniently forced to resign just three days after the November 2012 elections, before he could clarify what he knew about Benghazi. (Given that Petraeus had just returned from a September 2, 2012 trip to Ankara, Turkey, where he had been trying to tamp down publicity due to an arms shipment from Benghazi to the Syrian rebels, he certainly knew a lot.)

In a widely criticized decision, they forced him to plea bargain one count of a misdemeanor in exchange for dropping more serious charges. The full extent of the FBI’s case against Petraeus involved him sharing personal, hand-written notebooks with his biographer.

Prosecutors noted that the CIA had installed a SCIF—a specialized high-security area—in his Arlington, Virginia home where he could safely store classified materials brought home from the CIA. That facility was dismantled by the CIA without incident two months after Petraeus resigned from the Agency.

The prosecutors never accused Petraeus of improperly storing U.S. government classified materials either in the SCIF or elsewhere. Nor did they accuse him of sending classified materials over an unsecure server.

If they could prosecute Petraeus on one count of improperly handling classified material (he kept those personal notebooks in a rucksack in his attic), one can only speculate how many thousand counts of mishandling classified information could be brought against Mrs. Clinton. Of course, she denies having sent classified information over her personal server, but in that case how did she communicate on classified matters with her envoys and subordinates?

Was the private server at her residence designed, installed, and maintained by a U.S. government security agency? Was it connected to the government’s Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRNet) and physically separated from the open Internet?

The Sid Blumenthal memos, sent from his AOL account to Hillary’s private email server, suggest that this was not the case. If so, the former Secretary of State was breaking the law—big time.

When the memos first surfaced in 2013—posted to the Internet by a Romanian hacker known as “Guccifer” —neither the State Department nor their purported author acknowledged their authenticity. Given that they initially surfaced on the website of Russia Today, Vladimir Putin’s reliably anti-American TV network, that was enough to consign them to oblivion as yet another Internet hoax.

Now we learn that former CIA official Tyler Drumheller apparently helped to gather the “intel” that Blumenthal sent to Hillary on the Benghazi attacks and other political developments inside Libya.

This is extremely significant because the initial memo sent by Blumenthal, dated September 12, 2012, cites “a sensitive source,” who purportedly met with Libyan President Magarief shortly after the attacks began and claimed that a YouTube video sparked the “protest” against the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi.

Magarief himself never said such a thing, although the memo is worded to suggest that he did. He blew up when he heard Susan Rice make that claim on the Sunday talk shows after the attack, as I write on pages 347 and 348 of Dark Forces: The Truth About What Happened in Benghazi.

Drumheller became infamous for several earlier pieces of disinformation. As European Division chief at the CIA’s Directorate of Operations in 2001 and 2002, he was the one who planted the phony evidence about the Niger uranium contract that was later used by the media during the Valerie Plame affair to claim that George W. Bush had “lied” about Saddam Hussein’s WMD programs. On three separate occasions, he passed the Niger information up the food chain as validated intelligence, when the CIA had been warned that it was not (see page 63 of my book Shadow Warriors).

Then-CIA Director George Tenet was so fed up with Drumheller that he spent seven full pages in his memoir debunking claims by Drumheller regarding the defector known as CURVEBALL that Tenet said were simply untrue.

Drumheller and Sid Blumenthal have a history together. In 2007, Blumenthal used Drumheller as a source to “prove” that Bush had “lied” about pre-war intelligence on Iraqi WMD. Drumheller and Blumenthal went on to work in Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2007 and 2008.

So was the Guccifer/Blumenthal memo intended as disinformation, written after Hillary Clinton put out her statement on the night of the attacks blaming them on a YouTube video? Or was it actually the source of Hillary’s false claim about the video, written and sent by someone on the ground in Libya who was attempting to plant the story?

Many reporters, myself included, have submitted Freedom of Information Act requests to the State Department, asking for all documents and communications that would show how Mrs. Clinton’s statement came to be worded as it was finally released. Where are all the drafts? Who commented on them? What did it say initially? How was it changed? By whom?

We have much of that information for the Susan Rice talking points, but nothing at all for Hillary Clinton’s statement on the evening of the attacks.

Given that there is not a single mention of a protest or the YouTube video in all the documents released to Congress, which included real-time communications from Tripoli and Benghazi from the State Department and CIA that night, exactly how Mrs. Clinton came up with that idea could provide key insight into what actually happened in Benghazi, and why.

Also see:

Washington’s Al Qaeda Ally Now Leading ISIS in Libya

Global Research, March 10, 2015, By Eric Draitser: (h/t @ClareMLopez)

The revelations that US ally Abdelhakim Belhadj is now leading ISIS in Libya should come as no surprise to those who have followed US policy in that country, and throughout the region. It illustrates for the umpteenth time that Washington has provided aid and comfort to precisely those forces it claims to be fighting around the world.

According to recent reports, Abdelhakim Belhadj has now firmly ensconced himself as the organizational commander of the ISIS presence inside Libya. The information comes from an unnamed US intelligence official who has confirmed that Belhadj is supporting and coordinating the efforts of the ISIS training centers in eastern Libya around the city of Derna, an area long known as a hotbed of jihadi militancy.
While it may not seem to be a major story – Al Qaeda terrorist turns ISIS commander – the reality is that since 2011 the US and its NATO allies have held up Belhadj as a “freedom fighter.” They portrayed him as a man who courageously led his fellow freedom-lovers against the “tyrannical despot” Gaddafi whose security forces at one time captured and imprisoned many members of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), including Belhadj.

Belhadj served the US cause in Libya so well that he can be seen receiving accolades from Sen. John McCain who referred to Belhadj and his followers as heroes. He was initially rewarded after the fall of Gaddafi with the post of military commander of Tripoli, though he was forced to give way to a more politically palatable “transitional government” which has since evaporated in that chaotic, war-ravaged country.

Belhadj’s history of terrorist activity includes such “achievements” as collaboration with Al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Iraq, and of course his convenient servitude to the US-NATO sponsored rampage across Libya that, among other things, caused mass killings of black Libyans and anyone suspected of being part of the Green Resistance (those loyal to the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya led by Gaddafi). Although the corporate media tried to make a martyr of Belhadj for his alleged torture via the CIA rendition program, the inescapable fact is that wherever he goes he leaves a violent and bloody wake.

While much of this information is known, what is of paramount importance is placing this news in a proper political context, one that illustrates clearly the fact that the US has been, and continues to be, the major patron of extremist militants from Libya to Syria and beyond, and that all talk of “moderate rebels” is merely rhetoric designed to fool an unthinking public.

The Enemy of My Enemy is My Friend…Until He Isn’t

There is ample documented evidence of Belhadj’s association with Al Qaeda and his terrorist exploits the world over. Various reports have highlighted his experiences fighting in Afghanistan and elsewhere, and he himself has boasted of killing US troops in Iraq. However, it was in Libya in 2011 where Belhadj became the face of the “rebels” seeking to topple Gaddafi and the legal government of Libya.

As the New York Times reported:

The Libyan Islamic Fighting Group was formed in 1995 with the goal of ousting Colonel Qaddafi. Driven into the mountains or exile by Libyan security forces, the group’s members were among the first to join the fight against Qaddafi security forces… Officially the fighting group does not exist any longer, but the former members are fighting largely under the leadership of Abu Abdullah Sadik [aka Abdelhakim Belhadj].

So, not only was Belhadj a participant in the US-NATO war on Libya, he was one of its most powerful leaders, heading a battle-hardened jihadist faction that constituted the leading edge of the war against Gaddafi. Nowhere was this more clearly demonstrated than when the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) took the lead in the attack on Gaddafi’s compound at Bab al-Aziziya. In this regard, LIFG was provided intelligence, and likely also tactical support, from US intelligence and the US military.

This new information about Belhadj’s association with the suddenly globally relevant ISIS certainly bolsters the argument that this writer, among many others, has made since 2011 – that the US-NATO war on Libya was waged by terrorist groups overtly and tacitly supported by US intelligence and the US military. Moreover, it dovetails with other information that has surfaced in recent years, information that shines a light on how the US exploited for its own geopolitical purposes one of the most active terrorist hotbeds anywhere in the world.

According to the recent reports, Belhadj is directly involved with supporting the ISIS training centers in Derna. Of course Derna should be well known to anyone who has followed Libya since 2011, because that city, along with Tobruk and Benghazi, were the centers of anti-Gaddafi terrorist recruitment in the early days of the “uprising” all through the fateful year of 2011. But Derna was known long before that as a locus of militant extremism.

