WASHINGTON – A top intelligence analyst who participated in negotiations to keep Muammar Gadhafi in power says the Libyan crisis and the Benghazi attacks were avoidable – because a “brutal” Gadhafi wanted out – he wanted peace – and the chance to pursue al-Qaida himself.
Instead, Gadhafi’s requests for exile received silence from the U.S. government and allies.
That meant the door to peace was closed, and al-Qaida was armed because of the inaction of the U.S. government, the analyst said.
That same inaction, said Rear Adm. Charles Kubic, CEC, U.S. Navy, retired, is responsible for the deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens and U.S. Special Forces members in the terror attacks on U.S. facilities in Benghazi.
“What went on there was un-American. We don’t put people in the field and not come to their support,” added retired Adm. James “Ace” Lyons at a Citizens Commission news conference Tuesday.
Lyons, former commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and the father of the Navy SEAL Red Cell Program, hails from what many deem as the “Greatest Generation.” As the oldest member of the panel, he has seen other communist-backed nations crumble, and what happened in Benghazi was no different.
Kubic, who is not a member of the Citizens Commission but is well-versed in military intelligence, said he was a key player in the 2011 failed negotiations that would have resulted in peace between U.S. and coalition forces and Libya.
According to a Citizens Commission Report, a senior aide to Gadhafi requested a 72-hour truce with U.S. military command officials to negotiate a cease-fire with talks to be held in Tripoli. If all conditions were deemed acceptable, Libya would “stop all combat operations immediately and withdraw all military forces to the outskirts of all cities, and assume a defensive posture.”
To ensure credibility with the international community, the Libyans recommended observers from the African Union be invited into Libya to ensure a truce was honored.
After a year-long investigation, the Citizens Commission on Benghazi issued a damning report Tuesday with allegations that go beyond saying the U.S. government is responsible for the events in the Benghazi attacks. It says that in 2011, U.S. leadership switched sides in the war on terror and “committed treasonous acts” that subsequently led to the 2012 deaths of Stevens and the other Americans.
“The United States switched sides in the war on terror with what we did in Libya by knowingly facilitating the provision of weapons to known al-Qaida militias and figures,” Clare Lopez, former CIA operations officer and vice president for research and analysis at the Center for Security Policy, told WND.
Lopez blamed the Obama administration for failing to stop a $500 million United Arab Emirates arms shipment from reaching al-Qaida, which she said is backed by the Muslim Brotherhood. The same Muslim Brotherhood that as a result, holds key positions within the U.S. taxpayer-sponsored Libyan National Transitional Council.
Lopez told WND the weapons that flowed into Benghazi from Qatar were permitted to enter by U.S. armed forces who were “blockading the approaches from air and sea.”
“They knew these weapons were coming in, and that was allowed,” she said.
She told WND, because of the current administration’s inaction, leaders in the Muslim Brotherhood are now high-ranking members of Libya’s government.
“These figures go back to the Afghan War against the Soviets in the 1980s. Gadhafi was bad, but he kept the Muslim Brotherhood and al-Qaida down,” she said.
When reporters pressed for answers about who exactly is responsible for Benghazi, committee members stated the fault falls on all branches of the U.S. government. But they said the commander in chief has ultimate authority and responsibility for securing the safety of U.S. interests and troops.
That sentiment did not seem to come easy for Lyons and Kubic. Trust is a battlefield mantra. Without trust, especially in small intelligence units like the one on the ground during the Benghazi attacks, the command structure crumbles, morale caves and soldiers die, they suggested.
“The intelligence community was part of that, the Department of State was part of that, and certainly that means that the top leadership of the United States, our national security leadership, and potentially Congress – if they were briefed on this – also knew about this,” Lopez said.
Committee members said weapons were intended for Gadhafi but were allowed by the U.S. to flow to his Islamist opposition.
“A mere 10 years after al-Qaida (supported by Hezbollah and Iran) attacked the American homeland in the worst act of terrorism ever suffered by this country, U.S. leadership decided to facilitate the provision of weapons to jihadist militias known to be affiliated with al-Qaida and the Muslim Brotherhood in order to bring down a brutal dictator who also just happened to be a U.S. ally in the global war on terror at the time,” Lopez said.
In the days prior to the attack in Benghazi, unrest rose in Cairo, Egypt. While the U.S. embassy in Cairo blamed the uprising on a YouTube movie, the real driver behind it was a coalition of Islamist groups, committee members said. Those groups were not protesting a movie. According to the warning they published in Egyptian media, they had a specific demand:
“The group, which consists of many members from al-Qaida, called for the quick release of the jihadi sheikh, Omar Abdul Rahman [the ‘Blind Sheikh’] whom they described as a scholar and jihadi who sacrificed his life for the Egyptian Umma, who was ignored by the Mubarak regime.”
The report said Islamists threatened to burn the U.S. embassy in Cairo with those in it, and take hostage those who remained, unless the Blind Sheikh was released.
Citizens Committee panel member Wayne Simmons said, “Islamists did attack the U.S. embassy in Cairo on September 11, 2012 – the same day of the attack in Benghazi, Libya. The attackers breached the embassy’s walls and replaced the American flag with the black flag of Islam.”
Kubic said he knows how those soldiers felt that night.
“I know the feeling of having to trust someone would pick me up after I completed a long, lonely mission in a foreign land. I could count on it every time.”
He said U.S. Special Forces instead faced the ultimate betrayal.
“Those snake-eating warriors looked in the eyes [of their killers] knowing what was going to happen next.”
Several committee members said they and others in the intelligence community suspect that the events surrounding Gadhafi and Benghazi were “the most well-planned ‘ops'” they have ever seen.
They suggest that there are those within the U.S. government on both sides of the aisle who could be implicated based on the fact that they may have material knowledge of the U.S. government’s material support for terrorism.
The committee is gathering the evidence, and members told reporters they are “very close” to closing the gaps to reveal who is responsible for U.S. soldiers’ deaths in Benghazi, the new U.S.-backed, al-Qaida-supported Libyan National Transitional government and a resurrected Middle East turmoil – all of which they say could have been easily prevented.