Benghazi and the Al Qaeda Resurgence

Arnold Ahlert is a former NY Post op-ed columnist currently contributing to JewishWorldReview.com, HumanEvents.com and CanadaFreePress.com. He may be reached at atahlert@comcast.net.


Mideast Libya Militant BacklashAccording to sources talking to CNN, “including those with deep inside knowledge of the agency’s workings,” 35 CIA agents were on the ground in Benghazi the night ambassador Christopher Stevens, Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, and diplomat Sean Smith, were killed in a terrorist attack. As a result, the agency is making an “unprecedented attempt” to keep what they were doing there a secret. “You have no idea the amount of pressure being brought to bear on anyone with knowledge of this operation,” revealed one of those sources.

That pressure apparently includes subjecting agents who were on the ground to “frequent, even monthly” polygraph tests to see if they’ve been talking to either Congress or the media. Former CIA operative and CNN analyst Robert Baer puts the number of tests in perspective. “Agency employees typically are polygraphed every three to four years. Never more than that,” he said. “If somebody is being polygraphed every month, or every two months it’s called an issue polygraph, and that means that the polygraph division suspects something, or they’re looking for something, or they’re on a fishing expedition. But it’s absolutely not routine at all to be polygraphed monthly, or bi-monthly,” he added.

Another source described the frequency of testing as pure intimidation, noting that any unauthorized leak could cost someone his career. The source further noted that intimidation was not limited to the individual leaker. “You don’t jeopardize yourself, you jeopardize your family as well,” the source warned.

The CNN story broke last Thursday. Later that evening, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) took it one step further. In an exchange with Greta Van Susteren, Gowdy alleged the Obama administration is “creating aliases” for the Benghazi survivors, as well as “dispersing them” across the nation in an effort to keep them from talking. “So you stop and think what things are most calculated to get at the truth? Talk to people with first-hand knowledge. What creates the appearance or perhaps the reality of a cover-up? Not letting us talk to people who have the most amount of information, dispersing them throughout the country and changing their names,” Gowdy claimed. Susteren agreed, noting that she had also made efforts to interview the survivors, but was unable to do so “because the administration is doing everything it can to hide them.”

Gowdy is not the first congressman to make such claims. On December 12, 2012, Congressman Jason Chaffetz told Breitbart News he had been “thwarted” by the State Department from seeing any of the Benghazi survivors, and the following March he also alleged that one of the survivors who had been hospitalized had his “name changed” on the hospital records to prevent identification.

It was at this juncture that Fox News learned that seven of the survivors had been injured bad enough to warrant hospitalization, one of whom reportedly underwent a partial leg amputation, and another who suffered from smoke inhalation and a possible brain injury. Fox further noted that while some of the survivors work in “clandestine services” and don’t want to be identified, they still wonder why they haven’t been called into closed hearings to testify about the attack.

CNN’s source also put the number of wounded at seven, some seriously, even as it remains unknown how many of them were CIA. (It is important to note that the references to “Benghazi survivors” include both those from the State Department and the CIA, and that both agencies have been involved in keeping them from away from Congress and the public.)

Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA), whose district includes the CIA’s headquarters in Langley, Virginia, noted that shortly after the attack he was contacted by people closely tied to CIA operatives and other contractors who wanted to step forward. “Initially they were not afraid to come forward,” said Wolf. “They wanted the opportunity, and they wanted to be subpoenaed, because if you’re subpoenaed, it sort of protects you, you’re forced to come before Congress. Now that’s all changed,” he added.

In a House floor speech on July 18, Wolf revealed one of those changes. “According to trusted sources that have contacted my office, many if not all of the survivors of the Benghazi attacks along with others at the Department of Defense, the CIA have been asked or directed to sign additional non-disclosure agreements about their involvement in the Benghazi attacks,” he claimed. “Some of these new NDAs, as they call them, I have been told were signed as recently as this summer.”

Wolf has made several requests to establish a select committee and probe conducted by intelligence committee investigators to find out what went on. Around 160 Republicans have signed on to Wolf’s request. Last week, eight Republicans also signed a letter written by Chaffetz to FBI Director James Comey, requesting that he brief Congress within 30 days, because the administration’s investigation into the attacks has been “simply unacceptable.” The group wants to know why no suspects have been captured or killed.

Chaffetz was especially incensed by the reality that CNN was able to interview Ahmed Abu Khattala, the Benghazi leader of Ansar al-Sharia. Khattala admitted being at the compound the night of the attack, but said during the interview that he has yet to be contacted by the FBI, despite the fact that he is a “person of interest,” according to officials. “How come the FBI isn’t doing this and yet CNN is?” Chaffetz wondered aloud to reporters.