In a major 2007 study entitled “Al-Qa’ida’s Foreign Fighters in Iraq: A First Look at the Sinjar Records” conducted by the Combating Terrorism Center at the US Military Academy at West Point, the authors noted that:

Almost 19 percent of the fighters in the Sinjar Records came from Libya alone. Furthermore, Libya contributed far more fighters per capita than any other nationality in the Sinjar Records, including Saudi Arabia… The apparent surge in Libyan recruits traveling to Iraq may be linked the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group’s (LIFG) increasingly cooperative relationship with al-Qa’ida which culminated in the LIFG officially joining al-Qa’ida on November 3, 2007…The most common cities that the fighters called home were Darnah [Derna], Libya and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, with 52 and 51 fighters respectively. Darnah [Derna] with a population just over 80,000 compared to Riyadh’s 4.3 million, has far and away the largest per capita number of fighters in the Sinjar records.

And so, the US military and intelligence community has known for nearly a decade (perhaps longer) that Derna has long been directly or indirectly controlled by jihadis of the LIFG variety, and that that city had acted as a primary recruiting ground for terrorism throughout the region. Naturally, such information is vital if we are to understand the geopolitical and strategic significance of the notion of ISIS training camps associated with the infamous Belhadj on the ground in Derna.

This leads us to three interrelated, and equally important, conclusions. First, Derna is once again going to provide foot soldiers for a terror war to be waged both in Libya, and in the region more broadly, with the obvious target being Syria. Second is the fact that the training sites at Derna will be supported and coordinated by a known US asset. And third, that the US policy of supporting “moderate rebels” is merely a public relations campaign designed to convince average Americans (and those in the West generally) that it is not supporting terrorism, despite all the evidence to the contrary.

The Myth of ‘Moderate Rebels’

The news about Belhadj and ISIS must not be seen in a vacuum. Rather, it should be still further proof that the notion of “moderates” being supported by the US is an insult to the intelligence of political observers and the public at large.

For more than three years now, Washington has trumpeted its stated policy of support to so-called moderate rebels in Syria – a policy which has at various times folded such diverse terror groups as the Al Farooq Brigades (of cannibalism fame) and Hazm (“Determination”) into one large “moderate” tent. Unfortunately for US propagandists and assorted warmongers however, these groups along with many others have since voluntarily or forcibly been incorporated into Jabhat al-Nusra and ISIS/ISIL.

Recently, there have been many reports of mass defections of formerly Free Syrian Army factions to ISIS, bringing along with them their advanced US-supplied weaponry. Couple that with the “poster boys” for Washington policy, the aforementioned Hazm group, now having become part of Jabhat al Nusra, the Al Qaeda linked group in Syria. Of course these are only a few of the many examples of groups that have become affiliated with either the ISIS or Al Qaeda brand in Syria, including Liwaa Al-Farouq, Liwaa Al-Qusayr, and Liwaa Al-Turkomen to name just a few.

What has become clear is that the US and its allies, in their unending quest for regime change in Syria, have been overtly supporting extremist elements that have now coalesced to form a global terror threat in ISIS, Nusra, and Al Qaeda.

But of course, this is nothing new, as the Belhadj episode in Libya demonstrates unequivocally. The man who was once Al Qaeda, then became a “moderate” and “our man in Tripoli,” has now become the leader of the ISIS threat in Libya. So too have “our friends” become our enemies in Syria. None of this should surprise anyone.

But perhaps John McCain would like to answer some questions about his long-standing connections with Belhadj and the “moderates” in Syria. Would Obama like to explain why his “humanitarian intervention” in Libya has become a humanitarian nightmare for that country, and indeed the whole region? Would the CIA, which has been extensively involved in all of these operations, like to come clean about just who they’ve been supporting and what role they’ve played in fomenting this chaos?

I doubt any such questions will ever be asked by anyone in the corporate media. Just as I doubt any answers will ever be furnished by those in Washington whose decisions have created this catastrophe. So, it is for us outside the corporate propaganda matrix to demand answers, and to never let the establishment suppress our voices…or the truth.

Eric Draitser is an independent geopolitical analyst based in New York City, he is the founder of StopImperialism.org and OP-ed columnist for RT, exclusively for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”.

Also see:

Hillary’s War

ty-450x304Frontpage, March 6, 2015 by Kenneth R. Timmerman:

What short memories we have.

Just three weeks ago, gloating ISIS terrorists beheaded 21 Egyptian Coptic Christians on a Libyan beach. The Catholic Church proclaimed them “martyrs.” Former Virginia Republican Congressman Frank Wolf, now at Baylor University, called for the creation of a safe haven for Middle East Christians.

And then, the world moved on. The body of yet another beheaded Coptic Christian was found in Libya on Wednesday. But by then the media had turned their gaze elsewhere so the outrage was gone.

Hillary Clinton and her supporters in the national media are counting on our short memories to allow them to tout her “successes” as Secretary of State as they gild her chariot for a ride to the White House in 2016.

And therein lies reason #1 why Mrs. Clinton will do everything in her power to keep the public from seeing her email — at least, an unsanitized version that would provide the full record of her tenure as Secretary of state.

“We came, we saw, he died.”

Anyone remember that one? That was Hillary Clinton, joking with a reporter just days after visiting Libya on October 18, 2011 when she was told that Qaddafi had just been killed. She immediately burst out into the famous cackle. But since she was not a Republican, Mrs. Clinton did not have to declare, “I am not a witch.”

She learned of Qaddafi’s demise when her aide, Muslim Brotherhood royal Huma Abedin, passed what appeared to be her personal Blackberry to her boss. One can only wonder who sent that message to Ms. Abedin. Was it a government official who used an official email account? Or was it some nebulous “informant” – perhaps the same one who convinced Mrs. Clinton on the night of the Benghazi attacks that a shadowy video they wrongly claimed was made by American right-wingers was at fault, when there was nary a trace of that “information” in the official reporting channels from the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, the diplomatic outpost in Benghazi, the defense attaché in Tripoli, the CIA station chief, the CIA sub-station in Benghazi, or the State Department Operations Center.

Why can I say that? Because we have been told repeatedly that all the official reporting on the night of the Benghazi attacks has already been produced to multiple congressional committees. That’s why Media Matters and the Hillary Media Brigades continue to insist there is no story. It’s all a hoax. Move on.

I believe the question of where the YouTube video-is-the-culprit story originated lies at the core of the Benghazi scandal. I have called it the original “sin,”which led to the original “spin” by Susan Rice and others, including President Obama and of course Mrs. Clinton herself.

What prompted Mrs. Clinton to advance a story she knew was a fiction and to think she could get away with it? What real story was the fiction papering over?

Until now, although the State Department has said repeatedly they have produced every document and communication Congress has requested in a timely manner, we still don’t have any record of why Mrs. Clinton gave the stand down order to the Foreign Emergency Support Team (FEST), an inter-agency rapid reaction force, with a substantial special operations component, that was created precisely to respond to the type of emergency that was taking place in Benghazi and is on call 24/7.

We still don’t know what instructions Mrs. Clinton gave her subordinates in preparing the infamous talking points for Susan Rice that blamed the attacks on a YouTube video and claimed preposterously that they were a demonstration gone wild. Nor do we have any inkling of the communications between Mrs. Clinton and her ambassador, Chris Stevens – although Steven’s #2, Gregory Hicks, has testified that they communicated directly. (Indeed, it would have been extraordinary if they had not).

We don’t know if she instructed him to head to Benghazi to circle the wagons with the CIA and the Turkish Consul General, to tamp down the growing scandal over the Entisar, a Libyan fishing boat carrying 400 tons of weapons sent by jihadi groups in Benghazi to the Syrian rebels whose presence in the Turkish port of Iskenderun had attracted the attention of Western reporters.

We should have had answers to all of those questions within three months of the attacks, when the Hillary-appointed Accountability Review Board delivered its “definitive” report.

But as the co-chairmen later testified, they never interviewed Mrs. Clinton during their “definitive” investigation, nor did they cite a single email from Mrs. Clinton. And no one understood enough to call the foul.

What about those pictures of Mrs. Clinton posing with jihadi fighters in Tripoli, who had come to welcome her U.S. Air Force C-17 in October 2011? How many of them have since joined up with al Qaeda or ISIS? How many of them took part in the murder of Ambassador Stevens in Benghazi?

For with our short memories, we forget that Libya was Hillary’s war.

In separate tell-all accounts, former Defense Secretaries Robert Gates and Leon Panetta agreed that Mrs. Clinton dragged President Obama into this war kicking and screaming. She saw the fight against Qaddafi as a perfect opportunity to illustrate the wisdom of her new national security dogma, Responsibilty To Protect.

