Report: US Allowed Arming of al-Qaida Militants in Benghazi

Wednesday, 23 Apr 2014 11:06 AM

By Melissa Clyne

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The U.S. government was complicit in arming al-Qaida militants in Libya, according to the Citizens Commission on Benghazi, The Daily Mail reported.

The group includes former top military officers and CIA officials who say the United States is partly to blame for the deadly 2012 attacks in Benghazi.

Urgent: Do You Think There is a Cover-up on Benghazi? Vote Now in Urgent Poll

"Remember, these weapons that came into Benghazi were permitted to enter by our armed forces, who were blockading the approaches from air and sea," Clare Lopez, a member of the commission and a former CIA officer, told the newspaper.

"The intelligence community was part of that, the Department of State was part of that, and certainly that means that the top leadership of the United States, our national security leadership, and potentially Congress — if they were briefed on this — also knew about this."

The United States failed to stop a $500 million United Arab Emirates arms shipment from reaching al-Qaida militants in Libya, according to Lopez. The weapons, according to The Daily Mail, were bound for Moammar Gadhafi but allowed by the United States to go to his Islamist opposition.

The United States "switched sides," Lopez said. In doing so, the commission's report states, 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 [Gadhafi] who had been working closely with the West actively to suppress" al-Qaida.

"Some look at it as treason," said Wayne Simmons, a former CIA officer who participated in the commission's research, The Daily Mail reported.

Roger Aronoff's Accuracy in Media, described as a center-right group by The Daily Mail, sponsored The Citizens Commission on Benghazi. He appealed to the media to investigate the commission's findings.

"We don't claim to have all the answers here," he told reporters. "Please, pursue this. Check it out. Challenge us."

Accuracy in Media and the commission spent seven months investigating the Sept. 11, 2012, fatal attacks on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and another diplomat, as well as a second attack at a nearby CIA annex that killed two embassy security personnel and injured several others.

The group, according to The Daily Mail, used the Freedom of Information Act to request scores of documents from the Defense Department, State Department, the FBI, and the CIA.

"But most of its information has come from insiders with deep knowledge of the flow of weapons in Libya and elsewhere in the African Maghreb," according to the newspaper.

A senior FBI source told Adm. James "Ace" Lyons that militants had planned to kidnap Stevens and then demand a swap for Omar Abdel-Rahman, an Egyptian Muslim extremist, according to The Daily Mail.

Abdel-Rahman is serving a life sentence in federal prison for seditious conspiracy for his role in planning the 1993 World Trade Center bombings.

Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi pledged to press the United States for Abdel-Rahman's release, The Washington Post reported last year.

The Citizens Commission on Benghazi has asked for a select congressional committee to investigate its findings. Though 189 House members have signed a bill to create the bipartisan committee, House Speaker John Boehner has blocked it, Lopez told The Daily Mail.

The committee would have "sweeping powers to subpoena the executive branch."
According to another commission member, retired Rear Adm. Chuck Kubic, the weapons haul from UAE is now in Syria.

Urgent: Do You Think There is a Cover-up on Benghazi? Vote Now in Urgent Poll

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