NEW YORK – The Department of Justice moved to drop charges against arms dealer Marc Turi because federal prosecutors are convinced his defense would expose then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s secret arms running to the radical al-Qaida-affiliated militia in Libya in 2011, contended Fox News senior judicial analyst Judge Andrew Napolitano in an interview with WND.
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“I have read a great many on-the-record and off-the-record materials on the Marc Turi case,” Napolitano told WND, “and it is clear that even though the trial would be after Election Day, the Justice Department did not want to be in a position of defending Secretary Clinton.”
Justice Department lawyers filed a motion in federal court in Phoenix on Monday, Politico reported, to drop the case against Turi as they faced a deadline to produce documents to Turi's legal team in preparation for a trial scheduled to begin on Election Day, Nov. 8.
Napolitano detailed for WND his understanding of the events behind the Obama administration's decision to run a clandestine war against Moammar Gadhafi and side with NATO in the 2011 bombing aimed at regime change.
“Secretary Clinton decided she had to get rid of Gadhafi because she wanted to take credit when she ran for president for being the government official responsible for liberating Libya,” Napolitano said.
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Clinton knew she would never get a declaration of war from Congress or authorization under the war powers resolution enacted over President Nixon’s veto in 1973, he asserted.
"So, Secretary Clinton persuaded Obama to use CIA intelligence assets who would be exempted from the war powers resolution even if they wore military fatigues in Libya."
Napolitano explained that to use intelligence assets under the war powers resolution, Clinton needed the cooperation and informal consent of the “Congress within the Congress,” referring to the House Committee on Intelligence and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, which are sworn to secrecy.
“The result is the president of the United States, the secretary of state and about two dozen people in the House and Senate, including the leadership of both parties in both houses, can authorize a clandestine war using CIA assets," he said.
"And this is exactly what President Obama and Secretary Clinton did."
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Having obtained the authorization of the House and Senate intelligence committees, Clinton began a secret gunrunning operation to Libya, using a provision in the United Nations-imposed arms embargo on Libya that allowed the foreign minister of participating countries to grant an exception to the embargo, Napolitano said.
“Hillary granted exemptions to provide arms, not to Gadhafi, but to the militia in Libya that were fighting Gadhafi on the ground,” he said.
“The problem was the CIA told Clinton that some of the militia just looked like militias, masking the fact the militias in Libya are terrorists that will use these weapons against us.”
Napolitano noted that one of the arms dealers to whom Secretary Clinton granted an exemption was Turi.
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“Even though Turi never actually ran any guns into Libya, the Department of Justice indicted Turi for doing what Secretary Clinton had authorized him to do, which was providing material assistance to what turned out to be terrorist organizations in Libya,” Napolitano emphasized.
He said Turi’s defense at trial was going to be "exposing Hillary Clinton and her plan to authorize him to run guns to Libya in a clandestine operation Clinton wanted to be able to deny when she ran for president.”
Rather than risking that Turi would expose Clinton, the Department of Justice decided to forego prosecution, but only after Turi spent what Napolitano estimated was millions of dollars in legal expenses and several years of his life being under federal indictment.
Napolitano suspects the U.S. ambassador to Libya who was killed in the Benghazi attack, Christopher Stevens, was aware of the Clinton gunrunning operations through Benghazi. Stevens also knew that weapons shipped by Clinton clandestinely to Libya ended up in the hands of ISIS terrorists fighting Assad in Syria, the former judge said.
Intel chairman, House speaker implicated
Kristi Clemens Rogers, the wife of then-House intel chairman Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., was an intermediary on the ground who received the weapons and transferred them to militias in Libya opposing Gadhafi, Napolitano said.
“As a result, Mike Rogers and his wife made money from the gunrunning," he said. "To avoid being exposed and prosecuted, Rogers left a very secure district in Michigan and decided to retire from the Congress.”
Kristi Clemens Rogers in 2011 was CEO of the American Arm of Aegis Defense Systems, a security-contracting firm with global operations that reportedly held the lucrative private contract to protect the U.S. compound at Benghazi.
Napolitano argued that then-House Speaker John Boehner not only signed off on Clinton’s secret gunrunning plan in Libya in 2011 but also chose members of the Benghazi committee to insure the lid would remain on the cover-up.
“Boehner wanted to make sure the wealth achieved by Mike Rogers and his wife, as well as the fact Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had signed off on Clinton’s plan were never made public,” he said.
Turi caught in Clinton’s secret war
WND first reported in June 2015 Napolitano’s concerns that Turi was being set up for prosecution to continue a cover-up of the secret war on Libya the U.S. decided to wage despite well-documented offers by Gadhafi to abdicate peacefully.
