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Hillary Clinton snagged in Benghazi cover-up


Hillary Clinton snagged in Benghazi cover-up

New reports prompt questions about perplexing security  decisions after attack




JERUSALEM – As media reports present evidence the U.S. has played a central  role in arming Syrian rebels, new questions now emerge about former Secretary of  State Hillary Clinton’s involvement in the controversial scheme.

The questions prompt a second look at the perplexing security decisions made  by Clinton and other top Obama administration officials the night of the Sept.  11, 2012, attacks on American facilities in Benghazi.


One of those key decisions reportedly delayed an investigative FBI team from  arriving at the Benghazi site for 24 days. The site was widely reported to have  contained classified documents.

WND raised  the Thursday of whether Clinton was telling the truth when she claimed in a  Senate hearing that she had no information about whether the U.S. mission in  Libya was procuring or transferring weapons to Turkey and other Arab  countries.

Her claim appears to contradict a New York Times report that the CIA has been  aiding Arab governments and Turkey in obtaining and shipping weapons to the  Syrian rebels.

The goal of the alleged weapons shipments was to arm the rebels fighting  Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

Any training or arming of the Syrian rebels would be considered highly  controversial. A major issue is the inclusion of jihadists, including al-Qaida,  among the ranks of the Free Syrian Army and other Syrian opposition groups

Now a closer reading of two separate reports from the New York Times paints a  picture of Clinton as the ring leader of the plan to arm Syrian rebels.

Confirming WND’s exclusive reporting for over a year, the  New York Times last week reported that since early 2012, the CIA has been  aiding the Arab governments and Turkey in shopping for and transporting weapons  to the Syrian rebels.

The reported plan to arm the rebels mirrors a plan that, according to the New  York Times, was concocted by Clinton herself.

Last month, the New  York Times described Clinton as one of the driving forces advocating a plan to  arm the Syrian rebels. At the time, the newspaper quoted White House  officials stating they rejected the plan, which was also proposed by then-CIA  Director David Petraeus.

A comparison of the Clinton plan to arms the rebels, as first reported by the  Times, and the new Times report of American-aided shipments to the rebels since  last year makes clear the Clinton plan was apparently put into action.

Last month, the Times reported that the idea of the Clinton plan was to “vet  the rebel groups and train fighters, who would be supplied with weapons.”

Last week, the Times reported that since at least November 2012, the U.S. has  been helping “the Arab governments shop for weapons, including a large  procurement from Croatia, and have vetted rebel commanders and groups to  determine who should receive the weapons as they arrive.”

The earlier Times article described Clinton as having instincts that were  “often more activist than those of a White House that has kept a tight grip on  foreign policy.”

In an administration often faulted for its timidity abroad, “Clinton wanted  to lead from the front, not from behind,” Vali R. Nasr, a former State  Department adviser on Afghanistan and Pakistan, told the Times.

Benghazi cover up?

Middle Eastern security officials speaking to WND have said U.S.-aided  weapons shipments go back more than a year, escalating before the Sept. 11,  2012, attack on the U.S. facilities in Benghazi.

In fact, the Middle Eastern security officials speaking to WND since last  year describe the U.S. mission in Benghazi and nearby CIA annex attacked last  September as an intelligence and planning center for U.S. aid to the rebels in  the Middle East, particularly those fighting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s  regime.

The aid, the sources stated, included weapons shipments and was being  coordinated with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Earlier this month, WND  reported Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. stated in interview with Fox News that  murdered U.S Ambassador Christopher Stevens was in Benghazi to keep weapons  caches from falling into the hands of terrorists. Until that point, no official  explanation for Stevens deployment to Libya has acknowledged any such  activity.

Meanwhile, the New York Times reporting on how the plan for arming the rebels  was put into action has prompted major questions about the role Clinton played  in the U.S. response to the Benghazi attacks, assaults against the very  facilities where the arms-to-rebels scheme was allegedly being coordinated.

National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor confirmed to Fox News in  November that Clinton herself worked on the immediate U.S. response to  Benghazi.

“The most senior people in government worked on this issue from the minute it  happened,” he said.

“That includes the secretary of defense, chairman of the Joint Chiefs,  secretary of state, national security adviser, et cetera. Additionally, the  Deputies Committee – the second in command at the relevant national security  agencies – met at least once and more often twice a day to manage the  issue.”

One of the key decisions by Clinton’s State Department that has perplexed  many security experts was the determination not to deploy an interagency rapid  response unit designed to respond to terrorist attacks known as a Foreign  Emergency Support Team, or FEST.

FEST teams previously deployed immediately after al-Qaida bombings of U.S.  embassies in East Africa in 1998 and the USS Cole in 2000. But they were not  used for Benghazi, confounding insiders speaking to the news media

Counterterrorism  officials told Fox News in November that the FEST teams could have helped  the FBI gain access to the site in Benghazi faster. It ultimately took the FBI  24 days.

