The Administration announced after the Benghazi attack that a protest by Muslims had turned violent.
The Administration also stated that there was nothing which could have been done to save the people killed within the consulate.
But the number 2 American official in Libya – Deputy Chief of Mission in Libya Gregory Hicks, who became the Chief of Mission after Ambassador Christopher Stevens was killed – says everyone who worked at the Benghazi consulate thought it was a terrorist attack from the get-go:
Congressman Daryl Issa notes that the U.S. ignored requests for more security, and theorized that the motive was to underplay the danger from terrorism:
Throughout the night, sources say Americans on the ground in Libya at times felt helpless and abandoned.
“We relied on Washington for dispassionate assessment,” one eyewitness told CBS News. “Instead, they [Washington officials] were asking us what help we needed. We answered: ‘Send reinforcements!’ ”
But they were told immediate help wasn’t available.
Embassy personnel say they repeatedly asked the Defense Attache on site in Tripoli for military assistance.
“Isn’t there anything available?” one Embassy official says he asked. “But the answer was ‘no.’”
“What about Aviano?” the official pressed, referencing the NATO air base with US assets in northeastern Italy. “No,” was the answer.
Two of the four Americans killed that night died hours after the first attack began…
Counterterrorism sources and internal emails reviewed by CBS News express frustration that key responders were ready to deploy, but were not called upon to help in the attack. National Security Council Spokesman Tommy Vietor told CBS News the CSG was not needed.
But most devastating of all is Hicks’ testimony that the U.S. prevented rescuers from reaching Benghazi. As CBS News reports:
The deputy of slain U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens has told congressional investigators that a team of Special Forces prepared to fly from Tripoli to Benghazi during the Sept. 11, 2012 attacks was forbidden from doing so by U.S. Special Operations Command Africa.
Hicks told investigators that SOCAFRICA commander Lt. Col. Gibson and his team were on their way to board a C-130 from Tripoli for Benghazi prior to an attack on a second U.S. compound “when [Col. Gibson] got a phone call from SOCAFRICA which said, ‘you can’t go now, you don’t have the authority to go now.’ And so they missed the flight … They were told not to board the flight, so they missed it.”
Hicks told congressional investigators that if the U.S. had quickly sent a military aircraft over Benghazi, it might have saved American lives. The U.S. Souda Bay Naval Base is an hour’s flight from Libya.
“I believe if we had been able to scramble a fighter or aircraft or two over Benghazi as quickly as possible after the attack commenced, I believe there would not have been a mortar attack on the annex in the morning because I believe the Libyans would have split. They would have been scared to death that we would have gotten a laser on them and killed them,” Hicks testified. Two Americans died in the morning mortar attack.
The Real Story at Benghazi
The U.S. supported opposition which overthrew Libya’s Gadaffi was largely comprised of Al Qaeda terrorists.
According to a 2007 report by West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center’s center, the Libyan city of Benghazi was one of Al Qaeda’s main headquarters – and bases for sending Al Qaeda fighters into Iraq – prior to the overthrow of Gaddafi:
The Hindustan Times reported in 2011:
“There is no question that al Qaeda’s Libyan franchise, Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, is a part of the opposition,” Bruce Riedel, former CIA officer and a leading expert on terrorism, told Hindustan Times.
It has always been Qaddafi’s biggest enemy and its stronghold is Benghazi.
Al Qaeda is now largely in control of Libya. Indeed, Al Qaeda flags were flown over the Benghazi courthouse once Gaddafi was toppled.
(Incidentally, Gaddafi was on the verge of invading Benghazi in 2011, 4 years after the West Point report cited Benghazi as a hotbed of Al Qaeda terrorists. Gaddafi claimed – rightly it turns out – that Benghazi was an Al Qaeda stronghold and a main source of the Libyan rebellion. But NATO planes stopped him, and protected Benghazi.)
Mainstream sources also confirm that the Syrian opposition is largely comprised of Al Qaeda terrorists. (Indeed, the New York Times reported last week that virtually all of the rebel fighters are Al Qaeda terrorists.)
This brings us to the murder of ambassador Stevens …
Reuters notes that the CIA mission involved finding and repurchasing heavy weaponry looted from Libyan government arsenals.
