#BenghaziWatch Frank Wolf Asks if Benghazi Site Was Stockpiling Syrian Weapons

Frank Wolf, Chaka FattahBY: :

A top congressional appropriator suggested on Monday evening that the State Department and CIA might have been stockpiling weapons for Syrian opposition fighters when they came under attack by jihadists in Benghazi, Libya.

“I firmly believe that whatever the State Department and CIA were doing in Benghazi had a direct connection to U.S. policy in Syria—a policy that to date has not been fully revealed to the American people or Congress,” Rep. Frank Wolf (R., Va.) said on Monday evening during a discussion focusing on “unanswered questions” surrounding the Sept. 11, 2012, attack that killed four Americans.

“Were these rebels being armed with weapons collected in Benghazi?” Wolf asked, according to a copy of his prepared remarks. “Again, there is reason to believe this may be the case and a clear explanation is warranted.”

The issue has a direct bearing on Congress’ debate about military intervention in Syria, where President Bashar al-Assad stands accused of using chemical weapons.

“Given the pending request for authorization to use military force in Syria, it is more important than ever that the Congress understand U.S. support and assistance to Syrian rebels and whether groups responsible for the American deaths in Benghazi may have been at the same time benefitting from U.S. assistance in Syria,” Wolf said.

Congress cannot “make an informed decision” about Syria before the circumstances surrounding the Benghazi attack are “more fully understood,” said Wolf, who sent apair of letters to President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday to reveal whether weapons in Benghazi could have reached Syrian rebels and “jihadist fighters.”

“The two [issues] are intimately related and may [have] a direct bearing on U.S. national security,” Wolf said.

Congress could get more answers by holding a public hearing with former CIA Director David Petraeus and current Director John Brennan, Wolf said.

A public hearing would help “determine what was going on at the CIA annex in Benghazi and what role it played in the collection and disbursement of weapons collected in Libya, specifically with the focus of trying to understand how the annex may have supported CIA efforts to arm and train Syrian rebels,” Wolf explained.

“Is it possible that the president’s intelligence finding included an authorization for the weapons collected in Libya to be transferred to Syrian rebels?” Wolf asked at the event, which was hosted by the advocacy group Judicial Watch.

“Was the CIA annex in Benghazi being used to facilitate these transfers?” Wolf asked. “I believe there is now enough evidence suggesting this that it demands a clear explanation.”

Read more at Free Beacon

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

Questions Surround U.S. Gunrunning To Syrian Rebels

rebels_mortar_reutersBy Kerry Picket:

The CIA is gearing up to send weapons to rebel groups in Syria through Turkey and Jordan, the Washington Post reported on Friday. This is an expanded program over the effort during the past year to maintain supply routes into the war torn country for nonlethal material, U.S. officials told the Post.

But U.S. officials involved in the planning of the new policy of increased military support announced by the Obama administration Thursday said that the CIA has developed a clearer understanding of the composition of rebel forces, which have begun to coalesce in recent months. Within the past year, the CIA also created a new office at its headquarters in Langley to oversee its expanding operational role in Syria.

“We have relationships today in Syria that we didn’t have six months ago,” Benjamin J. Rhodes, Obama’s deputy national security adviser, said during a White House briefing Friday. The United States is capable of delivering material “not only into the country,” Rhodes said, but “into the right hands.”

The confidence conveyed by Rhodes’s statement is in contrast to the concerns expressed by U.S. intelligence officials last year that the CIA and other U.S. spy agencies were still struggling to gain a firm understanding of opposition elements — a factor cited at the time as a reason the Obama administration was unwilling to consider providing arms.

Although the Obama administration policy is touted as new, in January, Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) asked then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during her testimony on Capitol on the terrorist attack on the consulate in Benghazi if the CIA was involved in a gun-running operation through Turkey.

“Is the U.S. involved in any procuring of weapons, transfer of weapons, buying, selling, transferring weapons to Turkey?” he asked.

Senator Clinton responded, “To Turkey? I will have to take that question for the record. Nobody has ever raised that with me.”

“It’s been in news reports that ships have been leaving from Libya and that they may have weapons and what I’d like to know is the annex that was close by, were they involved with procuring, buying, selling, obtaining weapons and were any of these weapons being transferred to other countries, any countries, Turkey included?” the Kentucky Republican asked Clinton.

“Well, Senator, you’ll have to direct that question to the agency that ran the annex and I will see what information is available,” Clinton said.

“You’re saying you don’t know,” Paul clarified.

“I do not know. I don’t have any information on that,” Clinton answered.

