Obama wants to train Libyan pilots, again

alqaida-libyaWND, By Alana Cook, 4/23/14

WASHINGTON – Back in 1979 when a mob attacked and burned the U.S. embassy in Tripoli, Libya, while an unstable Moammar Gadhafi was in power, American officials decided to respond by banning Libyan nationals from entering the U.S. to train as pilots or nuclear scientists.

Now, following a 2012 attack by Islamists that killed America’s ambassador and three other Americans in Benghazi, Libya, and the Arab Spring that destabilized other North African and Middle Eastern nations, and which, according to one analysis, left “particularly severe” fragmentation of Libyan society so that the “chances of the country’s dissolution are high,” American officials want to drop that ban.

The request to lift the Reagan-era passport ban that restricts Libyan nationals from entering the U.S. to train for those two positions is coming from officials with the Department of Homeland Security and the 9/11 Commission – because, “It simply isn’t needed to keep America safe from harm.”

It was earlier this month at a joint congressional hearing that House Oversight and Government Reform Committee members pressed Border Security Subcommittee officials to give sound reasoning for the current administration’s request in light of late-March reports that indicate Libya is overrun by al-Qaida, Muslim Brotherhood and other terrorist-backed Islamist militias and is on the verge of a civil war.

A commentary at Gatestone Institute even noted there is a move to bring an Islamic monarchy back to Libya.

And according to a just-released report by Clare M. Lopez of the Citizens Commission on Benghazi, “Early 2011 was swarming with al-Qaida and Muslim Brotherhood militias and affiliates fighting to overthrow Moammar Gadhafi’s regime.”

But Democrats are calling the restriction “an anachronistic relic of a bygone era.”

“Why are we willing to risk, no matter the likelihood, chancing Libyan extremists or terrorists to come here to essentially learn the skills to commit acts of terror … why now specifically? What has changed? The burden of advocating for change, in my judgment, in the status quo lies with the administration,” Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., said in testimony.

Oversight committee members cited Obama’s “failed” promise to secure diplomatic posts worldwide immediately following the 2012 Benghazi attacks.

“I have also directed my administration to increase our security at diplomatic posts around the world,” Obama said then. “Make no mistake, we will work with the Libyan government to bring to justice the killers who attacked our people.”

But nothing has happened yet.

According to Oversight testimony, DHS Assistant Secretary of International Affairs and Chief Diplomatic Officer Alan Bersin, formerly an Obama recess appointee, wrote a memo last February to then-DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano recommending the secretary take regulatory action to rescind the rule. His rationale for rescinding the rule echoed the same reasons CBP officials gave during the testimony.

Bersin stated in the memo, “DHS has determined that maintaining this regulation would no longer reflect current U.S. government policy toward Libya” while failing to mention the Benghazi attacks.

“What’s most surprising is that the memo postdates the tragic day in Benghazi when our country lost four Americans during a terrorist attack,” Oversight Committee member Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, said in the hearing.

Chaffetz said Libya was so broken down at the time of the attacks that it was impossible to obtain ground intelligence.

“We couldn’t even send our FBI into eastern Libya for 18 days because it was so dangerous. We couldn’t get the intelligence that we needed. We couldn’t even get the FBI to go into that part of the country. And yet we want to give those same people a visa to come to the United States to learn about nuclear sciences. Wow,” Chaffetz said.

While failing to describe the state of chaos in Libya, Bersin in his memo cited the current administration’s plan to “encourage engagement and educational exchanges in coming years with the Libyan government.”

He said the Defense Department is involved in a $2 billion deal to purchase aircraft and conduct pilot training and ground crew training and that the money would go to other countries if the visa restrictions on Libyans were not lifted.

“The Departments of Defense and State have made it clear that absent its rescission the regulation will significantly hamper these efforts,” he said in the memo.

To support their argument, Democrats said recent Defense Department reports state the fleet is aging, needs repair, more flight crew members need to be trained, and the only thing standing in the way of procurement are the visa restrictions. Democrats cited partisan policy as the roadblock to Libya’s successful transition to a democratic government.

“Members on the other side of the aisle may raise the unfortunate attacks in Benghazi at this hearing today. But that event actually underscores why we should lift the visa restriction. On the night of the attack, it was one of those very same Lockheed C-130 transport planes that the Libyan government used to rescue and evacuate the surviving consular personnel at the U.S. compound in Benghazi. Rather than used against us, that plane helped Americans survive,” Rep. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., said in testimony.

In a column recently published at Accuracy in Media, Clare M. Lopez, a senior fellow with the Center for Security Policy and a member of the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi, said that on the heels of the attacks, a new presidential finding cemented policy to lend material support to terrorism.

“The next chapter in the U.S. jihad wars was under way … and the American people barely noticed,” she said.

Jihadists Now Control Secretive U.S. Base in Libya

A mural depicting a victorious battle of the Libyan military forces against a vague enemy lies on the infamous Khamis Brigade headquarters parade ground on August 29, 2011 in Tripoli, Libya. (Benjamin Lowy/Getty)

A mural depicting a victorious battle of the Libyan military forces against a vague enemy lies on the infamous Khamis Brigade headquarters parade ground on August 29, 2011 in Tripoli, Libya. (Benjamin Lowy/Getty)

By Eli Lake:

A camp on the Libyan coastline meant to train terror-hunters has instead become a haven for terrorists and al Qaeda.

A key jihadist leader and longtime member of al Qaeda has taken control of a secretive training facility set up by U.S. special operations forces on the Libyan coastline to help hunt down Islamic militants, according to local media reports, Jihadist web forums, and U.S. officials.

In the summer of 2012, American Green Berets began refurbishing a Libyan military base 27 kilometers west of Tripoli in order to hone the skills of Libya’s first Western-trained special operations counter-terrorism fighters. Less than two years later, that training camp is now being used by groups with direct links to al Qaeda to foment chaos in post-Qaddafi Libya.

Last week, the Libyan press reported that the camp (named “27” for the kilometer marker on the road between Tripoli and Tunis) was now under the command of Ibrahim Ali Abu Bakr Tantoush, a veteran associate of Osama bin Laden who was first designated as part of al Qaeda’s support network in 2002 bythe United States and the United Nations. The report said he was heading a group of Salifist fighters from the former Libyan base.

In other words, Tantoush is now the chief of a training camp the U.S. and Libyan governments had hoped would train Libyan special operations forces to catch militants like Tantoush.

One U.S. defense official told The Daily Beast that the media report matched U.S. intelligence reporting from Libya. Another U.S. official in Washington said intelligence analysts were aware of the reports but had yet to corroborate them, however. A spokesman for Africa Command declined to comment for the story.

Tantoush himself on Tuesday evening gave aninterview to Libyan television where he confirmed that he was in the country but also said he had not direct or indirect link to the camp. In the interview, Tantoush, who was indicted in 2000 for his role in the 1998 al-Qaeda bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa, also claimed he has never participated in terror attacks for al Qaeda, and boasted of traveling to Libya on a fake passport.

According to one U.S. official who is read into the training program, the camp today is considered a “denied area,” or a place where U.S. forces would have to fight their way in to gain access. Until now, the Western press has not reported that the base used to train Libyan special operations forces was seized by the militants those troops were supposed to find, fix and finish.

