Judicial Watch Special Report: The Anniversary of the Benghazi Attack of September 11, 2012
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Judicial Watch Special Report: The Anniversary the Benghazi Attack September 11, 2012 Unanswered Questions and the Quest for Accountability From the Obama Administration September 2013 UPDATED FROM JANUARY 2013 Judicial Watch 425 3rd Street, Suite 800 Washington, 20024 Tel: 202-646-5172 www.JudicialWatch.org email@example.com Introduction Judicial Watch promotes transparency, integrity and accountability government, politics and the law. carry out mission through investigations, research, litigation and public education. From time time produce Special Reports important public policy matters illuminate the operations government way that informs the public and holds our trusted public servants accountable. have prepared this updated Special Report the first anniversary the September 11, 2012 attacks American personnel and facilities Benghazi, Libya with the analysis and expertise Judicial Watch investigators, well insightful security critique Mr. Raymond Fournier, recently retired Diplomatic Security Service Special Agent. Part One this updated report contains Mr. Fournier analysis from January, and Part Two new reporting describing the Obama administration Benghazi stonewall. Judicial Watch the only non-governmental organization the country litigating federal court uncover the truth about what happened Benghazi. Judicial Watch strong legal actions federal court seek compel accountability from the Obama administration. Judicial Watch staff investigators and researchers includes former intelligence officers, analysts, military officers, attorneys, and journalists. Judicial Watch has twenty-three (23) Freedom Information Act (FOIA) requests and one (1) Mandatory Declassification Review (MDR) request pending with various Executive departments and agencies seeking all manner records relating the attack. have filed four (4) lawsuits the United States District Court for the District Columbia compel the Obama administration comply with the FOIA law and release the records seek. the interim, pursue additional avenues investigation effort provide the American people with complete, accurate, factual information concerning deadly attack costing the lives United States Ambassador Christopher Stevens, Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith, and former Navy SEALS Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods. Thomas Fitton President Washington, September 2013 Comments questions should directed to: Christopher Farrell Director Investigations Research Judicial Watch 425 Street, Suite 800 Washington, 20024 Tel: 202-646-5172 Judicial Watch Special Report: The Anniversary the Benghazi Attack September 11, 2012 Unanswered Questions and the Quest for Accountability from the Obama Administration CONTENTS Part One: Analysis Questions from Diplomatic Security Service Agent Background Accountability Review Board Report Summary Findings Advance Warning Fallout Additional Questions Raised Conclusion Part Two: Analysis Cover Judicial Watch Lawsuits for Accountability one left lie The Benghazi Chronology: Piecing together what happened Loose ends and unanswered questions What difference does make? Questions that make difference Way Forward How Americans arrive the truth and get accountability Part One: Analysis Questions from Diplomatic Security Service Agent Background 9:40 p.m. the evening September 11, 2012, group approximately 150 heavily armed Islamist militia members attacked the United States diplomatic mission Benghazi, Libya. The ensuing 8-hour assault the Special Mission Compound (SMC, and hereafter: Compound and the nearby CIA Annex claimed the lives four Americans: Ambassador Christopher Stevens, U.S. Foreign Service Specialist Sean Smith, and former Navy SEALS Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods. Stevens, who had previously served the U.S. Special Envoy the Libyan Transitional National Council, was the first Ambassador killed the line duty since the 1979 shooting Ambassador Adolph Dubs Kabul, Afghanistan. the aftermath the attack, President Obama and senior administration officials were quick identify Muslim outrage over obscure Internet video mocking Mohammed the motivation for the attack1. September 12th statement about the incident, the President remarked, Since our founding, the United States has been nation that respects all faiths. reject all efforts denigrate the religious beliefs others. September 14, 2012 event honoring the four victims, Secretary State Hilary Clinton stated, seen the heavy assault our post Benghazi that took the lives those brave men. seen rage and violence directed American embassies over awful Internet video that had nothing with. Those Libya did not share this theory. During September 15th television interview, Libyan President Mohamed al-Magarief observed that, clear from the timing September 11th and from the detailed planning the attacks that behind there were experienced masterminds. was not spontaneous act protest movie. This has been prepared for long time this specific day. you take into account the weapons used, like RPGs and other heavy weapons, proves that was preplanned. dirty act revenge, and has nothing with religion. Nevertheless, top administration officials continued claim that the attack was spontaneous and the result the video. During September 16th television interview, U.S. Ambassador the United Nations Susan Rice infamously assessed the situation follows: There was hateful video that was disseminated the Internet. had nothing with the United States government and its one that find disgusting and reprehensible. Its been offensive many, many people around the world. That sparked violence various parts the world, including violence directed against western facilities including our embassies and consulates. That violence absolutely unacceptable, its not response that one can ever condone when comes such video. And have been working very closely and, indeed, effectively with the governments the region and around the world secure our personnel, secure our embassy, condemn the violent response this video. September 18, 2012 press conference, White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters that, based what knew the time, knew initially, what know now, the facts that have, the video was precipitating cause the unrest the region and specifically Libya. President Obama continued link the attack the video September 25th, telling his audience the United Nations, time when anyone with cell phone can spread offensive views around the world with the click button, the notion that can control the flow information obsolete. The question, then, how respond? And this must agree: There speech that justifies mindless violence. There are words that excuse the killing innocents. Theres video that justifies attack embassy. Eventually, the administration was forced acknowledge what many observers knew from the beginning-- that the attack Benghazi was neither spontaneous nor the result Internet video. September 28th, the Office the Director National Intelligence reported that their revised assessment had determined be, deliberate and organized terrorist attack carried out extremists and that, some those involved were linked groups affiliated with, sympathetic alQaida. ARB Report/Summary Findings required the Omnibus Diplomatic and Antiterrorism Act 1986, the State Department convened Accountability Review Board (ARB, and hereafter Board investigate the attack October 2012.9 Secretary Clinton chose former Ambassador Thomas Pickering chair the board. Pickering also member the advisory board the National Iranian American Council (NIAC)10, left-wing advocacy group that opposes the imposition economic sanctions against Iran and that, the estimation national security expert Kenneth Timmerman, has been lobbying Congress win support for agenda that mirrors the goals the Tehran regime. 2009, former FBI counterterrorism agent Kenneth Piernick reported that the group, may lobbying behalf Iranian government interests. Were running the counterintelligence program the bureau now, would have cause look into this further. her 2009 paper Rise the Iran Lobby, published the Center for Security Policy, former CIA officer Clare Lopez wrote that, Ambassador Pickering positions Iran include calls for bilateral talks without preconditions and plan for multinational uranium enrichment consortium Iran. Iran has proposed similar plan the Security Council. Ambassador Pickering advocates process leading mutual diplomatic relations between Iran and the United States. also cites positive experiences tourist Iran, where recalls that ordinary Iranians the streets expressed friendliness towards him. The other members the Board were former Chairman the Joint Chiefs Staff Admiral Michael Mullen, former United Nations Undersecretary for Management Catherine Bertini, former State Department Interim Director Overseas Building Operations Richard Shinnick, and former Deputy CIA Director Hugh Turner. Despite State Department regulations requiring that Board members, must possess expertise that will contribute the work the Board, e.g., knowledge, experience training areas such foreign affairs, law, security, embassy construction, intelligence, and other areas appropriate the Board work, security professionals were selected the board convened investigate the Benghazi attack. December 18th, the Board released the unclassified version its final report regarding the attack Benghazi. The report highlights myriad failures State Department officials and contains five key findings: The attacks were security related, involving arson, small arms and machine gun fire, and the use RPGs, grenades, and mortars against U.S. personnel two separate facilities the SMC and the Annex and route between them. Systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies senior levels within two bureaus the State Department resulted Special Mission security posture that was inadequate for