An Interim Report by: The Citizens’ Commission On Benghazi
Since its initial September 2013 conference, the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi has launched a months-long investigation into the causes and elements involved in the Benghazi, Libya attacks of September 11, 2012. This research, which involves interviews with several knowledgeable sources, has led the CCB to conclude 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.
Summary of Findings:
The war in Libya was unnecessary, served no articulable U.S. national security objective, and led to preventable chaos region-wide.
In the period since the 2011 revolution in Libya, the country has remained fragmented, poorly governed, and overrun with violent militias, the majority of which are jihadist Al Qa’eda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) affiliates. Yet, at the time of his overthrow, Muammar Qaddafi was an ally of the United States in the Global War on Terror.
On 17 March 2011 the United Nations Security Council passed resolution 1973 for a “No Fly Zone,” ostensibly to protect Libyan civilians caught up in the hostilities between Libyan government forces and the rebel forces, which were dominated by the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qa’eda. The following day in London, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced U.S. government support for the Brotherhood-led Libyan Transitional National Council in its revolt against Qaddafi.
The Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi (CCB) has discovered, however, that the ensuing civil war may well have been avoided, had the U.S. chosen to permit it. Within days of that declaration of U.S. government support for the Libyan rebels, Qaddafi sought to enter into negotiations with the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) under a flag of truce for the purpose of discussing his possible abdication and exile. On 21 March 2011, Rear Admiral (ret.) Chuck Kubic began email and telephone contact between Tripoli and AFRICOM Stuttgart regarding the possibility of talks under a white flag of truce. Over the following days, Qaddafi expressed interest in a truce, and possible abdication and exile out of Libya. He even pulled his forces back from several Libyan cities as a sign of good faith.
RADM Kubic telephoned LTC Brian Linvill, the U.S. AFRICOM point of contact for all military matters regarding the Libyan situation, to advise him of Qaddafi’s desire to enter into military-to-military discussions. General Carter Ham was advised immediately on 21 March 2011 of these communications and conveyed them up his chain of command to the Pentagon. After two days of back-and-forth with the Libyans, however, General Ham had received no positive affirmation of consent from Washington, D.C. to pursue Qaddafi’s offer. The war continued and ultimately cost tens of thousands of lives. The U.S. Failure to even consider Qaddafi’s request for talks, and its determination to enter and pursue this war in support of al-Qa’eda-linked rebels, presents the appearance of a policy intent upon empowering Islamic forces with no measurable benefit to U.S. national security.
Changing sides in the War on Terror:
Even more disturbingly, the U.S. was fully aware of and facilitating the delivery of weapons to the al-Qa’eda-dominated rebel militias throughout the 2011 rebellion. The jihadist agenda of AQIM, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG), and other Islamic terror groups represented among the rebel forces was well known to U.S. officials responsible for Libya policy. The rebels made no secret of their al-Qa’eda affiliation, openly flying and speaking in front of the black flag of Islamic jihad, according to author John Rosenthal and multiple media reports. And yet, the White House and senior Congressional members deliberately and knowingly pursued a policy that provided material support to terrorist organizations in order to topple a ruler who had been working closely with the West actively to suppress al-Qa’eda. The result in Libya, across much of North Africa, and beyond has been utter chaos, disruption of Libya’s oil industry, the spread of dangerous weapons (including surface-to-air missiles), and the empowerment of jihadist organizations like al-Qa’eda and the Muslim Brotherhood.
The Weapons Flow:
An American citizen source trusted by the CCB who has long experience in the Middle East described the flow of weapons from Qatar to the Libyan rebels and the diversion of some of those arms. After Qaddafi’s regime had been ousted, a delegation from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) traveled to Libya to collect payment for the weapons the UAE had financed and Qatar had delivered to the Transitional National Council (TNC) during the war. The UAE delegation was seeking $1 billion it claimed was owed. During their visit to Tripoli, the UAE officials discovered that half of the $1 billion worth of weapons it had financed for the rebels had, in fact, been diverted by Mustafa Abdul Jalil, the Muslim Brotherhood head of the Libyan TNC, and sold to Qaddafi. Furthermore, according to information learned during the UAE visit to Tripoli, when Jalil learned that Major General Abdel Fatah Younis, Qaddafi’s former Minister of the Interior before his late February 2011 defection to the rebel forces, had found out about the weapons diversion, he ordered Abu Salim Abu Khattala, leader of the Abu Obeida Bin al-Jarrah brigade to kill him. Abu Khattala, later identified as the Ansar al- Shariah commander who led the 11 September 2012 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, accepted the orders and directed the killing of Gen. Younis in July 2011.
The key significance of this episode is the demonstration of a military chain-of-command relationship between the Libyan Muslim Brotherhood leadership of the TNC and the al- Qa’eda-affiliated militia (Ansar al-Shariah) that has been named responsible for the attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi. Abu Khattala is under a Department of Justice sealed indictment. His brigade merged into Ansar al-Shariah in 2012, and he was positively identified to the FBI in a cell-phone photo from the scene of the attack, yet remains free and available for interviews to the media.
The White House Cover-Up:
Despite the several ongoing Congressional investigations, as well as the State Department’s Accountability Review Board (ARB) report, the American people are no closer to knowing exactly what happened in Benghazi and why than they were on 12 September 2012. The Congressional committees have pursued their work in closed-door sessions as well as open testimony, but in a disjointed and uncoordinated fashion that has been stymied by administration stonewalling and the five minute rule that severely curtails members’ ability to pursue a full and fair investigation. CCB members have signed two letters to Speaker John Boehner demanding the creation of a Select Committee to address these problems.
The CCB conducted an extensive research effort into the elements and sequence of the administration’s two-week campaign to falsely claim that a protest had preceded the attack on our Benghazi mission, and their efforts to blame a YouTube video for the attack. The White House campaign 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), who all joined in condemnation of the video, and, even more troubling, issued calls for restrictions on Americans’ free speech rights.
The FOIA Investigation:
We have also begun our own investigation into the events surrounding September 11, 2012 through the use of the Freedom of Information Act request process. To date, Accuracy in Media and the CCB Members have filed 85 FOIA requests to the Department of State, Department of Defense, Central Intelligence Agency and Federal Bureau of Investigation. These requests can be seen at http://www.aim.org/benghazi/freedom-of-information-act-requests/. Major Questions asked include requests to produce:
• [The] September 15th or 16th FBI 302 Interview Reports, and corresponding handwritten notes, of interviews conducted in Germany of United States personnel who had been in the Benghazi mission and the Benghazi CIA annex during the September 11th and 12th attacks on those facilities.
• Any and all videos depicting the United States Consulate in Benghazi, Libya (including the Special Mission Compound and the Annex) between September 10, 2012 and September 12, 2012. This request includes, but is not limited to (1) all videos and photographs obtained, transmitted, or recorded via any unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and (2) video of closed-circuit television monitor at the Benghazi Mission facility’s Tactical Operations Center on September 11th and 12th, 2013.
• All records generated between September 11, 2012 and the present, by survivors of the September 11th and 12th attacks on the Benghazi mission and the Benghazi CIA Annex, or by any person regarding the survivors’ accounts of the attack.
• Non-Disclosure Agreements signed by survivors of the Benghazi attacks, including employees or contractors of the CIA or DO
Continue reading this report here: How America Switched Sides in the War on Terror
TLB Highly recommends you visit Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi for more pertinent articles and information.