The fact that the one-time training base for Libyan counter-terrorism teams is now the domain of terrorists is a poignant reminder the United States has yet to win its war with al Qaeda, despite the successful 2011 raid that killed its founder and leader.

This is particularly true for Libya. Since the 9/11 anniversary attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, jihadist groups and al Qaeda’s regional affiliates have been gaining territory throughout Libya. News that a veteran like Tantoush is now in charge of a military base only 27 kilometers from Libya’s capital shows just how much the security in Libya has deteriorated.

Seth Jones, an al Qaeda expert at the Rand Corporation, said Libya is now a haven for many of al Qaeda’s North African affiliates. “There are a number of training camps for a wide range of al Qaeda and jihadist groups that have surfaced in southwest Libya, northwest Libya in and around Tripoli and northeast Libya in and around Benghazi,” he said.

Daveed Gartenstein Ross, a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, added that “We’ve known for some time that Jihadist groups have established training camps throughout Libya. But this is significant because of the camp’s proximity to Tripoli and because rather than creating camps in remote locations they took over a base used by the Libyan government.”

“I suspect they will not keep this camp for very long. It’s close to Tripoli and its location is known by the Libyan government,” he said.

Read more at The Daily Best

Libya: Jihadi Terror Leaders’ Safest Haven

by Anna Mahjar-Barducci:

Libya is the new jihadist front on the Mediterranean — and just a few hours away from the centers of Europe.

Several security sources have confirmed that Belmokhtar is still alive and has moved, along with his troops, from Mali to a new base in the Libyan desert.

The leading jihadist commander Mokhtar Belmokhtar — also known as Khalid Abu Al-Abbas, and by his nickname “Al-A’war” (“the one-eyed”) — is hiding in Libya. From there, according to security sources quoted in media reports, he is planning to mastermind terrorist attacks against Westerners and their interests across Africa’s Sahel region.

Belmokhtar, born in Algeria in 1972, and an Algerian citizen, was a key member of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb [AQIM]. After an internal power struggle, he decided in December 2012 to form a new group, known as the Signatories in Blood.

 

Jihadi commander Mokhtar Belmokhtar.

On January 16, 2013, armed with AK-47s and rocket-propelled grenade launchers, he led an attack against a Western-owned gas processing facility of In Amenas, Algeria. In the four-day siege of the complex, 39 hostages — including U.S. citizens Frederick Buttacio, Victor Lynn Lovelady, and Gordon Lee Rowan — were killed. After the assault, the U.S. State Department put a $5 million bounty on Belmokhtar.

As a former Algerian soldier with experience from training camps in Afghanistan, and as a member of the Armed Islamic Group [GIA] in Algeria, he rose quickly to the high rank of “emir” (commander). Later, he was one of the co-founders of the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC), which evolved into AQIM.

As a commander in AQIM, Belmokhtar conducted kidnapping operations against Westerners. Later, while in the north of Mali, fighting against Western and African military intervention in the area, he established his own group.

Although his career as a terrorist seemed to have come to an end when, in March 2013, the Chadian government announced that he had been killed in combat in Mali, U.S. intelligence and military officials were wary of confirming Belmokhtar’s death.

Several security sources have confirmed that Belmokhtar is still alive and has moved, along with his troops, from Mali to a new base in the Libyan desert. Malian security sources further say that Belmokhtar intends “to control the entire Sahel from the Libyan territory.”

In an interview to the Libyan press agency LANA, Malian President Boubaker Keita said that Belmokhtar represents a menace for the region. “If this news [that he is still alive] is true,” he said, “we are under a serious threat. Belmokhtar is a very dangerous figure. I am sorry that he was not killed in my country as previously announced and that he managed to move to Libya. There is not going to be peace in the whole region of the Sahara as long as he is alive.”

The news that he managed to escape a huge manhunt staged by the international military forces in the Sahel is doubtless helping to build him into a legend and attracting more young people to jihadism.

In addition, Libya is undergoing a period of uncertainty and weakness. The country is in a political vacuum and unable to pursue a war against terrorism. After gunmen recently attempted to attack family members of Libya’s interim Prime Minister, Abdullah Al-Thani, he handed in his resignation.

Read more at Gatestone Institute

Material Support to Terrorism: The Case of Libya

timthumb (5)AIM, April 22, 2014, By Clare Lopez:

Libya in 2011 marks the place and the time that the United States (U.S.) and the Obama administration formally switched sides in the Global War on Terror (GWOT). A mere 10 years after al-Qa’eda (supported by Hizballah and Iran) attacked the American homeland in the worst act of terrorism ever suffered by this country, U.S. leadership decided to facilitate the provision of weapons to jihadist militias known to be affiliated with al-Qa’eda and the Muslim Brotherhood in order to bring down a brutal dictator who also just happened to be a U.S. ally in the GWOT at the time.

And the U.S. media were silent. The major broadcast, print, and Internet outlets said not a word about this astonishing turnabout in American foreign policy. To this day, they have not seemed even to recognize that the pivot to support al-Qa’eda took place. But it needs to be said. The American people deserve to understand that their most senior leaders, both elected and appointed, have violated their oaths to “preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic.”

United States law is quite explicit about providing material support to terrorists: it’s prohibited. Period. 18 U.S. Code § 2339A and 18 U.S. Code § 2339B address Providing Material Support to Terrorists or Designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations. Together, these two sections outlaw the actions of any U.S. person who attempts or conspires to provide, or actually does provide, material support to a foreign terrorist organization knowing that it has been designated a foreign terrorist organization or engages, or has engaged, in “terrorism” or “terrorist activity.” Conspiracy means agreeing or planning to provide such support, whether or not such support ever is actually delivered. Penalties for conspiracy to provide material support to terrorism are stiff: imprisonment for up to 15 years and/or a fine of not more than $250,000. Penalties for actually providing or attempting to provide material support to terrorism are even harsher: imprisonment from 15 years to life, with a life sentence applicable if the death of any person results from such crime. Aiding, abetting, counseling, or procuring in support of a violation of Section 2339B is punishable by the same penalties as for the offense itself.

The Arms Export Control Act is another law that makes it illegal for the U.S. government to export “munitions” to any country determined by the Secretary of State to have “repeatedly provided support for acts of international terrorism.” While this provision applies specifically to those countries—Cuba, North Korea, Iran, and Syria—that are designated as state sponsors of terrorism, the case of Libya stands out nevertheless. Removed from the State Department’s list of state sponsors of terrorism in 2006, Libya by early 2011 was swarming with al-Qa’eda and Muslim Brotherhood militias and affiliates fighting to overthrow Muamar Qaddafi’s regime.

The identities of those jihadis and their al-Qa’eda affiliations were well known to the U.S. Intelligence Community, Department of State, and Tripoli Embassy long before the 17 February 2011 revolt broke out against Muamar Qaddafi. As with other al-Qa’eda branches, the Libyan al-Qa’eda affiliates such as the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) trace their origins back to the Muslim Brotherhood in Libya, which was founded in 1949 when Egyptian Brotherhood members “fled a crackdown in Cairo and took refuge in Benghazi,” according to a May 2012 study by the Brookings Doha Center. Colonel Muamar Qaddafi took over Libya in a 1969 coup d’état and showed little tolerance for Brotherhood activities. Brutal waves of repression kept the Brotherhood in check through the 1980s and 1990s when many Libyan fighters went to Afghanistan to join the mujahedeen in their battle against the Soviet Army. Some of those who fought there, like Abu Anas al-Libi and Abdelhakim Belhadj, would figure prominently in the revolt that ultimately ousted Qaddafi in 2011.

