TEL AVIV – Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., may have dropped a bombshell in an interview with Fox News in which he stated that murdered U.S Ambassador Christopher Stevens was in Benghazi to keep weapons caches from falling into the hands of terrorists.
Until now, no official explanation for Stevens deployment to Libya has acknowledged any such activity.
Stevens reportedly died from smoke inhalation as a result of the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks on the U.S. special mission and CIA annex in Benghazi, Libya.
The official State Department probe into the Benghazi attacks stated Stevens was sent to Benghazi to “establish a U.S. presence in Libya.”
“The State Department had been absent from Libya since the Embassy in Tripoli suspended operations and evacuated its American personnel on February 25, 2011, amidst an escalating campaign by Muammar Qaddafi to suppress violently a popular uprising against his rule,” continued the report.
The report stated Stevens made the decision to travel to the Benghazi mission on Sept. 11 on his own, “independently of Washington, per standard practice.”
The report did not state the specific purpose of Stevens’ visit to the mission other than to later mention he held a meeting there with a Turkish diplomat.
Neither the State Department probe nor any other official government explanation previously mentioned securing weapons caches as part of Stevens’ mission in Libya.
However, in an interview Friday with Fox News, host Bret Baier asked Graham why Stevens was in the Benghazi mission despite the many known security threats to the facility.
Graham replied, “Because that's where the action was regarding the rising Islamic extremists who were trying to get their hands on weapons that are flowing freely in Libya.”
The senator stated, “We were desperately trying to control the anti-aircraft missiles, the man pads that were all over Libya, that are now all over the Mideast.”
WND has filed numerous reports quoting Middle East security officials who described the mission in Benghazi as a meeting place to coordinate aid for the rebel-led insurgencies in the Middle East, including the transfer of weapons to rebels.
Two weeks after the Benghazi attacks, WND also broke the story that Stevens himself played a central role in recruiting jihadists to fight Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria, according to Egyptian security officials.
In November 2012, Middle Eastern security sources further described both the U.S. mission and nearby CIA annex in Benghazi as the main intelligence and planning center for U.S. aid to the rebels that was being coordinated with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.
Many rebel fighters are openly members of terrorist organizations, including al-Qaida.
Among the tasks performed inside the Benghazi facility was collaborating with countries, most notably Turkey, on the recruitment of fighters – including jihadists – to target Assad’s regime, the security officials said.
Stevens served as a key contact with the Saudis to coordinate the recruitment by Saudi Arabia of Islamic fighters from North Africa and Libya, Egyptian security officials told WND. 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.
With additional research by Joshua Klein.