What exactly were we doing in Benghazi anyway?

As our Lady Liberty reported yesterday, General Petraeus’ alleged mistress, Paula Broadwell, told an audience last month that the American CIA was using the Benghazi annex of the US Consulate to detain al-Qaeda prisoners from Libya as well as from other areas in Africa.  The CIA has denied these claims of course, but Fox News is now reporting that independent sources have confirmed that the CIA had been holding at least three Libyans prisoner in the annex “for days” before the September 11 attack.

This revelation, combined with an analysis of events that have transpired within the region during the last several months, has led to speculation about what the United States was trying to do in Libya in the wake of the overthrow of Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.  Dr. Stephen Bryen lays out the scenario in this article, published by Pajamas Media.

The speculative storyline goes something like this:  The US wants Gaddafi out of power in Libya but doesn’t know what group of “rebels” it should trust.  With the help of Syrian “rebels” the US finds a group of Libyan rebels it believes are trustworthy.  The US realizes that the ouster of Gaddafi will present a serious regional security risk, since Gaddafi had a considerable cache of weapons at his disposal including thousands of MANPADS (shoulder-launched anti-aircraft missiles).   And the US had, according to official sources, no “boots on the ground” in Libya at the time of Gaddafi’s death.  So how does the US secure those weapons?

Here’s where the story gets interesting: in exchange for help from the Libyan rebels with locating and securing Qadaffi’s weapons, speculation has now arisen that the US allowed a controlled flow of some of those weapons between the Libyan rebels and the rebels fighting in Syria.  But here’s the hitch – both groups of rebels are somehow affiliated with al-Qaeda.  Perhaps dealing with the devil was the only feasible way to obtain at least some measure of security with regard to Gaddafi’s left-over weapons.  Or maybe the Obama administration felt that by extending an olive branch to al-Qaeda affiliated rebels who were fighting a common enemy (Gaddafi) they could somehow use this relationship to lessen the threat of the al-Qaeda activity that has been brewing for years in Africa.

Whatever the reasons, it seems that the situation soon spiraled out of control.  A Syrian government plane was reportedly downed by a shoulder-launched missile in August.  It’s not unreasonable to assume that if the US suddenly tried to halt the arms flow between Libya and Syria, radical factions within al-Qaeda would react.  Throw in the possibility that the Benghazi annex was being used by the CIA to house al-Qaeda prisoners, and you have the perfect scenario for an al-Qaeda attack.  The potential presence of MANPADS would also explain why the US was so hesitant to send aircraft into the area to thwart the attack and save its personnel.  A replay of the botched 1980 attempt by the Carter Administration to rescue the Iranian hostages would have been a disaster for the Obama Administration less than a month before the presidential election.

There are certainly enough pieces of evidence that don’t quite add up, based on official explanations offered by the CIA, the State Department, and the White House.  We need answers, because right now “Smart Diplomacy” seems to be huge misnomer for what the Administration has been doing in the Middle East.

ADDED: I neglected to mention that a secret arms deal with Syrian rebels directly contradicts the official US position, which was clearly that the US would not arm Syrian rebels.  If this speculation turns out to be true, the Obama Administration will now have to face its own “Iran-Contra” scandal.  No wonder Hillary is resigning.

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  • herddog505

    This is rich. So, we’ve got a potential replay of some of the Greatest Hits of the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s:

    — US consulate gets taken over / out by Muslim extremists a la Jimmuh;

    — US doing some sort of under-the-table arms trading a la Iran-Contra;

    — Sex scandal (at least Petraeus has better taste in women than Slick did)

    Somebody should ask Barry about the price of a loaf of bread, or ask Biden to spell potato (or his own name, for that matter).

    Say… if the CIA WAS running a sooper-sekrit torture prison in Benghazi, will lefties suddenly be OK with that sort of thing as they became OK with drone strikes and Gitmo on Jan 20, 2009?

    • Commander_Chico

      True, this is like a wrap-up of all of the kinds of shady bullshit that gets the USA into trouble. When the Natives object and fight back, it gets played as “the terrorists hate us for our freedom” and all of the stuff leading up to the “revolt” gets ignored. Grabbing people off of the street and throwing them into secret prisons, smuggling weapons to Salafi “insurgents” to overthrow the government of Syria, what could go wrong?

      I guess the converse of your question should also be asked: the CIA’s been running secret prisons since 2001. Is it only a problem with you now?

      But if righties are against it now, I’ll welcome them.

      • herddog505

        Oh, no: it’s not and has never been a problem with me that CIA might not be playing it according to Hoyle with terrorists.

        The question that amuses me is whether or not this will bother lefties if it indeed turns out that CIA was being mean to innocent goatherders in Benghazi. My guess is, aside from pro forma tut-tutting, it won’t. Barry, you see, can do no wrong.

        • Commander_Chico

          Sounds like you are in favor of what was being done.

          I’ll add (again) it was ridiculous in Michael’s article to mention the Iran hostage rescue attempt in the context of Benghazi. Operation Eagle Claw involved lengthy planning time and significant forces – neither of which was available in Benghazi within 420 minutes.

          • 914

            Some live weapons would have helped. But apparently loaded weapons are taboo to leftists. Unless it’s Cartels and Jihadist that is.

          • Hank_M

            Good point.

          • GarandFan

            “I’ll add (again) it was ridiculous in Michael’s article to mention the
            Iran hostage rescue attempt in the context of Benghazi. Operation Eagle

            Really? Election coming up. Consulate under attack. Do we save their bacon by scrambling jets from Italy? Then someone says, “Remember Desert One?”. Not a stretch at all. How many times did Barry pass on hitting OBL before he finally okay’d it?

