You’ve seen “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi.”
Now, learn the real truth of what happened on Sept. 11, 2012, that Hillary Clinton doesn’t want you to know.
New York Times bestselling author Aaron Klein’s book, “The REAL Benghazi Story: What the White House and Hillary Don’t Want You to Know,” is a groundbreaking investigative work that finally exposes some of the most significant issues related to the murderous attack – information with current national security implications.
Klein provides the answers many have longed for, from the secretive activities transpiring inside the doomed facility to shocking new details about the withholding of critical protection at the U.S. special mission.
Excerpted from Klein’s book is the devastating Chapter 7 titled, “Game Changer: Hillary’s Central, Unreported Role in Benghazi.”
The Real Benghazi Story: Chapter 7, Hillary’s Central, Unreported Role in Benghazi
By Aaron Klein
Observers of the Benghazi scandal are quite familiar with the generalities of Hillary Clinton’s infamous testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. Clinton’s reaction to the murderous September 11, 2012, Benghazi attacks will forever be remembered by eight insulting words: “What difference at this point does it make?!” This infuriated response was fired at a lawmaker who dared to press her on why four Americans, including a sitting U.S. ambassador, were murdered. Clinton’s testimony that day, and specifically her shocking “what difference” jibe, has become so associated with the attacks that the image of her testimony is one of the most frequently returned pictures in Google whenever a user types in the word “Benghazi.”
However, despite Clinton’s very public display of what many see as arrogance in the face of a legitimate line of inquisition, few are aware of the central role she played in the real Benghazi scandal, from her direct involvement in approving lawful occupancy of the disgracefully unsecured U.S. special mission, to the weapons-to-rebels scheme, to the very reason Ambassador Chris Stevens was in the compound on the dangerous day of 9/11 in the first place. We are herein going to document Clinton’s undeniably fundamental role in virtually the entire Benghazi story, replete with information indicating she may have perjured herself during sworn testimony.
PULLED CRITICAL SECURITY
Let’s start with Clinton’s personal approval of security conditions at the compound. By this point you are familiar with the stunning backwardness of the U.S. special mission’s so-called security posture. Guard towers were denied; a special reaction team was pulled from Libya’s hot zone; an aircraft was recalled. External protection of the compound was provided entirely by poorly trained, unarmed local Libyans who had virtually no capabilities to fend off armed attackers. Internal security was incomprehensibly left to the devices of armed members of the February 17 Martyrs Brigade militia, a ragtag group affiliated with the al-Qaida-linked, Islamic extremist Ansar al-Sharia terrorist organization that was later implicated in the Benghazi assault. Despite numerous previous strikes against both the U.S. special mission and other Western compounds in Benghazi, and in spite of a large number of requests from U.S. diplomats on the ground, there was little change in the dismal state of “security” at the mission.
Yet it can now be said that Clinton personally provided the legal waivers for U.S. personnel to occupy that death trap of a mission. This largely unreported detail was confirmed in the Senate’s January 2014 report on Benghazi. Senate investigators found the Benghazi facility required a special waiver since it did not meet the minimum official security standards set by the State Department.
Some of the necessary waivers, the Senate affirmed, could have been issued at lower levels within the State Department. However “other departures, such as the co-location requirement, could only be approved by the Secretary of State.” The “co-location” requirement refers to an unusual housing setup in Benghazi where intelligence and State Department personnel were kept in two separate locations. Traditionally, intelligence personnel operate from official State buildings, such as embassies and consulates. This means Clinton herself approved some aspects of the U.S. special mission, including separating the mission from the seemingly more protected CIA annex. In doing so, did Clinton know she was approving a woefully unprotected compound? If not, then at the very least she is guilty of dereliction of duty and the diplomatic equivalent of criminal negligence.
It has emerged that top deputies working directly under Clinton, including officials known to be close to the ambitious politician, were single-handedly responsible for some of the most shocking security decisions made regarding the Benghazi compound. It is difficult to imagine, indeed it is entirely nonsensical to argue that these Clinton deputies were acting without her direct knowledge and permission, especially in the central theater of Libya, the linchpin of the so-called Arab Spring.