Benghazi and grossly inadequate deal with the attack that took place. Notwithstanding the proper implementation security systems and procedures and remarkable heroism shown American personnel, those systems and the Libyan response fell short the face series attacks that began with the sudden penetration the Special Mission compound dozens armed attackers. Intelligence provided immediate, specific tactical warning the September attacks. Certain senior State Department officials within two bureaus demonstrated lack proactive leadership and management ability their responses security concerns posed Special Mission Benghazi, given the deteriorating threat environment and the lack reliable host government protection.15 Notably, the report contradicts the earlier claims administration officials that the attacks resulted from protest that escalated into violence. The Board, concluded that there was protest prior the attacks, which were unanticipated their scale and intensity. Despite its finding that security the Compound was, grossly inadequate, that State Department officials demonstrated lack proactive leadership and management ability, and that systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies led the inadequacy the security posture the compound, the board incredibly reported that it, did not find reasonable cause determine that any individual U.S. government employee breached his her duty. The extent which the unclassified version the report that was released the public omits pertinent information about the attack has also drawn congressional scrutiny. Shortly after its release, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Rep. Darrel Issa told reporters that was, deeply concerned that the unclassified report omits important information the public has right know. This includes details about the perpetrators the attack Libya well the less-thannoble reasons contributing State Department decisions deny security resources. Relevant details that would not harm national security have been withheld and the classified report suffers from enormous over-classification problem.16 Advance Warning Congressional testimony senior State Department officials and other evidence that has come light since September demonstrate that, the months before the attack, the government had ample reason believe that the security situation Benghazi was deteriorating rapidly. The Board report identified specific security incidents involving the Compound, international organizations, nongovernmental organizations, and other diplomatic facilities 2012. These include bomb being thrown over the perimeter wall the Compound April, improvised explosive device (IED) attack against the motorcade the Special Envoy Libya, RPG attack against Red Cross facility, the kidnappings several aid workers, and RPG attack against the British Ambassador convoy. June 2012, IED attack targeting the Compound blasted large hole its exterior wall. security contractor the U.S. African Command presciently reported July 2012, Benghazi has seen notable increase violence recent months, particularly against international targets. These events point strong anti-Western sentiments among certain segments the population, the willingness Salafijihadi groups the city openly engage violence against foreign targets, and their capacity carry out these attacks. addition these overt incidents, U.S. intelligence agencies issued numerous classified reports documenting the dangerous situation Benghazi the months preceding the attack. The Senate Committee Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs December 30, 2012 report regarding Benghazi noted, The Committee has reviewed dozens classified intelligence reports the evolution threats Libya which were issued between February 2011 and September 11, 2012. are precluded this report from discussing the information detail, but overall, these intelligence reports (as the ARB similarly noted) provide clear and vivid picture rapidly deteriorating threat environment eastern Libya one that believe should have been sufficient inform policymakers the growing danger U.S. facilities and personnel that part the country and the urgency them doing something about it. State Department personnel Libya were well aware the escalating violence Benghazi and the potential threat posed the U.S. Diplomatic mission there. several occasions, our diplomats Libya requested additional security resources address the growing threat; tragically, those requests were not honored. October 2012 letter Secretary Clinton, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Subcommittee National Security, Homeland Defense, and Foreign Operations Chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) wrote that, multiple U.S. federal government official have confirmed the Committee that, prior the September attack, the U.S. mission Libya made repeated requests for increased security Benghazi. The mission Libya, however, was denied these resources officials Washington. The State Department was clearly aware the security situation Libya, evidenced the fact that the danger pay allowance for diplomats stationed there was increased from percent percent July 15, 2012.20 Nevertheless, the ARB found, the number Bureau Diplomatic Security (DS) security staff Benghazi the day the attack and the months and weeks leading was inadequate, despite repeated requests from Special Mission Benghazi and Embassy Tripoli for additional staffing. Board members found pervasive realization among personnel who served Benghazi that the Special Mission was not high priority for Washington when came securityrelated requests, especially those relating staffing. Despite the self-evident fact that the security resources dedicated the Compound Benghazi were insufficient, State Department officials continued defend their staffing decisions the aftermath the attack. Under questioning Rep. Darrell Issa during House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing investigating the attack, State Department Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Programs Charlene Lamb asserted, had the correct number assets Benghazi the time 9/11. According published reports, the Regional Security Officer Libya, Eric Nordstrom, told Congressional investigators that Lamb, wanted keep the number U.S. security personnel Benghazi artificially low. Fallout The day after the release the Board report, numerous media outlets reported that four State Department officials responsible for the management and security the Compound Benghazi had resigned. Three were identified Assistant Secretary State Eric Boswell, Charlene Lamb, and Deputy Assistant Secretary State Raymond Maxwell.23 the weeks that followed, however, became unclear whether the officials had really resigned even faced any significant disciplinary measures. December 26th, the New York Post reported that, The highest-ranking official caught the scandal, Assistant Secretary State Eric Boswell, has not resigned from government service, officials said last week. just switching desks. And the other three are simply administrative leave and are expected back.24 The uncertainty over the situation has outraged least one member Congress. the day the Posts report, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) told reporters, State Department officials proclaimed the world that heads would roll after the deception related the deceitful video excuse and the non-existent spontaneous protest outside the consulate. Now see that the discipline lie and all that has happened the shuffling the deck chairs.25 The State Department has given only vague and evasive descriptions the officials current status, reporting that Boswell had resigned Assistant Secretary Diplomatic Security but declining comment his current duties. According State Department spokesman, The Secretary has accepted Eric Boswells decision resign Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security, effective immediately. The other three individuals have been relieved their current duties. All four individuals have been placed administrative leave pending further action.26 Additional Questions Raised The degree which State Department officials are guilty the systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies Benghazi just one the unresolved issues regarding the event. According analysis conducted exclusively for Judicial Watch former State Department Diplomatic Security Special Agent Raymond Fournier, the Board report leaves number critical questions unanswered. Who the Department State was responsible for opening and continuing the operation the Special Mission Compound the unstable environment Benghazi, overriding physical security standards for diplomatic facilities? Special Agent Fourniers assessment, the most critical error leading the deadly attack Benghazi was, the Departments unexplained decision create new category diplomatic structure, i.e. the Special Mission Compound, for the purpose of, skirting the established physical security standards for embassies and consulates around the world. describes the level security the Compound as, meeting slightly exceeding the established security standards for residence (not diplomatic mission workplace) high critical threat environment. Diplomatic personnel Benghazi were apparently aware these shortcomings. August 16, 2012 cable summarizing emergency meeting held the previous day reported that the State Departments Regional Security Officer, expressed concerns with the ability defend Post the event coordinated attack due limited manpower, security measures, weapons capabilities, host nation support, and the overall size the compound27 The unique designation our diplomatic outpost Benghazi and the inadequate security posture that designation allowed posed unique concerns with regard the safeguarding classified information. Fournier notes that, one can reasonably assume that the Compound contained classified documents and/or classified communications equipment. However, self-evident that the Compound failed meet security standards required