The Obama White House eventually bought into it hook, line and sinker, even touting their version of Hillary’s war by saying they had defeated Qaddafi by“leading from behind.”

Where has Hillary’s War left us?

Libya is a disaster. Jihadi militias who took part in the U.S.-backed rebellion against Qaddafi seized control of Tripoli this past summer, turning the international airport into a sand heap, forcing the evacuation of the remaining U.S. diplomats in Tripoli, shutting down much of Libya’s oil production, and driving the elected government into internal exile.

Today, two rival governments continue to jockey for power, while groups who have pledged loyalty to ISIS have taken over much of the eastern part of the country, including Derna and Benghazi.

Hillary’s War not only ended any attempts at mediation between Qaddafi and his opponents, which we have since learned were favored by the U.S. military and had a reasonable chance of success. It also ushered into power a jihadi state that has pledged its support to ISIS with the goals of launching terrorist attacks against the United States and of establishing a world-wide Islamic caliphate. And it sent a terrible message to dictators the United States might try to woo into giving up their weapons of mass destruction willingly, as Qaddafi did.

With successes like these on her account, who knows what failures those secret emails might reveal?

***

Published on Mar 5, 2015 by Dan Adams

Congressman: Clinton Email Scandal Nixonian

AP

AP

Washington Free Beacon, by Adam Kredo, March 5, 2015:

Revelations that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton primarily conducted official state business using a private email address has prompted congressional investigators to ratchet up legal pressure on the likely Democratic presidential nominee, according to leading lawmakers and sources familiar with the ongoing investigations.

“Secretary Clinton’s claim that she asked the State Department to release her emails is meaningless since they only have access to the emails she chose to provide them,” Rep. Peter Roskam (R., Ill.), a member of the Select Committee on Benghazi, said Thursday.

“The Committee will use all tools at our disposal to ensure we obtain every relevant email, potentially including ones Mrs. Clinton, her political advisers and lawyers chose to hold back, as we compile a full and complete record of the facts on the Benghazi attacks,” Roskam revealed.

Clinton has become engulfed in controversy following the disclosure that she conducted official government business from a private email address, which appears to run counter to established security protocols and regulations governing communication between executive branch officials.

Congressional investigators looking into Clinton’s conduct during the 2012 terror attacks in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four Americans say they will step up their inquiry into Clinton following these new disclosures, which one leading lawmaker described as Nixonian in nature.

At issue is the possibility that Clinton intentionally failed to submit to Congress reams of correspondence that may have taken place over this private account, rather than over Clinton’s official State Department email address.

While the committee was aware that Clinton had been using a private email address, it did not know until recent weeks that she was using the account almost exclusively, according to sources familiar with the issue.

Sources tracking Congress’ investigation into the Benghazi attacks further told the Washington Free Beacon that lawmakers are becoming frustrated with what they see as the Clinton machine’s continuous stalling tactics.

“The Committee is clearly running out of patience for these stall tactics,” the source said. “They are ratcheting up efforts to get every piece of information relevant to the investigation in order to finally hold those responsible accountable.”

“Secretary Clinton owes the American people an explanation for what appears to be an intentional attempt to evade federal record protocols,” the source said. “Lawmakers seem poised to ensure these questions are answered in order to finally get to the bottom of this.”

Clinton said on Thursday in a tweet that she had asked the State Department to release all of her emails, though it remains unclear how the department could fully track an email address it did not operate.

A spokesman for the Benghazi committee said it “is in possession of records with two separate and distinct email addresses used by former Secretary Clinton and dated during the time she was Secretary of State.”

“Without access to the relevant electronic information and stored data on the server—which wasreportedly registered to her home—there is no way the Committee, or anyone else, can fully explain why the committee uncovered two email addresses,” the spokesman said.

“I want the public to see my email,” Clinton said Wednesday evening via Twitter. “I asked State to release them. They said they will review them for release as soon as possible.”

Roskam said in a subsequent statement that the Benghazi committee has been fighting with the State Department for months to gain access to all Obama administration communications pertaining to the 2012 attacks.

“For months the Select Committee has pressed the State Department for access to all communications from key officials on watch during the Benghazi terrorist attacks,” Roskam said. “Yet until last week the administration failed to mention that countless emails from Secretary Clinton have been missing from this search because she exclusively used private accounts during her tenure.”

“The last time we saw a high government official seeking to edit their own responses was President Nixon, and at least then he enjoyed the benefit of executive privilege,” Roskam added.

“We have said from the beginning that our investigation would follow the facts wherever they lead us—and we intend to keep that promise by reviewing all of the relevant facts and documents in order to issue the definitive report on what happened before, during, and after the terrorist attacks in Benghazi,” Roskam added.

Also see:

 

Judicial Watch Sues for Hillary and Huma’s Egypt Emails

P25_Hillary_Clinton_261164k

Judicial Watch, MARCH 04, 2015 :

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today that it has filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the State Department seeking any and all communications – including emails – from then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her Chief of Staff Huma Abedin with Nagla Mahmoud, wife of ousted Egyptian president Mohammad Morsi, from January 21, 2009 to January 31, 2013 (Judicial Watch v. U.S. Department of State (No. 1:15-cv-00321)).   This latest lawsuit will require the State Department to answer questions about and conduct thorough searches of Hillary Clinton’s newly discovered hidden email accounts.  Judicial Watch also has nearly a dozen other active FOIA lawsuits that may require the State Department to search these email accounts.  Huma Abedin is also alleged to have a secret account as well.

Judicial Watch submitted its original FOIA request on August 27, 2014. The State Department was required by law to respond by September 26, 2014 at the latest to Judicial Watch’s request for:

  1. Any and all records of communication between Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Nagla Mahmoud, wife of ousted Egyptian president Muhammad Morsi, from January 21, 2009 to January 31, 2013; and
  2. Any and all records of communication between former State Department Deputy Chief of Staff Huma Abedin and Nagla Mahmoud from January 21, 2009 to January 31, 2013.

To date, the State Department has not responded.

Ms. Mahmoud threatened Mrs. Clinton after Morsi was ousted.  According to JihadWatch.org:

In the words of El-Mogaz News, Morsi’s wife “is threatening to expose the special relationship between her husband and Hillary Clinton, after the latter attacked the ousted [president], calling him a simpleton who was unfit for the presidency.  Sources close to Nagla confirmed that she has threatened to publish the letters exchanged between Morsi and Hillary.”

The report continues by saying that Nagla accuses Hillary of denouncing her former close ally, the Brotherhood’s Morsi, in an effort to foster better relations with his successor, Egypt’s current president, Sisi—even though, as Nagla laments, “he [Morsi] was faithful to the American administration.”

“Now we know why the State Department didn’t want to respond to our specific request for Hillary Clinton’s and Huma Abedin’s communications,” stated Tom Fitton.  “The State Department violated FOIA law rather than admit that it couldn’t and wouldn’t search the secret accounts that the agency has known about for years.  This lawsuit shows how the latest Obama administration cover-up isn’t just about domestic politics but has significant foreign policy implications.”

Also see:

Rep. Gowdy Must Confront Clinton, Valerie Jarrett on Potential Roles in Benghazi

AP Photo/Jacquelyn-Martin

AP Photo/Jacquelyn-Martin

Breitbart, by Charles Ortel, Feb. 11, 2015:

After six years of a foreign policy strategy that observers have assessed as questionable at best, Americans and remaining foreign allies finally deserve an honest explanation of President Obama’s true aims across the Middle East. One person who should explain why the Obama Administration continually asserts the United States is making progress abroad despite so many appalling setbacks is senior aide Valerie Jarrett, whose influence shaping key policies is suggested in second-hand reports, but not yet adequately understood.

With Iran rising, and regimes falling throughout the region, now is the time to subject our President’s singular Senior Advisor to rigorous Congressional oversight, under oath, beginning with an appearance before Congress’s Select Committee on Benghazi.

Expose the real command structure inside the Obama Administration

Numerous accounts by high level U.S. government officials suggest that traditional reporting lines inside the Executive Branch are essentially irrelevant. Using Valerie Jarrett and other reliable associates, President Obama imposes his will everywhere that he can, outside effective scrutiny of political opponents, investigative journalists, and the American public.

Congressman Trey Gowdy, as head of Select Committee investigating the 2012 attack on the American embassy in Benghazi, Libya, has the assignment and the resources he needs to retrieve answers and hold accountable those responsible for the disastrous events that occurred starting September 11, 2012. To do his job properly, he needs to widen his focus beyond Libya, expose how the Obama White House actually makes its decisions, and determine which foreign powers are prime beneficiaries of Executive Branch actions.

