Highly sensitive U.S. military equipment used by U.S. Special Forces in Libya was stolen in several raids over the summer by groups likely affiliated with terrorist organizations, State Department sources told Fox News.
The theft of dozens of M4 rifles, night-vision technology, and lasers contributed to the decision to pull the 12-member Special Forces team from the country in August.
"This stuff is how we win wars. The enemy doesn't have that," one source said.
The overnight raids occurred at a military training post run by American Special Forces on the outskirts of Tripoli.
That U.S. team was funded by the Department of Defense Section 1208, which provides support to assist foreign counterterrorism forces in other countries.
Special Forces members were also involved in hunting down the suspects in the Benghazi attack a year ago that killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.
"The loss of this military equipment is what pulled the plug on the U.S. operation," one source with direct knowledge of the events told Fox News. "No one at the State Department wanted to deal with the situation if any more went wrong, so State pulled its support for the training program and then began to try and get the team moved out of the country."
The Special Forces members were not at the training camp when the raids occurred in July and early August. The camp was supposed to be secured each night by Libyan forces.
The training and the stolen equipment was provided by American forces and thus paid for by U.S. taxpayer dollars.
The raids and equipment quickly caused a rift among U.S. Special Forces, Libyan military leaders, and ultimately the U.S. State Department.
"They didn't want anything to go wrong and they didn't want to take the blame. Sensitive items were taken," one source said. "Bad guys can now shoot people at night with no signature."
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