In chapter 1, we documented that four months before the attack, State Department under secretary Patrick Kennedy canceled the use in Tripoli of a DC-3 aircraft that could have aided in the evacuation of the Benghazi victims. Kennedy also nonsensically denied guard towers to the Benghazi mission and approved the withdrawal of a Security Support Team (or SST, special U.S. forces specifically maintained for counterattacks on U.S. embassies or threats against diplomatic personnel). Remember the decision to withdraw the SST was made “despite compelling requests from personnel in Libya that the team be allowed to stay.” These details and more were contained in a scathing February 2014 report by Republicans on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.
Order “The REAL Benghazi Story: What the White House and Hillary Don’t Want You to Know” by Aaron Klein from the WND Superstore.
That same House Republican report further noted it was Kennedy who in December 2011 approved a one-year extension of the Benghazi mission despite major security lapses at the building. The State Department’s ARB report, while not mentioning Kennedy by name, itself conceded there was a “flawed process by which Special Mission Benghazi’s extension until the end of December 2012 was approved,” admitting it was “a decision that did not take security considerations adequately into account.”
A January Senate report further assailed Kennedy for declining an offer from the Department of Defense (DoD) to “sustain or provide additional DoD security personnel in Libya by extending the deployment of the DoD Site Security Team in Tripoli, transitioning to a Marine Security Detachment, or deploying a U.S. Marine Corps Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team.”
Now, which security-conscious individual would decline an offer from the military to protect the Benghazi compound? The Senate report cited information that not only was Kennedy fully aware of the lack of security in Benghazi, he also “approved every person who went to Libya and received a daily report on the number of personnel, their names, and their status.”
Even the ARB, known for minimizing Clinton’s complacency in the attacks, states unnamed State officials are guilty of “systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies” that contributed to the “grossly inadequate” security situation in Benghazi. Unbashful House Republicans had no problem naming those State officials, all of whom served directly under Clinton. The four officials were revealed to be Assistant Secretary for Diplomatic Security Eric Boswell, Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of Diplomatic Security Scott Bultrowicz, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Diplomatic Security for International Programs Charlene Lamb, and Deputy Assistant Secretary for Maghreb Affairs Raymond Maxwell.
Despite the State Department’s proclamations that those responsible would be disciplined or removed, as of this writing three of the officials were reassigned to new posts. Maxwell voluntarily retired, something he had planned to do in 2012 but had postponed due to regional turmoil during the Arab Spring. Maxwell was later found to not have contributed to security decisions in Benghazi, while the other three officials were reportedly involved in those ultimately disastrous decisions.
The Senate singled out Charlene Lamb, who worked closely with Clinton, for her “unwillingness to provide additional security personnel” to the Benghazi facility.
Not only were Clinton’s deputies the ones who made the security decisions, they were also involved in later drafting the now discredited talking points on the Benghazi attacks. State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland “played an active role” in crafting those talking points and got promoted to assistant secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs. Clinton’s deputy chief of staff, Jake Sullivan, was also a point man in shaping the talking points. Interestingly ex-CIA official Mike Morell, a central player in the talking points scandal, took a job as a counselor to Beacon Global Strategies, a consulting group known for its close ties to Clinton.
After reviewing the direct involvement of these Clinton deputies, which of these possibilities do you consider the most likely: Clinton was head-deep in the fatal security posture of the Benghazi mission, or she was unaware of the lack of security that was her own department’s doing? If the latter is the real situation, then someone had better summon the ghost of Sen. Joe McCarthy because it would mean rogue elements hijacked the State Department to deny security to the Benghazi mission without the knowledge of the secretary of state.
If Clinton, however, was apprised of the security situation in the Benghazi facility, which was largely handled by her own deputies, then she may have misled lawmakers and the public under oath when she testified on January 23, 2013, that no one within the government ever recommended the closure of the U.S. facilities in the Libyan city. In her testimony, Clinton stated: “Well, senator, I want to make clear that no one in the State Department, the intelligence community, any other agency ever recommended that we close Benghazi. We were clear-eyed . . . about the . . . threats and the dangers as they were developing in Eastern Libya, and in Benghazi.” Clinton was responding to a question from Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ).