Business Insider reports that Stevens may have been linked with Syrian terrorists:
There’s growing evidence that U.S. agents—particularly murdered ambassador Chris Stevens—were at least aware of heavy weapons moving from Libya to jihadist Syrian rebels.
In March 2011 Stevens became the official U.S. liaison to the al-Qaeda-linked Libyan opposition, working directly with Abdelhakim Belhadj of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group—a group that has now disbanded, with some fighters reportedly participating in the attack that took Stevens’ life.
In November 2011 The Telegraph reported that Belhadj, acting as head of the Tripoli Military Council, “met with Free Syrian Army [FSA] leaders in Istanbul and on the border with Turkey” in an effort by the new Libyan government to provide money and weapons to the growing insurgency in Syria.
Last month The Times of London reported that a Libyan ship “carrying the largest consignment of weapons for Syria … has docked in Turkey.” The shipment reportedly weighed 400 tons and included SA-7 surface-to-air anti-craft missiles and rocket-propelled grenades.
The ship’s captain was “a Libyan from Benghazi and the head of an organization called the Libyan National Council for Relief and Support,” which was presumably established by the new government.
That means that Ambassador Stevens had only one person—Belhadj—between himself and the Benghazi man who brought heavy weapons to Syria.
Furthermore, we know that jihadists are the best fighters in the Syrian opposition, but where did they come from?
Last week The Telegraph reported that a FSA commander called them “Libyans” when he explained that the FSA doesn’t “want these extremist people here.”
And if the new Libyan government was sending seasoned Islamic fighters and 400 tons of heavy weapons to Syria through a port in southern Turkey—a deal brokered by Stevens’ primary Libyan contact during the Libyan revolution—then the governments of Turkey and the U.S. surely knew about it.
Furthermore there was a CIA post in Benghazi, located 1.2 miles from the U.S. consulate, used as “a base for, among other things, collecting information on the proliferation of weaponry looted from Libyan government arsenals, including surface-to-air missiles” … and that its security features “were more advanced than those at rented villa where Stevens died.”
And we know that the CIA has been funneling weapons to the rebels in southern Turkey. The question is whether the CIA has been involved in handing out the heavy weapons from Libya.
In other words, ambassador Stevens may have been a key player in deploying Libyan terrorists and arms to fight the Syrian government.
Many have speculated that – if normal security measures weren’t taken to protect the Benghazi consulate or to rescue ambassador Stevens – it was because the CIA was trying to keep an extremely low profile to protect its cover of being a normal State Department operation.
That is what I think really happened at Benghazi.
Was CIA Chief David Petraeus’ Firing Due to Benghazi?
CIA boss David Petraeus suddenly resigned, admitting to an affair. But Petraeus was scheduled to testify under oath the next week before power House and Senate committees regarding the Benghazi consulate. Many speculate that it wasn’t an affair – but the desire to avoid testifying on Benghazi – which was the real reason for Petraeus’ sudden resignation.
The Big Picture
Whatever the scope of the CIA’s operation in Benghazi – and whatever the real reason for the resignation of the CIA chief – the key is our historical and ongoing foreign policy.
For decades, the U.S. has backed terrorists for geopolitical ends. For decades, the U.S. has backed the most radical, fundamentalist, violent Muslims.
Obama has simply re-packaged Bush and the Neocons’ “war on terror” as a series of humanitarian wars.
Liberals rightfully lambast Bush for getting us into the disastrous Iraq war.
Obama – citing a Nixon administration official’s justification for invading Cambodia – has claimed his power extends into every country in the world … well beyond those where we are engaged in hostilities.
Obama has dramatically escalated the use of drone assassinations, which are creating many more terrorists than they are killing. The former chief military prosecutor at Guantanamo says that Obama’s drone surge is as damaging to our country as Bush’s torture program. I think he’s actually underestimating damage from the program, as drones have become the number 1 recruiting tool for Al Qaeda (especially since children are now being targeted for drone assassination … Oh, and torture is still happening on Obama’s watch; background).
In other words, both GOP and Dem politicians are supporting destability, terrorism and war.
Those are the deeper truths regarding Benghazi.