all diplomatic facilities regarding the minimum stand-off time required for cleared American staff destroy classified holdings and equipment. The Board report contains details regarding the classified documents and equipment that may have been lost during the attack. Regarding the consequences the unique SMC designation applied the Compound Benghazi, the Board report notes that, Another key driver behind the weak security platform Benghazi was the decision treat Benghazi temporary, residential facility even though was also full time office facility. This resulted the Special Mission Compound being excepted from office facility standards and accountability comprehensive upgrade and risk-mitigation plan did not exist, nor was there comprehensive security review conducted Washington for Benghazi 2012. The unique circumstances surrounding the creation the mission Benghazi temporary mission outside the realm permanent diplomatic posts resulted significant disconnects and support gaps. Because the Benghazi mission appears have been designated SMC something anomalous amongst the Departments inventory approximately 285 embassies and consulates worldwide-- for the purpose evading appropriate security protocols, the question what State Department official authorized the leasing the house utilized the Compound critically important. The Board reported that State Department Undersecretary for Management Patrick Kennedy, approved one year continuation the U.S. Special Mission Benghazi December 2011. Fournier points out, however, the Board failed identify the person persons within the Department responsible for leasing the unsecured house otherwise known SMC Benghazi the first place, i.e., before its operation was continued December 2011. Arguably the organizational entity within the department that had the authority continue the U.S. Mission Benghazi was the same entity that initiated the mission leasing the house. review the Departments organizational chart reflects that the Undersecretary for Management has the Bureau Diplomatic Security and the Bureau Overseas Buildings under its authority. Therefore, can reasonably assume that Undersecretary Kennedy approved the initial lease. Fournier also questions the Departments decision depart from accepted practice contracting with local militia group loosely connected central government forces provide security for the Compound. The militia, February Martyrs Brigade, had been one several militias that participated the overthrow the Qaddafi regime. This, according Fournier, led Department officials use old paradigm, enemys enemy friend, trust the February Martyrs Brigade protect American lives and property. During the attack, however, the militia members failed respond repeated calls for assistance. Did the Director Diplomatic Security his immediate subordinates have authority countermand the Department desire open SMC Benghazi? noted, the decision lease the Compound Benghazi and the approving authority for security and staffing decisions was Undersecretary Kennedy. What remains unknown, however, whether security professionals within the State Department advised against this action; what their initial recommendations for appropriate security measures were; the extent which Department management took those recommendations under advisement; and, whether the Director Diplomatic Security had the authority prevent the opening the Compound. After almost two decades Diplomatic Security Agent, Fournier identifies systemic cultural problems within the Department that hinder the efforts the security professionals keep our diplomats safe: far-reaching idea touched upon the Board report suggested that the Department reexamine reorganization with emphasis span control for security policy planning for all overseas U.S. diplomatic facilities. Although good recommendation matter academic discussion, the reality that the Department has historically not seen equal partners the day-to-day pursuit diplomacy. Frequently, security policy and standards are set aside inconvenient, restraining, time-consuming simply less important relative loftier foreign policy goals prosecuted the Departments elite. One need further than Benghazi see example the aforementioned managerial arrogance within the Department. Why did Ambassador Stevens travel Benghazi, close the anniversary the September 11, 2001 attacks? noted above, the extreme risk anti-Western violence Benghazi was well know State Department officials the months before September 11th. July 18, 2012 worldwide travel caution advisory the Department reported that, Credible information indicates terrorist groups also seek continue attacks against U.S. interests the Middle East and North Africa.28 August 27th, the Department issued travel warning specific Libya that read part, The Department State warns U.S. citizens against all but essential travel Libya. Political violence the form assassinations and vehicle bombs has increased both Benghazi and Tripoli.29 And, course, the Department was well aware the increased threat terrorist activity significant anniversary dates. The travel warning issued advance September 11, 2011 noted that, U.S. citizens should aware that al-Qaeda affiliates and allies have demonstrated the intent and capability carry out attacks against the United States and our interests around the world. the past, terrorist organizations have occasion planned their attacks coincide with significant dates the calendar.30 this context, the decision for Ambassador Stevens travel Benghazi that date seems odd. According the Board report, his travel was, timed part fill the staffing gaps between TDY [temporary duty] principal officers well open American Corner local school and reconnect with local contacts. also known that the Ambassador met with the Turkish Consul General Ali Sait Akin the evening the attack. The purpose that meeting has not been disclosed. October, Fox News reported that Stevens, was Benghazi negotiate weapons transfer, effort get SA-7 missiles out the hands Libya-based extremists.31 Some experts believe that the Ambassadors work Benghazi may have been related Administration efforts transfer arms Syrian opposition groups. former Deputy Assistant Secretary State and President the Center for Security Policy Frank Gaffney wrote, One the places Libya most awash with weapons the most dangerous hands Benghazi. now appears that Stevens was there particularly risky day, with security speak and despite now copiously documented concerns about his own safety and that his subordinates for another priority mission: sending arms recovered from the former regime stocks the opposition Syria.32 Former CIA Officer Clare Lopez has characterized U.S. activities Benghazi gun running and reported that Administration officials were, working with the very same al-Qaeda linked relationships Libya gather and buy back and collect weapons from Gaddafis stockpile that were missing from the revolution Libya last year and what looks like that they were shipping them onwards Syria.33 Further substantiating the theory that the Obama administration was involved arms transfers Syrian groups Times London report published September 14, 2012, Syrian Rebels Squabble Over Weapons Biggest Shipload Arrives from Libya. According the report: Among more than 400 tonnes cargo the vessel was carrying were SAM-7 surface-to-air anti-aircraft missiles and rocketpropelled grenades (RPGs), which Syrian sources said could game-changer for the rebels. The connection Benghazi was established The Times through examination the ship port authority papers, The Times was shown the Libyan ship, The Intisaar The Victory, the Turkish port Iskenderun and papers stamped the port authority the ship captain, Omar Mousaeeb, Libyan from Benghazi and the head organisation called the Libyan National Council for Relief and Support, which supporting the Syrian uprising. Why were two unmanned aerial vehicles requested record the deadly events they unfolded Benghazi while more lethal air support options were not station? According the Board report, United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) deployed two unmanned aerial vehicles survey the events Benghazi one the Compound and the other the airport during the evacuation American personnel. However, the report gives description the images captured the UAVs. addition, the involvement AFRICOM the response raises the important question why lethal air support other military assets were not deployed response the attack. According the Department Defense, there was not sufficient time deploy resources Benghazi once the attack began. addition, Secretary Defense Leon Panetta later claimed that officials lacked sufficient real-time information about the situation commit troops, saying, You dont deploy forces into harms way without knowing whats going on.35 Conclusion the Boards report makes clear, the September 11, 2012 attack Benghazi resulted from wide range strategic and tactical failures State Department officials. Chief among them were the fateful decision circumvent established security regulations designating the diplomatic post Benghazi Special Mission Compound, ignoring repeated requests for additional security resources Diplomatic Security personnel the ground, and entrusting the security the Compound local militia group with suspected ties radical Islamists. Special Agent Fournier notes his assessment the tragedy, there were also long-standing cultural problems within the Department State that hinder the ability Diplomatic Security agents adequately protect our diplomats overseas. Even after the Board report and separate investigations the House Oversight and Government Reform and Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs committees, numerous questions remain: Who the State Department authorized the lease the house utilized mission facility Benghazi? What input from the Bureau Diplomatic Security did the authorizing State Department official receive, and was that input acted upon? Have the officials responsible for the systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies identified the Board been disciplined, and what positions, any, they now hold the State Department? What was the purpose Ambassador Stevens travel Benghazi the anniversary the worst terror attack American history? the administration involved transporting weapons from Libya Syrian opposition forces? UPDATE SEPTEMBER 2013 Part Two: Analysis Cover Lawsuits for Accountability was clear from the earliest official statements concerning the Benghazi attack that, given the Obama administration predilection for falsehoods and stonewalling, Judicial Watch investigative plan would include litigation. Twenty-three (23) FOIA requests and one (1) MDR filing later Judicial Watch has pursued the truth the District Court for the District Columbia filing the following lawsuits against the Obama administration: Judicial Watch, Inc. U.S. Department State, Case No. 12-02034 (RLW), filed 12/19/12, and seeking: All records concerning, regarding, related the advertisement produced the U.S. embassy Islamabad, entitled Message from the President the United States Barack Obama and Secretary State Hillary Clinton, intended air Pakistan. Judicial Watch, Inc. Office the Director National Intelligence, Case No. 13-00198 (EGS), filed 2/14/13, and seeking: Any and all memoranda, assessments, analyses and/or talking points regarding the September 11, 2012 attack the U.S. Consulate Benghazi, Libya and/or the killing U.S Ambassador Christopher Stevens produced the Office the Director National Intelligence between September 11, 2012 and September 20, 2012. This request includes, but not limited to, the speaking points memorandum referred Senator Dianne Feinstein during televised interview October 17, 2012. Judicial Watch, Inc. U.S. Department State, Case No. 13-00242 (RJL), filed 2/25/13, and seeking: Any and all videos and photographs depicting U.S. Consulate facilities Benghazi, Libya (including the Special Mission Compound and the Annex) between September 10, 2012 and September 13, 2012 that were provided the Accountability Review Board (ARB) for Benghazi and/or any individual member the ARB. Judicial Watch, Inc. U.S. Department State, Case No. 13-00951 (EGS), filed 6/21/13, and seeking: Copies any updates and/or talking points given Ambassador Rice the White House any federal agency concerning, regarding, related the September 11, 2012 attack the U.S. consulate Benghazi, Libya. Any and all records communications concerning, regarding, relating talking points updates the Benghazi attack given Ambassador Rice the White House any federal agency. Judicial Watch lawsuits are just part our continuing efforts force the Obama administration finally tell the full truth about the Benghazi massacre. The story that emerging one political treachery the highest places, beginning with outright lies about the nature the attack itself and culminating with great stone wall secrecy avoid accountability for one the most deadly political scandals recent American history. one left lie discussed earlier, the Sunday following the attack, Ambassador Susan Rice went five Sunday talk shows, repeatedly claiming that the attack was spontaneous not premeditated response hateful video that was disseminated the Internet. Obama went before the United Nations decry the video.38 Clinton promised the father slain Benghazi martyr Tyrone Woods that she would apprehend the video maker.39 And, together, Obama and Clinton even went far film television commercial (aired Pakistan) apologizing the Pakistani people for the video.40 All the while, every one them knew that they were lying about lie. fact, shortly after their worldwide campaign deception, the Obama administration was forced admit that Rice, Clinton, and, indeed, the president himself had provided false information, and that the attack was neither spontaneous nor the result Internet video. September 28, 2012, the Office the Director National Intelligence (DNI) reported that their revised assessment had determined the attack deliberate and organized terrorist attack carried out extremists and that some those involved were linked groups affiliated with, sympathetic to, Qaeda. But according General Carter Ham, the head U.S. forces Africa, was apparent within hours not weeks, DNI claimed, that Benghazi was act terror.42 July 19, 2013, General Ham told the Aspen Security Forum that was meeting with Secretary Defense Panetta and the Chairman the Joint Chiefs Staff General Martin Dempsey when word the attack came in: became apparent all quickly that this was not demonstration, this was violent attack, Ham said. Nonetheless, Rice, behalf President Obama and place Clinton (whom Rice claimed was just too tired talk about Benghazi), took the talk shows immediately following the attack advance the false narrative blaming Internet video. And the claim has been made that they were simply reading from the talking points they were given. Which raises the question, which talking points? Former CIA Director General David Petraeus testified before Congress that the initial talking points produced the CIA stated there were indications the attack was linked Qaeda, and suggested the terrorism reference was removed sometime during interagency review process. what happened between the time General Ham meeting with Panetta and General Dempsey, the creation the CIA-generated talking points that noted the terrorist connection, and Ambassador Rice Sunday talk circuit circus? Given the spin and the contradictions, Judicial Watch was compelled court obtain the talking points. Congress spends time debating and dithering over what President Obama calls phony scandal, these independent investigations may the best way clear this web lies. noted the outset, Judicial Watch FOIA lawsuits are part its continuing efforts uncover the full truth about what transpired within the Obama administration before, during, and after the Benghazi attack. watch the Obama administration weave its web deceit, one reminded House Judiciary counsel David Schippers charge when describing Bill Clinton deceptions concealing his affair with Monica Lewinsky. The president lied and lied and lied, Schippers said, until there one left lie to. Perhaps the long arm FOIA law can finally begin ferret out the truth. Some evidence the power the FOIA law, and Judicial Watch persistence, came about with the release the first Government images the aftermath the attack the Benghazi SMC. Judicial Watch lawsuit against the State Department compelled production the images June 21, 2013 four months after going federal court get the Obama administration obey the law. total seven (7) photographs were produced Judicial Watch the State Department. The following two images depict the ransacked and ruined remains buildings, vehicles and property the Benghazi SMC. The Benghazi Chronology46 have compiled detailed chronology the entire Benghazi affair from variety reliable news and information sources (to include State Department records) order present full, sequential description the events leading the terrorist attack; the attack itself; and, the aftermath. Security Incidents Prior the Benghazi Attack: State Department document detailed 230 security incidents Libya between June 2011 and July 2012, all which posed threat Americans the area.47 December 2011: Terror plot thwarted, but Benghazi SMC emergency plan warns many Islamic terrorists still operating area. March 2012: U.S. Embassy Tripoli Regional Security Officer (RSO) Eric Nordstrom, requests additional security but later testified received response. March 18, 2012: Armed robbery occurs the British School Benghazi. March 22, 2012: Members militia searching for suspect fire their weapons near the SMC and attempt enter. April 2012: armored diplomatic vehicle attacked after driving into local protest. The vehicle was damaged but occupants uninjured. April 2012: Improvised Explosive Device (IED) thrown over the wall the SMC Benghazi. April 10, 2012: explosive device thrown convoy carrying U.N. Envoy Ian Martin. April 11, 2012: Gun battle erupts between armed groups two-and-a-half miles from the SMC, including rocket-propelled grenades. April 26, 2012: Special Mission Benghazi principal officer evacuated from International Medical University (IMU) after fistfight escalated gunfire between Tripoli-based trade delegation security personnel and IMU security. April 27, 2012: Two South African contractors are kidnapped armed men, released unharmed. May 2012: Deputy Commander U.S. Embassy Tripoli Local Guard Force carjacked, beaten, and detained armed youth. May 2012: British Embassy Tripoli attacked violent mob and set fire. Other NATO embassies attacked well. May 2012: The State Department declines request from personnel concerned about security the U.S. Embassy Libya for DC-3 plane take them around the country. May 22, 2012: rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) hits the offices the International Red Cross. May 28, 2012: previously unknown organization, Omar Abdurrahman group, claims responsibility for the Red Cross attack and issues threat against the United States social media sites. June 2012: IED explodes outside the Benghazi consulate compound. June 2012: Two hand grenades target parked diplomatic vehicle Sabha (800 south Benghazi). June 11, 2012: RPG hits convoy carrying the British Ambassador. The U.K. closes its consulate. Col. Wood, military Site Security Team (SST) commander, Benghazi, and helps with emergency response. June 12, 2012: RPG attack made the Red Cross compound Misrata (400 west Benghazi). June 18, 2012: Protestors storm the Tunisian consulate Benghazi. Late June: The building the International Red Cross attacked again and closed down, leaving the U.S. flag the only international one still flying Benghazi, obvious target. July 2012: RSO Nordstrom again requests additional security (perhaps via cable signed Ambassador Stevens dated July see below). July 2012: Ambassador Stevens sends cable requesting continued help from military SST and State Department Mobile Security Deployment (MSD) team through mid-Sept. 