The background of the Turi prosecution, while complicated, is at the heart of an allegation made by Napolitano in a syndicated column published July 1, 2015.
Napolitano charged Clinton, while secretary of state, lied when Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., asked her in a Senate committee hearing if the State Department had run guns illegally to Libyan rebels.
An interview of Turi by Fox News intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge and Fox News senior executive producer Pamela Browne led Napolitano to review emails to and from State Department and congressional officials during the years when Clinton was secretary of state.
Napolitano concluded it’s “beyond a reasonable doubt and to a moral certainty” that Hillary had conducted a “secret war” shipping arms to Libya illegally in 2011.
What Napolitano assumed as true was the central argument advanced by the Obama administration in the Turi prosecution: The weapons Turi shipped to Qatar were intended not for the use of the Qatar army but to be diverted to Libya for use by the al-Qaida-affiliated militia attempting to overthrow Gadhafi.
Hillary rebuffed Gadhafi abdication
WND reported that as the allied bombing of Libya began in 2011, the Obama administration rejected an offer by Gadhafi to abdicate in a deal to be brokered by Rear Adm. Chuck Kubrick with AFRICOM in Stuttgart, Germany, in March 2011.
WND also reported the Obama White House and the State Department under the management of Hillary Clinton “changed sides in the war on terror” in 2011 by implementing a policy of facilitating the delivery of weapons to the al-Qaida-dominated rebel militias in Libya attempting to oust Gadhafi from power, the Citizens Commission on Benghazi concluded in a report.
The Obama administration also rebuffed the efforts of former Rep. Curt Weldon to negotiate with Gadhafi an offer to step down, WND reported.
Video proof of arms transfer
WND published visual evidence of Clinton’s State Department secretly provided weapons to Islamic jihadists in Libya to support the U.S.-backed NATO bombing in 2011.
In one of the videos published by WND, Moussa Ibrahim, Gadhafi’s information minister and official spokesman, displayed to reporters in 2011 a cache of weapons and ammunition seized from a ship from Qatar intercepted by the Libyan Coast Guard off Libya’s coast.
The video matched a report of Qatari military equipment seized in mid-April 2011. Anthony Bell and David Witter of the Institute for the Study of War, in their October 2011 publication “The Libyan Revolution: Stalemate & Siege, Part 3,” said the shipments “consisting of bulletproof vests, helmets and ammunition were bound for the rebels besieged in Misrata.”
“Though his shipment was unannounced, Qatari Prime Minister al-Thani alluded to arming the rebels just days before the crates appeared,” they wrote.
On Feb. 11, 2011, the Department of Justice charged Turi, individually and through his company, Turi Defense Group, with attempting between February and July of 2011 “to broker a substantial quantity of weapons – machine guns, sniper rifles, assault rifles, anti-tank rockets, rockets, and other high explosives and ammunition – to individuals in Libya, with knowledge such activities were prohibited by United States law enacted to protect the national security and foreign policy interests of the United States.”
The indictment charged that after the State Department denied Turi a brokering license to supply weapons to Libya, he submitted brokering applications to the State Department’s Directorate of Defense Trade Controls, “falsely listing Qatar and United Arab Emirates as the end users for weapons that were actually intended for individuals in Libya.”
This, the indictment charged, was in direct contravention of U.N. Security Council Resolution 170, passed Feb. 26, 2011. The resolution imposed an arms embargo on all member states to prevent “the immediate prospect” of a Gadhafi-led attempt “to slaughter rebel forces in Benghazi that would likely result in massive civilian casualties.”
In various court motions, defense attorney Jean-Jacques Cabou asserted Turi shipped no weapons to Qatar.
Cabou contended the whole point of prosecuting Turi was to blame him for the weapons transfer, which he called a covert Obama administration gun-running operation that went wrong when Libya intercepted the weapons.
He noted Gadhafi spokesman Ibrahim suggested publicly that NATO countries were violating the U.N. resolution in an attempt to arm the Libyan al-Qaida-affiliated militia – then designated by the U.S. and the U.N. as “rebels” – in their attempt to oust Gadhafi.
In an initial motion to dismiss the case, filed July 23, 2014, Cabou noted that “in early 2011, while under contract with the Government for work in those countries, Mr. Turi requested State Department approval to conduct brokering discussions with allied entities and governments in Africa, including the National Transition Council of Libya, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar.”
Cabou pointed out that such requests “are common in Mr. Turi’s business and are typically referred to as request for approval,” stressing that the outcome was that the State Department approved Turi’s requests for approval in Qatar and the UAE but turned down his request for Libya.
In bold print, the next sentence of the motion made Cabou’s key point: “In the end, however, no weapons were ever transferred pursuant to these requests. As is often the case in international arms trade, these deals did not come to fruition.”