Clinton’s testimony is contradicted by Lt. Col. Andrew Wood, who led the U.S. military’s efforts to supplement diplomatic security in Libya. Wood testified that he personally recommended the Benghazi mission be closed, as documented in the forty-six-page House Republican report probing the Benghazi attacks. Page 6 of the report cites security concerns, including more than two hundred attacks in Libya, fifty of which took place in Benghazi, including against the U.S. mission there.
States the Republican report: “These developments caused Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Wood, who led the U.S. military’s efforts to supplement diplomatic security in Libya, to recommend that the State Department consider pulling out of Benghazi altogether. Lieutenant Colonel Wood explained that after the withdrawal of these other organizations, ‘it was apparent to me that we were the last [Western] flag flying in Benghazi. We were the last thing on their target list to remove from Benghazi.'”
In particularly stinging comments, an updated House report concluded that “at the end of the day, [Clinton] was responsible for ensuring the safety of all Americans serving in our diplomatic facilities. Her failure to do so clearly made a difference in the lives of the four murdered Americans and their families.”
CLINTON SENT STEVENS INTO DOOMED MISSION?
Besides responsibility for the unfathomable withdrawal and subsequent denial of security at the U.S. special mission, Clinton may have played a role in Stevens’ decision to go to the dangerous facility on the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, a day when jihadists are particularly motivated to strike our country’s assets. This largely unreported role prompts larger questions about Clinton’s national security decisions and her possible disregard of clear, present, and obvious terrorist threats.
In several previous chapters we documented that al-Qaida and other Islamic extremist groups gained major ground in Libya following U.S. intervention there to the point that they were establishing training camps in Benghazi. Things took such a turn that those al-Qaida-linked groups, including the parent organization of the February 17 Martyrs Brigade, held a Sharia Islamic law confab not far from the Benghazi mission. Clinton and the U.S. diplomatic staff in Libya were aware of the terrorist camps in Benghazi. Fox News reported the U.S. mission in Benghazi convened an “emergency meeting” in August 2012 to discuss the training camps. The news network obtained a government cable addressed to Clinton’s office stating that the U.S. diplomats in Libya were briefed “on the location of approximately ten Islamist militias and AQ training camps within Benghazi . . . These groups ran the spectrum from Islamist militias, such as the QRF Brigade and Ansar al-Sharia, to ‘Takfirist thugs.'” This borders on the surreal. After being briefed about nearby terrorist training facilities, no action was taken to secure the U.S. compound.
Remember that Libya was supposed to be the prototype of the so-called Arab Spring, a shining beacon of democracy for other Arab and Middle Eastern countries to emulate. Instead, the country descended into chaos, with extremist groups moving quickly to fill the void. Despite this deteriorating and well-reported security situation, Clinton actually worked on plans to declare a symbolic victory in Benghazi. According to congressional testimony by Gregory Hicks, the former State Department deputy chief of mission and chargé d’affairs, who was in Libya at the time of the attack, Stevens went to the compound that day in part because Clinton wanted to convert the shanty complex “into a permanent constituent post” as a symbol of the new Libya. “Timing for this decision was important,” Hicks explained. “Chris needed to report before September 30th, the end of the fiscal year, on the physical – the political and security environment in Benghazi to support an action memo to convert Benghazi from a temporary facility to a permanent facility.”
Hicks revealed the directive to convert the compound came from the State Department Office of Near Eastern Affairs, headed by acting assistant secretary Beth Jones. Money was available to be transferred to Benghazi from a State Department fund set aside for Iraq, provided the funds transfer was done by September 30.
He further testified that in May 2012, during a meeting with Clinton, Stevens promised he would give priority to making sure the U.S. facility at Benghazi was transformed into a permanent constituent post. Hicks said Stevens himself “wanted to make a symbolic gesture to the people of Benghazi that the United States stood behind their dream of establishing a new democracy.”
Toward the end of the hearing, the chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA), asked Hicks to summarize his testimony on why Stevens went to Benghazi. “At least one of the reasons he was in Benghazi was to further the secretary’s wish that, that post become a permanent constituent post, and also there, because we understood the secretary intended to visit Tripoli later in the year,” Hicks reiterated. “We hoped that she would be able to announce to the Libyan people our establishment of a permanent constituent post in Benghazi at that time.”
