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).

Named: Al-Qaida men who killed ambassador

by Jerome R. Corsi:

WND is in receipt of a 270-page intelligence report in Arabic originating from Libya that names specific al-Qaida operatives in Libya as being responsible for the murder of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

The report originated from Muftah Faraj, a member of the Warfalla tribe of Bani Walid in Libya, who is currently in exile from Libya, subsequent to a Skype teleconference Faraj conducted with WND from the Middle East.

The intelligence report blames President Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and NATO for engaging in a war against Libyan dictator Muammar Gadhafi that ended up destabilizing Libya to the advantage of radical Muslim elements including al-Qaida.

After Arab researcher Walid Shoebat translated and analyzed the intelligence report for WND, the document held such specific intelligence about the circumstances and people involved in the attack on Stevens that WND decided to share the intelligence report with the CIA.

To the surprise of WND, the CIA replied the agency had independently obtained the document and the information contained was known to the Obama administration, even though the Obama administration has not chosen to share with the American public the key findings contained in the report.

“The point everyone misses is that Gadhafi was not a radical Islamist,” Muftah told WND.  “Gadhafi kept al-Qaida out of Libya. If it had not been for NATO, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, al-Qaida would not be in Libya and Chris Stevens would still be alive.”

The document names Mohammad Abdullah Aqil, a wealthy and corrupt individual who owns and operates a Mercedes car dealership in Tripoli, as the principal funder of al-Qaida in Libya.

Read more at WND

And Walid Shoebat has more here: Investigating the Assassination of Ambassador Stevens

 

 

Anti-Islam film prompts Saudi call for net censorship body

The US consulate in Benghazi in flames after the attack that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens Photo: REUTERS/Esam Al-Fetori

The Telegraph: By Christopher Williams

Saudi Arabia has called for a new international body to censor the internet, in
the wake of the anti-Islam YouTube clip that recently sparked violence in the
Middle East.

In a submission to forthcoming international talks on internet governance, the Gulf state said “there is a crying need for international collaboration to address ‘freedom of expression’ which clearly disregards public order”.

During the controversy over a 14-minute clip posted on YouTube and purportedly a trailer for a feature film called “The Innocence of Muslims”, Google resisted pressure, including from the White House, to remove it.

“This video – which is widely available on the web – is clearly within our guidelines and so will stay on YouTube,” Google said last month.

The Saudi government has now told the World Telecommunications Policy Forum, a UN body, that the incident was “an obvious example” of the need for greater international cooperation to restrict content online.

“Any reasonable person would know that this film would foment violence and, indeed, many innocent persons have died and been injured with this film as a root cause,” the Saudi submission said.

The amateurish clip, produced on tiny budget by Nakoula Nakoula, a 55-year-old Egyptian Coptic Christian resident in the United States, depicts the Prophet Mohammad as a fool and sexual deviant.

In the uproar surrounding it, there were violent protests in across the Middle East and North Africa, coinciding with an attack by extremists on the American Embassy in Benghazi. The Ambassador, Christopher Stevens, and three other officials were killed.

Following the attack Google did restrict access to “The Innocence of Muslims” clip in Egypt and Libya on account of “the very difficult situation”, but maintained its refusal to delete it. The governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan meanwhile ordered internet providers to completely cut off access to YouTube.

The Saudi government called for greater international cooperation to censor such material at the source, comparing it to outlawed content such as images of child abuse and malicious software.

“This behaviour, along with other malicious and criminal activities such as child pornography, identity theft, spam, denial of service attacks, and malware aimed at destroying or crippling businesses, inter alia, must be addressed by states in a collaborative and cooperative environment and strongly underscores the need for enhanced cooperation,” it said.

The submission highlights increasing interest in internet governance discussions from nations that do not share Western liberal values, as access to and the influence of the web grows.

Revealed: Extreme Negligence in Benghazi

By Ryan Mauro:

The House of Representatives began its hearings on Wednesday regarding the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attack against the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, which killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. The picture painted by sworn testimonies is one of extreme negligence and incompetence on the part of the Obama administration in protecting our fellow citizens in the field. The Obama administration is also under fire for its embarrassing insistence that the tragedy wasn’t a pre-planned terrorist attack until a mound of evidence forced it to reverse course, long after the truth became obvious.

The need for strong security at U.S. diplomatic facilities in Libya was more than apparent. The country was in a state of civil war a year ago, and violent incidents are common. The central government lacks authoritative control, and militias, including ones of jihadist orientation, are all over the war-torn country. Al-Qaeda-type terrorists are known to be organized in Libya. Ambassador Stevens himself feared that he was on an Al-Qaeda hit list. Special precautions on the anniversary of 9/11 should have been a common-sense measure.

The House heard the story of Eric Nordstrom, whose job it was to oversee security for American diplomats in Libya. In both March and July, Nordstrom urged the State Department to maintain security in Benghazi because current forces were “overwhelmed and could not guarantee our protection.” He didn’t hear back. Nordstrom says he was told by a senior State Department official that he shouldn’t request reinforcements again because “there would be too much political cost.”

Lt. Col. Andy Wood has a similar story. He led a 16-man Site Security Team in Tripoli from February 12 to August 14. He was told, “You’ve got to do with less.” He says that Stevens wanted his team to stay through August and the U.S. embassy was worried when they left.

Wood further testified that “diplomatic security remained weak” and “The RSO [regional security officer] struggled to obtain additional personnel there, but was never able to attain the numbers he felt comfortable with.” The State Department says the RSO never made a request for more forces and that Wood’s team was replaced with one of equal capability.

There was a steady stream of warnings about the situation on the ground. The consulate was actually attacked twice before with an explosive creating a hole in the gate “big enough for forty men to go through” on June 6. One memo documented 230 security incidents and said there was a “HIGH” risk of U.S. personnel coming under attack. On August 27, the State Department issued a travel advisory cautioning against trips to Libya. Stevens told a retired senior military official not to come.

On September 11, 2012, only five U.S. agents and four militiamen were protecting the consulate. The attackers broke through the perimeter in just 15 minutes. Back-up forces could not arrive in time to foil the attack and save Stevens and his colleagues.

The inability of the U.S. government to convey basic facts to the American public in the aftermath is also unsettling. It was originally claimed that there were protesters outside the consulate demonstrating against the anti-Mohammed film posted on YouTube. If that was the case, there should have been eyewitnesses, pictures, announcements promoting a rally and signs, and it probably wouldn’t have taken place at 9:40 PM. In addition, the initial reports indicated dozens of armed men carried out the attack—strongly indicating it wasn’t “spontaneous” as the administration claimed.

By September 15, the Libyan government was stating publicly that it was a pre-planned terrorist attack, almost certainly at the hands of Al-Qaeda. After all, Al-Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri released a tape shortly before the attack honoring his former second-in-command, a Libyan who was killed in a drone strike. On September 15, Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula said the attack was revenge for that same strike.

The Obama administration is in serious trouble if it is discovered that the militia hired to protect the consulate included conspirators in the attack. It is reported that an electronic intercept show the militia’s leader asked his men to stand down in advance of the attack. He is a member of the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood and one of his commanders is the brother of Brotherhood cleric Ali Al-Salabi. Who made the decision to hire an Islamist militia to guard an American facility?

Read more at Front Page

Obama to Release One Third of Gitmo Inmates

by  AWR Hawkins

President Barack Obama is about to release or transfer 55 Gitmo prisoners, despite reports that the Libyan believed to be behind the killing of US Ambassador Christopher Stevens was a former Guantanamo inmate transferred to Libyan custody.

The large percentage of those scheduled to be released are Yemeni, according to a list made public by the Obama administration.

Obama stopped the release or transfer of Yemeni inmates in 2010, because the conditions in the country were viewed as too “unsettled” at the time.

A release or transfer of 55 inmates means Obama is moving out one third of the prisoners at Guantanamo. And while it doesn’t represent a shutdown of the facility, it’s certainly indicative of a move toward that end.

Could it be that Obama is trying to set himself up to campaign as the man who is taking steps to finally close Gitmo, just as he recently reversed the Afghanistan surge in order to campaign as the man who’s winding down the war in the Afghanistan?

The ACLU has praised the releases as “a partial victory for transparency.”

Source: Breitbart