Additionally, questions regarding Congress’ knowledge of any U.S. gunrunning going to the Syrian rebels prior the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi remain. Only members of the House and Senate’s “Super 8” (consisting of both parties’ leaders in both chambers, along with House and Senate Select Intelligence committee chairs and ranking members) would be required to be briefed on such an operation. Any information they receive from these briefings are classified.

On January 24, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) told talk radio host Laura Ingraham in response to Paul’s remarks on gunrunning, “I’m somewhat familiar with the chatter about this and the fact that these arms were moving towards Turkey, but most what I know about this came from a classified source and I really can’t elaborate on it.”

Read more at Breitbart

Why Did Al-Qaeda Target Ambassador Stevens?

By Stephen Bryen and Shoshana Bryen

Most of the questions related to the Benghazi debacle are about the mechanics, both offensive and defensive. What did the White House know and when? What assets were available to the military? Did someone order a stand down, and if so, who? Why was “the video” blamed long after the administration knew the truth — and didn’t the administration know the truth from the beginning? If it didn’t, why didn’t it?

All reasonable questions, but a generally unasked one deserves attention: “Why did al-Qaeda want to kill Ambassador Chris Stevens?”

The ambassador had good relations with some of the most extreme Libyan militias, including those with al-Qaeda ties. Did he upset them with something he did, or didn’t do? Was the White House fully apprised of his connections and dealings with the militias? Was he killed because of something the administration told him to start doing or to stop doing?

There are things we know and things upon which we must speculate, including the entry of surface-to-air missiles to the Levant.

———————————–

Emerging from the chaos is a dim understanding that the U.S. was operating a clandestine arms operation from the CIA post that was loosely — and incorrectly — described as a “consulate.” Before and during the revolution, Ambassador Stevens had helped arm the anti-Gaddafi militias, including the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIF), whose leader Abdulhakim Belhadj later became the head of the Tripoli Military Council.

The LIF’s Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi told an Italian newspaper [1] in 2011 (later reported in the BritishTelegraph [2]) that he had fought the “foreign invasion” in Afghanistan. Captured in Pakistan, al-Hasidi was handed over to the U.S. and returned to Libya, where he was released from prison in 2008. Speaking of the Libyan revolution, he said:

Members of al-Qaeda [3] are also good Muslims and are fighting against the invader.

Belhadj met with Free Syrian Army representatives [2] in October 2011 to offer Libyan support for ousting Assad. Throughout 2011 and 2012, ships traversed the Mediterranean from Benghazi to Syria and Lebanon [4] with arms for the Syrian rebels. Turkish and Jordanian intelligence services were doing most of the “vetting” of rebel groups; in July 2010, the Washington Post reported that the CIA had no operatives on the ground [5] and only a few at border posts even as weapons were entering Syria. Said a U.S. official, addressing the question of even non-lethal aid:

We’ve got to figure out who is over there first, and we don’t really know that.

In August, a report [6] by Tony Cartalucci, a supporter of the Syrian nationalist opposition, detailed the extent of Libyan and al-Qaeda involvement in Syria, calling it a “foreign invasion.” In November, the Washington Post noted a $20 million contribution by the Libyan government to the Syrian National Council [7] — of which the Muslim Brotherhood is a member.

Ambassador Stevens would have known all of that; he was the go-to man. He didn’t seem to have a problem with it, so why did they want to kill him?

In 2011, it was reported that the Libyan rebels had acquired surface-to-air [2] missiles from Gaddafi’s arsenal, and smuggled them into their own. They were not used in the revolution because the skies were filled with allies of the militias, but American sources [8] worried that as many as 15,000 MANPADs (man-portable air defense systems — or mobile surface-to-air missiles) might have “gone missing.” Assistant Secretary of State Andrew Shapiro told USA Today [9]:

The frank answer is we don’t know (how many are missing) and probably never will.

He added that the Obama administration took “immediate steps” to secure the weapons, launching an effort to recover them even before collapse of the regime. Which is interesting, because the U.S. claimed to have no “boots on the ground.”

So who was looking for them? And if they found them, what did they do with them?

Some, at least, appear to have emerged in Syria — in August there was a report of a Syrian government plane downed by the rebels. [10] In October, the Russians claimed the rebels had U.S.-origin Stinger missiles. [11] (Stingers are designed to hit helicopters and low-flying planes — they wreaked havoc with Russian aircraft during the war in Afghanistan.) The BBC [11] reported that the Syrians had old Soviet SA-7 missiles that can destroy an airplane flying at higher altitudes.