It is not enough for the Select Committee simply to identify which officials may have slowed, or even stopped, rescue efforts for beleaguered U.S. government employees and/or contractors mired inside Libya, almost three years ago. Instead, Americans need to understand how deeply involved in Federal government are organizations such as the Muslim Brotherhood, and who has ultimate responsibility for vetting key government appointees and private contractors.

In addition, we deserve to know how deeply ties run between key Administration officials and the government of Iran, which seems to be the only clear beneficiary of Obama foreign policies. Furthermore, the American public should learn how widespread the practice has become wherein foreign interests purchase influence over government officials, theoretically independent scholars, and media watchdogs.

The truth actually matters

So far, Valerie Jarrett’s name does not figure on the published list of witnesses scheduled to appear before the Select Committee on Benghazi. Nor does Huma Abedin’s, a longtime aide to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Both of these individuals likely could help unravel the confusion concerning how America’s relations with Libya and with Egypt disintegrated so profoundly, opening up opportunities for Vladimir Putin to extend Russia’s influence in nations of key strategic significance.

Looking back before September 11, 2012, Congressman Gowdy should uncover who, other than Hillary Clinton (perhaps Ms. Jarrett?), must have approved the deeply troubling decision to let Huma Abedin simultaneously serve multiple masters– including the U.S. taxpayer, Hillary Clinton personally, Teneo Corporation and the Clinton Foundation. Given what happened after Mohamed Morsi took power by June 30, 2012, and given the continuing defiant support of the Obama Administration for the Muslim Brotherhood inside Egypt and the United States, the American public has every right to learn how someone with such suspect foreign connections became so involved in atypical ways influencing sensitive government initiatives.

Hillary Clinton apparently is eager to give her side of the story–though her attitude towards telling the truth is certainly flexible, as any fair-minded re-examination of her Bosnian landing under sniper fire reveals in retrospect.

Congressman Gowdy must summon the courage to examine closely the flows of official and intermediary communications and of money between and among interested parties in Libya and Egypt, not just in 2012, but from January 20, 2009 forward. Substantial U.S. government funds evidently disappeared under Hillary Clinton’s watch over the State Department–during the same period large donations flowed into Clinton Foundation while grants flowed to numerous recipients. Rather than shrugging off the confusing array of information, Congressman Gowdy needs to dive in and ferret out a comprehensible timeline that explains the motives and potential benefits derived by key interested parties.

When it comes to getting Obama Administration officials such as Valerie Jarrett to take Congressional oversight seriously, the record since January 2009 is certainly not encouraging–even now, on a potentially incendiary matter closer to home involving possible targeting of political opponents using the Internal Revenue Service, the Obama White House refuses to supply essential documents. So, teasing out the real timeline with regard to Libya, Egypt, and the Muslim Brotherhood will likely require aggressive tactics.

The difficult road ahead

Daunting as challenges seem across the Middle East, additional dangers threaten America in the potential splintering of Europe, the unrepentant rise of Putin’s Russia, and from China.

As Congressman Gowdy continues his important work, perhaps the governments of Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Egypt, and Israel can use their intelligence resources to help the American public understand exactly what the Obama Administration attempts as it continues redrawing the constellation of western interests across the Middle East.

Time is of the essence. Great nations with far more experienced leaders have floundered following misadventures outside their own borders. In the kind of Congressional oversight that has been sorely lacking until now, perhaps the United States can again find our best feet, and move these forward.

Gowdy Comes Out Swinging

5_122014_q-gowdy-2868201-450x321Frontpage, By Kenneth R. Timmerman On January 28, 2015

Rep. Trey Gowdy came out swinging at Tuesday’s hearing of his Select Committee, laying into Democrats for playing political games and blasting the State Department for refusing to produce documents and for preventing witnesses from testifying before the committee.

As the hearing began, Gowdy had to cut off his microphone to conduct a private conversation with ranking Democrat Rep. Elijah Cummings of Maryland, who has been carrying the administration’s water consistently.

While the two men remained personally cordial to each other, the “comity” of earlier hearings was gone.

On Monday, Gowdy released a scathing letter to Cummings that set the table for Tuesday’s hearing.

In it, he blasted Cummings and the Democrats for paying lip service to the need of a bipartisan investigation into the Benghazi terrorist attacks, all the while some Democrats, “some as recently as last week, have stated on many occasions they believe this Committee serves no purpose, as everything relating to Benghazi has already been asked and answered.”

By putting up a website called “Asked and Answered” before the Select Committee had even held its first hearing, the Democrats “instantly prejudged facts that are not yet in evidence,” Gowdy wrote.

The State Department recently turned over 15,000 of new documents in addition to the 25,000 produced in response to multiple document requests from other committees over the past two years. “These documents include significantly more traffic from State Department leadership than in previously provided information to Congress,” Gowdy noted in his opening statement.

At the hearing, the State Department’s liaison officer to Congress said that more documents would be produced in the coming days, including emails from Secretary of State Clinton – giving the lie to oft-repeated Democrat claims that everything relating to Benghazi was already on the public record.

Many of the so-called answers the Democrats provide to nagging questions on Benghazi answer nothing at all.

Where was the President and what did he do on the night of the attacks? That is a good question. The Democrats’ answer on their Benghazi Asked and Answered website? Why, he was at the White House, just as we always said he was. Doing what? Mystery.

Or how about the most asked question of them all, did anyone in the administration issue a “stand down” order that prevented a military rescue?

In a classic straw man argument, the Democrats accuse Republicans of claiming that Secretary of State Clinton personally “ordered” Defense Secretary Panetta to “stand down” an ongoing rescue attempt. That obviously didn’t happen; and no credible source has alleged that.

But as I revealed in Dark Forces: The Truth About What Happened in Benghazi, two very real stand-down orders were issued that night by Secretary Clinton, apparently in tandem with John Brennan at the White House, which had the effect of slow-rolling the government response to the crisis.

•They refused to convene the Counterterrorism Security Group (CSG), the only structured, experienced, interagency reaction team that could have decided which resources of the government were available for deployment immediately.

•They refused to activate the State Department-led Foreign Emergency Support Team (FEST), an extraordinary operational unit on call 24/7 that included special operations troops and its own airlift, which could have secured the compound and the Annex and prevented the loss of classified data.

In addition, the President himself, by not personally taking charge of rescue efforts, never stood up the government’s vast national security apparatus, letting lower level officials treat the attacks as a garden variety crisis in some diplomatic backwater.

The letter exchanges between Gowdy and Cummings, as well as Tuesday’s hearings, should put to rest forever the fiction that this type of investigation can be conducted in some Nirvana-zone of bipartisan comity.

We have learned, for example, that Gowdy and his staff have indeed been interviewing witnesses – contrary to Democrats’ public statements that the committee is covering no new ground – but often has not invited Democrats to these meetings.

Gowdy explained that this was necessary to prevent Democrats from attempts to “characterize their testimony for political gain,” as Cummings has done.

Since many of the witnesses the Select Committee needs to interview still work in the Executive Branch, leaks of this sort have become “a major deterrent for other individuals who may be contemplating speaking voluntarily to the Committee,” Gowdy added.

Tuesday’s fireworks revealed the increasing unease among Democrats as the Benghazi Select Committee gets closer to the real truth of what led up to the attacks, what happened during the attacks, and how the administration sought to cover its tracks afterwards.

“Is this about gun-running?” Rep. Adam Schiff (D, WA) asked at one point.

Yes, Congressman, it is about gun-running, despite all the claims to the contrary from the disgraced former chairman of the House intelligence committee, Mike Rogers.

We know, for example, that the State Department was engaged in efforts to collect some 15,000 surface-to-air missiles (MANPADS) that had gone missing from Qaddafi’s arsenals. Secretary Clinton herself touted that effort during a visit to Libya before the Benghazi attacks.

The White House sent two National Security staffers to Libya to supervise the MANPADS collection effort, even as several thousand missiles were collected then turned over in Libya to known jihadi leaders.

As I revealed in Dark Forces, at least 400 of those missiles were smuggled into Agadiz, Niger, where they were upgraded with CIA-supplied batteries and new gripstocks, then were shipped to al Qaeda-affiliated groups around the world.

YouTube videos and still photographs of the missiles, with their distinctive colors, showed them in the hands of jihadi groups in Syria and beyond.

