Why did Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans die in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012? We now know that President Obama, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and then-CIA Director David Petraeus were likely behind a mishandled gun-trafficking program that ended up arming the radical jihadist rebels who stormed the U.S. consulate and CIA annex in Benghazi, Libya on that fateful day.
Our CIA is still playing the role of vetting which Syrian rebel groups will obtain arms including machine guns, ammunition, and rocket-propelled grenades. While Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Turkey are directly purchasing the weaponry, the Obama administration is aiding the Arab governments in shopping for these arms and transferring them from Libya, to Turkey, and finally into Syria.
Unfortunately the CIA has “vetted” shady intermediaries (including Syria’s Muslim Brotherhood) and shady recipients of thousands of tons worth of military equipment and millions of rounds of ammo. Consequently, weapons have fallen into the wrong hands. In the case of Benghazi, anti-tank weapons appear to have landed in the hands of terrorists.
Now, Clinton is denying even knowing about the program, although the evidence indicates it was largely her idea. Of course everything happened under Obama’s watch and the buck stops with him. The story of Obama’s gun-running program in Benghazi is long and multifarious, so I will break down the timeline for you:
May 26, 2012: Stevens arrives in Tripoli, the capitol city of Libya and sets up camp at the U.S. embassy.
Last summer, Clinton first proposed a plan to then-CIA Director David Petraeus to partner on a gun-trafficking program to arm the Syrian resistance and “vet the rebel groups, and train fighters who would be supplied with weapons,” according to The New York Times.
June of 2012: The New York Times reports that the CIA is operating a secret arms transfer program that sounds exactly like the plan Clinton developed with Petraeus. Suddenly, there is: “…an influx of weapons and ammunition to the rebels.”
September 5, 2012: A Libyan ship called Al Entisar (“The Victory”) docks in the Turkish port of Iskenderun, carrying 400 tons of cargo including many weapons such as rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) and shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles (MANPADS) destined for Syrian rebels 35 miles away from Iskenderun. The ship’s captain told the Times of London that the Muslim Brotherhood and the free Syrian Army broke into a fight over the arms.
September 10, 2012: Stevens arrives in Benghazi, Libya, the location of the U.S. consulate. About a mile away from the consulate, is the CIA annex. Stevens planned to stay at the consulate for five days. His visit was supposed to be secret, but Libya-based extremists somehow learned of his arrival.
September 11, 2012: Stevens has an unusual meeting with Turkish diplomat Consul General Ali Sait Akin. Fox News reported that the meeting was “…to negotiate a weapons transfer, an effort to get SA-7 missiles out of the hands of Libya-based extremists.”
Sen. Lindsey Graham confirmed on Fox News Channel’s “Special Report with Bret Baier” that Stevens was in Libya to specifically control a situation: “…where the action was regarding the rising Islamic extremists who were trying to get their hands on weapons that were flowing freely in Libya…”
9:40 p.m. (Libya time): Libyan rebels launched and organized an armed attack against the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi.
10:04 p.m. CIA base chief at the nearby CIA annex calls for help including 50-caliber machine guns and vehicles from the Libyan intelligence, the 17 February Brigade and other Libyan militias. After 24 minutes of calls and no response, the CIA base chief takes a small team of seven people to the consulate. They were too late to save Stevens, but were able to save some State Department personnel.
11:56 p.m. CIA officers and the State Department members are seeking safety back at the CIA annex. There, rebels attack them with rocket-propelled grenades. Fighting continues on until 5:26 a.m.
6:00 a.m. Libyan forces suddenly arrive to “aid” the American team with 50 vehicles.
It is odd that the annex was attacked with same sort of weapons on the Libyan ship and that Stevens was reportedly in Benghazi to manage some sort of arms transfer.
Sen. Rand Paul said on Aaron Klein Radio: “First of all with regard to Benghazi, I think it’s important [to determine more about the apparent gun-running program] because it may have something to do with why the compound was attacked. If we were involved with shipping guns to Turkey, there was a report that a ship left from Libya towards Turkey and that there were arms on it in the week preceding this [attack]; there were reports that our ambassador was meeting with the Turkish attaché, so I think with regards to figuring out what happened at Benghazi, it’s very important to know whether or not the CIA annex had anything to do with facilitating guns being sent to Turkey and ultimately to Syria. With regard to arming the rebels, just this week in the armed services committee, General Dempsey, the [Chairman of the] Joint Chiefs of Staff said that we were no longer able to distinguish who the good guys were from the bad guys and that sounds pretty worrisome if we are actually arming people who in the end may be enemies of America…enemies of Israel… enemies maybe of the Christians who live within Syria...sending arms to a rebel force to that may include Al-Nusra and other radical jihadists.”
Here’s my concern: Obama’s gun-running program failed to properly vet the rebels. Clinton most likely launched the gun program, expected Stevens to oversee it and then her weapons likely landed in the hands of al-Qaida affiliates who killed Stevens and three other Americans. This is a tragic failure of foreign policy and diplomacy under Obama’s watch.