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Saturday, November 22, 2014

The House intel committee on Benghazi

The House intelligence panel has allegedly debunked the leading Benghazi theories. I've always felt that most of those theories were myths created to feed the right-wing scream machine. But one theory comes from non-right-wing sources: The notion that the CIA was transiting Libyan weapons stores to the Syrian opposition.

This is, by far, the most threatening allegation of all, since the Syrian rebels are now better known as ISIS.

Here's what the AP has to say about it:
A two-year investigation by the Republican-controlled House Intelligence Committee has found that the CIA and the military acted properly in responding to the 2012 attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, and asserted no wrongdoing by Obama administration appointees.

Debunking a series of persistent allegations hinting at dark conspiracies, the investigation of the politically charged incident determined that there was no intelligence failure, no delay in sending a CIA rescue team, no missed opportunity for a military rescue, and no evidence the CIA was covertly shipping arms from Libya to Syria.
Most of the attention goes to the wrangling over the role played by the Innocence of Muslims video. I'm sure that the intel committee won't touch the fairly substantial evidence that a right-wing faction of our own intelligence community helped to create and spread that inflammatory video.

Anyways, that is freakin' it as far as the Syrian angle is concerned. I haven't read the actual report yet, but I'm wary.

(I've read a lot of books about about the CIA, and I've never seen one in which a spook seems fearful of what the watchdogs on the Hill might do. The "watchdogs" have small fangs and tight leashes. Everyone in DC knows that Frank Church was unseated because spooks funneled money to his opponent.)

Let's refresh our memories.

The arms-to-Syrian-rebels claim (the only part of this brouhaha that matters) was first expressed by Jake Tapper, in August of 2013. He was careful to include the word "speculation." The main thrust of Tapper's report concerned the highly unusual amount of polygraph tests on CIA personnel connected to the Benghazi mission. So large a number of tests seemed to indicate fear -- the fear that someone might talk. about what?
Speculation on Capitol Hill has included the possibility the U.S. agencies operating in Benghazi were secretly helping to move surface-to-air missiles out of Libya, through Turkey, and into the hands of Syrian rebels.

It is clear that two U.S. agencies were operating in Benghazi, one was the State Department, and the other was the CIA.

The State Department told CNN in an e-mail that it was only helping the new Libyan government destroy weapons deemed "damaged, aged or too unsafe retain," and that it was not involved in any transfer of weapons to other countries.

But the State Department also clearly told CNN, they "can't speak for any other agencies."
Sy Hersh took up the story next, in April of 2014.
The full extent of US co-operation with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Qatar in assisting the rebel opposition in Syria has yet to come to light. The Obama administration has never publicly admitted to its role in creating what the CIA calls a ‘rat line’, a back channel highway into Syria. The rat line, authorised in early 2012, was used to funnel weapons and ammunition from Libya via southern Turkey and across the Syrian border to the opposition. Many of those in Syria who ultimately received the weapons were jihadists, some of them affiliated with al-Qaida.
Hersh says that there was a "secret annex" to a highly classified Senate intelligence committee report on Benghazi. (Remember, the new report is from the House.) This annex spoke of an agreement with the Turks:
By the terms of the agreement, funding came from Turkey, as well as Saudi Arabia and Qatar; the CIA, with the support of MI6, was responsible for getting arms from Gaddafi’s arsenals into Syria. A number of front companies were set up in Libya, some under the cover of Australian entities. Retired American soldiers, who didn’t always know who was really employing them, were hired to manage procurement and shipping.
‘The consulate’s only mission was to provide cover for the moving of arms,’ the former intelligence official, who has read the annex, said. ‘It had no real political role.’
I suppose it is possible that someone disinformed Hersh. He has fallen for bad information before. Not often -- but it has happened. (Cough cough. Marilyn Monroe. Cough cough cough.)

Perhaps someone in Spookworld came up with a clever plan to destroy the credibility of Hersh's main allegation -- that the rebels, not Assad, fired the chemical weapons that nearly dragged us into the Syrian civil war in 2013. That part of Hersh's story has since been verified, although nobody in our media likes to mention the fact.

At any rate, most of the nonsense spouted about Benghazi has come from the Fox Newsers, the Breitbarters, and the Drudge-packers. You can always safely dismiss whatever you hear from those guys. But Hersh...? Okay, maybe he got it wrong. It's possible. But this is the same guy who has broken many important stories in the past, and I won't say that he was mistaken until I see good, hard evidence.
It could just be that the GOP knuckle-draggers in the House finally figured out that they're actually going after the CIA instead of Obama and decided to call off the dogs. I mean, it's conceivable that the operation wasn't even authorized by the Executive; not likely, but possible.
Cannonfire...Thanks to Minnesota native Sigurd Olson; he helped lobby for the Wilderness bill, jets were prohibited from overflying this wilderness area, because the noisy flights were incompatible with Wilderness, "...where man is just a visitor...retains its primeval
character...etc." Wilderness Act of 1964. Will, Minneapolis, MN
Republican politicians would love to smear the label of guns for anything meme on the Democrats since that same tactic was used against the Republicans by democrats regarding the Guns for Hostages allegations and Iran / Contra issues of the 80's.

One of the reports was timed to come out just a few days before a presidential election and apparently it helped the democrats. I forget which year.

The silliness of all other claims is that even if the video story was completely bogus, misdirection is always a possibility when it comes to demoralizing possibly insurgency and terrorists acts.

If an actual terrorism act can be relabeled as something else, that actually can deter future acts of terrorism since it is the publicity that fuels the lust to do more damage. Yet for some reason may republicans just did not seem to understand that.
One would like to believe that this will be the end to the nonsense on Benghazi. But we all know that won't happen with a WH election in 2016. A Friday news dump is telling for most people but Republicans like Graham have already said the report is a pile of crap. So be ready for more endless inquiries and accusations. Anything to smear the Obama Administration in general and Hillary Clinton specifically.

Btw, Joe, I think you're right. This probably has more to do with CIA machinations with the dogs ordered off the hunt and point. We'll likely never know what happened. But the GOP investigators weren't looking for answers, just more material for the spin machine.

The beat goes on and the ugly has just begun.

Interesting article on Benghazi from Webster Tarpley: "The so-called US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya was in fact a CIA station with more than 50 personnel on hand to maintain liaison with the Al Qaeda death squads deployed by NATO intelligence in 2010 and 2011 for the purpose of overthrowing the Libyan government of Colonel Muammar Qaddafi."
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