Was Ambassador Stevens instructed to establish a communications backchannel to the National Security Staff via the CIA Chief of Station in Tripoli to report on this and other covert intelligence activities in Libya? That’s the suggestion that appears in an overlooked section of the Republican Additional Views to the December 2014 Senate intelligence committee report on CIA interrogations.

The Committee needs to investigate U.S. assistance to the anti-Qaddafi rebels, in particular, the “liaison” relationships between the CIA and foreign intelligence services who were bringing weapons into Libya. Did the CIA withdraw Stinger missiles from Camp Arifjan or other U.S. stockpiles in the Middle East and transfer them to Qatar so they could be brought into Libya, as multiple sources reported to me in Dark Forces?

Even more important, the Committee needs to investigate what the CIA knew about Iran’s intelligence and operational presence on the ground in Benghazi. Sources on Ambassador Steven’s security detail told me they were briefed on the aggressive Iranian presence already in June 2012. Other sources mentioned the existence of 50 to 60 intelligence reports on Iran’s activities in Libya at the time.

If that is the case, then former CIA deputy director Mike Morell knowingly lied in public when specifically asked about this during a speaking engagement in Florida last September. What else is Morell covering up?

These questions just scratch the surface of what hasn’t been asked, or answered.

Thankfully, as Gowdy himself said at the end of the two hour hearing on Tuesday, the southern politeness and the gloves are off. “We’re going to ratchet it up.”

About time, Congressman. Now bring it on.

***

Published on Jan 27, 2015 by C-SPAN

Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC), Chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, questions Joel Rubin, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs. Watch the complete hearing here: http://cs.pn/1BjHSk9

Barack Al Qaeda

Published on Jan 27, 2015 by Wild Bill for America

Who’s side is Mr. Obama on? Shameful that the evidence goes against him.

Also see:

GENERALS CONCLUDE OBAMA BACKED AL-QAIDA

obama-hillary-coffins-benghazi3WND, by Jerome Corsi, Jan. 19, 2015:

NEW YORK – The Obama White House and the State Department under the management of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “changed sides in the war on terror” in 2011 by implementing a policy of facilitating the delivery of weapons to the al-Qaida-dominated rebel militias in Libya attempting to oust Moammar Gadhafi from power, the Citizens Commission on Benghazi concluded in its interim report.

In WND interviews, several members of the commission have disclosed their finding that the mission of Christopher Stevens, prior to the fall of Gadhafi and during Stevens’ time as U.S. ambassador, was the management of a secret gun-running program operated out of the Benghazi compound.

The Obama administration’s gun-running project in Libya, much like the “fast and furious” program under Eric Holder’s Justice Department, operated without seeking or obtaining authorization by Congress.

WND reported Monday that in exclusive interviews conducted with 11 of the 17 members of the commission, it is clear that while the CCB is still enthusiastic to work with Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, and hopeful that Boehner is serious about the investigation, various members of the CCB, speaking on their own behalf and not as spokesmen for the commission, are expressing concerns, wanting to make sure the Gowdy investigation is not compromised by elements within the GOP.

The Citizen’s Commission on Benghazi’s interim report, in a paragraph titled “Changing sides in the War on Terror,” alleges “the U.S. was fully aware of and facilitating the delivery of weapons to the Al Qaeda-dominated rebel militias throughout the 2011 rebellion.”

The report asserted the jihadist agenda of AQIM, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group and other Islamic terror groups represented among the rebel forces was well known to U.S. officials responsible for Libya policy.

“The rebels made no secret of their Al Qaeda affiliation, openly flying and speaking in front of the black flag of Islamic jihad, according to author John Rosenthal and multiple media reports,” the interim report said. “And yet, the White House and senior Congressional members deliberately and knowingly pursued a policy that provided material support to terrorist organizations in order to topple a ruler who had been working closely with the West actively to suppress Al Qaeda.”

The report concluded: “The result in Libya, across much of North Africa, and beyond has been utter chaos, disruption of Libya’s oil industry, the spread of dangerous weapons (including surface-to-air missiles), and the empowerment of jihadist organizations like Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Christopher Stevens: ’1st U.S. envoy to al-Qaida’

In the WND interviews, several members of the citizens’ commission, speaking for themselves, not for the commission, added important background to the interim report’s conclusion.

“In early 2011, before Gadhafi was deposed, Christopher Stevens came to Benghazi in a cargo ship, and his title at the time was envoy to the Libyan rebels,’ which basically means Christopher Stevens was America’s very first envoy to al-Qaida,” explained Clare Lopez, a member of the commission who served as a career operations officer with the CIA and current is vice president for research at the Washington-based Center for Security Policy.

“At that time, Stevens was facilitating the delivery of weapons to the al-Qaida-related militia in Libya,” Lopez continued. “The weapons were produced at factories in Eastern Europe and shipped to a logistics hub in Qatar. The weapons were financed by the UAE and delivered via Qatar mostly on ships, with some possibly on airplanes, for delivery to Benghazi. The weapons were small arms, including Kalashnikovs, rocket-propelled grenades and lots of ammunition.”

Lopez further explained that during the period of time when Stevens was facilitating the delivery of weapons to the al-Qaida-affiliated militia in Libya, he was living in the facility that was later designated the Special Mission Compound in Benghazi.

“This was about weapons going into Libya, and Stevens is coordinating with Abdelhakim Belhadj, the leader of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, other al-Qaida-affiliated militia leaders and leaders of the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood that directed the rebellion against Qadhafi as an offshoot of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood,” Lopez said. “Many of the individual members of the al-Qaida-related militias, including the LIFG, and the groups that would later become Ansar Al-Sharia, were Muslim Brotherhood members first.”

According to the interim report, as detailed by Lopez, a delegation from the UAE traveled to Libya after the fall of Gadhafi to collect payment for the weapons the UAE had financed and that Qatar had delivered to the Transitional National Council in Libya during the war.

“The UAE delegation was seeking $1 billion it claimed was owed,” the interim report noted. “During their visit to Tripoli, the UAE officials discovered that half of the $1 billion worth of weapons it had financed for the rebels had, in fact, been diverted by Mustafa Abdul Jalil, the Muslim Brotherhood head of the Libyan TNC, and sold to Qaddafi.”

According to information discovered during the UAE visit to Tripoli, when Jalil learned that Maj. Gen. Abdel Fatah Younis, Gadhafi’s former minister of the interior before his late February 2011 defection to the rebel forces, had found out about the weapons diversion and the $500 million payment from Gadhafi, Jalil ordered Abu Salim Abu Khattala, leader of the Abu Obeida Bin al-Jarrah brigade to kill Younis.

“Abu Khattala, later identified as a Ansar al- Shariah commander who participated in the 11 September 2012 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, accepted the orders and directed the killing of Gen. Younis in July 2011,” the interim report noted.

Abu Khattala is currently in custody in New York awaiting trial under a Department of Justice-sealed indictment, after U.S. Delta Force special operations personnel captured him over the weekend of June 14-15, 2014, in a covert mission in Libya. Abu Khattala’s brigade merged into Ansar al-Shariah in 2012, and he was positively identified to the FBI in a cell phone photo from the scene of the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi.

The language of the interim report made clear why the sequence of events is important.

“The key significance of this episode is the demonstration of a military chain-of-command relationship between the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood leadership of the TNC and the Al Qaeda-affiliated militia (Ansar al-Shariah) that has been named responsible for the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi,” the interim Rreport concluded.

“What we have here is the Muslim Brotherhood leadership of the revolution giving a kill order to a Muslim militia affiliated with al-Qaida, which then carried it out,” Lopez summarized. “This chain-of-command link is important even though it has not yet received enough attention in the media.

A big ‘oh no’ moment

“After Gadhafi is deposed and Stevens was appointed U.S. ambassador to Libya, the flow of weapons reverses,” Lopez noted. “Now Stevens has the job of overseeing the shipment of arms from Libya to Syria to arm the rebels fighting Assad, some of whom ultimately become al-Nusra in Syria and some become ISIS.”

Lopez distinguished that “al-Nusra in Syria still claims allegiance to al-Qaida, while ISIS has broken away from al-Qaida, not because ISIS is too violent, but out of insubordination, after Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS, wanted to run his own show inside Syria as well as Iraq, thereby disobeying orders from al-Qaida leader Ayman Al-Zawahiri.”

She noted that in this period of time, after the fall of Gadhafi and before the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the Benghazi compound, Stevens was working with Turkey to ship weapons out of Libya into Syria for the use of the rebels fighting Assad.

