Has the Obama administration switched sides in the War on Terror, providing arms and aid to militants linked to al Qa’eda? This conclusion was strongly hinted at during the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi (CCB) conference held last September to uncover the truth behind the Benghazi, Libya attacks of 2012. “Here’s the sentence, here’s the headline, that the Obama administration does not want broadcast anywhere or printed anywhere: ‘Obama Administration Arms Al Qaeda,’” said Judicial Watch’s Chris Farrell at the time. Farrell’s words would prove prescient.
In its new Interim Report, the product of months of interviews with sources knowledgeable about what was happening in Libya, the CCB uncovers that, indeed, arms were going to al Qa’eda. “The U.S. facilitated the delivery of weapons and military support to al Qa’eda-linked rebels in Libya,” states one of the key findings of the report. The report also includes a summary of the 85 Freedom of Information Act requests submitted by Accuracy in Media (AIM) and the CCB.
There are also Additional Documents, including relevant articles, that support and clarify points made in the Interim Report.
Accuracy in Media and the CCB held a press briefing on Tuesday, April 22nd at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. to release and discuss the Interim Report. Attendees included CNN, The Daily Mail, Fox News, The Washington Free Beacon, World Magazine, WorldNetDaily, and The Daily Caller.
The key findings in the report include that
- Muammar Qaddafi expressed his willingness to abdicate shortly after the beginning of the 2011 Libyan revolt, but the U.S. ignored his calls for a truce, which led to extensive loss of life (including four Americans), chaos, and detrimental outcomes for U.S. national security objectives across the region.
- The U.S. facilitated the delivery of weapons and military support to al Qa’eda-linked rebels in Libya.
- On the day of the attacks in Benghazi, whether or not there was an official order to stand down, the result was the same. There were military assets, for example, at the U.S. base in Sigonella, in Sicily, Italy that could have been brought to bear, and perhaps could have saved the lives of the two men killed at the CIA Annex, the scene of the second attack that night. The failure to attempt to rescue these Americans amounts to a dereliction of duty.
- Previous investigations have been ineffective as the cover-up of Benghazi continues at all levels of government, prompting the need for a Select Committee with the power of subpoena to investigate this tragedy and compel testimony under oath outside the five-minute rule imposed on Congressional members by the current investigative structure.
- America needs Congress to form a Select Committee to uncover the facts about Benghazi that remain unavailable to the public, and are obscured by the five-minute rule imposed upon Members of Congress.
Accuracy in Media is pleased to see that some of the news media are choosing to cover this important breaking story. A variety of news outlets and alternative media have published articles on the press briefing and the Interim Report, with more to come. Notably absent, though invited, were news organizations such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, NBC, CBS and ABC.
In the next day or two, the full video of the nearly two-hour press conference will be posted on the CCB website.
The Citizens Committee on Benghazi released its interim findings on April 22, 2014 in Washington. Pictured are (L-R) Clare Lopez, Admiral (Ret.) Chuck Kubic, Admiral (Ret.) James ‘Ace’ Lyons, former CIA officer Wayne Simmons and civil rights attorney John Clarke
The Citizens Commission on Benghazi, a self-selected group of former top military officers, CIA insiders and think-tankers, declared Tuesday in Washington that a seven-month review of the deadly 2012 terrorist attack has determined that it could have been prevented – if the U.S. hadn’t been helping to arm al-Qaeda militias throughout Libya a year earlier.
‘The United States switched sides in the war on terror with what we did in Libya, knowingly facilitating the provision of weapons to known al-Qaeda militias and figures,’ Clare Lopez, a member of the commission and a former CIA officer, told MailOnline.
She blamed the Obama administration for failing to stop half of a $1 billion United Arab Emirates arms shipment from reaching al-Qaeda-linked militants.
‘Remember, these weapons that came into Benghazi were permitted to enter by our armed forces who were blockading the approaches from air and sea,’ Lopez claimed. ‘They were permitted to come in. … [They] knew these weapons were coming in, and that was allowed..
‘The intelligence community was part of that, the Department of State was part of that, and certainly that means that the top leadership of the United States, our national security leadership, and potentially Congress – if they were briefed on this – also knew about this.’
The weapons were intended for Gaddafi but allowed by the U.S. to flow to his Islamist opposition.
‘The White House and senior Congressional members,’ the group wrote in an interim report released Tuesday, ‘deliberately and knowingly pursued a policy that provided material support to terrorist organizations in order to topple a ruler [Muammar Gaddafi] who had been working closely with the West actively to suppress al-Qaeda.’
‘Some look at it as treason,’ said Wayne Simmons, a former CIA officer who participated in the commission’s research.
