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The Pentagon is setting up a special operations unit to hunt al-Qaida operatives in the Islamic Maghreb in North Africa, according to a new report by an intelligence bulletin.
Geo Strategy Direct says the military has been approved to build the additional counter-terrorism teams.
“The U.S. military has been authorized to form a counter-insurgency squad to attack [the] al-Qaida organization in the Islamic Maghreb,” it said. “Officials said AQIM, blamed for the killing of four U.S. diplomats in Libya in September, has been determined to be a major threat to the interests of the United States and its allies throughout North Africa and Europe.”
A former CIA station chief who has asked not to be identified says the report appears to be accurate.
“It certainly has all the markings of a genuine Pentagon project,” he said.
Clare Lopez, senior fellow at the Center for Security Policy and senior fellow for RadicalIslam.org, says the project is an Obama administration effort to cover for the failure in Benghazi.
“The administration has to look like it’s doing something after Benghazi,” Lopez said.
However, Lopez added that al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb was the reason Ambassador Chris Stevens was in Benghazi in the first place.
“Those al-Qaida-affiliated individuals and groups were his liaison contacts during the civil war to overthrow Gadhafi,” Lopez said.
She suggested there may have been much more to Stevens’ presence in Libya than the public knows.
“The relationship may have gone much wider and deeper after Gadhafi’s ouster,” she said.
“During the 2011 Libyan revolt against Moammar Gadhafi, reckless U.S. policy flung American forces and money into the conflict on the side of the rebels, who were known at the time to include al-Qaida elements,” Lopez wrote.
“Previously the No. 2 official at the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, Christopher Stevens, was named as the official U.S. liaison to the Libyan opposition in March 2011,” she said.
“Stevens was tasked with helping to coordinate U.S. assistance to the rebels, whose top military commander, Abdelhakim Belhadj, was the leader of the al-Qaida affiliate, the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group,” Lopez wrote.
“That means that Stevens was authorized by the U.S. Department of State and the Obama administration to aid and abet individuals and groups that were, at a minimum, allied ideologically with al-Qaida, the jihadist terrorist organization that attacked the homeland on the first 9/11, the one that’s not supposed to exist anymore after the killing of its leader, Osama bin Laden, on May 2, 2012,” she wrote.
WND reported shortly after the Benghazi attack that Stevens may have been a potential kidnapping target.
Even thought the Benghazi attack was a topic of the most recent presidential debate, a former CIA officer doubts the level of involvement from the Obama White House.
“I doubt very seriously that Obama’s people are involved. This is military activity and most likely a project of the Africa Command and the Special Operations Command,” the CIA station chief said.