2012, saying that benchmarks for drawdown have not been met. The teams are not extended. July 29, 2012: IED found grounds the Tibesti Hotel. July 30, 2012: Sudanese Consul Benghazi carjacked and driver beaten. July 31, 2012: Seven Iranian-citizen Red Cross workers abducted Benghazi. Early August: State Department removes the last three 6-man State Department security teams and 16-man military SST team from Libya. August 2012: Ambassador Stevens sends cable Washington D.C. requesting protective detail bodyguard positions saying the added guards will fill the vacuum security personnel currently post... who will leaving with the next month and will not replaced. called the security condition Libya ... unpredictable, volatile and violent. August 2012: Armed assailants carjack vehicle with diplomatic plates operated U.S. personnel. August 2012: cable from Ambassador Stevens Washington D.C. says series violent incidents has dominated the political landscape and calls them targeted and discriminate attacks. August 2012: Spanish-American dual national NGO worker abducted from the Islamic Cultural Center Benghazi and released the same day. August 20, 2012: small bomb thrown Egyptian diplomat vehicle parked outside the Egyptian consulate Benghazi. August 27, 2012: The State Department issues travel warning for Libya citing the threat assassination and car bombings Benghazi/Tripoli. September 2012: local security officer Benghazi warns American officials about deteriorating security. Timeline 9/11 Special Mission Compound Benghazi Attack Unfolded The Benghazi SMC and Annex Credit: Wikimedia.org48 September 11, 2012: 9:43 a.m. Benghazi time (3:43 a.m. ET): Ambassador Stevens sent cables Washington D.C., including Benghazi weekly report security incidents reflecting Libyans growing frustration with police and security forces who were too weak keep the country secure. least one the cables says the Libyan police themselves the security force provided the U.S. consulate the Minister Foreign Affairs was photographing the Consulate 6:43 a.m. the morning the attack, and that the facilities and personnel were under surveillance. U.S. intelligence officials tell Fox News there were reports from eyewitnesses Benghazi Sept. that armed militia was gathering three hours before the attack the consulate began 9:47 p.m.49 CAIRO, EGYPT Around 12:00 p.m. (6:00 a.m. ET): The U.S. Embassy Cairo releases statement its website disavowing YouTube film named Innocence Muslims, which mocks the Prophet Mohammad. The statement said the embassy condemned efforts misguided individuals hurt the religious feelings Muslims condemn efforts offend believers all religions. Around the same time, pieces that statement were sent out tweets from the official embassy twitter account.50 Protesters storm the Embassy and tear down the American flag down, replacing with black Salafist flag. remains unclear who, precisely, within the State Department identified that particular YouTube video and the responsibility for releasing statement. Around 9:00 p.m. (3:00 p.m. ET): the Benghazi SMC, Ambassador Stevens bids farewell the Turkish Ambassador, Ali Kemal Aydin, and retires his room main residence. Compound configuration: diplomatic security (DS) residence with bedrooms and cantina and dining room; Tactical Operations Center (TOC) located across from the residence, containing offices, one bedroom and security cameras; and barracks located the front gate, staffed Libyan February Martyrs Brigade militia, the facto security presence SMC Benghazi.i this time, there are five agents site three based Benghazi and two traveling with Ambassador Stevens. According State Department account given Oct. there was nothing unusual outside the gates. 9:40 p.m. (3:40 p.m. ET): Gunfire and explosion are heard. TOC agent sees dozens armed people over security camera flowing through pedestrian gate the compounds main entrance. not clear how the gate was opened. The agent hits the alarm and alerts the CIA security team Global Response Staff former military special operations personnel supporting intelligence operations) the nearby Annex and the Libyan February Martyrs Brigade. The embassy Tripoli and the State Department command center were also alerted. State Department follows events real time listen-only, audio-only feed, according the testimony Charlene Lamb, the Deputy Assistant Director for International Programs, given before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee October 10, 2012. urgent request from the CIA Annex for military back-up during the attack the U.S. consulate and subsequent attack several hours later the annex itself was denied the CIA chain command -who also told the CIA operators twice stand down rather than help the ambassadors team when shots were heard approximately 9:40 p.m. Benghazi Sept. 11. Around p.m. p.m. ET): the compound, several agents leave get tactical gear from the residence. One stays with Ambassador Stevens and Information Officer Sean Smith. The mob sets fire the February Martyrs Brigade barracks site. DoS hired British firm, Blue Mountain, manage its security Benghazi, and Blue Mountain subcontracted the job local jihadist militia called the February Martyrs Brigade who have known Muslim Brotherhood ties. Furthermore, Nordstrom testified the October 11, 2012 Congressional hearings that deference sensitivity Libyan practice, the guards Benghazi were unarmed [emphasis added] inexplicable practice for place dangerous Benghazi. Agent Scott Strickland moves Ambassador Stevens and Sean Smith the closest area safe haven, the main residence. The other agents, currently residence and the TOC come under attack. The attackers get into the main residence, light furniture fire, then the buildings exterior. Ambassador Stevens, Sean Smith and Agent Strickland move the bathroom, but decide leave the safe haven because smoke. Agent Strickland goes out emergency escape window. Ambassador Stevens and Sean Smith not follow. Agent Strickland returns several times but cannot find them the overwhelming smoke. goes the roof and radios the other agents. Three agents return main residence via armored vehicle. They search and find Sean Smiths body, but not Ambassador Stevens. Secretary State Hillary Clinton told the incident shortly after began p.m., CBS News Margaret Brennan reported September 14, 2012. Clinton spoke the Libyan President Mohammed Magariaf enlist his full support. Meanwhile, the U.S. military began moving unarmed drone over Benghazi provide real-time intelligence the CIA team the ground. would take roughly hour arrive. 10:05 p.m. (4:05 p.m. ET): alert from the State Department Operations Center issued number government and intelligence agencies, including the White House Situation Room, the office the Director National Intelligence, and the FBI. Diplomatic Mission Benghazi Under Attack -approximately armed people fired shots; explosions have been heard well. Ambassador Stevens, who currently Benghazi, and four COM (Chief Mission/embassy) personnel are the compound safe haven.53 10:25 p.m. (4:25 p.m. ET): six-member CIA team arrives from the Annex with members the February Martyrs Brigade. The team removes Sean Smiths body. Around 10:30 p.m. (4:30 p.m. ET): Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and his top military adviser learn the incident. 10:54 p.m. (4:54 p.m. ET): alert from the State Department Operations Center: the firing... Benghazi has stopped. response team site attempting locate COM personnel. 11:00 p.m. (5:00 p.m. ET): Just ahead the weekly meeting with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Chairman Joint Chiefs, General Martin Dempsey, White House National Security Advisor Tom Donilon tells President Obama the attack and the fire the main villa. The president and those officials discuss possible responses the situation. the compound, the February Martyrs Brigade abandons its posts and withdraws. agents make final search for Ambassador Stevens and leave with the CIA team armored vehicle heading for the Annex, taking fire along the way. note, when CBS News Elizabeth Palmer visited the compound one several trips Libya, she found little evidence extensive firefight the compounds walls and main gate, likely indicating the fiercest fighting occurred away from the compound. Midnight (6:00 p.m. ET) Agents arrive the Annex, which receives sporadic small-arms fire and RPG rounds over roughly 90-minute period. The security team returns fire and the attackers disperse. Over the next two hours, Sec. Panetta holds series meetings and issues several orders: Two Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team (FAST) platoons stationed Rota, Spain prepare deploy one Benghazi and the other the Embassy Tripoli; special operations team Europe ordered move Sigonella, Sicily less than one hours flight away from Benghazi; additional special operations team based the U.S. ordered deploy Sigonella. 12:07 a.m. (6:07 p.m. ET): alert from the State Department Operations Center states that the U.S. Embassy Tripoli reports the Islamic military group Ansar al-Sharia Claims Responsibility for Benghazi Attack... Facebook and Twitter and has called for attack Embassy Tripoli. Around 12:30 a.m. (6:30 p.m. ET): six-man security team, including two Defense Department personnel, leave Embassy Tripoli for Benghazi. 1:30 a.m. (7:30 p.m. ET): The U.S. security team from Embassy Tripoli lands Benghazi and learn that the ambassador missing. They try arrange for transportation into town, with the goal locating Ambassador Stevens. 4:07 a.m. (10:07 p.m. ET): Secretary Clinton issues statement acknowledging the death one State Department officer. 5:00 a.m. (11:00 p.m.): second U.S. Predator drone arrives relieve the first. 5:15 a.m. (11:15 p.m. ET): The U.S. Regional Security Office Tripoli gets phone call from Arabicspeaking source that says Westerner has been found Benghazi and perhaps hospital. Its believed Ambassador Stevens. Transfer airport arranged. around the same time, the additional security team finds transportation from the airport under the escort the Libyan Shield, another local militia, but decides head the Annex after learning that Ambassador Stevens was almost certainly dead. Just after their arrival, the Annex takes mortar fire, sustaining three direct hits. The precision the attacks indicates level sophistication and coordination. Former U.S. Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty are killed the mortar assault; agent and Annex security member are severely wounded. After the mortar attack, about Americans evacuate the Annex and head the airport, with the assistance the Libyan security convoy. Ambassador Stevens confirmed dead later that morning. Libyan doctor told the Associated Press that Stevens died asphyxia, likely caused smoke inhalation.54 Around 7:40 a.m. (1:40 a.m. ET): Unable fit one plane, the first wave Americans consisting U.S. diplomats and civilians departs Benghazi and heads Tripoli, leaving behind security staff and bodies. Around 10:00 a.m. a.m. ET): The second flight leaves Benghazi for Tripoli with U.S. security members and bodies. The Aftermath the Attack September 12, 2012 (Morning ET): President Obama told Ambassador Stevens death. State Department alerts all diplomatic posts around the world review their security posture. Around 7:00 p.m. (1:00 p.m. ET): Americans are transported out Tripoli C-17 military aircraft, heading for Ramstein, Germany. Around 2:00 p.m. ET: President Obama departs for Las Vegas, Nevada and Aurora, Colorado for presidential campaign appearances.55 Around 8:00 p.m. (2:00 p.m. ET): U.S. Special Forces team arrives Sigonella, Sicily. Around 9:00 p.m. (3:00 p.m. ET): FAST platoon arrives Tripoli. 10:19 p.m. (4:19 p.m. ET) The C-17 carrying Stevens body and the other Americans arrives Ramstein. September 12, 2012: Secretary Clinton and President Obama issue statements condemning both the video and the attacks. September 12, 2012: U.S. intelligence agencies have enough evidence conclude terrorist attack was involved. September 13, 2012: Press Secretary Jay Carney condemns video and violence news conference. September 14, 2012: Carney denies Administration had actionable intelligence indicating that attack the U.S. mission Benghazi was planned imminent. September 14, 2012: The bodies slain Americans return Andrews Air Force Base. President Obama again blames the YouTube video. September 16, 2012: U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice appears Sunday talk shows and says the attacks were provoked the video, exclusively. September 16, 2012: Libyan President Mohamed Magarief says, doubt that this [attack] was preplanned, predetermined. September 17, 2012: State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland refuses call attacks act terror. September 19, 2012: CNN reports having found Ambassador Stevens diary, which indicates concern about security threats Benghazi. September 19, 2012: Director the National Counterterrorism Center Matthew Olsen tells Congress the attack Libya was terrorism. September 20, 2012: Carney says was self-evident that what happened Benghazi was terrorist attack. September 20, 2012: Obama refuses call attack terrorism, citing insufficient information. September 21, 2012: Secretary State Clinton, meeting with Pakistani Foreign Minister, says, What happened Benghazi was terrorist attack. September 25, 2012: ABC The View, Obama says, don have all the information yet are still gathering. September 25, 2012: the U.N. assembly, Obama blames crude and disgusting video sparked outrage throughout the Muslim world. September 26, 2012: Libya Magarief the Today show says, was preplanned act terrorism directed against American citizens. September 26, 2012: Published reports show U.S. Intel agencies and the Obama Administration knew within hours that al-Qaeda affiliated terrorist were involved.56 September 27, 2012: Innocence Muslims filmmaker Mark Basseley Youseff (aka Nakoula Basseley Nakoula) arrested and denied bail the charges probation violation. the first and only person (as publication date) imprisoned the United States Government the aftermath the Benghazi terrorist attacks. September 28, 2012: Director National Intelligence James Clapper, Jr., issues statement backing the Obama Administration changing story about the Libyan attack. the only recorded instance since least WWII when intelligence director office has weighed through public statement details event overseas that remains under investigation, during presidential election campaign.57 October 2012: Carney declines comment reported requests from diplomats Libya for additional security, citing the State Department internal investigation. Loose Ends and Unanswered Questions Almost immediately after the September terrorist attack Benghazi, the administration vowed bring those responsible justice. Speaking the White House Rose Garden the morning September 12, the President pledged, will not waver our commitment see that justice done for this terrible act. And make mistake, justice will done.58 The same day, then-Secretary State Clinton promised that she would not, rest until those responsible for these attacks are found and brought justice.59 Clinton left office less than five months after the attack. Since her departure, she has given, least fourteen paid talks, with audiences ranging from the American Society Travel Agents, the Economic Club Grand Rapids, the American Society for Clinical Pathology, Citizens United for Research Epilepsy nonprofit founded David Axelrods wife, Susan), and investor meeting private equity firm KKR.60 According published reports, Clinton commands fee $200,000 per paid speech putting her total earnings from such engagements since the Benghazi attack estimated million. Despite these vows swift justice, one has yet been arrested killed for participation the terrorist attack. This lack progress prompted eight members Congress (Representatives Jason Chaffetz, Darrell Issa, Trey Gowdy, and Jim Jordan and Senators John McCain, Kelly Ayotte, Lindsey Graham, and Ron Johnson) write letter incoming FBI Director James Comey calling the administrations progress the investigation simply unacceptable and asking the FBI investigate more aggressively.61 anticipate meaningful response from Mr. Comey the members. particular concern lawmakers the fact that CNN was able conduct interview Libya with Ahmed Abu Khattala July. Libyan officials identified Khattala the mastermind the attack early October.62 This prompted Rep. Chaffetz ask, CNN was able and talk one the suspected terrorists, how come the military hasnt been able get after them and capture kill the people? How come the FBI isnt doing this and yet CNN is?63 There are also questions regarding the FBIs urgency launching its investigation into the attack. The first team FBI agents didnt arrive Benghazi until October 2012 three weeks after the attack. The administration blamed this delay the Libyan government, which claims was slow granting approval for the agents travel.64 has been revealed multiple sources, however, that the delay was actually the result the State Departments failure request military protection for the agents.65 the time they arrived, the burned-out SMC and Annex had reportedly been thoroughly ransacked. addition, sources reported the Associated Press that the agents and their accompanying team Special Forces personnel spent merely hours the ground Benghazi.66 The delayed response and the limited amount time agents spent the crime scene almost certainly complicated their efforts identify and locate the individuals involved the attack. May 21, 2013, was reported that the FBI had identified total individuals believed have been involved the attack and was, considering options bring those responsible justice.67 The Bureau has also released poster with the photos individuals about whom seeking information relation the attack.68 August apparent reaction this criticism from Congress, the President unexpectedly announced that sealed indictment had been filed against unknown number suspects for their involvement the Benghazi attack.69 While the names the suspects have not been released, published report indicate that the investigation focused on, one two individuals associated with the al-Qaeda affiliate Ansar al-Shariah.70 According official sources, one the indicted suspects Abu Khattala.71 Congress has also been seeking answers the key unresolved question why the assault the SMC prompted visible response the U.S. military. part that inquiry, members Congress sought the testimony Marine Col. George Bristol. the time the attack Benghazi, Col. Bristol was the commander Joint Special Operations Task Force-Trans Sahara based Stuttgart, Germany the unit likely have been utilized for any such response. response, the Department Defense claimed that would not made available testify because had retired. was subsequently discovered that the Departments claim was untrue, and that Col. Bristol was, fact, active duty until the end July.72 The Pentagon attributed the false claim administrative error.73 Bristol eventually testified before closed session the House Intelligence Committee late July. The administration has also reportedly undertaken concerted effort keep government personnel who were the ground Benghazi the night the attack from testifying Congress providing information the media. July, Rep. Frank Wolf reported the House floor that, According trusted sources that have contacted office, many not all the survivors the Benghazi attacks along with others the Department Defense, the CIA have been asked directed sign additional non-disclosure agreements about their involvement the Benghazi attacks. Some these new NDAs, they call them, have been told were signed recently this summer.74 addition, CNN revealed early August that, the CIA involved what one source calls unprecedented attempt keep the spy agencys Benghazi secrets from ever leaking out.75 The report continues: Since January, some CIA operatives involved the agencys missions Libya, have been subjected frequent, even monthly polygraph examinations, according source with deep inside knowledge the