The CIA annex in Benghazi was set up so that the movements of U.S. personnel were hidden from locals, according to the Senate’s 88-page report on the Sept. 11, 2012, attack.
The report further states the nearby U.S. special mission, the site of the initial assault, did not store classified information.
The new details prompt questions about what activities were transpiring in the mission and annex, two separate facilities about 1.2 miles apart.
The Senate report states that intelligence and State Department personnel should “generally be co-located overseas except where the IC (Intelligence Community) determines that, for operational reasons, co-location is not helpful in meeting mission objectives or that it poses a security risk.”
Page 39 of the report finds that keeping intelligence facilities separate from State Department compounds “can provide important operational advantages.”
The report quotes the unnamed chief of the CIA annex as saying: “We had the luxury that the Mission didn’t have of keeping low-profile and making our … protocol movements, and our vehicular moves were very much low-profile.”
The annex chief continued: “So we had a security advantage, I guess you could say, over our State colleagues.”
The Senate report quoted a June 12, 2012, CIA cable from Benghazi, which said that as “a direct result of a concerted effort to build and maintain a low profile we believe that the locals for the most part do not know we are here and housed/officed in a separate stand alone facility from our [United States government] USG counterparts.”
The report also states that according to the State Department, the “Mission facility did not store classified information, and therefore no Marine contingent was present.”
The activities transpiring at the CIA annex were apparently so secretive that key Pentagon officials overseeing the area did not even know about the existence of the base, as WND reported last week.
The extensive Senate report dropped a major bombshell: The commander of U.S. forces in Africa was not aware of the existence of the besieged CIA annex.
The staggering detail not only raises the question of what was transpiring at the fated annex and nearby U.S. special mission. Questions now must be also raised as to why, on the night of attack, command of an elite unit known as C-110, or the EUCOM CIF, was reportedly transferred from the military’s European command to AFRICOM, or the United States Africa Command.
Page 28 of the 85-page report states:
“With respect to the role of DoD and AFRICOM in emergency evacuations and rescue operations in Benghazi, the Committee received conflicting information on the extent of the awareness within DoD of the Benghazi Annex. According to U.S. AFRICOM, neither the command nor its Commander were aware of an annex in Benghazi, Libya.
“However, it is the Committee’s understanding that other DoD personnel were aware of the Benghazi Annex.”
Page 77 of the report further divulges that Gen. Carter Ham, then-commander of U.S. Africa Command, “was not even aware there was a CIA annex in Benghazi at the time of the attacks.”
Continued the Senate report: “We are puzzled as to how the military leadership expected to effectively respond and rescue Americans in the event of an emergency when it did not even know of the existence of one of the U.S. facilities.”
On the night of the attack, Ham was placed in charge of the C-110, a 40-man Special Ops force maintained for rapid response to emergencies. The force was trained for deployment for events like the Benghazi attack. Command was transferred from the military’s European command to Ham in the middle of the attack.
Ultimately, the C-110, which had reportedly been training in Croatia during the attack, was not deployed to respond in Benghazi. Instead it was ordered to return to its forward operating base in Italy.
With additional research by Joshua Klein.