The LIFG was founded in 1990 by Libyan fighters returning from the Afghan jihad who were now intent on waging jihad at home. Qaddafi came down hard on the group, though, and crushed the LIFG’s 1995-1998 insurgency. Some LIFG members had moved to Sudan when Usama bin-Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri found refuge with Omar al-Bashir’s Muslim Brotherhood regime in the early 1990s and others (including Belhadj) eventually fled back to Afghanistan, where both bin-Laden and al-Zawahiri also had relocated by the mid-1990s. Abu Anas al-Libi is alleged to have taken part in the pre-attack casing and surveillance of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya a few years prior to the 1998 al-Qa’eda attack there.

By 1995, things were becoming hot for the jihadis in Sudan and while bin Laden and al-Zawahiri returned to Afghanistan about this time, others such as Anas al-Libi were offered safehaven by the British. In return for political asylum in the UK, MI 6 recruited Anas al-Libi’s support for a failed 1996 plot to assassinate Qaddafi. In all, Anas al-Libi lived in Manchester from 1995-2000—despite his known history of association with bin Laden, al-Zawahiri, and other AQ leaders, as well as willingness to participate in assassination plots against national leaders, as I wrote in an October 2013 piece at The Clarion Project. The U.S.’s British partners also provided asylum to Abu Abdullah As-Sadeq, the LIFG’s top commander and allowed the LIFG to publish an Arabic language newspaper called al-Wasat in London. By 2000, though, as the FBI and other Western security services began to close in, Anas al-Libi and others were on the move again, leaving behind a 180-page al-Qa’eda terror training manual that became known as the “Manchester Document.” In the run-up to the 11 September 2001 attacks, Anas al-Libi, Abdelhakim Belhadj, Abu Sufian bin Qumu, and other known LIFG members reconnected with bin Laden in Afghanistan. As John Rosenthal points out in a 10 October 2013 posting, “The Inevitable Rise of Al-Qaeda in Libya,” in the immediate aftermath of 9/11, “the history of close cooperation between the LIFG and al-Qa’eda was so extensive that the Libyan group figured among the very first organizations to be designated as al-Qaeda affiliates by the UN Security Council.” In fact, according to Rosenthal who cites former LIFG member, Norman Benotman, Belhadj was actually present with bin Laden at Tora Bora in December 2001. The LIFG was formally accepted as an al-Qa’eda franchise by Ayman al-Zawahiri, the AQ deputy at the time, in 2007.

In the years following 9/11, various LIFG members were detained: Abu Sufian bin Qumu was captured in 2002 and sent to Guantanamo Bay (GITMO) and in 2004, both Abu Anas al-Libi and Abdelhakim Belhadj were captured. By the mid-2000s, GITMO detainees were being released to their home countries. Abu Sufian bin Qumu, for example, was released from GITMO and returned to Libya in 2007. Beginning about 2005, Qaddafi was under pressure from both the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli and his own son, Seif, to begin what came to be known as “the reconciliation process,” in which LIFG and other jihadist prisoners were released from Libyan jails. In this process, LIFG Muslim Brotherhood cleric Ali Mohammad Al-Sallabi was a key mediator. Abdelhakim Belhadj was released in 2008 (just as Christopher Stevens was appointed Deputy Chief of Mission to Tripoli) and Abu Sufian bin Qumu in 2010, after which he returned to Derna to begin plotting the revolt against Qaddafi.

Even as this “reconciliation process” was underway and Christopher Stevens was preparing for his new posting, Libyan jihadis were flowing out of eastern Libya in droves to join the al-Qa’eda jihad against U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq. According to a June 2010 study compiled by the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, “Al-Qa’ida’s Foreign Fighters in Iraq,” coalition forces in Iraq captured a stash of documents in October 2007 which documented the origins of the foreign fighters who’d traveled to Iraq to join al-Qa’eda between August 2006 and August 2007. Termed the “Sinjar Records” after the nearest town where these personnel records were found, the data showed that by far the largest contingent of foreign fighters per capita came from Libya. Across the spectrum, the most common cities of origin for foreign fighters in Iraq were Darnah, Libya and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Darnah is located in the eastern Cyrenaica region of Libya, long known as an incubator of jihadist ideology and the place which would become the cradle of the 2011 Islamic uprising against Muammar Qaddafi.

Nor was the new Deputy Chief of Mission (DCM) Christopher Stevens unaware of what was going on. A June 2008 cable from the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli that went out over Stevens’ signature was obtained by the London Telegraph from Wikileaks. The report was given the name “Die Hard in Derna,” after the Bruce Willis movie, and described the determination of the young jihadis of this eastern Libyan town to bring down the Qaddafi regime. Because they believed the U.S. government supported the Qaddafi regime and would not allow it to fall after it had abandoned its Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) programs and begun to provide counter-terrorism support, and as documented in the West Point study of the “Sinjar Records,” the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) instead sent its fighters to confront the U.S. in Iraq, believing that was a way to strike a blow against both Qaddafi and his U.S. backers. A local Derna resident told the visiting Embassy officer that Libyan fighters who had returned from earlier battlefields in Afghanistan (1980s) and elsewhere sometimes went on for additional “religious training” in Lebanon and Syria; when they eventually returned to Libya in the late 1980s and early 1990s, they began the process of preparing the ground for “the eventual overthrow by the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) of Muammar Qadhafi’s regime…”

Career Foreign Service Officer Christopher Stevens was first posted to the American Embassy in Tripoli, Libya in June 2007 as the DCM and later as charge d’affaires until 2009. For his second tour in Libya, Stevens was sent to rebel headquarters in Benghazi, Libya, to serve as special representative to the Libyan Transitional National Council. He arrived on a Greek cargo ship on April 5, 2011 and stayed until November. His mission was to forge stronger links with the Interim Transitional National Council, and gain a better understanding of the various factions fighting the Qaddafi regime. His reports back to Washington were said to have encouraged the U.S. to support and recognize the rebel council, which the Obama administration did formally in July 2011.

As is now known, under urging from Sen. John McCain and other Congressional members, the White House endorsed Qatar’s plan to send weapons to the Libyan rebels shortly after Yousef al-Qaradawi, the senior jurist of the Muslim Brotherhood, issued a 21 February 2011 fatwa that called for the killing of Qaddafi. Seeking a “zero footprint,” no-paperwork-trail profile itself, the U.S. instead encouraged both Qatar and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to arm the Libyan jihadis, according to a key New York Times article published in December 2012. Knowing full well exactly who those rebel militias and their leadership were, and how closely they were connected with al-Qa’eda (and perhaps even mindful of the legal restrictions on providing material support to terrorism), the U.S. sought to distance itself as the source of these weapons, which included small arms such as automatic rifles, machine guns, and ammunition. The NY Times piece noted that U.S. officials made sure to stipulate the weapons provided would come from elsewhere, but not from the U.S.

But the fact that from the end of March 2011 onward, U.S. and other NATO forces completely controlled Libyan air space and the sea approaches to Libya means that the cargo planes and freighters transporting the arms into Libya from Qatar and elsewhere were being waved through with full U.S. knowledge and support. The U.S. mission in Libya, and especially in Benghazi, ramped up in this period to facilitate the delivery of the weapons to the Libyan al-Qa’eda terrorists.

What followed should hardly have come as a surprise to anyone. After NATO air support cleared the way to Tripoli, the Qaddafi regime fell in October 2011 and the Muslim Brotherhood political leadership and al-Qa’eda fighters took over. Abdelhakim Belhadj was named Tripoli military commander. Chaos reigned, especially in the eastern regions, and now the weapons flow reversed—out of Libya, and into the hands of jihadis in West Africa, the Sinai, and Syria. Some of that flow was wildly disorganized and some of it was directed, with the U.S. mission in Benghazi once again playing a key role as its teams on the ground facilitated the weapons delivery, now destined for the Syrian rebels, dominated by al-Qa’eda and the Muslim Brotherhood, who were fighting to overthrow the Bashar al-Assad regime. In this endeavor, the U.S. was allied with its new Libyan partner, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and once again, with Qatar.

The next chapter in the U.S. jihad wars was underway, with a new Presidential Finding, and material support to terrorism firmly established as official policy. Congress and the media and the military remained silent. The American people barely noticed.

Clare M. Lopez is a Senior Fellow with the Center for Security Policy and the London Center for Policy Research. She is also a member of the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi.

Also see:

Three years after U.S. intervention, Libya’s an even bigger disaster

This Image taken during an organized trip by the Libyan authorities shows a multiple rocket launcher destroyed outside what was described as a maintenance warehouse hit by two missiles Monday evening on a Naval base in Tripoli, Libya, on March 22, 2011. Missile transporters and launchers were among the destroyed hardware.Three years later, Obama's Libyan adventure looks like a moral vanity project carried out by careless people who couldn't be bothered to worry about unintended consequences. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay, file)

This Image taken during an organized trip by the Libyan authorities shows a multiple rocket launcher destroyed outside what was described as a maintenance warehouse hit by two missiles Monday evening on a Naval base in Tripoli, Libya, on March 22, 2011. Missile transporters and launchers were among the destroyed hardware.Three years later, Obama’s Libyan adventure looks like a moral vanity project carried out by careless people who couldn’t be bothered to worry about unintended consequences. (AP Photo/Jerome Delay, file)

BY GENE HEALY:

Libya suffered through an eventful St. Patrick’s Day on Monday: car bomb attacks in Benghazi killed at least eight people, and the U.S. Navy SEALs scored “one for the Morning Glory” by capturing the runaway oil tanker bearing that name in order to return it to the Libyan government, such as it is.

Earlier this month, the North Korean-flagged tanker switched off its satellite transponder — a device that could probably do without an “off” button — and sneaked into Libya’s largest oil port, whereupon Libyans linked to a breakaway eastern militia made off with millions of dollars in oil. But the return of the Morning Glory hardly fixes the problems confronting Libya.

Three years ago today, President Obama announced that America would “not stand idly by in the face of actions that undermine global peace and security;” he’d decided to order military action in “support for a set of universal values.” The next day, the bombing began.

How did that work out? Splendidly! says one of the principal architects of the war, former National Security Council official Samantha Power. Last summer, after becoming U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, Power tweeted: “Great example: Qadhafi fell because the Libyan people bravely stood up, the U.S. stood strong, and the Arab League stood united. #Results.”

Let’s test that self-congratulatory hashtag against what a top official from the previous administration once contemptuously called the “judicious study of discernible reality.” “Political Killings Still Plaguing Post-Qaddafi Libya” is the headline from the New York Times last week, reporting, “[M]ore than 100 prominent figures, senior security officials, judges and political activists have been assassinated in two years, and the wave of killings is decimating local leadership and paralyzing the government and security forces.” Unrest has likewise decimated Libya’s oil production, and “militias hold 8,000 people in prisons.”

But didn’t we at least stop a genocide? That’s what State Department legal adviser Harold Koh suggested in an interview. Koh, previously an ardent opponent of presidential warmaking, gave Obama legal cover for Libya, arguing that bombing Libya didn’t count as “hostilities” under the War Powers Resolution.

Koh defends that decision by insisting that “thousands of lives were saved” — which isn’t much of a legal argument. It’s also not true.

As political scientist Alan J. Kuperman pointed out at the time, Obama “grossly exaggerated the humanitarian threat to justify military action in Libya.”

Read more at Washington Examiner

Benghazi Bombshell: Help Denied – The Inside Job

c-110 1The National Patriot, By Craig Andresen:

When it comes to Benghazi…The more dots we are given to connect, the sharper the treasonous picture becomes and now, thanks to the Senate Intelligence Committee Report, we have even MORE dots on the page.

Imagine, if you will, having command of C-110 transferred, in the middle of an attack, to someone who doesn’t even know there is a second complex, full of Americans, in the attack zone.

You don’t have to imagine it.

It is a point of fact.

Let’s back up a bit and define a few very important details.

C-110.

What in the hell is C-110???

C-110 is a 40 man, Special Ops unit specifically trained for rapid response when Americans find themselves in harm’s way in foreign countries.

It is also known as, EUCOM CIF.

C-110 was under the control of our military’s European Command.

WAS…Being the key word.

The attack, NOT in QUESTION but, IN FACT was…

c-110 2Benghazi.

At some point, AFTER the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi had begun and, well before it ended some 8 hours later at the CIA annex in Benghazi…

Command OF C-110 was TRANSFERRED from European Command TO…General Carter Ham at AFRICOM or…United States African Command.

And here’s the kicker…

We now know, from page 77 of the 85 page Senate Intelligence Committee’s Benghazi Report that…

c-110 3AFRICOM Commander, General Carter Ham…“was not even aware there was a CIA annex in Benghazi at the time of the attacks.”

That is correct. You read that right.

IN THE MIDDLE OF THE AL QAEDA, TERRORIST ATTACKS, THAT TOOK THE LIVES OF AMBASSADOR CHRIS STEVENS, SEAN SMITH, GLEN DOHERTY AND TYRONE WOODS AND, LEFT MANY MORE AMERICANS WOUNDED…COMMAND OF THE SPECIAL FORCES UNIT SPECIFICALLY TRAINED TO RESCUE AMERICANS UNDER ATTACK…C-110…WAS…TRANSFERRED…TO A GENERAL WHO HAD NEVER BEEN TOLD OF THE EXISTENCE OF THE CIA ANNEX!!!

It gets even stranger.

Normally, C-110 is stationed in Germany but, on September 11th, 2012, on 6 hour’s notice, they had been sent to a training exercise in Croatia.

Croatia is only 925 miles from Benghazi and, despite General DEMPSEY’S claims that it would have taken more than 6 hours to fly C-110 from Croatia to Benghazi, the FACT is that a COMMERCIAL AIRLINER could have made that trip in under 3 HOURS and, according to General Ham…C-110 had “all their aircraft with them.”

So…WHY in THE HELL was C-110 NOT sent to Benghazi???

According to Dempsey…“They were told to begin preparations to leave Croatia and to return to their normal operating base,” IN GERMANY!!!

What if you were to ask General Carter Ham?

Well…Ham HAD been notified of the attack on the Consulate and, according to Ham “only was that there was some kind of attack.”

c-110 4Remember a couple of very important things here.

That initial attack, on the Consulate, lasted a couple of hours BUT, we also know from the Senate Intel Committee Report that, Obama and his administration knew…KNEW…in the first minutes OF that initial attack that…IT WAS A TERRORIST ATTACK AND AL QAEDA WAS INVOLVED!!!

There is absolutely no evidence that such information was shared with General Ham.

Also…Keep in mind that…AFTER the INITIAL ATTACK on the CONSULATE…There was a pause of a few hours before the SECOND attack on the CIA ANNEX…

A CIA ANNEX THAT GENERAL CARTER HAM HAD NO KNOWLEDGE OF WHATSOEVER, began!!!

According to Ham, regarding being notified that the attack on the Consulate was over and, that Stevens and Smith were unaccounted for: “In my mind at that point, we were no longer in a response to an attack. We were in a recovery.”

C-110 5AAThere are those who have questioned General Ham’s decision making regarding the night of the attacks but, when one realizes that HE had NO knowledge of the CIA annex AND that HE wasn’t receiving the necessary intel to MAKE a more well informed decision, coupled with the fact that C-110 had been ordered to make preparations to RETURN to GERMANY rather than to prepare for a mission in Benghazi…

Clearly, the fault does NOT reside with General Carter Ham…A point also made in the Senate report:

“We are puzzled as to how the military leadership expected to effectively respond and rescue Americans in the event of an emergency when it did not even know of the existence of one of the U.S. facilities.”

What we KNOW leads to questions that require answers.

Since Obama and Dempsey KNEW, within the first minutes of the attack, that it was al Qaeda terrorists…WHY did they NOT order C-110, which Dempsey well knew could be on site in less than 3 hours, to GO TO BENGHAZI???

Obama clearly knew of the CIA annex…Hillary clearly knew of it also as those in that annex were working in tandem with those in the Diplomatic Consulate so…Why on earth was the existence of the CIA annex intentionally kept from the General who was…AFTER THE ATTACKS BEGAN…suddenly placed in command of the very Special Ops team TRAINED for such a mission? 

WHO issued the change in command of C-110…From European Command to AFRICOM…IN THE MIDDLE OF A DAMN ATTACK AND…WHY???

c-110 6And further more…When the initial attack had ended…Tyrone Woods had evacuated all the Americans he could find at the Consulate TO the CIA annex where he was joined by Glen Doherty and THEY were in direct contact with Gregory Hicks at the Embassy in Tripoli where, according to Hicks:

“At about 10:45 or 11 we confer, and I asked the defense attache who had been talking about AFRICOM and with the joint staff, ‘Is anything coming? Will they be sending us any help? Is there something out there?’ And he answered that, the nearest help was in Aviano, the nearest – where there were fighter planes. He said that it would take two to three hours for them to get onsite, but that there also were no tankers available for them to refuel. And I said, ‘Thank you very much,’ and we went on with our work.”

You got that???

The DEFENSE ATTACHE…WHO WAS TALKING TO AFRICOM AND…THE JOINT CHIEFS…WAS DELIBERATELY FED FALSE INFORMATION!!!

THAT ATTACHE WAS TOLD, BY THE JOINT CHIEFS…THAT THE NEAREST ASSISTANCE WAS AT AVIANO, ITALY…NOT IN CROATIA!!!!

A further point of clarification is needed here.

c-110 7By military protocol, such an order to General Ham could only have been made by, potentially, 3 people…Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Dempsey…Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta or…The president.

We know from their testimony that both Dempsey and Panetta were in the white house situation room DURING THE ATTACKS and, for the first 20 minutes or so, before he disappeared…SO WAS OBAMA!!!

And, remember…While under attack…Tyrone Woods was in communication with Gregory Hicks who was getting HIS information from a DEFENSE ATTACHE who was…TALKING TO THE JOINT CHIEFS!!!

Now…Remember this as well…NOBODY knew how LONG the attack was going to continue…IT COULD HAVE GONE ON ALL NIGHT AND INTO THE NEXT DAY for all anyone knew…

Unless…

C-110 8AAASomeone DID know exactly how long al Qaeda would be on the attack.

With al Qaeda on the rise in Benghazi…after the attempt on the life of the British Ambassador and 2 attacks against the Red Cross…After 2 previous attacks on our Consulate in Benghazi…After more than a DOZEN requests from our security personnel and Ambassador Stevens himself for ADDED security were denied…After OUR security personnel were DRAWN DOWN and the February 17th Militia…an affiliate OF al Qaeda also known as Libya’s Ansar al Sharia were HIRED by Hillary’s State Department for “security” in Benghazi…

And considering the transfer of C-110 command DURING the attack…the fact that the new commander OF C-110 was NEVER made aware of the existence of the CIA annex and the fact that C-110 had, after the attack began…BEEN ORDERED BACK TO GERMANY while the JOINT CHIEFS were giving FALSE INTEL TO THOSE UNDER ATTACK IN BENGHAZI…

Is it possible that this was all a part of the plan orchestrated by Obama and Hillary???

By connecting the dots are we getting a clearer picture of an INSIDE JOB???

Let’s put it this way…

The FACT that any and all obstacles to a successful attack by al Qaeda against our Consulate and Ambassador Chris Stevens in Benghazi had been removed and, the FACT that al Qaeda WAS keenly aware of the existence of the CIA annex in Benghazi while the General to whom command of the very Special Forces unit, C-110, trained for just such a mission, was NEVER INFORMED of it…

Speaks volumes.

Also see: State Department’s own guards attacked U.S. Benghazi mission by Aaron Klein at WND

Foreign Jihadists in Syria: Tracking Recruitment Networks

Syrian rebels2
BY AARON Y. ZELIN

Thu, December 26, 2013

Monitoring jihadist social-media networks reveals where fighters are coming from, where in Syria they are fighting, and how best to stem their continued recruitment in countries such as Saudi Arabia, Libya, and Tunisia.

The clandestine nature of the various networks responsible for sending Sunni fighters into Syria makes it difficult to ascertain exactly how many foreigners have entered the war and from which countries. Yet social-media sources affiliated with jihadists often post death notices for slain fighters, providing a unique, though incomplete, picture of where they are being recruited and where in Syria they fought. Tracking and analyzing these notices can help broaden Washington’s understanding of foreign recruitment networks, the largest of which appear to operate in Saudi Arabia, Libya, and Tunisia.

HOW MANY HAVE BEEN KILLED?

Since the Syrian uprising turned into an armed rebellion, jihadists have announced the deaths of more than 1,100 fighters on their Twitter and Facebook accounts and, to a lesser extent, on password-protected forums. Although other foreigners have been killed in Syria, their deaths were reported by non-jihadist rebels, Western media, or Arabic media and are not included in this assessment. The figures below also exclude foreigners who have fought on the Assad regime’s side.

To be sure, the information gleaned from jihadist sources is self-reported, and some data might therefore be suppressed for political reasons, especially reports of Iraqi involvement. That said, it still offers a worthwhile snapshot of an otherwise murky world.

The most striking revelation in the latest data is the huge rise in overall death notices. Previously, jihadist sources had posted only 85 such notices as of February 2013, and only 280 as of June. In other words, the vast majority of the more than 1,100 notices have come in the past half year.

WHERE ARE THEY COMING FROM?

Arabs dominate the list of foreign jihadists who have died in Syria, and nine of the top ten countries represented are from the Arab world.

Death notices have mentioned fifty different nationalities in all, including twenty in Europe or elsewhere in the West. Yet Westerners make up only a miniscule amount of the total.

One of the most important trends in the past half-year is the rise in both the total number of Saudi foreign fighters and the number of Saudis killed (which far outpaces all other national groups). Only some 20 percent of the 1,100 death notices state group affiliation, so this data provides only a small window into which groups foreigners are joining. Of these, however, the vast majority name Jabhat al-Nusra and the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham — the two militant opposition groups designated as terrorist organizations by the United States. Other fighters were also reported to be members of Jaish al-Muhajireen wal-Ansar, Harakat Ahrar al-Sham al-Islamiyya, Katibat Suqur al-Izz, Liwa al-Umma, and Harakat Sham al-Islam, among others.

More than 60 percent of the notices offered more specific information about the fighter’s town or province of origin, providing insight into certain foreign networks. For instance, fifteen fighters were described as hailing from the Saudi province of al-Qassim, and it is possible that they came from the provincial capital of Buraydah, as the notices for twenty-two other fighters indicated. The largest network in this data set is from Riyadh, however, raising questions about whether the Saudi government is being duplicitous and/or looking the other way regarding significant jihadist activity in its capital.

Read more at Clarion Project

Aaron Y. Zelin is the Richard Borow Fellow at The Washington Institute.

U.S. to Train Libyan Military, Including Islamists

Ansar al Shariah supporters protest the United States' capture of Abu Anas al-Libi / AP

Ansar al Shariah supporters protest the United States’ capture of Abu Anas al-Libi / AP

BY: 

Simi Valley, Calif. — The U.S. military is preparing to conduct military and special operations training for Libya’s military and the training will risk including Islamist terrorists among the trainees, according to the commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command.

Adm. William McRaven, the commander who helped lead the covert raid to kill al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, said in a brief interview Saturday that the counterterrorism training operation has not begun. “We’re in the early stages,” he told the Free Beacon.

McRaven said a major gun battle erupted in Tripoli last week among opposing militias, a sign of instability in the North African country. The training is needed to stabilize Libya, an oil-rich country beset by mounting terrorism and Islamist militias.

During a panel discussion on the war on terrorism at the Reagan National Defense Forum, McRaven disclosed that the Libyan military training would include both conventional forces training and special operations training and that there will be risks.

“We are going to have to assume some risks,” McRaven said. “Right now we have the authorities to do that training, and I think as a country we have to say there is probably some risk that some of the people we will be training with do not have the most clean records, but at the end of the day it is the best solution we can find to train them to deal with their own problems.”

McRaven disclosed the plans for Libyan training when asked about problems encountered in training foreign special operations forces.

McRaven said the training would include a “very, very thorough review” of the Libyans who will take part.

Read more at Free Beacon

 

Obama Inc. Wants Libyans to Come to US, Work in “Aviation Maintenance” and “Nuclear Fields”

Libyan_Gernade-450x240By Daniel Greenfield at Front Page

I can’t think of a single possible thing that could go wrong with this plan. I only wish there was some way to get the Saudis, Iranians and Pakistanis involved to really improve our national security.

Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee have obtained an internal Department of Homeland Security draft final regulation that would lift a 20 year ban on Libyans coming to the US to work in sensitive fields.

The document — highlighted Thursday by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte of Virginia and Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz — shows that DHS is working to amend its regulations to eliminate the restrictions on Libyan nationals and foreign nationals acting on behalf of Libyan entities from coming to the United States to work in aviation maintenance, flight operations, or to study nuclear-related fields.

“It is shocking that the Obama Administration is turning a blind eye to real terrorist threats that exist in Libya today,” Goodlatte said in a statement. “Just over a year ago, four Americans were killed in the pre-planned terrorist attacks on the American Consulate in Benghazi.”

Libya is basically run by terrorists after we helped the terrorists overthrow their government. The country is in the middle on an ongoing civil war fought by militias. Central authority is a myth.

So this is the perfect time to find us some Libyans to study nuclear fields and work in aviation maintenance. It couldn’t be more perfect.

 

We’re here to kill Americans

2036408811 (1)CSP, By Frank Gaffney:

On October 27th, CBS News’ “60 Minutes” led its program with a fresh look at what happened in the run-up to and during the nighttime attack on two U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya.  The leitmotif of the report was a statement made by the jihadists as they beat hapless unarmed Libyans who were, somehow, supposed to have protected the interior of the so-called “Special Mission Compound”:  “We’re here to kill Americans.”

And kill they did.  Four Americans were murdered, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, who had warned superiors repeatedly about the inadequate security of the installation in which he died, by some accounts after being tortured and raped.  More of our countrymen would likely have met a similar fate but for the unauthorized intervention and heroics of two former Navy SEALS, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, who subsequently were killed in action.

Amb. Stevens was not the only one who had warned about the dangerous vulnerability of an American outpost in a city increasingly manifesting the presence of al Qaeda elements – including by the flying of the terrorist group’s black flag on government buildings.  In fact, similar warnings were also sounded by several others interviewed for the 60 Minutes segment, notably: a British security contractor tasked in the five months leading up the September 11th with managing the impotent Libyan “security force” inside the wire; Amb. Stevens Number 2 in Tripoli, Deputy Chief of Mission Greg Hicks; and Lieutenant Colonel Andy Wood, a Green Beret who was charged at the time with protecting U.S. personnel in Libya.

As Col. Wood put it: “We had one option: Leave Benghazi or you will be killed.”  He told 60 Minutes that he had recommended to the embassy’s senior staff known as the “country team” in Tripoli that they “change the security profile [in Benghazi]…Shut down operations. Move out temporarily. Or change locations within the city.  Do something to break up the profile because you are being targeted.”  The reason: “You are gonna be attacked in Benghazi.”

Mr. Hicks added that a “particularly frightening piece of information” compounded his concerns about security when the embassy learned, as 60 Minutes put it, that “senior al Qaeda leader Abu Anas al-Libi was in Libya, tasked by the head of al Qaeda to establish a clandestine terrorist network inside the country.”

The 60 Minutes report adds texture to the astounding malfeasance of the Obama administration as it ignored these warnings in the months leading up to the attack and set up Americans for murder at the hands of jihadists.  But it failed to even ask, let alone answer, several of the most pregnant outstanding questions.  These include:

  • Why were the Special Mission Compound and CIA annex in Benghazi in the first place, let alone in such an insecure status?  Was it to facilitate the collection and onward shipment to Syrian “rebels” – known to include al Qaeda and elements loyal to it – of arms recovered after Muammar Qaddafi’s weapons caches were “liberated” by jihadist “rebels” in Libya?
  • Why was Amb. Stevens in that exposed facility in a city awash with al Qaeda on a particularly dangerous day for Americans?  Why especially since al Qaeda’s leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, had called on his followers the day before to retaliate for a U.S.- engineered assassination of a top member of the group, Libyan jihadist Abu Yahya al-Libi?
  • If, as has been widely reported, Amb. Stevens was in Benghazi because a gun-running operation from there to Syria had been compromised and he needed to do damage-control, why would al Qaeda have attacked the facilities from which it was being armed?  The Iranians would have had a motive, but not al Qaeda.  Was the attack initiated by Tehran and the Sunni jihadists went along with it just so they could “kill Americans”?
  • Who was responsible for the false narrative that the Benghazi “consulate” (actually the Special Mission Compound) was sacked and set afire by a mob angry about an internet video?  Could it have been the same person(s) who prevented security from being upgraded in the interest of showing the success of Team Obama’s toppling of Qaddafi and perhaps the one(s) who thought it a good idea to help arm “the opposition” – including al Qaeda-linked militias – first in Libya, then in Syria?
  • Where were Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton during this seven-hour battle in Benghazi?

These are the sorts of questions that will, at this point, probably only be answered by a select House committee – something sought by Rep. Frank Wolf (Republican of Virginia) and 176 other members of the House of Representatives.  It is scandalous that they have not been satisfactorily addressed before now by the five standing committees that have, to date, been conducting desultory and inconclusive inquiries.  Since the jihadists are “here to kill Americans,” we are on notice that persisting in such willful blindness and a lack of accountability is an invitation to disaster.

Worse yet, as Representatives Bill Goodlatte and Jason Chaffetz (Republicans of Virginia and Utah, respectively) have learned, the Department of Homeland Security is preparing to “lift the longstanding prohibition on Libyans to come to the U.S. to work in aviation maintenance, flight operations, or to seek study or training in nuclear science.”  Why on earth would they do that? Evidently, to show that U.S.-Libyan ties have been “normalized.” Sound familiar?

If we don’t want jihadists literally here to kill us, we better stop them elsewhere.  And getting to the bottom of Benghazigate is a necessary step towards doing that.

WHITE HOUSE: U.S. RELATIONS WITH LIBYA HAVE ‘NORMALIZED’

benghazi-attack-afpBreitbart, by KERRY PICKET:

Department of Homeland Security internal documents obtained by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) and Congressman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) draft final regulation arranged by the Obama Administration that would lift the established ban on Libyans coming to the U.S. to work in aviation maintenance, flight operations, or to receive training and education in nuclear science. According to a House Judiciary Committee press release, “this draft final regulation could go into place without prior notice and comment.”

The original prohibition was put in place by the Reagan administration following a slew of terrorist attacks involving Libyans. Despite the attacks on the U.S. consulate and CIA annex in Benghazi, Libya, the Obama administration defends lifting the ban by claiming the United States’ relationship with Libya has been “normalized.”

“It is shocking that the Obama Administration is turning a blind eye to real terrorist threats that exist in Libya today. Just over a year ago, four Americans were killed in the pre-planned terrorist attacks on the American Consulate in Benghazi,” said Chairman Goodlatte in a statement.

“We still haven’t gotten to the bottom of the Benghazi terrorist attacks and continue to face additional terrorist threats from Libya, yet the Obama Administration is preparing to lift a longstanding ban that protects Americans and our interests. The Obama Administration should focus its attention on getting answers to the lingering questions surrounding the Benghazi terrorist attacks and ensure that Americans are kept safe and sound,” Goodlatte said.

Terror-related threats towards Americans continue to happen in Libya one year after the attack in Benghazi. One terrorist incident that happened in the 1990′s is being handled by a U.S. court this week. Libyan Abu Anas al-Liby appeared in federal court in New York on Wednesday and is accused of having links to al-Qaeda and of connection to the bombings of two US embassies in 1998. He pleaded not guilty to the charges.

“In the weeks and months leading up to the attacks in Benghazi, the Obama Administration ignored looming terrorist threats,” said Rep. Chaffetz in a statement. He added, “It is unbelievable that this Administration would again put Americans in harm’s way by lifting a decades old security ban on a country that has become a hotbed of terrorist activity. We must work with the Libyans to build mutual trust that ensures safety and prosperity for both countries to enjoy.”

Why Now? U.S. Nabs Top Al-Qaeda Suspect Known for Years

USS San AntonioBY CLARE LOPEZ:

This past weekend, U.S. Delta forces converged on a man parking his car in broad daylight in the middle of Tripoli, Libya and nabbed a senior al-Qaeda operative who went by the nom du guerre Abu Anas al-Libi. Al-Libi was wanted by the United States for his role in the 1998 East Africa Embassy bombings.

He is alleged to have conducted pre-attack casing and surveillance of the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi, Kenya prior to the August 7, 1998 suicide truck bombing there that killed more than 200 people and injured another 5,000. It is likely that al-Libi will be brought to New York City, where he is under indictment, to stand trial.

Al-Libi’s involvement with Osama bin Laden and al-Qa’eda (AQ) goes back much further than 1998, however, and his command position within the al-Qaeda-linked Libyan Islamic Fighting Group probably brought him into contact with former U.S. Liaison to the Libyan Opposition Christopher Stevens during the 2011 Libyan revolution.

Why al-Libi hadn’t been put away much earlier by either the U.S. or our British allies takes this story deep into international intrigue and a long history of Western intelligence associations with known al-Qa’eda jihadis.

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

The August 2012 Library of Congress study, “Al-Qaeda in Libya: A Profile,” suggests that al-Libi’s role in Libya was coordination between Ayman al-Zawahiri and AQ Central and the Libyan militias.

By the time that U.S. career diplomat Christopher Stevens was named official U.S. Liaison to the Libyan rebels in mid-March 2011, AQ-LIFG fighters like al-Libi, Ben Qumu and Belhadj were leading the revolution against Qaddafi. Stevens’ job was to coordinate U.S. diplomatic, intelligence, logistical, military and weapons support to al-Qaeda jihadis such as these. The pending NYC Federal District Court indictment against al-Libi for the 1998 Nairobi Embassy bombing would just have to wait.

And wait it did … until a random day in early October 2013, when the U.S. government suddenly decided that it needed, urgently, to snatch an unsuspecting al-Libi off the street in Tripoli, where he had been living since the end of the Libyan revolution with his wife and four children.

Soon, Secretary of State Kerry was crowing about how terrorists “can run but they can’t hide” – but the thing was, al-Libi hadn’t been running or hiding for a long time. The U.S. knew perfectly well where he was for at least the prior two years — and didn’t seem to care.

Just to recap: ​

  • Al-Libi lived openly in the UK from 1995-2000, with the permission of the British government and no extradition request from the U.S., which knew he was there.
  • Al-Libi may have been in CIA custody from 2002 until an unknown date.
  • Al-Libi returned to live in Tripoli, Libya in December 2010, with his home address published by the UN Al Qaeda Sanctions Committee.
  • Al-Libi was likely a close working partner of Christopher Stevens, the U.S. Liaison to the Libyan al-Qaeda rebels in 2011.
  • Al-Libi continued to live at the published address of his Tripoli home from 2011-2013.

 

Al-Libi’s seizure now makes as little sense as did the apparent U.S. and UK indifference to his outstanding Nairobi indictment and his jihadist credentials for all the years that preceded it. (Despite the close relationship among former LIFG jihadis like al-Libi and Abu Sufian ben Qumu, until now, there has been no indication that al-Libi was involved in 9/11 attack on the U.S. Mission in Benghazi that killed Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans.)

Still, al-Libi undoubtedly would be able to answer a lot of questions about events leading up to that assault, as well as questions about those individuals and militias involved in its planning and execution. Reportedly, an FBI interrogation team is headed out to the USS San Antonio in the Mediterranean Sea (where al-Libi is being held) and plans to ask al-Libi about AQ operations in Libya.

Funny: If that’s what they’re after, seems they could have just read the cables Chris Stevens had been sending back for the last several years. “Die Hard in Derna” from June 2008 would have been a good one to start with.

Read more at The Clarion Project

U.S. Forces Capture Key Al-Qaeda Mastermind in Libya

Clarion Project National Security Analyst Ryan Mauro talks about the significance of this and other simultaneous operations on Fox News.

Ryan M.

Libya al Qaeda Leader CapturedU.S. Special Forces captured a key terrorist and Al Qaeda mastermind in the Libyan capital of Tripoli Nazih Abdul-Hamed al-Ruqai (who was also known by the name of Abu Anas al-Libi).

Al-Ruqai, who had a $5 million bounty on his head, had been on the FBI’s list of most wanted terrorists since the list was established after the 9/11 terror attack in 2001. He was wanted in connection with the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and Nairobi, Kenya, which killed more than 220 people.

Al-Libi, was seized on the streets of the Libyan capital on Saturday.

At the same time, a U.S. Navy SEAL force swam ashore in Somalia in a surprise pre-dawn attack aimed at capturing an Al-Shabaab leader specifically linked to the Westgate Mall attack in Nairobi, Kenya. Al Shabaab is an Islamic terrorist group affiliated with Al Qaeda who have been terrorizing East Africa with horrific attacks on schools, churches and, most recently, the Westgate Mall attack in Nairobi, Kenya.

After the SEAL force came under heavy attack, the mission was aborted with no casualities.

As the Clarion Project’s National Security Analyst Ryan Mauro explains on Fox News, the significance of the fact that the U.S. had “actionable intelligence” on the whereabouts of these terrorist leaders.

In addition, Mauro discusses the growing threat of Al Qaeda in Africa as well as the very real capabilities of Al-Shabaab to carry out similar attacks on American soil. The organization has developed a sophisticated recruitment of fighters, both from the Somali community in the United States as well as from hundreds of those who have been illegally entering the U.S. from Mexico.

And Jennifer Griffin reporting:

Theft of US weapons in Libya involved hundreds of guns, sources say

download (16)By Adam Housley:

EXCLUSIVE: The recent theft of massive amounts of highly sensitive U.S. military equipment from Libya is far worse than previously thought, Fox News has learned, with raiders swiping hundreds of weapons that are now in the hands of militia groups aligned with terror organizations and the Muslim Brotherhood.

The equipment, as Fox News previously reported, was used for training in Libya by U.S. Special Forces. The training team, which was funded by the Pentagon, has since been pulled, partly in response to the overnight raids last August.

According to State Department and military sources, dozens of highly armored vehicles called GMV’s, provided by the United States, are now missing. The vehicles feature GPS navigation as well as various sets of weapon mounts and can be outfitted with smoke-grenade launchers. U.S. Special Forces undergo significant training to operate these vehicles. Fox News is told the vehicles provided to the Libyans are now gone.

091113_hn_housley2_640Along with the GMV’s, hundreds of weapons are now missing, including roughly 100 Glock pistols and more than 100 M4 rifles. More disturbing, according to the sources, is that it seems almost every set of night-vision goggles has also been taken. This is advanced technology that gives very few war fighters an advantage on the battlefield.

“It’s not just equipment … it’s the capability. You are giving these very dangerous groups the capability that only a few nations are capable of,” one source said. “Already assassinations are picking up in Tripoli and there are major worries that the militias are using this stolen equipment to their advantage. All these militias are tied into terrorist organizations and are tied to (salafists).”

The “salafists” are a jihadist movement among Salafi Muslims. This growing movement in Libya directly endangers the U.S.-supported government, and sources worry that this sensitive equipment is now going to be used by these groups in an attempt to overthrow the government and install a more hardline Muslim leadership.

Some diplomats, who asked to remain anonymous, say they are seeing the kinds of conditions that opened the door to the Sept. 11 Benghazi attack now appearing in Tripoli and across the rest of Libya.  They worry that American convoys and western convoys will be attacked using these stolen weapons and vehicles.

Read more at Fox News

 

One Year Later: Why We Were in Benghazi

benghazi_dead_afpby JOHN SEXTON:

It has been nearly a year since the attack which killed four Americans in Benghazi. During that time various minute-by-minute accounts of the attack have been published. In addition, the administration’s decisions to refuse additional security requests and to revise its talking points after the attack have been examined in detail.

But Benghazi may be a case where most observers have missed the forest for the trees. This is not an attempt to add new information so much as it is to collate the information that already exists from the most reputable journalistic sources.

To begin with, Benghazi was a CIA operation involving weapons, one which had no cover beyond a small mission that provided a diplomatic fig leaf for the effort. Officially the CIA was there to track and collect dangerous weapons left over from the war that ousted Qaddafi. But the evidence suggests the CIA was also either tacitly or actively involved in a multi-national effort to ship those weapons to Syrian rebels. Our covert effort in Benghazi, Libya was connected to our escalating involvement in Syria.

The general outlines of this CIA effort have been reported. One fact which has not been highlighted is that the UN arms embargo of Libya, which the United States helped pass in 2011, makes shipping weapons in or out of the country a violation of international law. Indeed, the way the UN resolution is written even knowingly allowing such shipments to take place may be a violation of the agreement.

Arming Syrian Rebels

In 2012 the Obama administration publicly claimed it was working on diplomatic and humanitarian responses to the situation in Syria. But behind the scenes the United States was aware that a network of arms shipments was being created to support the rebels. This network involved shipping weapons from Qatar and later Libya to Turkey where they could be taken across the border and distributed to militias in Syria.

In June of 2012 the NY Times reported that a contingent of CIA agents were “operating secretly” in Turkey to help vet which groups would receive these weapons. But later reporting by the Times would indicate the CIA was doing more than vetting.

From offices at secret locations, American intelligence officers have helped the Arab governments shop for weapons, including a large procurement from Croatia, and have vetted rebel commanders and groups to determine who should receive the weapons as they arrive, according to American officials speaking on the condition of anonymity.

So the CIA was acting as a kind of personal shopping assistant. But according to an unnamed former official the network itself was the result of prodding by CIA director David Petraeus who encouraged various nations to work together toward the goal of arming the Syrian rebels. The flow of arms increased substantially throughout 2012 and really took off in the fall. But all of the shipments were still being transported and paid for by other nations.

That changed in June of this year the Obama administration convinced members of the intelligence committee to allow the CIA to begin contributing weapons directly to the existing arms pipeline. The decision was reported in the Guardian with Rep. Mike Rogers expressing doubt whether Obama’s policy would work. Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff was also concerned saying “It’s too late to affect the outcome with a small amount of arms.”

The WSJ reported at the time “The Central Intelligence Agency has begun moving weapons to Jordan from a network of secret warehouses and plans to start arming small groups of vetted Syrian rebels within a month, expanding U.S. support of moderate forces battling President Bashar al-Assad, according to diplomats and U.S. officials briefed on the plans.”

To sum up, the CIA encouraged the creation of a multi-national arms pipeline, helped shop for weapons to fill it, vetted the groups who would receive those weapons in Syria and, since June of 2013, contributed U.S. weapons to the mix. With that backdrop in place we can now return our attention to Libya.

There is much more at Breitbart