          • Commander_Chico

            The nearest jets were in Aviano, and they and their crews were not on alert. No longer worry about the USSR attacking. So “scramble” is not an appropriate word.

            More like: “Who’s the SDO? Activate the unit recall. See if you can find some pilots and aircrew who haven’t been drinking tonight, call them up and have them rush in. Who’s got the keys to the ordnance? I want 20 JBUs, etc. . . . Preflight some birds . call in the fuel crew. . etc” You get the picture. NCA/SECDEF asked about this, decided it wasn’t feasible. Remember, two out of the four were dead within the first three hours.

          • GarandFan

            The days of things like Taffy 3 are definitely behind us.

          • “Remember, two out of the four were dead within the first three hours.”

            Oh, well, in that case, let’s then take the tack of Markos Moulitsas: “Screw them.”

          • 914

            “Remember, two out of the four were dead within the first three hours.”

            Oh, thanks! Feel much better about them being unarmed now..

          • Sources please?

  • Hank_M

    Excellent write-up, Michael.

    What WERE we doing in Benghazi and what exactly does Patraeus know?

    There are way too many questions about this fiasco and suddenly no one is available to testify? Hillary is in Australia and Patraeus has to suddenly resign just
    before testifying?

    Still, expect the MSM to focus like a laser beam on the sex-scandal aspect.
    It’s the best way to avoid the real questions and divert attention away from Obama.

    • SteveCrickmore075

      Petraeus was one of the last holdovers of the Bush regime, a general who had (Republican) presidential aspirations and who was friendly to the neocons. What do you think we were doing?

      • So you are stating that 0bama delegated his Constitutional Authority as Commander in Chief to David Patraeus?

        • SteveCrickmore075

          There are political considerations in every decision. Obviously, Obama as a young president was keeping the military at bay, by maintaining Bushs’ Defense Secretary Robert Gates as his own, and in trying to disentangle from Afghanistan, Petraeus and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman, Adm. Mike Mullen, refused to even prepare an early-exit option that Obama had requested. Instead, they offered up only plans for their desired escalation of about 40,000 troops.

          Woodward wrote: “For two exhausting months, [Obama] had been asking military advisers to give him a range of options for the war in Afghanistan. Instead, he felt that they were steering him toward one outcome and thwarting his search for an exit plan. He would later tell his White House aides that military leaders were ‘really cooking this thing in the direction they wanted.”

          • herddog505

            Translation: they didn’t tell Barry what he wanted to hear.

            “Give me a range of options that must include the option that I actually want. Actually, I don’t want a range so much as a single choice. However, if you MUST include options that you want (and I don’t), don’t talk about why they are the best, ‘cuz I don’t want to hear it and I certainly don’t want anybody else to find out that I didn’t Listen To The Generals(TM).”

            This went on for two f*cking months??? And he was “exhausted” by it?

          • Commander_Chico

            Well, we’re still in Afghanistan.

          • SteveCrickmore075

            You remember after mutiple warnings Dubya left the entire northeast USA air space defenceless, thousands died and the conservatives and President Bush refused then stonewalled any public congressional investigation into 9/11. Now four americans die at CIA base under director Petraeus, on other side of the globe and they go positively ballistic that this was the president’s fault and he should be impeached, while there have been numerous hearings in a timeline after the event, months before any congressional. investigation was reluctantly granted for 9/11 iran contra or any other Repbulican scandal. A double standard for Republicans, (including Petraeus) and a Democract administration.

          • billclintonsshorts

            Oh Bullshit.

          • herddog505

            What “multiple warnings”? Can you point to a single, solitary document or bit of testimony that shows that Bush KNEW (or should have known) that the 9-11 attacks were going to occur when and how they did?

            No, you can’t because it doesn’t exist.

            Now, in the case of Benghazi, there WERE warnings – specific warnings – from the ambassador himself. These were ignored.

            I would say, “try again”, but I find 9-11 Troofers about as tedious a set of morons as I know.

          • SteveCrickmore075
          • herddog505

            Call us back when you fin some SPECIFIC evidence.

            Otherwise, what you have would indict every police chief in the country: “You KNEW that people were going to commit crimes in your city, and yet you did NOTHING.”

            Everybody knew from the early ’90s forward that AQ was out to get us. Everybody knew from at least the ’70s that terrorists like to attack airplanes. Everybody knew that terrorists would like to attack a major American city, especially DC and NYC.

            What nobody knew was that, on the morning of 9-11-01, a group of them would take over commerical aircraft and turn them into missiles.

            Or should Bush, starting on 1-20-01, have put the entire USAF on strip alert with orders to shoot down any aircraft – including airliners full of people – that strayed off course, got too close to any major city, had radio trouble, etc?

          • SteveCrickmore075

            Accustomed to being a demigod, expert at polishing his own celebrity, and swaying public opinion, Petraeus did not accept the new president’s desire to head for the nearest exit ramp on Afghanistan in 2009. The general began lobbying for a surge in private sessions with reporters and undercutting the president, who was trying to make a searingly hard call.” How did that surge work out?

          • herddog505

            Man, Barry’s want of actual experience is even worse than I thought. Otherwise, he might have figured out that Petraeus worked for him, not the other way ’round.

            As for how the surge worked out, ask Barry. I’m sure that he’ll tell you that it was the greatest stroke of military genius – a historical, unprecedened stroke – in our history.

      • 914

        Translation: I blame Bush!!

      • I have not a clue. Please share.

  • Opticonica

    The US Central Planners aka US Federal Govt have been waging a drone war in Yemen for the last 4+ years under Obama the Destroyer.