agencys workings. The goal the questioning, according sources, find out anyone talking the media Congress. being described pure intimidation, with the threat that any unauthorized CIA employee who leaks information could face the end his her career. exclusive communications obtained CNN, one insider writes, You dont jeopardize yourself, you jeopardize your family well. Another says, You have idea the amount pressure being brought bear anyone with knowledge this operation. For its part, the CIA has denied that attempting prevent potential Congressional witnesses and whistleblowers from providing what they know about Benghazi. One remaining question about the Benghazi scandal that has received scant attention why Ambassador Stevens was the city the first place. The official version, provided the report the State Departments Accountability Review Board, that, his visit was timed part fill the staffing gaps between TDY principal officers well open American Corner local school and reconnect with local contacts.76 remarks before the United Nations, President Obama claimed that Stevens had, traveled Benghazi review plans establish new cultural center and modernize hospital.77 those explanations are accurate, they raise the question why engaged such seemingly routine and non-essential travel Benghazi time when the security situation was deteriorating rapidly. outlined above, there had been numerous attacks against western targets including the SMC itself the months preceding the September attack. Weeks earlier, the Regional Security Officer had warned that the SMC could not defended the event coordinated attack, due limited manpower, security measures, weapons capabilities, host nation support, and the overall size the compound.78 August 2012 report the Federal Research Division the Library Congress concluded that Qaeda leadership Pakistan had deployed senior operatives Libya wage jihad.79 September 10, al-Qaeda emir Ayman Zawahiri released video encouraging martyrdom the Islamist fight against the West: Al-Qaeda, truth, message the Islamic Ummah jihad, resist and stand the external Zionist-Crusader oppression and the domestic corruption. The martyrdom the mujahedeen al-Qaeda and its commanders gives credibility and acceptance its message. Every time our blood flows for our belief, our words come alive our Ummah. Every time martyrs fall, then the call jihad gets new life. And every time the spirit jihad spreads, the end nears for the arrogance and mightiness the evil empire, America.80 Though Zawahiri did not explicitly reference Libya the video, his call martyrdom was made the context eulogy for Abu Yahya Libi, Libyan-born Qaeda leader and propagandist killed U.S. drone strike three months earlier. was member the Qaeda-affiliated Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), which fought for the overthrow Muammar Gaddafi during the Libyan uprising. Abu Yahya Libis brother, Abd al-Wahhab Muhammad Qaid (a/k/a Abu Idris Libi), was senior LIFG member and currently the director the National Border Guard for southern Libya under the new Libyan governments Ministry Defense and member the Libyan parliament.81 result, Zawahiris message would have had particular significance for Qaedas Libyan affiliates call avenge Abu Yahya Libis death. turns out, one the suspects believed have been involved the attack the SMC, Faraj Chalabi, long-time member the LIFG.82 Chalabi was detained Libya March, but was released from custody June. Nevertheless, U.S. officials have stated that they have evidence linking him the attack.83 Finally, Ambassador Stevens own words the days before the attack reflect his awareness not only the deteriorating security situation Benghazi but the fact that himself was target. The week after the attack, CNN reported that source familiar with Ambassador Stevens thinking had reported that, the months before his death, the Ambassador talked about his concerns about the rise Islamic extremism, the growing Qaeda presence Libya and said was Qaeda hit list.84 Days later, the network was forced admit that the source was really the Ambassadors personal diary, which journalist had located the floor the burned-out compound shortly after the attack. Then-Secretary State Hilary Clinton responded the report, claiming that there was, absolutely information reason believe there any basis for the report that Stevens was hit list.85 Then, June 2013, portions the diary were published the web site SOFREP.com.86 The publication verified the CNN report-- shortly before the attack, the Ambassador wrote, Islamist hit list Benghazi. targeted. This directly conflicts with Clintons denial, leaving only two possibilities. Either the Secretary State knew that Qaeda had targeted the ambassador assassination target and deliberately lied about it, the ambassador knew that was targeted for assassination and failed communicate that threat the State Department. the administrations effort portray the attack the SMC random, unforeseeable act, she would certainly prefer for the public believe the latter. summary, Ambassador Stevens knew that the security situation Benghazi was perilous, that the SMC would likely unable repel terrorist attack, that Qaedas second-in-command had issued call jihad avenge the death the organizations most famous Libyan operative, that had been specifically targeted for assassination Islamist terrorists, and, course, that was the anniversary the attacks September 11, 2001. And, are believe that the Ambassadors presence the opening cultural center and his review plans for the remodeling hospital were important enough for him travel Benghazi light these threats. The seeming incongruity this theory has led many informed observers conclude that the Ambassador was Benghazi for much more significant and sensitive purpose. Specifically, growing body evidence suggests that the personnel assigned the SMC and the CIA Annex Benghazi were actively involved the transfer weapons from Libya the rebels battling Bashar Assads government Syria. Catherine Herridge FoxNews first examined this theory explosive October 25, 2012 report. Fox discovered that Libyan-flagged shipping vessel, Al-Entisar (Victory) arrived the Turkish port Iskenderun miles from the Syrian border September 6.87 September report the Times London previously identified the Entisar the vessel that ferried 400 tons supplies, including unknown number weapons, Syrian rebel forces. According the Times London report, the shipment resulted fight between Muslim Brotherhood and Free Syrian Army forces over who would receive the weapons. The ships arrival port came just four days after surprise visit Turkey then-CIA Director David Petraeus.88 Though still unconfirmed, the groundwork for such weapons smuggling operation the U.S. government seems have been laid via secret order signed President Obama. The order, first reported Reuters August 2012, authorizes the CIA and other agencies provide, support for rebels seeking depose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his government.89 Libya has long served marketplace for arms. According authors Jack Murphy and Brandon Webb (the editors SOFREP.com): What also clear from Stevens cable [as Deputy Chief Mission 2007] the astonishing amount arms and ammunition flooding into Libya during Gaddafi last years power vast weapons cache that could potentially outfit internal extremist elements should the dictator fall. Indeed, behind the scenes, numerous weapons deals were being made between the Gaddafi regime, arms manufacturers, and various foreign governments, some instances violation international law. one cable Stevens describes how York Guns the United Kingdom was brokering deal between Libya People Committee for Defense and unknown Ukrainian arms manufacturer for 130,000 Kalashnikov pattern rifles. Stevens also notes that the Italian media reported 2007 that several weapons traffickers had been arrested for arranging deal that would have delivered one million Chinese-made rifles Libya, with further ten million rounds ammunition. the time, Libya had standing army just 60,000 troops.90 There may have been additional points friction between the diplomatic efforts Ambassador Stevens and Obama administration covert arms transfers Syrian Qaeda rebels, Murphy and Webb report that, Ambassador Stevens did not see eye eye with White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan when came unilateral military action, which Stevens saw counterproductive his mission Libya. Murphy and Webb maintain that there was secret war Libya being conducted CIA and Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) covert operators, largely unreported, and that the JSOC expedition into Libya late summer 2012, which ultimately led the attack the consulate.92 Murphy and Webb maintain the secret war was orchestrated John Brennan (then Deputy National Security Advisor for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism end-run the normal chain-of-command, and with his sights set killing Ezedin Abdel Aziz Khalil, also known Yasin Al-Suri, one the last high-level operatives President Obama kill list.93 Whatever covert operations the U.S. Government running Libya arm the Syrian rebels pursuant President Obama order, its increasingly clear that Turkey plays key role. Reuters reported five weeks before the attack: U.S. government source acknowledged that under provisions the presidential finding, the United States was collaborating with secret command center operated Turkey and its allies. Last week, Reuters reported that, along with Saudi Arabia and Qatar, Turkey had established secret base near the Syrian border help direct vital military and communications support Assads opponents. This nerve center Adana, city southern Turkey about miles from the Syrian border, which also home Incirlik, U.S. air base where U.S. military and intelligence agencies maintain substantial presence. Turkeys moderate Islamist government has been demanding Assads departure with growing vehemence. Turkish authorities are said current and former U.S. government officials increasingly