It was all about funneling heavy weapons and personnel to our jihadi enemies.
Photo: The Jawa Report
The Sept. 11 attack in Benghazi targeted more than just a State Department consulate. One of the buildings hit was a covert CIA installation, U.S. officials told Fox News.
The now-abandoned American consulate in Benghazi was set a little more than a mile away from the CIA base. Up to this point, that separate base was described by administration officials only as a “safe house” or “annex” to the nearby consulate. In reality, CIA agents and other intelligence officials were operating out of Benghazi conducting delicate missions, including the search for over 20,000 deadly shoulder-fired missiles previously owned by Muammar Qaddafi’s Libyan forces.
The work they conducted to seize those deadly weapons, known as MANPADS, was part of a broader and public effort by the State Department to secure them. The major concern is those weapons could be used to bring down a commercial jet.
These officials added that the number of CIA operatives in Benghazi clearly outnumbered that of the diplomatic staff. It took two military cargo aircraft to lift everyone out of Benghazi when the fighting was over.
Both the CIA outpost and the consulate were attacked on Sept. 11. Two of the men killed, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, were hit by indirect fire while defending the intelligence post, not the consulate.
There were eras in human history whose great challenges lay in isolating chemical compounds, unlocking the structures of human genetic material and examining the hearts of dying stars. But the great challenge of our time is telling apart Muslim moderates and Muslim extremists.
Fly to Tripoli International Airport, take the Airport Highway into Tripoli, drive along the coast through all those towns and cities you heard about on the radio when the announcers were excitedly describing battles between the brave Libyan rebels and the despicable forces of the despot; Homs, Misrata, Sirte. Drive through the night while hugging the Mediterranean coastline until you reach Benghazi.
Benghazi is the city on whose behalf we went to war against Gaddafi. The imminent peril to Benghazi was the reason that Obama gave for the conflict. “We struck regime forces approaching Benghazi to save that city and the people within it,” he declared proudly. But the firepower that proved so potent in displacing and dismantling the Gaddafi regime could not protect Ambassador Stevens and the American consulate.
The Benghazi consulate’s own security forces had been stripped down to their bare essentials. Inside the compound, in their own barracks, were members of the February 17 Martyrs Brigade who were tasked with providing security for the consulate. The February 17 Martyrs Brigade is an Islamist militia affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood. The attackers firing off RPGs into the compound were members of Ansar Al Sharia, a spinoff of the February 17 Martyrs Brigade, associated with Al Qaeda.
On diplomatic paper the moderate February 17 Martyrs Brigade and the extremist Ansar Al-Sharia had nothing in common. In reality, the differences between the two militias were mostly cosmetic and the Martyrs Brigade had been contacted ahead of time by an Al Qaeda politician and asked to stand down while the attack took place.
A month later and a thousand miles away, the moderate Free Syrian Army and the extremist Al Nusra Front captured a missile base in Syria. The base was stocked with the rather popular S-75 SAMs which may be a bit dated, but had still managed to shoot down an F-111 over Libya back in 1981 and would make short work of most commercial airliners.
The Free Syrian Army is the force that almost everyone agrees we should be supporting. They are almost certainly the fighters that Obama is conveying weapons and trainers to. And the Treasury Department approved a license to provide direct financial assistance to the FSA. The Al Nusra Front however is linked to Al Qaeda and waves the black flag of the Caliphate. It considers the United States an enemy of Islam.
The rebel spokesman for the local franchise of the Brave Syrian People ™ explained, “We don’t distinguish between the groups Al Nusra and the other militias, as long as everyone is working toward one goal of ousting the regime.” Our beloved moderates were making no distinction between themselves and the extremists. By helping the Free Syrian Army, we were really helping Al Qaeda.
The missile base attack was not the first time that the Free Syrian Army and the Al Nusra Front had worked together. The exploits of the Free Syrian Army were often actually the work of the experienced Jihadi fighters of Al Nusra. When gullible Westerners thought they were applauding the daring acts of freedom fighters, they were actually cheering the fanatical murderous frenzy of their own enemies.
The S-75s of Aleppo won’t pose much of a threat to us because the Syrian Air Force promptly swooped in and blew the missile base to bits, thereby probably saving a few hundred or a few thousand American lives—not that they did it for that reason. The real mission of the FSA and Al Nusra however had been to dismantle Syrian air defenses on its northern border clearing the way for a Turkish invasion of Syria…
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, 2011.
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?
As noted by at least one observant blogger, two buildings appear on the overhead image of the Benghazi consular compound that may be viewed behind State Department official Charlene Lamb during her October 10, 2012 Congressional testimony but were not mentioned at all in the October 9, 2012 briefing mentioned above. Might these two warehouse-like buildings be storage facilities for Libyan weapons either bought back or otherwise collected prior to onward shipment?
The New York Times reported in July, 2012 that CIA officers were operating out of southern Turkey to help channel weapons to fighters supposedly not allied with Al Qaeda or other terrorist groups. In a October 14 piece, though, the Times asserted flatly 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…” And while U.S. officials continue to stick to claims that they are not providing arms directly to the Syrian rebels, but only channeling weapons that come from Saudi Arabia and Qatar, reports that those rebels now have surface-to-air missiles call to mind the thousands of such weapons looted from Muammar Qaddafi’s stockpiles during and after the revolt that ousted him in October 2011.
- The Benghazi plot thickens
- US ‘Consulate’ in Benghazi was a hub for recruiting jihadis to fight for al Qaeda in Syria
The take-home lesson? Muslim governments and Muslim military forces are what they are. Help them out and they will immediately bite the hand that feeds them.