According to the authors of the bestselling book “13 Hours,” on Sept. 11, 2012, before the attack on the Benghazi compound started, Stevens had dinner with Turkish Consul General Ali Sait Akin. Stevens reportedly escorted the Turkish diplomat outside the main gate of the Benghazi compound to say good-bye to Akin at approximately 7:40 p.m. local time, before he returned to Villa C to retire for the evening.

Kevin Shipp, a former CIA counterintelligence expert who worked on the seventh floor at Langley as protective staff to then-CIA Director William Casey, again speaking for himself in his interview with WND, agreed with Lopez that the gun-running operation Stevens managed is a secret the Obama White House and Clinton State Department have sought to suppress from the public.

“The shocking part, maybe even a violation of international law that the Obama administration has been terrified to have fully revealed, is that Stevens as part of his duties as a State Department employee was assisting in the shipment of arms first into Libya for the al-Qaida-affiliated militia, with the weapons shipped subsequently out of Libya into Syria for use by the al-Qaida-affiliated rebels fighting Assad,” Shipp told WND.

“Very possibly, these gun-running activities could be looked at even as treasonable offenses,” he said.

Shipp further noted that in gun-running operations in which the CIA wants deniability, the CIA generally involves a third party.

“The way the CIA works is through a ‘cut-out,’ in that you get Qatar to transport the weapons and you facilitate the transport. So now the third party is to blame,” he explained.

“Qatar probably would have been able to pull this off without any attribution to the CIA if the Benghazi attack had not happened. The attack basically shed the light on this operation the White House, the State Department and the CIA were trying to keep quiet,” he said.

“The attack on Benghazi was a big ‘oh no’ moment.”

Benghazi And Hillary: Will She Testify Before The Benghazi Select Committee?

Trey Gowdy’s opening statement:

 

Daily Caller, By Kenneth Timmerman, Dec. 10, 2014:

Beneath a surface of surprising comity and bipartisanship, Republicans and Democrats on the Benghazi Select Committee are warily circling each other, guns at the ready, but still holstered.

After today’s low-key hearing to examine whether the State Department has taken steps to ensure that another Benghazi doesn’t happen, reporters asked the Republican chairman and his Democratic counterpart whether they intended to call former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to the witness stand.

“She is a witness we would like to talk to. I cannot tell you when,” said Rep. Trey Gowdy.

But Maryland Democrat Elijah Cummings poured cold water on that idea, saying “Mr Schiff said today he could not see why she would be called, and I would agree with that,” referring to fellow Democrat, Adam Schiff.

If I had to bet, I would put money on Hillary being called before the committee. But don’t hold your breath for that to happen tomorrow. Gowdy also made clear in talking with reporters that his staff was still in the early stages of acquiring documents from the State Department, the intelligence community, and other U.S. government agencies.

“I’d be a really lousy lawyer if I questioned witnesses before I had all the documents,” he added.

Here are a few of my takeaways from today’s hearing.

1) The State Department continues to stonewall, and will not answer the most basic of questions the American public (and members of Congress) continue to ask: What was so important to the national interest of the United States for us to send diplomats into harms way in Benghazi at a facility everybody knew was not up to even minimal security standards?

Asked this question repeatedly today, the State Department’s “star” witness, Assistant Secretary of State Gregory B. Starr, hid behind the convenient dodge that he left the Department in 2009 to become a United Nations bureaucrat and so wasn’t around when the decision to open the Benghazi compound was made.

Starr had been in the Department for nearly thirty years, and before leaving for the United Nations he was the Director of the Diplomatic Security Service. If anyone should understand security issues at embassies, and the underlying U.S. interests warranting risk, it’s Starr.

And yet, he not only dodged questions about why the U.S. was in Benghazi, but also got wrong simple facts about the security detail protecting ambassador Stevens.

He claimed, for example, that the 16-man U.S. Army Special Forces Site Security Team (SST) providing close protection for the ambassador was only providing “static security,” when in fact they traveled with the ambassador wherever he went, even jogging with him in the streets of Tripoli.

Worse, he then blamed Ambassador Stevens for not protesting louder that he needed more security, when in fact Stevens and his security officers were sending cables virtually non-stop to the State Department begging for help.

It’s so easy to blame the dead.

2) The State Department continues to send diplomats and other U.S. personnel into harm’s way in facilities overseas that it knows are not secure and cannot be defended.

The State Department’s independent inspector general, Steve Linick, told the Panel that well after Benghazi, the State Department is still unable to “adequately identify security deficiencies” at overseas facilities. Even worse: the Department has 10 overseas compounds similar to the Special Mission compound in Benghazi, with poor to non-existent security, and local security guards who often time do not even go through a basic background check.

Entire  hearing:

 

Also see:

SELECT COMMITTEE ON BENGHAZI HEARING #2

108

Greg Starr, assistant secretary of state for diplomatic security, and Steve Linick, inspector general with the State Department, testify before the House Select Committee on the Events Surrounding the 2012 Terrorist Attack in Benghazi.

Brigitte Gabriel facebook post Dec. 9, 2014:

Tomorrow the House of Representatives’ Select Committee on Benghazi will hold its second open hearing. The focus will be “Reviewing Efforts to Secure U.S. Diplomatic Facilities and Personnel,” and it will begin at 10:00 a.m. EST. You can watch the proceedings via C-SPAN below. I encourage you to do so – and to continue to let your federal legislators in both the House and Senate know that the ‪#‎Benghazi‬ issue remains a top priority for you.

I’ll be live Tweeting throughout the hearing using #Benghazi, follow me @act4america.

***

 

 

Representative of Ayman al Zawahiri reportedly captured in Turkey as US Investigates Benghazi Link

This undated photo reportedly shows Abd El Basset Azzouz. (Photo: Milliyet)

This undated photo reportedly shows Abd El Basset Azzouz. (Photo: Milliyet)

LWJ, By

An operative who was dispatched to Libya by al Qaeda emir Ayman al Zawahiri was reportedly captured in Turkey and is now being held in Jordan.

A Turkish daily, the Milliyet, first reported Azzouz’s capture earlier this month. The Milliyet’s reporting was subsequently picked up by other Turkish press outlets.

Azzouz was handpicked by Zawahiri to oversee al Qaeda’s efforts in post-revolution Libya. According to the Turkish reports, Azzouz was detained in mid-November after the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and Turkish authorities located him in the “summer resort” area of Yalova, which is south of Istanbul. Two laptops and a fake passport were captured along with Azzouz.

According to an account by the Washington Post, Azzouz was soon deported to Jordan, where he is currently being held.

US intelligence officials are investigating Azzouz’s potential ties to the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya. If he did have a role in the assault, during which four Americans were killed, then his involvement would be yet another strong piece of evidence pointing to the culpability of al Qaeda’s international network.

Fighters from al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) and al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), two formal branches of al Qaeda, are known to have taken part in the Benghazi attack. Both AQAP and AQIM are openly loyal to Zawahiri.

Members of the so-called Mohammad Jamal Network (MJN) were present among the attackers. The MJN, as it is known by Western counterterrorism officials, was founded by Mohammad Jamal, an Egyptian who was first trained by al Qaeda in the 1980s. Like the leaders of AQAP and AQIM, Jamal swore a bayat (oath of allegiance) to Zawahiri.

Fighters from Ansar al Sharia, an al Qaeda-linked group based in Libya, were also among the jihadists who stormed the embassy. There is abundant evidence tying Ansar al Sharia to al Qaeda’s network and these ties have been formally recognized by the United Nations. [For more on the various al Qaeda groups responsible for the Benghazi attack, see LWJ reports, Senate report: Terrorists ‘affiliated’ with multiple al Qaeda groups involved in Benghazi attack and UN recognizes ties between Ansar al Sharia in Libya, al Qaeda.]

Zawahiri’s man in Libya

In September, the State Department added Azzouz to the US government’s list of specially designated global terrorists. Azzouz “has had a presence in Afghanistan, the United Kingdom, and Libya.”

State noted that Azzouz “was sent to Libya in 2011 by al Qaeda leader Ayman al Zawahiri to build a fighting force there, and mobilized approximately 200 fighters.” Azzouz “is considered a key operative capable of training al Qaeda recruits in a variety of skills,” such as building improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

The designation of Azzouz confirmed some of the details previously reported by CNN, as well as by an analysis shop in the Defense Department.

An unclassified report published in August 2012 highlights al Qaeda’s strategy for building a fully operational network in Libya, and it identified Azzouz as playing a key role in these plans. The report (“Al Qaeda in Libya: A Profile”) was prepared by the federal research division of the Library of Congress under an agreement with the Defense Department’s Combating Terrorism Technical Support Office (CTTSO).