involved providing Syrian rebels with training and possibly equipment. Tuesday, NBC News reported that the Free Syrian Army had obtained nearly two dozen surface-to-air missiles, weapons that could used against Assads helicopters and fixed-wing aircraft. Syrian government armed forces have employed such air power more extensively recent days. NBC said the shoulder-fired missiles, also known MANPADs, had been delivered the rebels via Turkey. also known that the number Central Intelligence Agency personnel Benghazi the night the attack was far greater than was originally disclosed. The ARB report claims that, there were eight Americans the Special Mission compound September 10-11, 2012, including the Ambassador; Information Management Officer (IMO) Sean Smith, who arrived Benghazi one week earlier provide TDY communications and management support; and five Diplomatic Security (DS) agents (three assigned short-term TDY Benghazi TDY RSO ARSO and ARSO and the two who traveled from Tripoli provide protection for the Ambassador during his visit ARSO and ARSO The eighth American, the TDY Benghazi principal officer, completed his 13-day assignment and returned his full-time job Tripoli the morning September 11, leaving seven Americans the compound. However, making this claim, the ARBs authors seem carefully parse the distinction between the SMC itself and the Annex, which was also attacked and known have been CIA facility. The ARB report fails mention CIA staffing all. However, August 2013 nearly months after the attack CNN reported that the agency had dozens people Benghazi that night, and that the agency going great lengths make sure whatever was doing, remains secret.95 The activities Ambassador Stevens the day the attack also raise questions regarding possible weapons transfer operation being conducted out the SMC Benghazi. According Ambassador Stevens diary, held four meetings September 11, 2012. The first was with Naeem Jabril, Libyan appellate court judge, and another was with Fatih Baja, academic and politician who represented Benghazi the National Transitional Council. Between those two meetings, Stevens met with Mahmoud El-Mufti, the owner Libya-based shipping company Al-Marfa.96 The diary provides details the meeting, but El-Mufti has official position known relationship the government Libya. Stevens final meeting the day was with Ali Akin, the Turkish Consul General Benghazi. That meeting ended very shortly before the attack the SMC commenced. So, while the official version events holds that the Ambassador was Benghazi for routine meetings and the opening cultural center, seems clear that was working something undisclosed that involved both Turkey and cargo shipments. Sen. Rand Paul questioned then-Secretary State Hilary Clinton about the possible role the U.S. transferring weapons the Syrian rebels via Turkey during January 2013 Congressional hearing. The Secretary essentially professed ignorance that such allegation had even been made, declined answer, and referred questions regarding the matter the CIA: Sen. Paul: question is, the involved with any procuring weapons, transfer weapons, buying, selling, anyhow transferring weapons Turkey out Libya? Clinton: Turkey? will have take that question for the record. Nobodys ever raised that with me. Sen. Paul: Its been news reports that ships have been leaving from Libya and that they may have weapons. And what like know the Annex that was close by, were they involved procuring, buying selling, obtaining weapons, and were any these weapons being transferred other countries-- any countries, Turkey included? Clinton: Well, Senator, youll have direct that question the agency that ran the Annex. will see what information available, and-- Sen. Paul: Youre saying you dont know? Clinton: not know. dont have any information that.97 What difference does make? The administration has also been stonewalling Congressional efforts investigate the attack Benghazi and the development the infamous talking points utilized Ambassador Susan Rice during her television appearances the weekend after the attack. Secretary Clinton was originally scheduled testify before the House Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee regarding Benghazi December 20; however, three days before that scheduled appearance, she reportedly suffered concussion after fainting from flu-induced dehydration. State Department spokesperson described her condition the time not severe.98 Nevertheless, her testimony was delayed more than month and eventually came just week before her departure Secretary State. During that testimony, Clinton infamously downplayed the significance the administrations initial, subsequently debunked claim that the attack was prompted outrage over the Innocence Muslims video: Sen. Ron Johnson: Again, again were mislead that there were supposedly protests and something then sprang out that, assault sprang out that, and that was easily ascertained that that was not the fact, and the American people couldve known that within days and they didnt know that. Secretary Clinton: With all due respect, the fact had four dead Americans. Was because protest was because guys out for walk one night who decided theyd kill some Americans? What difference this point does make? our job figure out what happened and everything can prevent from ever happening again Senator.99 During testimony before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee May, Gregory Hicks, the State Departments Deputy Chief Mission Libya the time the attack, vehemently disagreed with Clintons statement. Hicks assessment, the administrations mischaracterization the motivations for the attack, negatively affected our ability get the FBI team quickly Benghazi.100 Questions that make difference Finally, for the past several months, Representative Frank Wolf (VA-10) has proposed the creation bipartisan House Select Committee fully investigate the terrorist attack the Benghazi SMC and the Annex. The track record various committees the House getting the whole truth concerning Benghazi has been poor. Five different House committees have, each their own way, conducted disjointed, uncoordinated inquiries. Once the press conferences and television sound bites are over, the American public left with little meaningful follow through the five committees. single Select Committee appears the best forum for the American people ever learn the truth. Survivors and other knowledgeable government officials would finally able come forward and testify without fear retribution and reprisal. national disgrace and abject failure leadership across our entire government that after year investigations not one the survivors nor single Obama administration official responsible for the decision not send assistance the Americans trapped Benghazi that night have been compelled testify under oath before Congress. The proposed Select Committee would have subpoena power and the authority take sworn depositions. Those powerful legal tools have way focusing the attention persons who might wish forget Benghazi phony scandal. Rep. Wolf has introduced House Resolution (H. Res. 36), Establishing select committee investigate and report the attack the United States consulate Benghazi, Libya. 101 The proposed legislation has been endorsed the mother Sean Smith; members the Special Operations community; the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association; the editorial page The Wall Street Journal; and, other notable organizations and institutions. Rep. Wolf has twelve (12) Questions the Day that offered from the House floor July and August 2013.102 They serve excellent recap the important questions asked this Judicial Watch Special Report: Question the Day #1: Where are the Benghazi survivors? Question the Day #2: Which agency was responsible for vetting the Libyan security guards the U.S. consulate? Question the Day #3: How many Benghazi survivors were forced sign NonDisclosure agreements? Question the Day #4: Why havent applied pressure countries refusing allow the FBI access the terrorists responsible for the attack? Question the Day #5: Why was the CIAs security team repeatedly ordered stand down after the attack began? Question the Day #6: Why did Gen. [Carter] Ham speak publicly about the militarys response forum Aspen, Colorado where tickets start $1,200 yet his testimony before Congress was behind closed doors? Question the Day #7: Ambassador Stevens made several calls for help nearby consulates. Which foreign consulates did call? How did those consulates respond? Question the Day #8: What happened Washington the night the attack and the days follow? Question the Day #9: Who are the anonymous senior administration officials who admitted mistakes their handling the attack CBS News? Question the Day #10: Why was there facility operated the CIA Benghazi? Question the Day #11: Who the White House knew what was going the CIA Annex Benghazi? Question the Day #12: Why are these heroes being told not talk? What the administration afraid of? What protecting? Way Forward How Americans arrive the truth and get accountability Demand accountability. You are owed direct, clear answers from your elected officials who are more than trusted servants. incumbent upon you communicate your desire for straight answers from your members Congress both the House and the Senate and from the President and his administration. persistent. Politicians hope you forget, move the next issue. not allow government officials dodge, delay and obfuscate. matter the passage time weeks, months even years stick your principles and get the answers you are owed from the responsible officials. Support Judicial Watch. are your watchdog for accountability government, politics and the law. Our efforts uncovering the truth what happened both the ground Benghazi and the halls power Washington, have been second-tonone. ask tough questions, demand answers, investigate, analyze, report and litigate. persistent, fearless, non-partisan, and never forget. 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