(This post contains original research on an important topic. I hope readers will spread the following information far and wide. If you can offer a counter-argument, please share with the rest of the class.)
I had presumed, or hoped, that this blog would never again have to mention Benghazi. But now, after we've all heard so much nonsense on that front, the Washington Post has published some astonishing new information
about the attack:
U.S. officials suspect that a former Guantanamo Bay detainee played a role in the attack on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, and are planning to designate the group he leads as a foreign terrorist organization, according to officials familiar with the plans.
Militiamen under the command of Abu Sufian bin Qumu, the leader of Ansar al-Sharia in the Libyan city of Darnah, participated in the attack that killed U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, U.S. officials said.
Witnesses have told American officials that Qumu’s men were in Benghazi before the attack on Sept. 11, 2012, according to the officials. It’s unclear whether they were there as part of a planned attack or out of happenstance. The drive from Darnah to Benghazi takes several hours.
In 2007, Qumu was released from the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and sent to Libya, where he was detained. The Libyan government released him in 2008.
(As we shall see, this is not the first time people have pointed at Qumu as a potential mastermind of the Banghazi attack. Previously, the administration denied his involvement.)
If you glance at the comments appended to the WP story, you'll see that neither the left-wing nor the right-wing readers have thought to ask the first question that popped into my mind: Why was Qumu allowed to walk free while so many others remain trapped in Gitmo?
Alas, the Post refuses to drop the other shoe. Allow me to do so.
We have good evidence that the "terrorists" allowed to leave Guantanamo in 2007 were recruited to spy for the United States.
The following comes from a 2011 Cannonfire post which derives, in large part, from this piece
by Marcy Wheeler, our best civilian analyst of national security matters:
She says that the Americans have recruited the prisoners to function as spies -- first against other prisoners, later out in the field. This would explain the reported cases of "recidivism."
Let's quote Marcy once again, as she focuses on one of Qumu's fellow prisoners:
There were quiet reports that the reason we used torture at Abu Ghraib was to recruit spies. And the example of Jabir al Fayfi, who was released to Saudi Arabia in 2007, underwent the Saudi retraining program, and then “fled” to Yemen, only to return and alert the Saudis of the toner cartridge plot last year, is most easily explained by assuming that Fayfi was a spy, either ours or Saudi Arabia’s.
While no one will ever talk about this, we can be sure that some of the Gitmo detainees who appear to “reengage” are doing so on orders from us.
2007 was the year an "amnesty" program went into effect. Nobody has ever convincingly explained why some prisoners got out and others did not. Frankly, I don't think that Bush and Cheney would have granted amnesty to anyone unless they were playing an angle.
My earlier post goes on to quote from a December, 2010 Miami Herald story (no longer online) which gives us further details about the above-mentioned al Fayfi. After being let loose, he proceeded to infiltrate -- and to prevent
-- a scheme to bomb cargo planes.
Yemeni security officials said Monday they believe Fayfi may have been a double agent, planted by Saudi Arabia in Yemen among al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula militants to uncover their plots.
So the big question is this: Is Qumu, the local leader of Ansar al-Sharia, like unto this Fayfi fellow? In other words, was he recruited by the CIA, by Saudi intelligence, or by allied forces?
, thanks to Wikileaks, is Qumu's release information. And quite a revelatory document this is!
Let's see how much juice we can squeeze out of it...
Detainee has non-specific personality disorder.
What does that
mean? Can any shrinks in the audience help us out here?
Detainee has latent Tubercolosis and refuses treatment.
In all likelihood, he thought his captors were trying to drug him.
He has no travel restrictions.
Really? Despite his previous involvement with the Taliban and Al Qaeda? And despite the fact that so many others in Gitmo -- including people with no proven terrorist ties -- remain imprisoned?
Paradoxically, we read these words a short ways down...
JTF GTMO recommends detainee be Transferred to the Control of Another Country for Continued Detention (TRCD).
would seem to be a travel restriction, wouldn't it?
The other country was Qaddafy's Libya, Qumu's birthplace. Here's where the Qumu story gets curiouser and curiouser: The recommendation was conditional...
...if a satisfactory agreement can be reached that allows access to detainee and/or access to exploited intelligence.
Woah! In other words, we here have hard confirmation that American intelligence was still running Qumu even after he was back in his home town of Darna, Libya.
The document goes on to state that Qumu had, at one time, amassed quite an impressive record as a young (and apparently non-political) hooligan: Murder, armed assault, drug dealing. Qaddafy tossed him in the slammer, from which he escaped in 1993. That's when he found his way into Bin Laden's movement.
You have to ask yourself why Qaddafy would want
this guy back in Libya in 2007. More to the point, you have to ask yourself why he was allowed to operate freely.
After all, this man was a murderer who had escaped from prison
. The Libyan government (according to the above-cited document) considered Qumu "a dangerous man."
When Qumu returned to Libya, why didn't Qaddafy simply toss him back into the klink and throw away the proverbial key? Why did Qaddafy allow this guy to head up his own paramilitary organization -- an organization unfriendly to the Qaddafy regime?
In that period, of course, Qaddafy was trying to play nice with the Americans. The U.S. must have asked Qaddafy to let Qumu scamper and scurry about freely.
To my eyes, the most likely explanation for "the Qumu mystery" is that he had struck a very secret deal with the Americans. I'm not sure what the guy was getting up to in Darna, but -- based on the evidence we have at this time -- I am persuaded he was in Libya only because American spooks wanted
Fox News has, in the past fingered Qumu as a possible leader of the attack in Benghazi. However, the Obama administration denied the he played any role
So why does the Washington Post -- citing "U.S. officials" -- now deny that denial? What has changed?
It may be the case that much of the nonsense we've heard on the Benghazi front was a smokescreen designed to obfuscate the real story. If Qumu was involved in the attack -- and if he was "nash" (which used to be spook-speak for "ours") -- then Congress should force the CIA to tell us just what kind of game they were playing in Libya, and what was Qumu's role in that game.
Such an inquiry should also focus on that "Innocence of Muslims" video which provided the immediate impetus for civil unrest in Benghazi and elsewhere. In previous posts, we've seen plenty of evidence that a faction of the American intelligence community created that video, or at least exploited it for parapolitical purposes. See here
(Although I am no Obama fan, I've seen no evidence that he knew anything about a covert op involving Qumu, who benefited from a Bush-era release program. In previous posts, I've outlined my reasons for believing that the spooks who engineered the "Innocence of Muslims" brouhaha may have been operating on behalf of the Republicans.)