The report’s authors noted that Azzouz had been sent to Libya by Zawahiri and has been close to the al Qaeda leader “since 1980.” Azzouz “first visited Afghanistan in the 1990s to join the mujahedin fight against the Soviet occupation.” In Libya, according to the CTTSO report, Azzouz “has been operating at least one training center” and has hundreds of men under his command. [See LWJ report, Al Qaeda’s plan for Libya highlighted in congressional report.]

It is not clear what Azzouz was specifically doing in Turkey at the time of his capture. Turkey is a known crossroads for al Qaeda operatives, including those dispatched by al Qaeda’s senior leadership and fighters seeking to join the Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s official branch in Syria.

The Benghazi Report – An ongoing intelligence failure

WELL.v20-14.2014-12-15.Hayes-Josc.NewscomBY STEPHEN F. HAYES AND THOMAS JOSCELYN:

After a long day on November 13, 2013, Speaker of the House John Boehner walked down the marble hallways of the Longworth House Office Building to the personal office of Representative Devin Nunes for a drink, a cigarette, and maybe a brief reprieve.

But Boehner’s visit was not a social call. He was there to see three CIA officers who had fought in Benghazi, Libya. Their identities were unknown to all but a small group of U.S. government officials with high-level security clearances, and the details of their harrowing stories were unknown to virtually everyone who was not a colleague or relative.

And the fact that the meeting was taking place at all was unknown to the man who, under different circumstances, might have been expected to host it. Mike Rogers, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, was not invited.

Rogers was sick of Benghazi. Some of his Republican colleagues had spun themselves into a frenzy of conspiracy theorizing, publicly making wild claims that had no basis in fact or hinting at dark conspiracies that had the president of the United States willfully and eagerly arming its enemies. Representative Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, long the Republican face of Benghazi investigations, accused Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of giving a “stand-down” order to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. Representative Louie Gohmert claimed that Senator John McCain deserved some of the blame for Benghazi because McCain, like Barack Obama, had supported opposition forces in Libya. Normally responsible Republicans pretended that Hillary Clinton’s famous “what difference at this point does it make” line was not so much a tone-deaf question about how the attacks happened, which deserved the criticism it earned, but a declaration of indifference that the attacks happened, which was absurd. Rogers complained about these excesses regularly to his staff and colleagues.

This frustration, however, wasn’t the reason Boehner and Nunes cut him out of the meeting with CIA officers. They shared his frustration, as it happened.

Their concern was deeper. Rogers had long been reluctant to commit more time and resources to investigating Benghazi. At a meeting of intelligence committee Republicans in early 2013, just four months after the attacks, Rogers laid out his priorities for the new Congress. Not only was Benghazi not on that list, according to three sources in the meeting, he declared to the members that the issue was in the past and that they wouldn’t be devoting significant time and resources to investigating it. Whatever failures there had been in Benghazi, he explained, they had little to do with the intelligence community, and his intelligence committee would therefore have little to do with investigating them.

In the months that followed, more troubling details about the Benghazi story emerged in the media. Among the most damaging: Internal emails made clear that top Obama administration officials had misled the country about the administration’s role in the flawed “Benghazi talking points” that Susan Rice had used in her Sunday television appearances following the attacks, and that former acting CIA director Michael Morell had misled Congress about the same. Other reports made clear that intelligence officials on the ground in Benghazi had reported almost immediately that the assault was a terrorist attack involving jihadists with links to al Qaeda—information that was removed from the materials used to prepare administration officials for their public discussion of the attacks. A top White House adviser wrote an email suggesting that the administration affix blame for the attacks on a YouTube video.

The revelations even roused the establishment media from their Benghazi torpor and generated extraordinarily hostile questioning of White House press secretary Jay Carney by reporters who had trusted his claims of administration noninvolvement.

None of this convinced Rogers to make Benghazi a priority—a fact that frustrated many of the committee’s members. Boehner received a steady stream of visits and phone calls from House members who complained that Rogers wasn’t doing his job. In all, seven members of the intelligence committee took their concerns directly to the speaker or his top aides. Boehner’s presence at the secret meeting in Nunes’s office demonstrated that he shared those concerns long before he decided to impanel a select committee to conduct a comprehensive investigation of the Benghazi attacks. And what happened to the CIA officers as they attempted to share their story with congressional oversight committees suggests that those concerns were well founded.

As lawmakers headed home for Thanksgiving two weeks ago, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence released a report concluding that there were no intelligence failures related to the September 11, 2012, attacks in Benghazi and otherwise bolstering claims by the administration and its defenders that the controversy surrounding the attacks and their aftermath was rooted more in the imaginations of critics than in reality.

For many of those who had been following the story closely, the report was bizarre and troubling. Key events were left out. Important figures were never mentioned. Well-known controversies were elided. Congressional testimony on controversial issues was mischaracterized. The authoritative tone of the conclusions was undermined by the notable gaps in evidence presented to support them.

“If this was a high school paper, I would give it an F,” says John Tiegen, a former CIA officer who fought on the ground that night in Benghazi and lived through many of the events the report purports to describe. “There are so many mistakes it’s hard to know where to begin. How can an official government report get so many things wrong?”

Read more at Weekly Standard

Also see:

Gowdy Approaches Benghazi Minefield

gowdy-450x232By Kenneth R. Timmerman:

Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Wood was the commander of the 16-man Special Forces security detail at the U.S. embassy in Tripoli, Libya, until the State Department ordered him and his men home on August 5, 2012 and never replaced them.

Despite repeated pleas from Ambassador Chris Stevens and his State Department security officers in Tripoli that they remain in Libya, Washington wouldn’t listen.

Colonel Wood remains perplexed at what happened on the night Ambassador Stevens was murdered, and in a recent conversation, recalled a similar event in June 2012 when the British ambassador came under RPG attack while visiting Benghazi.

“When I went to help the British ambassador, we got to the scene faster than the CIA team did on September 11. I went over to the CIA Annex, waited for the 18 Delta medic to grab his kit, then left immediately,” he told me.

“Why would they say ‘get over there as quick as you can’ when the British ambassador gets attacked, and say ‘wait’ when it’s our own ambassador?” he wondered.

And yet, that’s the behavior former deputy CIA Director Mike Morell told the House intelligence committee was “a very prudent decision.”

Their report was welcomed by the national media as the final nail in the coffin of Republican-led Congressional investigations.

Many conservatives have been pushing for Rep. Trey Gowdy (R, SC) to play his cards, even as his investigators continue to conduct their probe far from the media spotlight.

The Washington Post has already proclaimed Gowdy’s investigation “superfluous,” and last week blasted “unfounded conspiracy theories” propounded by Republicans for distracting from the “big mistake in Libya policy… [which] was President Obama’s refusal to support the new government’s attempt to build security after he helped topple the nation’s longtime dictator.”

In Gruberesque fashion, the Post failed to mention that Ambassador Stephens was still talking to Prime Minister candidates for the “new government” on the day he was brutally murdered, as his Diary shows.

But hey, what difference do the facts make when there’s a presidential campaign afoot? The Post and other members of the Hillary Clinton support society (aka the national media) have demonstrated they will spare no ink, tar, or feathers to besmirch anyone who gets close to the truth, and will pass up no opportunity to claim this investigation over before it’s even begun.

That’s why Gowdy must (and is) treading carefully as he navigates the labyrinthine minefield constructed by partisan hacks and entrenched bureaucrats to hide the truth.

One of the first things Gowdy did was to hire a three-star U.S. Army general as his chief counsel. Lieutenant General Dana Chipman had just stepped down as the Judge Advocate General (JAG) for the United States Army, where in his own words he had led “a legal enterprise consisting of 5,000 personnel in 600 offices in 20 countries.”

Prior to that, General Chipman was the chief lawyer for U.S. Central Command and U.S. Special Operations Command, stepping into that hot seat in June 2003 just as U.S. forces switched from liberators to occupiers in Iraq.

The three stars on Chipman’s shoulderboards give him the authority to candidly question anyone in the military chain of command that night without concerns more junior officers might have about disputing the wisdom of an order from on high.

Many in the military have been asking why reinforcements weren’t flown in from Croatia, where a fifty-man U.S. Army counter-terrorism/hostage-rescue unit known as C-110 was on a military training mission.

C-110 was the Commanders In-Extremis Force (CIF) for European Command, a rapid reaction force capable of getting men and equipment into their C-130s to respond to a crisis in somewhere between two to six hours.