Whether Russian or American, the introduction of MANPADS into the region would be cause for alarm. The Levant is not isolated to Afghanistan, and the multinational nature of the Syrian rebels puts a number of countries and their interests in harm’s way. A stray shot — or a deliberate diversion — could be used against Israeli commercial or military aviation. Or American aviation. Turkey would have to worry that the Kurdish part of the anti-Assad revolution might divert its energies to assist in the Kurdish guerrilla movement against Turkey; Turkey’s war against the PKK is largely conducted with helicopters. Jordan would have to worry that the Muslim Brotherhood part of the Syrian rebellion could divert its energies to assist the MB in Jordan against U.S. ally King Abdullah II. Russia would worry that missiles could be diverted to the anti-Russian Sunni jihadists of the Caucasus or Central Asia.

In October, the IDF confirmed [12] that a surface-to-air missile, said to be an SA-7, was fired at a helicopter from Gaza. Iran had not provided such weapons to Hezbollah in Lebanon, perhaps understanding that such an escalation would produce Israeli retaliation. The fact that Israel struck the Sudanese Yarmouk rocket/missile factory [13] at the end of October may have been a reminder of the consequences of escalation.

So far, only the last bit is speculation.

But what if Turkish, Jordanian, Russian, or Israeli concerns about the appearance of MANPADS close to their borders made the administration decide that it had to exercise more control over weapons shipments to the Syrian rebels? What if the State Department told Ambassador Stevens to clamp down on the shipments or to stop them all together? If Stevens had told his militia allies that he was cutting back or cutting off the CIA-organized shipments to Syria, could they have been angry enough to kill him?

Read more at PJMedia

Chief Intelligence Correspondent, Herridge, Gives NEW INFO on BenghaziGate

Chief Intelligence Correspondent, Catherine Herridge: “There’s no way the administration can deny that they did not know what was happening in Benghazi, in real-time”.

Herridge:”Senator McCain told me, that he is incredibly disappointed with the CIA Director (David Petraeus)…. someone who for many years, has been untouchable, because of his military accomplishment, and there has not been a good explanation. I believe, that much of this will come back to WEAPONS… and the movement of WEAPONS out of Libya, to Turkey, and then into Syria…”.

If there wasn’t a leftist liberal leading the Senate, Barack Hussein Obama would probably be impeached for smuggling guns to Syria. This cover-up gets bigger everyday.

 

See also The Counter Jihad Report’s You Tube Channel Benghazi Playlist

Media Blackout: Aside from FOX, Sunday News Hosts Fail to Raise Benghazi (breitbart.com)

via LittlebytesNews: Benghazigate call to action –> Patriots, WE NEED A FULL COURT PRESS ALL THIS WEEK!

 

Contact the media and demand coverage of the Benghazi scandal and thank Fox News for their excellent reporting:

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BENGHAZI—WAS THIS A UNITED STATES GUNRUNNING OPERATION TO AL QAIDA JIHADIS?

The Patriot’s Trumpet:

Former 20 year CIA veteran, Clare Lopez: “Jordan is targeted! Saudi Arabia is targeted!”

Questions:

  • Could the Obama Administration’s Fast and Furious gunrunning operation to the Mexican drug cartels be simply a dress rehearsal for a much larger gunrunning operation to al Qaida-linked and other Jihadist groups in Libya and, more ominously, Syria?
  • Is the Obama Administration running guns into other Jihadist hot spots?
  • Does the United States of America have troops in Jordan?
  • Was Ambassador Stevens our operational officer in a gunrunning operation to al Qaida linked groups that had “gone wrong?”
  • Did the Obama Administration set Stevens up and leave him (with former Navy Seals, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods and computer expert, Sean Smith) to die?
  • Did President, Secretary Clinton, General Petraeus and others have fore-knowledge?
  • Others?
  • Who else knows now?
  • Does Governor Romney know now?

These and other questions and more were raised yesterday in a conversation between Glen Beck and former CIA agent Clair Lopez.

Beck: “Why is the media not asking these questions?” And, “What happens if we let the President off and nobody pursues this?”

Lopez: “Then we have failed in our duty—as citizens, as journalists. This has to be brought up this has to be made known to the public that this is going on and that our Administration not only was working with the bad guys—was working with al Qaida linked militias and Jihadis to overthrow Assad in Syria. But that they let out mission go down, they let our Ambassador and others die—in real time, watching it happen and they didn’t do anything about it.”

.  . . . Beck, “While this was going down—the President went to bed!”

The 13 minute interview is in two segments on You Tube. It is so full of explosive information, I strongly urge you to watch it all at least twice. Here is part I followed part II:

 

And Frank Gaffney speaks:  Obama’s Middle East Fast & Furious? 

The Real Reason Behind Benghazigate?

Center for Security Policy

By Frank Gaffney, Jr.

