American Ambassador Christopher Stevens, who was murdered with three other Americans in Benghazi in 2012, was involved in a secret U.S. arms deal with al-Qaida-backed Libyan rebels, retired Army Maj. Gen. Paul Vallely has claimed.
"We now have pretty good evidence to answer the question of why Ambassador Stevens was in Benghazi," Vallely exclusively told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
"He was there because of an arms deal that was a covert plan within the State Department … to arm the Libyan rebels whom the United States government was supporting, and who ultimately ousted former Libyan Prime Minister Moammar Gadhafi in October 2011,'' Vallely said.
There have been ongoing rumors about Stevens' true purpose in Benghazi since he was slain by terrorists on Sept. 11, 2012. Stevens, who was based in Tripoli, arrived in Benghazi on Sept. 10, the day before the attacks on the mission compound.
Until now, those rumors have not been confirmed by someone of the stature of Vallely, who was deputy commanding general of the U.S. Pacific Command before he retired in 1993 and continues to be involved in national security concerns.
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One of the people involved in the weapons deal, and who met with Stevens, was American arms merchant Marc Turi — who, according to Vallely, is now being silenced by the U.S. government.
Three years ago, as the civil war in Libya was heating up, Turi was selling small arms to buyers mostly in Africa and the Middle East, according to The New York Times
. Recognizing Libya as a potential new buyer for his wares, Turi tried to get a license from the State Department to sell to the Libyan rebels, but was turned down.
In the meantime, the Times reported, Turi was emailing Stevens, who was then the U.S. special representative to the Libyan National Transitional Council — the coalition of rebels. Stevens was later named U.S. ambassador to Libya.
Turi re-applied, according to the Times, but changed his application, saying he planned to sell arms to Qatar. The State Department gave its stamp of approval to that plan in May 2011.
Turi told the Times in the 2012 story that what Qatar and the United States "allowed from there was between them."
But now, "Turi has a sealed indictment against him by the U.S. government and State Department," Vallely said.
"Here's an individual caught up again in the vise of this government, [which] wants to silence anybody that knows anything deep about Benghazi.''
"That's why the [House] Select Committee [on Benghazi] is so important … Marc Turi's the guy that hopefully we can get all that information out of once we can get him in front of the Select Committee.''
Vallely — founder of Stand Up America, a conservative, patriotic American think tank — said he does not know why the State Department would be involved in arms trading.
"Why the State Department is involved in an arms deal is beyond me. I thought they were diplomatic representatives of America, but here they put their ambassador at risk in Benghazi trying to arm al-Qaida,'' he said.
Vallely made his revelation during a Newsmax panel discussion with C. Edmund Wright, a columnist for Breitbart.com and American Thinker.
Vallely, a Vietnam vet, co-authored a book with retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney in 2004 called "Endgame: The Blueprint for Victory in the War on Terror
He is a former chairman of the Military Committee of the Center for Security Policy, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank with a strong focus on national security.
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