Unanswered Benghazi questions continue

The testimony on Jan. 22 by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee did very little to resolve all the questions. Clinton successfully avoided answering almost all questions, when she was actually asked a question.

The testimony on Feb. 7 by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta before the Senate Armed Forces Committee was a little more revealing. Panetta testified that President Barack Obama, the Commander-in-Chief (CINC), was absent without leave (AWOL) the night four Americans were murdered in Benghazi on Sep. 11, 2012. He said he had no communications with anyone at the White House that evening. This was a stunning revelation, one that raises more questions, as opposed to providing answers. Hopefully it will lead to a full Congressional investigation.

Benghazi-BloodPanetta also testified that he had no communications with the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, that night. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, also had no communications with the CINC or Secretary of State. General Dempsey did acknowledge he had heard of Ambassador Stevens’s repeated warnings, through General Ham, the commander of AFRICOM, that the facility could not withstand an attack. When questioned by Senator John McCain, Dempsey replied “but we never received a request for support from the State Department, which would have allowed us to put forces–“.

Nearly five full months after these attacks we still do not have a clear understanding of where the CINC and Secretary of State were that night. Also unclear is who made the decision not to act, to do nothing, and not try to save American lives? General Petraeus has made it clear the CIA wasn’t responsible for the decision not to act. It appears Panetta has tried to take the responsibility himself and provide cover for the White House.  But the Defense Secretary accepting responsibility in this situation is not plausible. He doesn’t get to unilaterally decide the fate of CIA assets or whether or not to violate foreign airspace. The CINC, with counsel from senior cabinet members, would make this decision.

It is inconceivable the Secretary of Defense would have been on his own during a crisis like this. It’s also very hard to believe the CINC and Secretary of State would be completely uninvolved. Clearly this administration is trying to stonewall Congress and has something to hide. But what? Senator Rand Paul (R-KY), and others, believe this was about supplying the rebels in Syria with guns. Panetta confirmed the Defense Department thought arming these rebels was a good idea so this seems like a plausible explanation for what the purpose of this annex was. But why was the Ambassador there on Sep. 11 of all days? We know he had a meeting with Turkish officials but why that location on that date?

While members of the Obama administration continued their stonewalling and delay tactics in hopes these questions will go away, others has been investigating and trying to uncover the truth.  The result has been the development various scenarios that may, or may not, provide insight as to what the purpose was and what really happened. One of the most interesting has been by Jack Murphy and Brandon Webb, two military veterans who specialize in reporting about clandestine operations at the website SOFREP.com. Their new (soon to be released) 80-page e-book, Benghazi: The Definitive Report, claims Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed in the attack on the US consulate because of a secret low-level war in which American hit squads took out leaders of al Qaeda militias, which retaliated in Benghazi. In their assessment Obama gave his chief counterterrorism advisor, John Brennan, who is now the nominee to be the next leader of the CIA, free reign to conduct paramilitary operations that were not coordinated through the Pentagon or other governmental agencies, including the CIA.

Jeffrey Kibler is a contributor to The Brenner Brief.

Jeffrey Kibler is a contributor to The Brenner Brief.

Murphy and Webb make an interesting argument but will not name their sources. There are other assessments like the scenario where this may have been a botched kidnap exchange where Obama would then trade the blind Sheik for our Ambassador. Another one describes this as another Fast and Furious gun-running operation where we are providing arms from Libya, through Turkey, to the rebels in Syria. Each of these scenarios describe behavior, that if true, represent disturbing unconstitutional end runs around Congress and the American people.

There is now no doubt a special committee needs to be appointed to do a thorough investigation. Subpoenas need to be issued, to the survivors of the attack, and to Clinton if necessary, to get to the truth. Throughout all the hearings there has been too much dodging of questions and not enough truthful answers. The American people deserve better. The families of the four dead Americans certainly deserve better.

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  1. richardbaris says:

    We have always had hit squads conducting secret wars. I really don’t buy that argument, especially one without sources. That is just how the War on Terror has been conducted. So, why now? Either way, we all deserve better, that’s for sure.


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