President Obama’s once-seemingly-unstoppable march towards reelection hit what he might call “bumps in the road” in Benghazi, Libya late on September 11, 2012.  It might be more accurate to describe the effect of the well-planned and -executed, military-style attack on a diplomatic facility there as the political equivalent of a devastating improvised explosive device on the myth of the unassailability of the Obama record as Commander-in-Chief.

Thanks to intrepid investigative reporting – notably by Bret Baier and Catherine Herridge at Fox News, Aaron Klein at WND.com and Claire Lopez at RadicalIslam.org – and information developed by congressional investigators, the mystery is beginning to unravel with regard to what happened that night and the reason for the subsequent, clumsy official cover-up now known as “Benghazigate.”

The evidence suggests that the Obama administration has not simply been engaging, legitimating, enriching and emboldening Islamists who have now taken over or are ascendant in much of the Middle East. Starting in March 2011, when American diplomat Christopher Stevens was designated the liaison to the “opposition” in Libya, the Obama administration has been arming them, including jihadists like Abdelhakim Belhadj, the leader of the al Qaeda franchise known as the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group.

Once Qaddafi was overthrown, Chris Stevens was appointed as the ambassador to the new Libya run by Belhadj and his friends.  Not surprisingly, one of the most important priorities for someone in that position would be to try to find and secure the immense amounts of armaments that had been cached by the dictator around the country and systematically looted during and after the revolution.

One of the places in Libya most awash with such weapons in the most dangerous of hands is Benghazi.  It now appears that Amb. Stevens was there – on a particularly risky day, with no security to speak of and despite now-copiously-documented concerns about his own safety and that of his subordinates – for another priority mission: sending arms recovered from the former regime’s stocks to the “opposition” in Syria.  As in Libya, the insurgents are known to include al Qaeda and other shariah-supremacist groups, including none other than Abdelhakim Belhadj.

Fox News has chronicled (http://video.foxnews.com/v/1913235018001/) how the Al Entisar, a Libyan-flagged vessel carrying 400 tons of cargo, docked on September 6th in the Turkish port of Iskenderun.  It reportedly supplied both humanitarian assistance and arms – including deadly SA-7 man-portable surface-to-air missiles – apparently destined for Islamists, again including al Qaeda elements, in Syria.

What cries out for further investigation – and debate in the remaining days of this presidential election – is whether this shipment was part of a larger covert Obama effort to transfer weapons to our enemies that could make the Iran-Contra scandal, to say nothing of Operation Fast and Furious, pale by comparison?

Investigative journalist Aaron Klein has reported (http://www.wnd.com/2012/10/this-is-what-benghazi-consulate-really-was/) that the “consulate in Benghazi” actually was no such thing.  He observes that, while administration officials have done nothing to correct that oft-repeated characterization of the facility where the murderous attack on Amb. Stevens and his colleagues was launched, instead they call it a “mission.”  And what Klein describes as a “shabby, nondescript building” which lacked any “major public security presence” was, according to an unnamed Middle Eastern security official, “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.”

We know that Stevens’ last official act was to hold such a meeting with an unidentified “Turkish diplomat.”  Presumably, the conversation involved additional arms shipments to al Qaeda and its allies in Syria.  But it may also have involved getting more jihadi fighters there.  After all, Klein reported last month (http://www.wnd.com/2012/09/sources-slain-u-s-ambassador-recruited-jihadists/) that, according to sources in Egyptian security, our ambassador was playing a “central role in recruiting jihadists to fight Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria.”

It gets worse.  Last week, Center for Security Policy Senior Fellow and former career CIA officer Clare Lopez observed (http://www.radicalislam.org/analysis/arms-flow-syria-may-be-behind-beghazi-cover) that there were two large warehouse-type buildings associated with the so-called “consulate” whose purpose has yet to be disclosed.  As their contents were raided in the course of the attack, we may never know for sure whether they housed – and were known by the local jihadis to house – arms, perhaps administered by the two former SEALS killed along with Amb. Stevens.

What we do know is that the New York Times – one of the most slavishly pro-Obama publications in the country – reported on October 14, 2012 article that, “Most of the arms shipped at the behest of Saudi Arabia and Qatar to supply Syrian rebel groups fighting the government of Bashar al-Assad are going to hard-line Islamic jihadists, and not the more secular opposition groups that the West wants to bolster.”

In short, it seems President Obama has been engaged in gun-walking on a massive scale.  The effect has been to equip America’s enemies to wage jihad not only against regimes it once claimed were our friends, but inevitably against us and our allies, as well.  That would explain his administration’s desperate, and now-failing, bid to mislead the voters through the serial deflections of Benghazigate.