Because C-110 was slated to become the Africom CIF on October 1, Africom commanders were intimately aware of its capabilities, and its current position – roughly two hours flight time from Benghazi. But instead of flying directly to Benghazi, C-110 was told to stage en route at Sigonella Naval Air Station in Sicily, Italy, where it stopped.

The diversion order was given from the Pentagon, not by Africom headquarters in Stuttgart. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen. Martin Dempsey, has claimed in Congressional testimony that the earliest C-110 could have left Croatia was 6 AM the morning of September 12th – a statement disputed by members of the unit who have spoken anonymously to the media.

Were the commanders of this powerful hostage-rescue unit champing at the bit but told to stand down? If so, by who? And why?

We know the official reasons why C-110 was not sent. Africom commander General Carter Ham and his subordinates have all testified that in the “fog of war” they believed they were facing a situation similar to the 1979 Tehran hostage crisis and needed more time to gather intelligence and plan a hostage rescue operation.

But General Ham also told Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who is slated to succeed Rep. Darrell Issa as chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform committee, that he never sent boots onto the ground in Benghazi because the State Department “never asked.”

That explanation was buttressed by testimony from Brigadier General Robert Lovell, the Africom deputy director for intelligence (J2), this past May, where he explained that in the spirit of “expeditionary” diplomacy – a favorite Hillary Clinton term – the military was “waiting for a request for assistance from the State Department” before moving reinforcements into Libya.

The answer to this question could help determine who bears the responsibility for leaving brave four men to die that night.

Did the desire to demonstrate that Obama was “not Bush” drive the administration to abandon any recourse to military action? We know that Hillary Clinton was so obsessed by not deploying boots on the ground in Libya that she ordered Colonel Wood and his 16-man Special Forces unit guarding Ambassador Stevens to never appear in public in uniform, not even their boots, until her underlings told them to leave Libya on August 5, 2012 altogether.

We also know that Mrs. Clinton issued two very specific stand-down orders on the night of September 11, 2012:

• She refused to convene the counterterrorism Security Group (CSG), the only structured, experienced interagency reaction team that could have decided which resources of the government were available for immediate deployment, despite pleas from a top counter-terrorism advisor, Mark Thompson.

• She refused to activate the State Department-led Foreign Emergency “Support Team (FEST), an extraordinary operational unit whose sole purpose was to rescue U.S. diplomats under attack.

Her entire effort that night and ever since has been to draw as little attention as possible to U.S. government activities in Benghazi. What was she trying to hide?

Read more at Frontpage

The Benghazi Cover-Up Continues

Benghazi-Gate-450x337Frontpage, by Daniel Greenfield, November 24, 2014:

A diplomatic mission was slapped down in the middle of a city controlled by terrorists. The diplomatic mission was left mostly undefended, despite multiple requests by everyone in Libya right up to the deceased ambassador, except by a militia gang linked to Al Qaeda which wasn’t getting paid.

At a time when the State Department was spending fortunes on bad art, on Kindles at the bargain price of $6,000 a reader, not to mention renovating the mansion residence of a political donor/ambassador in Europe who would be the subject of yet another cover-up after being accused of pedophilia (but not before causing a public scandal by blaming anti-Semitism on the Jews) there was no money for securing a diplomatic mission that was so far behind enemy lines it might as well have been in the middle of Iran.

And again it was no one’s fault. Despite multiple whistleblowers from the State Department coming forward, most of them left of center types who wouldn’t spit on a Koch Brother, the panels and committees wrote the establishment a blank check.

It was no one’s fault. Anyone who disagreed with the assertion that the murder of four Americans might be someone’s fault was a right-wing conspiracy theorist. Anyone who thought that we should listen to the testimony of Gregory Hicks, the highest ranking diplomat in Libya after Ambassador Stevens was killed, or to Ambassador Stevens’ own messages asking for more security, was a crazed nutjob.

Only a lunatic would think this might be someone’s fault.

“When I arrived in Tripoli on July 31, we had over 30 security personnel, from the State Department and the U.S. military, assigned to protect the diplomatic mission to Libya. All were under the ambassador’s authority,” Hicks wrote. “On Sept. 11, we had only nine diplomatic security agents under Chris’s authority to protect our diplomatic personnel in Tripoli and Benghazi.”

“For some reason, my explanation did not make it into the Senate report,” he added.

Now “for some reason” the testimony and statements of the CIA annex security team, the men on the ground like Mark Geist and Kris Paronto, did not make their way into the House Intel Committee report which once again exonerates everyone under its purview in true Washington fashion.

Was aid denied? Nope. Was there a lack of security? Maybe, but that’s a job for the State Department and State already concluded that it was the fault of three people whom it pretended to fire. The Senate committee concluded it was Ambassador Stevens’ fault despite his multiple requests for security because dead men don’t appear at committee hearings.

Was there a “stand down order”? Geist and Paronto say there was. The Housel Intel Committee however says that there was no stand down order; there were only “mere tactical disagreements about the speed with which the team should depart.”

Those “mere tactical disagreements” according to Paronto merely resulted in the death of Ambassador Stevens.

But the report insists there was no stand down order whatsoever, just “some Annex members wanted to urgently depart the Annex for the TMF to save their State Department colleagues.”

Gregory Hicks had stated that a team was prevented from heading to Benghazi. General Dempsey explained in his testimony that it was not told to “stand down”. It was told that it had a new mission of not going to Benghazi.

“They weren’t told to stand down. A `stand down’ means don’t do anything,” the General explained. “They were told that the mission they were asked to perform was not in Benghazi, but was at Tripoli airport.”

Orwell wept.

And so the idea that there was a “stand down order” has been conclusively and thoroughly disproven. Media Matters has splashed the news all over its front page. American lives might have been saved, but weren’t, because of “mere tactical disagreements” between doing something and doing nothing.

But don’t call it a “stand down order”. That might imply that a decision was made and that the giver of the order is responsible. And that someone above him might be responsible for setting a policy.

The House Intel Committee report, like all the reports before it, are full of such brilliant lawyerese, of technical explanations for why black is white, white is black and why none of it is anyone’s fault. The latest report insists that the administration was always aware that Benghazi was a terrorist attack and that Susan Rice was telling the truth when she claimed it wasn’t because she was misled by the CIA.

The administration was always telling the truth even when it wasn’t. Ambassador Stevens was responsible for the lack of security that killed him even while he kept pleading for more security. No personnel were told to stand down. They were just told not to go.

It’s all perfectly airtight by the standards of a political establishment in which one hand covers up for another, in which holding people in government responsible is a bad precedent. If blame has to be distributed, it can be dumped on the vague infrastructure of the CIA, on expendable diplomatic personnel and on a dead guy. And none of them will be held responsible either.

That’s just the magic of government.

We have an $18 trillion national debt which no one is responsible for. We have a fake unemployment rate of 6 percent and a real unemployment rate somewhere between 12 and 18 percent. And no one is responsible for that either. We have a terrorist group in Iraq that morphed into its own country and is executing Americans who could have been saved and no one is responsible for that.

Not anyone in our government.

We can go through numerous panels and committees that will humor us by pretending to care about the latest government scandal we’re outraged by and after going through the motions, they will announce that it’s no one’s fault.

It never is.

The Saudi visa express program that helped cause 9/11 was revived last year by Obama. The consular officer who issued visas to 11 of the hijackers despite numerous problems with their applications was not fired or demoted. Instead she still works for the State Department where she claims that “shopping” is her “great love” because it lets her snap up unique Middle Eastern items at “local prices.”

And the Senate continued to reconfirm her nomination because nothing is anyone’s fault.

There is simply no such thing as accountability in government. The incestuously corrupt culture of government insiders and the smug political reporters who eat out of their hands make that impossible. No matter how many whistleblowers come forward, how many of the men and women on the front lines tell their story, a group of lawyers with red pens will huddle over a report and use technicalities and word games to ignore the whistleblowers and exempt their government superiors from blame.

Washington can never allow any accountability for Benghazi because once we look closely at the murder of four Americans we might just have to start looking at the thousands of soldiers who died or were wounded in Afghanistan for many of the same reasons; including being denied support to avoid offending Muslims.

The media can never allow any accountability for Benghazi because the buck stops with their chosen presidential candidate for 2016.

Benghazi is the tip of a very nasty iceberg. The Libyan War was illegally fought and backed by lies that have never been addressed including false claims of genocide by Obama. That war has now resulted in ISIS in control of at least one Libyan city.

Benghazi is a political firewall. If the political establishment and the media can stop blame from being assigned here, they can permanently shut down these bigger questions. And if we can break their firewall, then the establishment will burn.

Also see: