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.

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

benghazi4-e1351495805540By Sundance, June 25, 2014:

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read more at The Conservative Tree House

LYONS: Unanswered questions for Benghazi special committee to ask

5_122014_b4-lyons-stevens-tr8201_s640x594By James A. Lyons:

Recent exposure of the deliberate lies and the false talking points used by our then-U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice on the Sunday media disinformation campaign is only the tip of the Benghazi iceberg. While lying to the American public in itself is a serious offense, apparently much more serious offenses were committed by the Obama administration leading up to the fatal attack at our Benghazi special mission compound on Sept. 11. 2012.

Shocking new information was revealed by the Citizens Committee on Benghazi at a news conference on April 22. First, the Obama administration was accused of “switching sides” on our global war on terrorism by facilitating the arming of known al Qaeda jihadist militias. How could this happen when U.S. law is quite explicit about providing material support to terrorists? In short, it’s prohibited. However, on March 29, 2011, President Obama announced a “Presidential Finding” for covert operations support to Libyan rebels who were the al Qaeda-affiliated jihadist militias under the political control of the Muslim Brotherhood.

It should be remembered that this is the same Muslim Brotherhood that has infiltrated all our national security agencies and the White House.

The second extraordinary revelation was that on March 20, 2011, Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi was willing to discuss abdicating and going into exile. According to retired Rear Adm. Charles R. Kubic, Gen. Abdulgades Yusef Dibri, head of Gadhafi’s personal security, conveyed to him the Libyan leader’s willingness to consider direct talks with the United States under a “white flag of truce.” Gen. Kubic immediately telephoned the U.S. Africa Command with this sensitive information. It should be recalled that as late as March 18, this is what Mr. Obama was insisting Gadhafi do.

Gen. Carter Ham, commander of U.S. Africa Command, immediately responded with interest in setting up a direct military-to-military line of communication with Gen. Dibri. On March 21, Gen. Ahmed Mamud (a senior aide to Gadhafi) called U.S. Africa Command and stated the following:

The Libyans wished to declare a 72-hour truce for the purpose of conducting negotiations on the terms of a formal cease-fire. The talks could be held in Tripoli between the Libyan defense minister, Maj. Gen. Yunis Jahr, and Gen. Ham. If those conditions are acceptable, the Libyans will stop all combat operations immediately and withdraw all military forces to the outskirts of all cities and assume a defense posture. The Libyans recommended observers from the African Union be invited to ensure the truce is honored.

By March 22, Gadhafi verifiably had begun to pull his forces from the rebel-held cities of Benghazi and Misrata. He reportedly sought only two conditions: Permit him to go after the al Qaeda militias in the Maghreb and remove all sanctions against him, his family and those loyal to him.

Regretfully, Gen. Ham was not given authorization to proceed. It is understood that this decision was made well above the Pentagon level. It is interesting to note that the president, who had been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, was unwilling to pursue this legitimate peace opportunity. The subsequent war with the loss of tens of thousands of lives, plus the tragic attack on our Benghazi compound, could have all been avoided.

Read more at Washington Times

James A. Lyons, a retired U.S. Navy admiral, was commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and senior U.S. military representative to the United Nations.

 

More evidence of slain U.S. ambassador’s secret activities

christopher-stevens-340x161By AARON KLEIN:

JERUSALEM – A Libyan weapons dealer from a group hired to provide security to the U.S. mission in Benghazi told Reuters he has helped ship weapons from Benghazi to the rebels fighting in Syria.

The detailed account may provide more circumstantial evidence the U.S. Benghazi mission was secretly involved in procuring and shipping weapons to the Syrian opposition before the deadly attack last September that killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans.

According to informed Middle Eastern security officials speaking to WND on multiple occasions, the Benghazi mission was a planning headquarters for coordinating aid, including weapons distribution, to the jihadist-led rebels.

After the fall of Libyan dictator Muammar Gadhafi, the arming efforts shifted focus to aiding the insurgency targeting President Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria.

Two weeks after the Sept. 11, 2012, Benghazi attack, WND broke the story that murdered U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens himself played a central role in arming rebels and recruiting jihadists to fight Assad, according to Egyptian security officials.

In November 2012, Middle Eastern security sources further described both the U.S. mission and nearby CIA annex in Benghazi as the main intelligence and planning center for U.S. aid to the rebels, which was being coordinated with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Many rebel fighters are openly members of terrorist organizations, including al-Qaida.

The information may help determine what motivated the deadly attacks in Benghazi.

In an interview with Reuters published Tuesday, Libyan warlord Abdul Basit Haroun declared he is behind some of the biggest shipments of weapons from Libya to Syria. Most of the weapons were sent to Turkey, where they were then smuggled into neighboring Syria, he said.

Haroun explained he sent a massive weapons shipment from the port in Benghazi in August 2012, days before the attack on the U.S. compound. The weapons were smuggled into Syria aboard a Libyan ship that landed in Turkey purportedly to deliver humanitarian aid.

Ismail Salabi, a commander of the February 17 Brigade, told Reuters that Haroun was a member of the Brigade until he quit to form his own brigade.

The February 17 Brigade provided external security to the attacked Benghazi U.S. compound, including the villa where Stevens lived when he was in Benghazi. Stevens held his last meeting with a Turkish diplomat in the compound and ultimately died there in the attack.

The February 17 Brigade is part of the al-Qaida-linked Ansar Al-Sharia, a militia that advocates the strict implementation of Islamic law in Libya and elsewhere.

Ansar al-Sharia initially used Internet forums and social media to claim responsibility for the Benghazi attack. Later, a spokesman for the group denied it was behind the attack.

Witnesses told reporters they saw vehicles with the group’s logo at the scene of the Sept. 11 attack and that gunmen fighting at the compound had stated they were part of Ansar al-Sharia.

Some witnesses said they saw Ahmed Abu Khattala, a commander of Ansar al-Sharia, leading the attack. Contacted by news media, Khattala denied that he was at the scene.

Meanwhile, a Libyan official speaking to Reuters said he had allowed weapons to leave the port of Benghazi for Syria.

MANPADS

Haroun told Reuters he runs the weapons smuggling operation with an associate, who helps him coordinate about a dozen people in Libyan cities collecting weapons for Syria.

Last month, WND reported the U.S. Benghazi compound was involved in weapons collection efforts.

In a largely unnoticed speech to a think tank seven months before the Benghazi attack, a top State Department official described an unprecedented multi-million-dollar U.S. effort to secure anti-aircraft weapons in Libya after the fall of Gadhafi’s regime.

The official, Andrew J. Shapiro, assistant secretary of state for the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs, said U.S. experts were fully coordinating the collection efforts with the Libyan opposition.

He said the efforts were taking place in Benghazi, where a leading U.S. expert was deployed.

In January, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton confirmed the efforts when she told Congress the CIA was leading a “concerted effort to try to track down and find and recover … MANPADS” looted from Gadhafi’s stockpiles.

Haroun did not mention any U.S. involvement in his weapons dealings.

However, last March the New York Times reported the CIA had worked with rebel commanders to coordinate the shipment of arms to the Syrian rebels since early 2012.

Last year, Business Insider alleged a connection between Stevens and a reported September shipment of SA-7 MANPADS and rocket-propelled grenades from Benghazi to Syria through Turkey.

Syrian rebels then reportedly began shooting down Syrian military helicopters with SA-7s.

Stevens’ last meeting on the night of the Benghazi attack was with Turkish Consul General Ali Sait Akin.

One source told Fox News that Stevens was in Benghazi “to negotiate a weapons transfer in an effort to get SA-7 missiles out of the hands of Libya-based extremists.”

‘Largest weapons shipment’

Fox News may find another one of its exclusive reports vindicated.

In October 2012, Fox News reported the Libyan-flagged vessel Al Entisar, which means “The Victory,” was received in the Turkish port of Iskenderun, 35 miles from the Syrian border, just five days before Stevens was killed.

Read more at WND

Secure Freedom Radio: The Connection Between John Brennan and Benghazi 9/11/12 Revealed

705059705Secure Freedom Radio Podcasts:

With Jack Murphy, Michael Davidson, Barry Rubin, and Gordon Chang.

What ties does CIA Director nominee, John Brennan, have to what happened in Benghazi on September 11, 2012 that resulted in the death of an U.S. ambassador? JACK MURPHY, former US Army Ranger and author of Benghazi: The Definitive Report, answers this question, and reports on the situation in Benghazi since 9/11.

Continuing the Benghazi discussion, former CIA officer and author of newly released novel Incubus,MICHAEL DAVIDSON  explains what the CIA was doing at their annex in Benghazi on 9/11, and how Russia is arming Iran.

Director of the GLORIA Center, BARRY RUBIN reports on the Islamization of the Middle East as opposition parties in Egypt promise to boycott upcoming parliament elections, Turkey’s Prime Minister makes anti-Semitic comments, and the rebel groups in Syria are overwhelmed by extremists.

GORDON CHANG, from forbes.com, explains how the Chinese government has knowingly been distributing Chinese manpads to hostile state and non-state actors, how China perceives President Obama’s “open hand” policy as weakness, and reports on Japanese Prime Minister Abe’s recent visit to Washington.

To listen to the podcasts go to Center For Security Policy

1115253548

Secure Freedom Radio is pre-recorded and airs week days at 9 PM on 1260 AM WRC in Washington, DC. SFR is characterized by its high caliber guests in leading military and policy making positions.

Hillary Speaks

AP307742013715-540x414BY:

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, in congressional testimony delayed for several months amid charges of a cover-up, on Wednesday again took responsibility for the deaths of four Americans during the terror attack in Benghazi and defended the Obama administration’s shifting explanation for the Sept. 11, 2012, attack.

“As I have said many times since September 11, I take responsibility,” Clinton told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “Nobody is more committed to getting this right. I am determined to leave the State Department and our country safer, stronger, and more secure.”

On the shifting accounts by the administration about the attack, the secretary of state defended the response, claiming she had called it “an attack by heavily armed militants.”

However, the cause of the attack and the identity of the attackers and their motives was unclear, she said.

“The picture remains still somewhat complicated,” Clinton said, adding that key questions about the perpetrators “remain to be determined.”

Clinton initially said in public statements after the attack that the cause was a spontaneous demonstration against an anti-Muslim online video, a theme that critics have said fits the administration’s tendency to blame the United States, and not foreign Islamists, for sparking terrorism.

Four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens, were killed when several dozen armed attackers stormed and set on fire the diplomatic mission in Benghazi.

Although the attack was deliberate and coordinated, Clinton said it was not “indicative of extensive planning.”

A second attack took place at a CIA facility about a mile away. The CIA was reportedly involved in a covert arms program that may have involved shipping arms to Syrian Islamist rebels.

Read more at Free Beacon

Clinton acknowledges ‘spreading jihadist threat’

Hillary Rodham ClintonBY:

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sparred with lawmakers Wednesday over what they claimed was the Obama administration’s bungled response to the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya.

Clinton became visibly irritated several times as she rebutted claims by Republican senators that the Obama administration intentionally misled the American public about the specific events that led to the deaths of four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

Sen. John McCain (R., Ariz.) told Clinton that her response to lawmakers was not up to par.

“The answers your given this morning frankly are not satisfactory to me,” McCain said, chiding Clinton for failing to account for the administration’s lapses in knowledge.

“Were you and the president made aware of the classified cable from chris stevens that said that the united states consulate in Benghazi could not survive a sustained assault,” McCain asked. “Numerous warnings, including personally to me about the security were unanswered, or unaddressed.”

“What was the president’s activities during that seven-hour period?” McCain added, pressing for details. “On the anniversary of the worst attack in American history, September 11th we didn’t have Department of Defense forces available for seven hours.”

McCain went on to reprimand Clinton for arguing that it makes no difference whether the Benghazi compound was stormed by armed militants or attacked by protestors.

“I categorically reject your answer to Senator [Ron] Johnson about, well we didn’t ask these survivors who were flown to Ramstein [air base] the next day, that they—that this was not a spontaneous demonstration,” McCain said. “To say it’s because an investigation was going on? The American people deserve to know answers, and they certainly don’t deserve false answers.”

The American people were deceived, McCain maintained.

“Answers that were given to the American people on September 15th by the ambassador to the United Nations [Susan Rice] were false—in fact contradicted by the classified information which was kept out of the Secretary to the United Nations report who by the way in the president’s words had nothing to do with Benghazi, which questions why she was sent out to start with,” McCain said.

“Why do we care? Because if the classified information had been included it gives an entirely different version of events to the American people,” McCain continued. “If you want to go out and tell the American people what happened you should at least have interviewed the people who were there, instead of saying, ‘No we couldn’t talk to them because a FBI investigation was going on.’ ”

“The American people, and the families of these four brave Americans still have not got gotten the answers that they deserve,” McCain said. “I hope that they will get them.”

Clinton warned that America faces a “spreading jihadist threat” that is endangering U.S. assets across the globe.

Clinton became the latest in a series of high-ranking U.S. government officials to publicly recognize the immediate threat that terrorist forces pose to U.S. embassies and other American outposts in the Middle East and North Africa.

“We now face a spreading jihadist threat,” Clinton said. “We have driven a lot of the operatives out of Afghanistan, Pakistan, killed a lot of them, including [Osama] Bin Laden.”

“But this is a global movement,” Clinton said. “We can kill leaders, but until we help establish strong democratic institutions, until we do a better job with values and relationships, we will be faced with this level of instability.”

Read more at Free Beacon

And the biggest lie of 2012 is …

121225pinocchio-340x170by Aaron Klein

JERUSALEM – Information surrounding the Sept. 11 attacks against the U.S. mission in Benghazi has been so distorted by the Obama administration and so misreported by the news media that the issue was selected as WND’s “Biggest Lie of the Year.”

Immediately following the attacks, President Obama and other White House officials notoriously blamed supposed anti-American sentiment leading to the violent events on an obscure anti-Muhammad video on YouTube they claimed was responsible for supposedly popular civilian protests that they said took place outside the U.S. mission in Benghazi – protests, they claimed, that devolved into a jihadist onslaught.

However, vivid accounts provided by the State Department and intelligence officials later made clear no such popular demonstration took place. Instead, video footage from Benghazi reportedly shows an organized group of armed men attacking the compound, the officials said.

‘Consulate’?

Media coverage of the events has been so dismal that even the most basic understanding of what happened is being distorted. The vast majority of all news media coverage worldwide refer to the U.S. facility that was attacked as a “consulate,” even though the government itself has been careful to call it a “mission.”

WND has filed numerous reports quoting Middle East security sources describing the mission in Benghazi as serving as a meeting place to coordinate aid for the rebel-led insurgencies in the Middle East.

Among the tasks performed inside the building was collaborating with Arab countries on the recruitment of fighters – including jihadists – to target Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria, the officials said.

Whether the news media report on what was allegedly transpiring at the mission or not, their calling the building a “consulate” is misleading.

A consulate typically refers to the building that officially houses a consul, who is the official representatives of the government of one state in the territory of another. The U.S. consul in Libya, Jenny Cordell, works out of the embassy in Tripoli.

Consulates at times function as junior embassies, providing services related to visas, passports and citizen information.

On Aug. 26, about two weeks before his was killed, U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens attended a ceremony marking the opening of consular services at the Tripoli embassy.

The main role of a consulate is to foster trade with the host and care for its own citizens who are traveling or living in the host nation.

Diplomatic missions, on the other hand, maintain a more generalized role. A diplomatic mission is simply a group of people from one state or an international inter-governmental organization present in another state to represent matters of the sending state or organization in the receiving state.

However, according to a State Department report released last week, the U.S. facility in Benghazi did not fit the profile of a diplomatic mission, either.

According to the 39-page report released this week by independent investigators probing the attacks at the diplomatic facility, the U.S. mission in Benghazi was set up without the knowledge of the new Libyan government, as WND reported.

“Another key driver behind the weak security platform in Benghazi was the decision to treat Benghazi as a temporary, residential facility, not officially notified to the host government, even though it was also a full-time office facility,” the report states. “This resulted in the Special Mission compound being excepted from office facility standards and accountability under the Secure Embassy Construction and Counterterrorism Act of 1999 (SECCA) and the Overseas Security Policy Board (OSPB).”

The report, based on a probe led by former U.S. diplomat Thomas Pickering, calls the facility a “Special U.S. Mission.”

The report further refers to the attacked facility as a “U.S. Special Mission,” adding yet another qualifier to the title of the building.

Violated international law?

WND also exclusively reported the facility may have violated the terms of the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, which governs the establishment of overseas missions.

Like most nations, the U.S. is a signatory to the 1961 United Nations convention.

Article 2 of the convention makes clear the host government must be informed about the establishment of any permanent foreign mission on its soil: “The establishment of diplomatic relations between States, and of permanent diplomatic missions, takes place by mutual consent.”

According to the State report, there was a decision “to treat Benghazi as a temporary, residential facility,” likely disqualifying the building from permanent mission status if the mission was indeed temporary.

However, the same sentence in the report notes the host government was not notified about the Benghazi mission “even though it was also a full-time office facility.”

Article 12 of the Vienna Convention dictates, “The sending State may not, without the prior express consent of the receiving State, establish offices forming part of the mission in localities other than those in which the mission itself is established.”

If the Benghazi mission was a “full-time office facility,” it may violate Article 12 in that the mission most likely was considered an arm of the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, which served as the main U.S. mission to Libya.

Rice in hot water

Obama was not the only White House official to mislead on Benghazi.

As WND reported, in the immediate aftermath of the attacks, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice may have deliberately misled the public when she went on television news shows and called the facility that had been targeted a “consulate.”

Much of the media attention and political criticism has been focused on Rice’s other statements immediately after the Benghazi attacks, primarily her blaming an obscure YouTube film vilifying the Islamic figure Muhammad for what she claimed were popular protests outside the U.S. mission.

Video and intelligence evidence has demonstrated there were no popular protests outside the Benghazi facility that day and that the attack was carried out by jihadists.

However, in defending itself against recent claims that the White House scrubbed the CIA’s initial intelligence assessment on the Benghazi attacks of references to al-Qaida, Obama administration officials might have unintentionally implicated themselves in another, largely unnoticed scandal.

Deputy National Security Adviser Ben Rhodes contended the White House made only small, factual edits to the CIA’s intelligence assessment, referring to one edit in particular.

“We were provided with points by the intelligence community that represented their assessment,” Rhodes said aboard Air Force One en route to Asia. “The only edit made by the White House was the factual edit about how to refer to the facility.”

Rhodes said the White House and State Department changed a reference in the CIA report from “consulate” to “diplomatic facility.”

“Other than that, we were guided by the points that were provided by the intelligence community,” Rhodes said. “So I can’t speak to any other edits that may have been made.”

Further, Politico reported Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., the chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, was adamant that the White House only changed the reference to the Benghazi facility.

“There was only one thing that was changed … and that was, the word ‘consulate’ was changed to ‘mission,’” Feinstein said. “That’s the only change that anyone in the White House made, and I have checked this out.”

If the White House intentionally changed the reference to the Benghazi facility from a “consulate” to a “mission,” why did Rice repeatedly refer to the facility as a “consulate” when she engaged in a media blitz in the immediate aftermath of the Benghazi attack?

In a Sept. 16 interview on NBC’s “Meet The Press,” Rice twice labeled the facility a “consulate”:

In a subsequent interview on CBS’s “This Morning,” she again referred to the facility as a “consulate.”

CBS, Reuters implicated in misleading, hiding info

The news media, meanwhile, may have been complicit in covering up the Benghazi tale.

Two days before last month’s presidential election, CBS posted additional portions of a Sept. 12 “60 Minutes” interview where Obama made statements that contradicted his earlier claims on the attacks.

In the finally released portions of the interview, Obama would not say whether he thought the attack was terrorism. Yet he would later emphasize at a presidential debate that in the Rose Garden the same day, he had declared the attack an act of terror.

Reuters was also directly implicated by WND in possibly false reporting.

In the immediate aftermath of the attack, Reuters filed a report quoting a purported civilian protester by his first name who described a supposedly popular demonstration against an anti-Muhammad film outside the U.S. building – a popular protest that reportedly didn’t take place and thus could not have been related to the film.

Aid to al-Qaida, other jihadists?

WND has published a series of investigations showing the Benghazi mission was highly involved in the rebel-led Mideast revolutions to which Pickering is tied.

WND was first to report the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi served as a meeting place to coordinate aid for rebel-led insurgencies in the Middle East, according to Middle Eastern security officials.

In September, WND also broke the story that the slain ambassador, Christopher Stevens, played a central role in recruiting jihadists to fight Assad’s regime, according to Egyptian security officials.

Last month, Middle Eastern security sources further described both the U.S. mission and nearby CIA annex in Benghazi as the main intelligence and planning center for U.S. aid to the rebels that was being coordinated with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Many rebel fighters are openly members of terrorist organizations, including al-Qaida.

Most news media outlets covering the results of Pickering’s investigation did not note the possible non-diplomatic nature and status of the Benghazi mission.

Read more at WND

See all Counterjihad Report posts on Benghazi

 

 

Benghazi probe really a cover up? Blames State for security lapses but skips over role of U.S. mission

LibyaattackBy Aaron Klein

JERUSALEM – Did an independent panel that just blamed the State Department for major security lapses at the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi fail to investigate the main activities transpiring at the facility itself?

Those activities may be relevant in determining why the Benghazi facility was attacked on September 11th.

The panel’s lead investigator into the Benghazi attack, former Ambassador Thomas Pickering, has largely unreported ties to the revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa.

Those ties come primarily through his role as a member of the small board of the International Crisis Group, or ICG, one of the main proponents of the international “Responsibility to Protect” doctrine.

The doctrine is the very military protocol used to justify the NATO bombing campaign that brought down Moammar Ghadafi’s regime in Libya.

According to reports, Pickering’s investigation focused on security lapses regarding the protection of the Benghazi mission but not look into the role of the mission itself which could be critical in determining the reasons the facility came under fire.

KleinOnline has published a series of investigations showing the Benghazi mission was highly involved in the rebel-led Mideast revolutions to which Pickering is tied.

WND was first to report the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi actually served as a meeting place to coordinate aid for rebel-led insurgencies in the Middle East, according to Middle Eastern security officials.

In September, KleinOnline broke the story that assassinated Ambassador Christopher Stevens himself played a central role in recruiting jihadists to fight Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria, according to Egyptian security officials.

Last month, Middle Eastern security sources further described both the U.S. mission and nearby CIA annex in Benghazi as the main intelligence and planning center for U.S. aid to the rebels that was being coordinated with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Many rebel fighters are openly members of terrorist organizations, including al-Qaida.

Pickering’s panel released some of its finds to the media yesterday. The group reportedly concluded that systematic management and leadership failures at the State Department led to “grossly” inadequate security at the mission in Benghazi.

“Systematic failures and leadership and management deficiencies at senior levels within two bureaus of the State Department resulted in a Special Mission security posture that was inadequate for Benghazi and grossly inadequate to deal with the attack that took place,” the panel said.

The report pointed a finger at State’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security and the Bureau of Near East Affairs, charging a lack of coordination and confusion over protecting the Benghazi mission.

Still, the panel concluded that no officials ignored or violated their duties. It recommended no disciplinary action now but did suggest that poor performance by senior managers in the future should be grounds for disciplinary action.

Cover up?

Pickering’s report seems to make no mention of any of the activities that transpired at either the Benghazi mission or the CIA annex.

According to numerous Middle Eastern security officials speaking to KleinOnline, the U.S. diplomatic mission served as a meeting place to coordinate aid for the jihadists fighting insurgencies in the Middle East.

Among the tasks performed inside the building was collaborating with Arab countries on the recruitment of fighters – including jihadists – to target Assad’s regime in Syria.

The distinction may help explain why there was no major public security presence at what has been described as a “consulate.” Such a presence would draw attention to the shabby, nondescript building that was allegedly used for such sensitive purposes.

The security officials divulged the building was routinely used by Stevens and others to coordinate with the Turkish, Saudi and Qatari governments on supporting the insurgencies in the Middle East, most prominently the rebels opposing Assad’s regime in Syria.

The officials said that Stevens played a central role in recruiting jihadists to fight Assad’s regime in Syria, according to Egyptian security officials.

Stevens served as a key contact with the Saudis to coordinate the recruitment by Saudi Arabia of Islamic fighters from North Africa and Libya. The jihadists were sent to Syria via Turkey to attack Assad’s forces, said the security officials.

The officials said Stevens also worked with the Saudis to send names of potential jihadi recruits to U.S. security organizations for review. Names found to be directly involved in previous attacks against the U.S., including in Iraq and Afghanistan, were ultimately not recruited by the Saudis to fight in Syria, said the officials.

Questions remain about the nature of U.S. support for the revolutions in Egypt and Libya, including reports the U.S.-aided rebels that toppled Muammar Gadhafi’s regime in Libya consisted of al-Qaida and jihad groups. The U.S. provided direct assistance, including weapons and finances, to the Libyan rebels.

Similarly, the Obama administration is currently aiding the rebels fighting Assad’s regime in Syria amid widespread reports that al-Qaida jihadists are included in the ranks of the Free Syrian Army.

Read more on Pickering ties

Ansar al-Sharia’s Role in Benghazi Attacks Still a Mystery

The U.S. didn’t consider Ansar al-Sharia a threat—until they showed up in Benghazi on Sept. 11. Eli Lake on the truth behind Libya’s latest jihadists:

Mohammad Hannon / AP Photo

One of the main participants in the Sept. 11 anniversary assault on the U.S. diplomatic mission and Central Intelligence Agency annex in Benghazi is a group formed earlier this year called Ansar al-Sharia, according to the current U.S. intelligence assessment of the attack. Ansar al-Sharia, which translates as “supporters of Islamic law,” has many roles in Libya’s second city. It provides security for the city’s main hospital. It’s also a social-services organization and an ideological movement that seeks to bring its corner of eastern Libya under the rule of an Islamic government, according to the group’s own public information and published interviews with its leaders.

Before the attacks, the U.S. intelligence community didn’t consider Ansar al-Sharia a threat to American interests, and the group wasn’t a priority target for the CIA officers monitoring jihadists in Libya, according to U.S. intelligence officials with knowledge of the investigations into the Benghazi attacks.

Because Ansar al-Sharia wasn’t designated as a terrorist group or thought to have significant connections to al Qaeda, there were fewer resources deployed to monitor the organization’s members, these officials say. It also makes it tricky to go after the group’s leaders now. Under the war resolution Congress passed three days after the original Sept. 11 attacks, President Bush and President Obama have asserted the authority to kill or capture al Qaeda and associated groups all over the world. That resolution is the legal basis for the maintenance of kill lists maintained by the CIA and the military to send special operations teams or predator drones to Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia. Because Ansar al-Sharia was regarded by the intelligence community as separate and distinct from al Qaeda, the group managed to avoid being added to these target lists, according to U.S. counterterrorism officials.

Some analysts in the intelligence community disagreed with the official assessment, however. A public report released in August by the Library of Congress at the direction of a Pentagon organization that focuses on counter-terrorism research concluded that Ansar al-Sharia “increasingly embodied al Qaeda’s presence in Libya.” But this wasn’t the prevailing view.

“In general, Ansar al-Sharia was viewed as a local extremist group with an eye on gaining political ground in Libya,”  said one U.S. official who is familiar with the intelligence assessment. “Of course, there were concerns that Islamist militias such as Ansar could help more violent extremists gain a foothold.”

One U.S. intelligence contractor working on the investigation into the Benghazi attacks said, “We were not focused on these guys.” Militias like Ansar al-Sharia, this person said, might be analyzed and monitored, but they weren’t the focus of the analysts who were maintaining kill lists and monitoring the broader war against al Qaeda.

Read more at The Daily Beast

 

Was Benghazi Attack on U.S. Consulate an Inside Job?

By Jamie Dettmer:

One man gives his harrowing account of the attack on the U.S. Ambassador.

The sun had risen over a hazy Benghazi about an hour earlier, and as he grabbed the wheel of his militia’s beaten-up white Toyota pickup, 42-year-old Ibn Febrayir (not his real name) groused to himself that this was no way to treat an ambassador, especially U.S. envoy Christopher Stevens. He had heard war tales about the lanky, good-natured Californian. How he had ventured to the shifting front lines during the uprising against Muammar Gaddafi and during lulls shared the rebels’ impromptu meals, ready to swap jokes and flash a winning smile, even when regime forces were mounting a counter-offensive.

Gianluigi/ Guercia AFP-Getty Images

Febrayir was dog-tired. His wife had been calling him incessantly all night and he hadn’t answered. Earlier he’d led an unsuccessful relief effort on the U.S. consulate after Salafist militants had launched an assault on the mission on the night of Sept. 11—but with his detachment being fired on, and the roads around the consulate blocked, he hadn’t been able to reach it in time. Later he had met eight U.S. Marines at Benghazi’s airport and accompanied them with a ragtag force of about 30 fighters to the so-called annex, the CIA compound, where an assortment of Americans—diplomats, guards, and intelligence officers—were waiting impatiently to be evacuated. He had been shot at and, he suspected, betrayed. He was in no mood for any more surprises. He tugged at his closely cropped beard.

As he drove through the gates of the Benghazi Medical Center, he looked in his mirror to check on the two men in the back. He’d ordered them to sit on either side of the ambassador to keep the body on a plastic stretcher from sliding off the short flatbed. “This is no way to treat an ambassador,” he muttered again. And then he drove at high speed toward the airport through a Benghazi that was slowly waking from the nighttime mayhem.

The story of the night America lost its first ambassador since 1979 to violence is like a jigsaw puzzle—the pieces are fitting together slowly and the picture is emerging but is still not complete and might not be for months. In trying to figure out the puzzle, U.S. investigators are not being helped by the lack of reliable information coming from Tripoli. The inquiry that Libyan leaders promised the day after the attack has stalled. Who’s in charge? No one really knows. “That’s a million-dollar question,” admits an adviser to Deputy Prime Minister Mustafa Abushugar. Accompanied by aides, he turns and asks them who’s now formally heading the probe. Debate ensues and it is hazarded that the attorney general might be in charge.

An adviser to Mohamed al-Magarief, the president of the General National Congress, the country’s parliament, concedes nothing much is happening with the inquiry and acknowledges that American officials in Washington, D.C., are frustrated by the lack of progress. “In some ways and at some level, they are understanding, but it isn’t a good answer to give them. They can see our difficulties—we don’t have the organization or the authority to push the inquiry,” he says. “But they are under pressure themselves—especially with the election days away.”

The election tick-tock unnerves Libyan leaders. They worry that President Barack Obama may do something precipitous, especially if his poll numbers drop. They worry about a drone strike on targets in eastern Libya—that would be a gift to jihadists, they say. Do the Americans have targets? Magarief’s adviser thinks they may—though he doesn’t know whether they would include the masterminds behind the attack on Stevens. “They had surveillance drones monitoring that night. They will have identified some people and traced where they are now.” And, of course, the information on jihadists and militants in Libya being gathered by more than a dozen intelligence agents and contractors in the CIA compound before Sept. 11 is likely also to be useful in the hunt.

When one tries to piece together the story of what happened in Benghazi, discrepancies stand out. For one thing, the timing of events given by officials in Washington, Tripoli, and Benghazi don’t quite match. The State Department timeline is at variance with the recollection of Libyans manning the Benghazi combined operations room, a coordinating center between the various revolutionary militias “approved” by the government, located a 10-minute drive from the U.S. consulate. The Libyans have the attack starting between 8:30 and 9 p.m. The Americans place it at about 9:40 p.m. The Libyans have the American security guards fleeing the consulate with the body of Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith, one of the four Americans killed that night, in an armored SUV 45 minutes to an hour earlier than the Americans do, at around 10 p.m.

There are other inconsistencies, one especially bewildering. The State Department says a six-man Rapid Reaction Force was dispatched from the CIA compound, 1.2 miles away from the consulate, as the assault on the mission unfolded. Militia commanders in the Benghazi operations room that night—housed in the barracks of the Feb. 17 militia on the Tripoli Road, a former army installation that had a grim Gaddafi-era reputation—say they have no knowledge of such a force being present at the consulate.

Read more at the Daily Beast

Jamie Dettmer is an independent foreign correspondent who has been a staff journalist for The Times of London, The Sunday Telegraph, Scotland on Sunday, and the Irish Sunday Tribune.

RI.org Exclusive: Did Turkey Play a Role in Benghazi Attack?

Diplomats gather at a memorial service for slain Ambassador Chris Stevens (Photo: Reuters)

by: Clare Lopez:

If reporting from the Washington Times is accurate, it looks like the Turkish Consul General Ali Sait Akin was in on the plot to attack the U.S. mission in Benghazi. According to an October 27, 2012 report, Libyan witnesses from the Benghazi neighborhood where the U.S. compound was located told reporters from the Associated Press (AP) that “150 bearded gunmen, some wearing the Afghan-style tunics favored by Islamic militants began sealing off the streets” leading to the facility “around nightfall.”

The Department of State “Background Briefing on Libya,” provided by telephone to reporters on October 9, 2012 states that Ambassador Christopher Stevens held his last meeting of the day on September 11 with the Turkish diplomat from 7:30pm to 8:30pm and then escorted him out to the compound gate to bid farewell. At that point, the briefing states, “Everything is calm at 8:30 p.m. There’s nothing unusual.”

But the AP witnesses said that, “The neighbors all described the militants setting up checkpoints around the compound at about 8 p.m.” The checkpoints were described as being manned by bearded jihadis in pickup trucks mounted with heavy machine guns and bearing the logo of the Al-Qaeda terror franchise, Ansar al-Shariah.

That means that the Turkish Consul General would have had to pass out through the blockade as he departed the American compound and left the area. There is no record that he phoned a warning to his American colleague, the one he’d just had dinner with, Ambassador Stevens. Given the description of the blockade around the American compound and of the jihadis and their trucks that were manning it, it seems unlikely that the he somehow just failed to notice. “[N]o one could get out or in,” according to one neighbor interviewed by the AP.

Except for the Turkish Consul General, it would appear.

Stevens was a sitting duck, a target surrounded by the jihadist attackers who shortly would take his life and that of his Public Affairs Officer, Sean Smith.

The U.S. Consultate burns in Beghazi during the attack (Photo: Reuters)

Similarly, this raises the question of the gate guards from the “February 17 Martyrs Brigade,” the jihadi militia subcontracted by the British firm Blue Mountain, which was the prime contractor for the U.S. Benghazi compound security contract.

What did they know and when did they know it?  Even if the Americans, inside the buildings behind the compound walls and getting ready to retire for the night, were not aware of what was happening in the streets around them, the Libyans of the Martyrs Brigade surely must have been. Yet they provided no warning to the Ambassador and his people either, because again, according to the State Department briefing, the American security officers inside were taken by surprise when the first gunshots and explosions rang out around 9:40 pm.

The State Department must have known much of this when it provided the briefing. So must have the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of Defense, the National Security Council and the White House. More than likely, the State Department knew in advance of the Ambassador’s meeting schedule for that day, including his plans for a final dinner meeting with Akin.

To date, however, none of them has mentioned the curious circumstance that Ali Sait Akin knew the American Ambassador and his staff at the Benghazi compound were being set up for slaughter and did nothing to warn them.

The topic of discussion between the Ambassador and his dinner guest has not been revealed, but it would seem to be of even more significance now that it has become obvious the Turkish diplomat and by extension, his government, were at least to some degree complicit in the attack against Ambassador Stevens and the others.

Published at Radical Islam

Clare Lopez is a senior fellow at RadicalIslam.org and a strategic policy and intelligence expert with a focus on the Middle East, national defense and counterterrorism. Lopez served for 25 years as an operations officer with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

 

 

The Jihad and Christopher Stephens (Part I)

By Diana West:

In analyzing the Benghazi scandal, it is crucial to highlight not only the dangers of relying on jihadist armed gangs for  American security in Benghazi, but also the betrayal of American principle undertaken by the  Obama administration in setting such a policy in place. The fact is, relying on  “local militias” was not some stop-gap practice; it was official US policy. This begins to tell us why “Benghazi-gate” is so much more than  an inquiry into a calamitous security break-down, and the ghastly chain of lies  the administration told thereafter.

On March 28, 2012,  Regional Security Officer Eric Nordstrom sent a  cable from Libya requesting more  security. His request was denied. This  cable, however, is evidence of more than State’s negligence in failing to  address a dangerous security situation that would be exploited by al Qaeda  affiliates on September 11, 2012. In the cable, Nordstrom makes note of the fact  that “rebuilding and expanding post’s PSA Local Guard Force” was one of his  “core objectives.” Further: “As recommended by the Department, post is  developing plans to transition our security staffing … to [a model] that  incorporates more locally-based and non-emergency assets.”

Naturally. these “plans” weren’t working. Hence, Nordstrom’s request for more  American security. And hence the denial from State for reasons, Nordstrom  recently told Congress, that came down to the fact “there was going to be too  much political cost.” But what politics drove such a recommendation? Here is  where the entire Libyan debacle, the debacle of “Arab Spring” — Arab Jihad —  comes into play. It is time to reckon with the fact that despite the grand talk  of democracy and human rights, President Obama ordered Uncle Sam to join that  jihad in 2011, precipitously pulling support from a long-standing ally in Egypt  and a post-9/11 ally in Libya to empower the vanguards of   liberty-supressing Islam, extending the reach and dominion of a hostile,  totalitarian system.

Obama was hardly alone, drawing support from left-wing Democrats, the UN  crowd, media, the GOP establishment, George W. Bush, “neocons,” all of whom  boosted this same “Arab Spring,” often for different reasons. One of the great  champions of what we should start thinking of as the jihad outreach such a  policy necessarily entails was the late Ambassador Christopher Stevens, and long  before he arrived in Benghazi during “Arab Spring.”

Thanks to Wikileaks, we have a series of US Libyan embassy cables, starting  in December 2007, which document what became rather an abiding interest in two  repatriated ex-Guatanamo detainees, Ben Qumu Abu Sufian Ahmed Hamouda and  Muhammad Abdallah Mansur al-Rimi — ben Qumu in particular.

For the next six months or so, cables, some by Stevens, some by other  personnel, track embassy access to these detainees, their condition, and their  welfare in their Libyan detention. One cable (not by Stevens) details an extended family  visit to Qumu. His relatives, the cable reports, “were able to bring some food,  clothes, personal hygiene items and reading materials to him. Tarnish [a  security officer] described [Qumu’s] physical condition and spirits as `very  good’ and indicated  that security officials at the facility … had  allowed the family to stay with him for a few extra hours in light of the  impending New Year’s holiday.”

Why the solicitude for a high-ranking al Qaeda member with connections to a  terror financier? Ben Qumu, a native of Derna in eastern Libya, rose in the al  Qaeda ranks after training at an al-Qaeda camp in Afghanistan in the 1990s,  reportedly serving under bin Laden in Sudan after which he fought with the  Talban. He was captured in 2002 along the Af-Pak border and sent to Gitmo before  being repatriated to Libyan custody in 2007.  He would be released in a  Libyan government reconciliation program in 2010.

Read more: Family Security Matters

Diana West is a journalist and columnist whose writing appears in several  high  profile outlets. She also has a website:  DianaWest.net.

 

Arms Flow to Syria May Be Behind Benghazi Cover-Up

by: Clare Lopez

The day after the big Obama-Romney debate, as media and politicians were engaging in the usual after-action assessment frenzy, some of the most important issues surrounding the September 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, remain unaddressed.

While it clearly matters (a lot) if and when the President told the truth to the American public about the terrorist nature of that attack and why the Department of State refused repeated pleas from its own diplomats in Libya for more and better security, the deeper, unaddressed issue is about the relationship of the U.S. government, Ambassador Christopher Stevens and the U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya with Al Qaeda.

During the 2011 Libyan revolt against Muammar Qaddafi, reckless U.S. policy flung American forces and money into the conflict on the side of the rebels, who were known at the time to include Al Qaeda elements. Previously the number two official at the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, Christopher Stevens was named as the official U.S. liaison to the Libyan opposition in March, 2011.

Stevens was tasked with helping to coordinate U.S. assistance to the rebels, whose top military commander, Abdelhakim Belhadj, was the leader of the Al Qaeda affiliate, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG). That means that Stevens was authorized by the U.S. Department of State and the Obama administration to aid and abet individuals and groups that were, at a minimum, allied ideologically with Al Qaeda, the jihadist terrorist organization that attacked the homeland on the first 9/11, the one that’s not supposed to exist anymore after the killing of its leader, Osama bin Laden, on May 2, 2012.

Although Belhadj reportedly now has moved on to Syria to help lead the fight against the Assad regime being waged by the Syrian Free Army (SFA), other Libyan fighters, who were formerly members of his LIFG and other Al Qaeda affiliates formed a new terror militia in Libya (and elsewhere) called Ansar al-Shariah (Supporters of Sharia/Islamic Law).

According to an August, 2012 report from the Library of Congress and the Kronos organization, “Al-Qaeda in Libya: A Profile,” Ansar al-Shariah is an Al Qaeda franchise operation, established in Libya with the assistance of senior Al Qaeda operatives dispatched from Pakistan specifically to supervise the set up of a new clandestine Al Qaeda network in Libya that would refrain from using the Al Qaeda name.

The Derna, Libya Ansar al-Shariah cell is led by a former GITMO detainee named Sufian Ben Qhumu. The September 11, 2012 attack on the Benghazi consulate compound that killed Ambassador Stevens, his staffer Sean Smith and the two Navy SEALs was directed and led by Ansar al-Shariah.

One of the key unanswered, even unasked, questions about the U.S. and Ambassador Stevens relationship with Abdelhakim Belhadj concerns not so much the 2011 period of the Libyan revolt, but rather what followed. Was Ambassador Stevens still in touch with Belhadj and/or other Al Qaeda-linked figures even after Belhadj traveled to Istanbul, Turkey, in November, 2011 to make contact with the Syrian Free Army?

According to August, 2012 reports leaked to the media, sometime earlier in 2012, President Obama signed an intelligence finding to permit the CIA and other US government agencies to provide support to the Syrian rebels, whose ranks are reported to be dominated by Al Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood and other jihadist fighters who already are supported by Turkey, Saudi Arabia and other jihadist regimes. Was Belhadj a conduit for U.S. support, perhaps via Turkey?

It might be recalled that, according to the Department of State’s transcript of a October 9, 2012 telephone conference call held to brief reporters on what happened in Benghazi, the final meeting that Ambassador Stevens held the night of September 11, 2012 before the attack began was with a Turkish diplomat.

Was that the meeting that was so important that the ambassador felt compelled to slip into Al Qaeda-held Benghazi on the anniversary of the original 9/11 attacks, knowing that Al Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri had called for revenge for the killing of his Libyan deputy, Abu Yahya al-Libi, concerned that he might have been on an Al Qaeda hit list and fully aware that he was terribly exposed with completely inadequate security? Was Ambassador Stevens directing a weapons pipeline from Libya to the Syrian rebels with Turkish assistance?

Read more at Radical Islam

Clare Lopez is a senior fellow at RadicalIslam.org and a strategic policy and intelligence expert with a focus on the Middle East, national defense and counterterrorism. Lopez began her career as an operations officer with the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).