Why the Obama administration is stonewalling this investigation in general remains the key question. It has long been speculated that the State Department and the CIA were involved in an international version of Fast and Furious, moving surface-to-air missiles out of Libya, through Turkey, and into the hands of Syrian rebels. Three days after the Benghazi attack, British newspaper The Times reported that a Libyan ship “carrying the largest consignment of weapons for Syria…has docked in Turkey.” In an email sent to CNN, the State Department claimed all it was doing in Libya was helping the post-Gadaffi government get rid of weapons that had were “damaged, aged or too unsafe retain,” and were not involved in any weapons transfer.

But the State Department also told the network they “can’t speak for any other agencies.” This corroborates testimony offered by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at a Senate hearing on the subject in January. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) asked Clinton if the CIA was running guns, and if she could explain what a CIA annex was doing in Benghazi in the first place. Clinton told Paul he would have to ask “the agency running the annex.” At the time, Paul was ridiculed as a conspiracy theorist for asking the question.

Times have changed, a reality amplified by the fact that the CIA refused to comment when asked by CNN about the weapons transfer allegation.

Nonetheless, CIA spokesman Dean Boyd insisted in a statement that the CIA has been forthcoming with Congress. “The CIA has worked closely with its oversight committees to provide them with an extraordinary amount of information related to the attack on U.S. facilities in Benghazi,” the statement said. “CIA employees are always free to speak to Congress if they want. The CIA enabled all officers involved in Benghazi the opportunity to meet with Congress. We are not aware of any CIA employee who has experienced retaliation, including any non-routine security procedures, or who has been prevented from sharing a concern with Congress about the Benghazi incident.”

Wolf wasn’t buying it. He believes the frequent polygraph tests are a “form of coverup,” and that the “American people are feeling the same way.” His solution is simple. “We should have the people who were on the scene come in, testify under oath, do it publicly, and lay it out. And there really isn’t any national security issue involved with regards to that,” he explained.

Remarkably, Wolf and company are being stymied by House Speaker John Boehner, who, along with ally Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX), has left Wolf’s resolution languishing in the Rules Committee since January. Boehner and other GOP leaders contend the current investigation, consisting of four “heavily involved committees,” according to Boehner, is sufficient. Conservative Republicans are pressuring Boehner to change his mind and create a select committee.

Rep. Steve Stockman (R-TX) has taken it one step further. On July 27, he filed a “discharge petition” that would get around the scheduling process for bills, currently controlled by Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), and force GOP leadership to allow a House vote. “If I can get 218 Congressional Republicans to back me, a majority of the House, we will break through the D.C. stonewall and there will finally be a vote on creating the Select Committee to investigate Benghazi,” Stockman wrote at his website. He also explained his rationale for doing so. “You see, Congress just canceled a hearing in which we were supposed to hear from Benghazi survivors,” he wrote. “Why? Because someone in a Democrat office leaked the names of the witnesses, who were then targeted for intimidation.”

One thing is certain here. The positions of CIA spokesman Dean Boyd and the statements by CNN’s CIA sources cannot be reconciled. Someone is lying. The Obama administration has already demonstrated it was more than willing to orchestrate the lie about the Benghazi attack being catalyzed by an Internet video, even as the president continues to insist this scandal, as well as others plaguing his administration, are “phony.”

It is critical to remember why Obama and company thought it was necessary to lie. The Benghazi attack occurred during the homestretch of the 2012 presidential campaign, during which the president assured us on several occasions that al Qaeda was “on the run,” “decimated,” and “on the path to defeat.”

The past month alone revealed the staggering level of deceit those statements encapsulated. Al Qaeda has been linked to, or coordinated, a series of prison breaks, freeing more than 500 hardcore terrorists from Abu Ghraib and Taji in Iraq, nearly 250 more from the prison in the town of Dera Ismail Khan in Paistan, and 1,100 in Benghazi.

Interpol has issued a global security alert to nine nations as a result. That warning followed an announcement by the Obama administration that American embassies located in the Middle East and North Africa would be closed yesterday, due to “a potential threat occurring in, or emanating from, the Arabian Peninsula.” It is based on “specific credible information,” and the team tasked with carrying it out is “already in place.” Furthermore, the Department of Homeland Security is boosting domestic security efforts as well.

All this in response to a decimated, on-the-run terrorist organization? A comprehensive, Watergate-style investigation of what occurred in Benghazi on September 11, 2012 can’t happen soon enough.

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  • truebearing

    The enormity of Obama’s deceitfulness should be obvious to anyone with an IQ above 50… hence his continued popularity among certain Democratic demographics. The man is demonically dishonest.
    So far, Obama has armed drug cartels, drug running gangs in Honduras, street gangs in Indiana (Chicago), and Al Queda fighters. He wouldn’t help the Iranian democracy protestors or the Syrian Christians, though. Anyone notice a theme?
    From the time Obama campaigned for his first term, he gave unmistakable hints that he would be America’s scourge, it’s chief enemy, and a Trojan Horse for every enemy we’ve ever had. Those hints have morphed into mountains of irrefutable evidence.
    Why did Stevens and the other three Americans have to die — with no help from our Commander-In-Chief — when we were already giving Al Queda what they wanted? Why did Al Queda attack Stevens when our CIA was arming them ….target practice? Why did Obama and Hillary hang Stevens out to dry? Did he make the mistake of knowing too much during an election year?
    ImamObama let the Al Queda attackers kill a US ambassador with total impunity, then rewarded them more weapons. It looks like he approved of the assassination. Did he set it up, too?

