by JOHN SEXTON:
It has been nearly a year since the attack which killed four Americans in Benghazi. During that time various minute-by-minute accounts of the attack have been published. In addition, the administration’s decisions to refuse additional security requests and to revise its talking points after the attack have been examined in detail.
But Benghazi may be a case where most observers have missed the forest for the trees. This is not an attempt to add new information so much as it is to collate the information that already exists from the most reputable journalistic sources.
To begin with, Benghazi was a CIA operation involving weapons, one which had no cover beyond a small mission that provided a diplomatic fig leaf for the effort. Officially the CIA was there to track and collect dangerous weapons left over from the war that ousted Qaddafi. But the evidence suggests the CIA was also either tacitly or actively involved in a multi-national effort to ship those weapons to Syrian rebels. Our covert effort in Benghazi, Libya was connected to our escalating involvement in Syria.
The general outlines of this CIA effort have been reported. One fact which has not been highlighted is that the UN arms embargo of Libya, which the United States helped pass in 2011, makes shipping weapons in or out of the country a violation of international law. Indeed, the way the UN resolution is written even knowingly allowing such shipments to take place may be a violation of the agreement.
Arming Syrian Rebels
In 2012 the Obama administration publicly claimed it was working on diplomatic and humanitarian responses to the situation in Syria. But behind the scenes the United States was aware that a network of arms shipments was being created to support the rebels. This network involved shipping weapons from Qatar and later Libya to Turkey where they could be taken across the border and distributed to militias in Syria.
In June of 2012 the NY Times reported that a contingent of CIA agents were “operating secretly” in Turkey to help vet which groups would receive these weapons. But later reporting by the Times would indicate the CIA was doing more than vetting.
From offices at secret locations, American intelligence officers have helped the Arab governments shop for weapons, including a large procurement from Croatia, and have vetted rebel commanders and groups to determine who should receive the weapons as they arrive, according to American officials speaking on the condition of anonymity.
So the CIA was acting as a kind of personal shopping assistant. But according to an unnamed former official the network itself was the result of prodding by CIA director David Petraeus who encouraged various nations to work together toward the goal of arming the Syrian rebels. The flow of arms increased substantially throughout 2012 and really took off in the fall. But all of the shipments were still being transported and paid for by other nations.
That changed in June of this year the Obama administration convinced members of the intelligence committee to allow the CIA to begin contributing weapons directly to the existing arms pipeline. The decision was reported in the Guardian with Rep. Mike Rogers expressing doubt whether Obama’s policy would work. Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff was also concerned saying “It’s too late to affect the outcome with a small amount of arms.”
The WSJ reported at the time “The Central Intelligence Agency has begun moving weapons to Jordan from a network of secret warehouses and plans to start arming small groups of vetted Syrian rebels within a month, expanding U.S. support of moderate forces battling President Bashar al-Assad, according to diplomats and U.S. officials briefed on the plans.”
To sum up, the CIA encouraged the creation of a multi-national arms pipeline, helped shop for weapons to fill it, vetted the groups who would receive those weapons in Syria and, since June of 2013, contributed U.S. weapons to the mix. With that backdrop in place we can now return our attention to Libya.
There is much more at Breitbart
- #BenghaziWatch Frank Wolf Asks if Benghazi Site Was Stockpiling Syrian Weapons (counterjihadreport.com)
- One Year Later, We Still Haven’t Solved The Mystery At The Heart Of The Benghazi Attack (businessinsider.com)
Benghazi: The Set-Up and the Cover-Up (counterjihadreport.com)