The site reportedly contained a large volume of classified documents related  to the activities of the Benghazi facilities.

Further, during the night of the attack, top counter terror officials felt  out of the loop, according  to emails shared with both Fox News and CBS News in November.

Counterterrorism sources and internal emails reviewed by CBS News expressed  frustration that key responders were ready to deploy but were not called upon to  help in the attack.

Besides strangely not deploying FEST, the Counterterrorism Security Group, or  CSG, was never asked to meet the night of the attack or in subsequent days,  according to two separate counterterrorism officials, as first reported by CBS  News.

The CSG is composed of experts on terrorism from across government agencies  and makes recommendations to the deputies who assist the president’s Cabinet in  formulating a response to crises involving terrorism.

It is likely that the CSG task force, if contacted, would have recommended  FEST aid, according to CBS.

CBS reported the lack of coordination with the Counterterrorism Security  Group made the response to the Benghazi crisis still more confused.

One official told CBS News the FBI received a call during the attack  representing Clinton and requesting agents be deployed. But he and his  colleagues explained the call was just a gesture and could not be  implemented.

He said his colleagues at the FBI agreed the agents “would not make any  difference without security and other enablers to get them in the country and  synch their efforts with military and diplomatic efforts to maximize their  success.”

Recruiting jihadists

Days after the Benghazi attack, WND  broke the story that Ambassador Stevens himself played a central role in  recruiting jihadists to fight Assad’s regime in Syria, according to Egyptian and  other Middle Eastern security officials.

Stevens served as a key contact with the Saudis to coordinate the recruitment  by Saudi Arabia of Islamic fighters from North Africa and Libya. The jihadists  were sent to Syria via Turkey to attack Assad’s forces, said the security  officials.

The officials said Stevens also worked with the Saudis to send names of  potential jihadi recruits to U.S. security organizations for review. Names found  to be directly involved in previous attacks against the U.S., including in Iraq  and Afghanistan, were ultimately not recruited by the Saudis to fight in Syria,  said the officials.

The latest New York Times report has bolstered WND’s reporting, citing air  traffic data, interviews with officials in several countries and the accounts of  rebel commanders describing how the CIA has been working with Arab governments  and Turkey to sharply increase arms shipments to Syrian rebels in recent  months.

The Times reported that the weapons airlifts began on a small scale in early  2012 and continued intermittently through last fall, expanding into a steady and  much heavier flow late last year, the data shows.

The Times further revealed that from offices at “secret locations,” American  intelligence officers have helped the Arab governments shop for weapons,  including a large procurement from Croatia. They have vetted rebel commanders  and groups to determine who should receive the weapons as they arrive.

The CIA declined to comment to the Times on the shipments or its role in  them.

The Times quoted a former American official as saying that David H. Petraeus,  the CIA director until November, had been instrumental in helping set up an  aviation network to fly in the weapons. The paper said Petraeus had prodded  various countries to work together on the plan.

Petraeus did not return multiple emails from the Times asking for  comment.

Both WND’s reporting, which first revealed the U.S.-coordinated arms  shipments, and the Times reporting starkly contrast with statements from top  U.S. officials who have denied aiding the supply of weapons to the rebels.

Rebel training

It’s not the first time WND’s original investigative reporting on U.S.  support for the Syrian rebels was later confirmed by reporting in major media  outlets. Other WND reporting indicates support for the Syrian rebels that goes  beyond supplying arms, painting a larger picture of U.S. involvement in the  Middle East revolutions.

A story by the German weekly Der Spiegel earlier this month reporting the  U.S. is training Syrian rebels in Jordan was exclusively exposed  by WND 13 months ago.

Quoting what it said were training participants and organizers, Der Spiegel  reported it was not clear whether the Americans worked for private firms or were  with the U.S. Army, but the magazine said some organizers wore uniforms.

The training in Jordan reportedly focused on use of anti-tank weaponry.

The German magazine reported some 200 men received the training over the  previous three months amid U.S. plans to train a total of 1,200 members of the  Free Syrian Army in two camps in the south and the east of Jordan.

Britain’s Guardian newspaper also reported U.S. trainers were aiding Syrian  rebels in Jordan along with British and French instructors.

Reuters reported a spokesman for the U.S. Defense Department declined  immediate comment on the Der Spiegel report. The French foreign ministry and  Britain’s foreign and defense ministries also would not comment to Reuters.

While Der Spiegel quoted sources discussing training of the rebels in Jordan  over the last three months, WND  was first to report the training as far back as February 2012.

At the time, WND quoted knowledgeable Egyptian and Arab security officials  claimed the U.S., Turkey and Jordan were running a training base for the Syrian  rebels in the Jordanian town of Safawi in the country’s northern desert  region.

Read more at http://www.wnd.com/2013/03/hillary-clinton-snagged-in-benghazi-cover-up/#A7xmAlfAKthuOwrR.99

Entry #487


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