Retired Rear Admiral Chuck Kubic, another commission member, told reporters Tuesday that those weapons are now ‘all in Syria.’
‘Gaddafi wasn’t a good guy, but he was being marginalized,’ Kubic recalled. ‘Gaddafi actually offered to abdicate’ shortly after the beginning of a 2011 rebellion.
‘But the U.S. ignored his calls for a truce,’ the commission wrote, ultimately backing the horse that would later help kill a U.S. ambassador.
Kubic said that the effort at truce talks fell apart when the White House declined to let the Pentagon pursue it seriously.
‘We had a leader who had won the Nobel Peace Prize,’ Kubic said, ‘but who was unwilling to give peace a chance for 72 hours.’
In March 2011, Kubic said, U.S. Army Africa Commander General Carter told NBC News that the U.S. military was not actively targeting Muammar Gaddafi. That, Kubic revealed, was a signal to the Libyan dictator that there was a chance for a deal.
Gaddafi responded by ‘verifiably … pull[ing] his forces back from key rebel-held cities such as Benghazi and Misrata.’
Gaddafi wanted only two conditions to step down: permission to keeo fighting al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), and the lifting of sactions against him, his family, and those loyal to him.
The Obama administration’s unwillingness to help broker a peaceful exit for the Libyan strongman, ‘led to extensive loss of life (including four Americans)’ when al-Qaeda-linked militants attacked U.S. diplomatic facilities in the city of Benghazi,’ the commission told reporters.
The White House and the National Security Staff did not immediately respond to questions about the group’s findings.
‘We don’t claim to have all the answers here,’ said Roger Aronoff, whose center-right group Accuracy in Media sponsored the group and its work.
‘We hope you will, please, pursue this,’ he told reporters. ‘Check it out. Challenge us.’
The commission and AIM filed 85 document requests under the Freedom Of Information Act, hitting the Department of Defense, State Department, Federal Bureau of Investigation and Central Intelligence Agency with demand after demand.
But most of its information has come from insiders with deep knowledge of the flow of weapons in Libya and elsewhere in the African Maghreb.
Admiral James ‘Ace’ Lyons told the group that he believes the raid on the Benghazi compound was intended as a kidnapping exercise, aimed at snatching U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and demanding a prisoner swap for the ‘blind sheikh’ Omar Abdel-Rahman.
Abdel-Rahman is serving a life sentence in federal prison for planning the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center garage in New York City. He also masterminded a plan, later foiled, to blow up the United Nations, both the Lincoln and Holland tunnels, the George Washington Bridge and a federal building where the FBI had a base of operations.
A senior FBI source, Lyons said Tuesday, ‘told me that was the plan.’
The attack, history shows, grew in intensity and resulted in the deaths of Stevens and three other U.S. personnel.
Lyons also said U.S. claims that it lacked the resources to mount a counterattack in time to save lives is false.
‘I’m going to tell you that’s not true,’ he said. ‘We had a 130-man unit of forces at Sigonella [AFB in Italy]. They were ready to go.’
‘The flight time from Sigonella to Benghazi is roughly an hour.’
Some of the group’s claims strain credibility, including the assertion that the Obama administration’s early effort to blame the Benghazi attack on a protest against a crude anti-Muslim YouTube video ‘appears to have been well-coordinated with U.S.Muslim Brotherhood organizations as well as Islamic state members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).’
Those groups, the commission noted, ‘all joined in condemnation of the video, and, even more troubling, issued calls for restrictions on Americans’ free speech rights.’
But Simmons, the former CIA officer, criticized the Obama administration on the familiar refrain of then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton exclaiming in a Senate hearing that it mattered little why the Benghazi facilities were struck.
‘They believed they were going to be saved, that they were going to be rescued, but they weren’t,’ Simmons said of the four Americans who died.
‘I know who made the decision, in my heart of hearts, to leave our war fighters there and be blown up. And then to have one of the most powerful politicians in our country sit there and say, “What difference does it make?” – should be an alarm bell for all Americans.
‘It haunts me,’ Simmons said. ‘I play that line over, and over, and over, and over in my mind.’
The group has called for a Select Congressional Committee to investigate the Benghazi episode. A total of 189 House members have signed on to a bill that would create the committee, which would be bipartisan and have sweeping powers to subpoena the executive branch.
House Speaker John Boehner, Lopez said Tuesday, ‘he blocked it. One has to wonder if he and Congress have had some sort of briefing on what happened.’
Kubic insisted that Congress is unable to break logjams in the Obama administration and find out what happened in the days leading up to and following the Benghazi attack without a new committee.
‘If they don’t have strong subpoena power, if they don’t have the ability to do long-term cross examination, it won’t work,’ he said.