JERUSALEM – A House Republican report released this week on the Obama administration’s response to the Sept. 11, 2012, Benghazi terror attack is missing one essential piece that could help to answer many of the questions raised in the report.
That piece is the alleged illicit activities transpiring inside the U.S. facilities that were attacked.
The 46-page report by five committees of the Republican-led House says the White House scrubbed terrorism and al-Qaida from talking points and misled the American public by blaming the attack on an obscure YouTube film.
The report further questions why the White House falsely claimed the U.S. facilities were targeted in unplanned, popular street protests while it was known to the government almost immediately that the Benghazi mission and nearby CIA annex were attacked by militants in a premeditated fashion.
One key question of the congressional probe centers on why the State Department chose to reduce security at the U.S. Benghazi mission and to deny multiple requests for more security assistance.
The report rejects State Department claims that funding was the reason for the security reductions.
States the report: “It is clear that funding – or a lack thereof – is not the reason for the reductions in security, as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security Lamb testified and as emails reviewed by the Committees attest.
“Moreover, a lack of funding would not have been at issue with respect to the rejection of the request to extend the deployment of the [U.S. Military Security Support Team], as that team was provided via the Defense Department at no expense to the State Department.”
A key accusation in the report alleges the White House generated talking points for the public that “excluded details about the wide availability of weapons and experienced fighters in Libya, an exacerbating factor that contributed to the lethality of the attacks.”
The report does not mention that the weapons and fighters may actually be the reason for the coordinated assaults on the U.S. facilities. According to Middle Eastern security officials, the U.S. mission was allegedly used to help coordinate arms and other aid to the jihadist-led rebel; insurgencies in Libya and in Syria.
The U.S. mission’s alleged role in arming the rebels, as first exposed by WND, may help to answer many of the questions in the probe, including why the White House did not want to draw attention to al-Qaida’s role in the attacks.
It also could explain why security was reduced as the compound. An increased security presence at the U.S. mission would have drawn attention to the shabby, nondescript building that was allegedly being used for such sensitive purposes.
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 attack, WND also broke the story that murdered U.S. Ambassador Christopher 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.
White House officials previously denied aiding arms shipments to the rebels.
However, confirming WND’s exclusive reporting for over a year, the New York Times last month 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.
Previously, multiple establishment news media reports described the U.S. role in helping to arm the Libyan rebels attacking the regime of Moammar Ghadaffi. At the same time it was widely reported that al-Qaida groups were among the Libyan rebels.