We can only venture to guess the motivation for Clinton’s deputies to repeatedly reject necessary protection to the U.S. special mission while withdrawing aircraft and even a special response team from one of the most endangered State Department posts in the world. Some conspiracy theorists have baselessly claimed the government wanted Stevens dead and set out to deliberately sabotage the mission. Aside from there being no evidence to support this wild charge, the accusation simply doesn’t make sense on several levels. Why would the State Department want to kill Stevens? He wasn’t threatening to divulge the secretive activities taking place inside the facility. In fact, he was one of the central figures in the arms-to-rebels scheme. To briefly entertain this horrible conspiracy for the purposes of refuting it, let’s say someone did want Stevens killed. There are far cleaner ways to achieve that sickening goal. It’s pretty time-consuming and even highly conspicuous to deny security to the mission for months while setting up the mission to invite such an attack just to have our ambassador terminated. Plus, we’d have to believe the attackers were directed on some level by the U.S. government, a pretty outrageous assumption.
The State Department would further have to be run by unskilled idiots to use the assault to kill Stevens. The attack was an utter embarrassment to the State Department, caused a major political scandal, and only served to draw more attention to what was transpiring inside the secretive facility, a compound the United States went to great lengths to hide. Instead, for those who do want to entertain this conspiracy, it would have been far easier and cleaner to have Stevens taken out in a roadside bombing or sniper attack, both of which are regular occurrences in Benghazi. That said, let’s get back to reality. I believe a more likely explanation for the denial of security was to keep the U.S. mission’s activities secretive, perhaps even obscured from the military, which repeatedly offered to beef up protection at the compound.
Clinton, it seems, was not only personally involved in some of those alleged activities, primarily the arms-to-jihadists scheme; she was a ringleader. In fact, in February 2013, the New York Times described Clinton as one of the driving forces behind advocating a plan to arm the Syrian rebels. Specifically, Clinton’s plan – which was also proposed by then CIA director David Petraeus and then defense secretary Leon E. Panetta – called for rebel groups to be vetted, trained, and armed “with the assistance of some neighboring states.”
The newspaper quoted White House officials claiming they rejected the plan; however, it is difficult to believe the White House would reject a plan proposed and supported by the secretaries of state and defense – plus the CIA chief, to boot. Furthermore, another Times report one month later confirmed American-aided arms were shipped to the rebels for weeks. The paper’s description of the arms shipments mirrors the exact plan as reportedly concocted by Clinton.
The Times reported that since at least November 2012, the United States had been helping “the Arab governments shop for weapons, including a large procurement from Croatia, and have vetted rebel commanders and groups to determine who should receive the weapons as they arrive.” In other words, Clinton’s plan to arm the rebels was seemingly put into action.
If this is the case – and all the evidence points there (see chapter 2 for more) – then Clinton has even more explaining to do because she claimed during her Benghazi testimony that she did not know whether the U.S. mission in Libya was procuring or transferring weapons to Turkey and other Arab countries.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) asked Clinton a pretty direct question: “Is the U.S. involved with any procuring of weapons, transfer of weapons, buying, selling, anyhow transferring weapons to Turkey out of Libya?”
“To Turkey?” Clinton asked, as her voice suddenly jumped an octave. “I will have to take that question for the record. Nobody has ever raised that with me.”
Continued Paul: “It’s been in news reports that ships have been leaving from Libya and that may have weapons, and what I’d like to know is the annex that was close by, were they involved with procuring, buying, selling, obtaining weapons, and were any of these weapons being transferred to other countries, any countries, Turkey included?”
Clinton replied, “Well, senator, you’ll have to direct that question to the agency that ran the annex. I will see what information is available.”
“You’re saying you don’t know?” asked Paul.
“I do not know,” Clinton said. “I don’t have any information on that.”
So we are to believe that Clinton did not know her plan to arm the rebels was put into action as her State Department underlings pulled critical security from the Benghazi mission while denying repeated requests for the bare-minimum protection at the strangely established compound located in al-Qaidaville, where she was set to declare victory in Libya as jihadists set up training camps and looted missiles. I’ll buy that bridge now.
Order “The REAL Benghazi Story: What the White House and Hillary Don’t Want You to Know” by Aaron Klein from the WND Superstore.