    • Jim Ward

      “Irrefutable evidence?” That is, of course, about the only thing missing from your post.

      • truebearing

        Jim’s ward, shake off the ideological thorazine and look at the most irrefutable evidence there could possibly be: Obama’s policies and actions.
        He got caught selling guns to Mexican cartels. It is a fact, well documented by reporting from CBS, Fox, etc. His lies are a matter of public record, and are seemingly endless. He has capitulated to Russia on things like missile defense,animosity…for nothing in return; allowed Iran to crush a pro-democracy movement and continue its hellbent path to nuclear weapons: he has allowed Muslim Brotherhood operatives into our highest levels of law enforcement and intelligence; he has ordered the CIA to funnel weapons to the Islamist Syrian rebels, while ignoring requests from the Syrian Christians; continued to denigrate the US in speeches overseas; blocked progress on domestic energy independence at every turn; …..want more? This could go on forever.

        • Jim Ward

          Still looking for any facts from you… Fast and Furious was investigated to death and not linked to the White House. The Muslim Brotherhood nonsense originated from the firing of FBI agent John Guandolo who claimed he was forced out of his job by these operatives. Turns out he was fired cause he got caught banging the government’s star witness in the William Jefferson corruption trial.

          I could continue but let’s stay on topic. The fact that Benghazi was largely a clandestine operation explains much about security and the need for secrecy surrounding the Benghazi attacks. The U.S. has moved weapons to select factions of the Syrian rebels trying to overthrow the terrorist-supported Assad regime since at least 2006. McCain and other Republicans pushed for more and we are now doing it pretty much in the open. The Congressional Intelligence Committees had full knowledge of our activities there and that is what makes their phony scandal mongering all the more despicable.

  • Everett Vulgamore

    ok, seriously people, what the living hell happened over there that was so bad that all survivors physically cant tell anyone about?!?!?!??!?

  • Fred

    The CIA created and funded Al Qaeda…

    • logdon

      Evidence please?

    • Demetrius Minneapolis

      If you knew anything, you’d know that the counter Soviet forces were in play and logistically supplied initially by Pakistan and other Sunni nations (does this sound familiar) well before U.S involvement.
      Further along a Democrat named Charlie Wilson came along and placed pressure on the Agency to be more active and funded the animals we now call Al Qaeda.
      So your beef is with him and the Appropriations Committee who overtly and covertly sent millions and millions of our tax dollars over there.
      Suck on that Fred.

      • James

        Yeah, doesn’t change the fact that a government agency helped created and fund the terrorist we are currently fighting today.

        • Demetrius Minneapolis

          Who held funding cuts in front of the Agency? Who? Idiot.

      • James

        Hillary admits it herself, please research.

        • Demetrius Minneapolis

          Hey jackass, I would suggest YOU do your research. I spent 6 months back in 2006 going through Congressional records and Pakistani news reports dealing with the funding/support of islamic forces during the Soviet occupying years.
          I would suggest before using Hillary Clinton (a noted individual with bias against the military and the CIA) as your only source, you do a little research.
          I realize it would cut into your Nintendo time and Survivor watching but perhaps you can make the effort.

      • tagalog

        Charlie Wilson, whatever his faults, had nothing to do with al Qaeda. He supported and worked to aid materially the mujahedeen who were fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan by arming them with Sparrowhawk missiles and small arms that were a step up from the Lee-Enfield No. 1 Mark IIIs they were still using. Now if’s true that the anti-Soviet mujahedeen broke up into al Qaeda, but more than half of them broke up to form the Northern Alliance and helped the U.S. fight the Taliban in Afghanistan a decade later.

        Let’s not be overly loose with the claims, OK?

    • spyeatte

      If you are referring to our help of the mujahedeen in Afghanistan during the nine year Russian occupation starting in 1979, I would say, yes we helped. The Muslim Brotherhood and its offshoots are the genesis of Al Qaeda.

  • William James Ward

    Phony scandals equate to the Obama administration’s phony
    cooperation with the Benghazi investigation that is itself
    become phony. Mr. Transparent in the White House disgraces
    the dead and living survivors who for what ever reason not
    come forward as their careers are not to be sacrificed for
    the good of the Nation. Can the phony scandal contain such
    damning information that Obama has the agents actually in
    fear and maybe threatened with more than a job loss?
    William

  • CGleason

    And let us not forget, one of the responsible parties, one who bears the most responsibility, will soon be running for president – HILLARY CLINTON.

  • ObamaYoMoma

    There hasn’t been a resurgence of AQ since if anything because of stupid American blunders, first under the Bush administration and now under the Obama administration, the jihad to subjugate all religions and all infidels under Sharia, which is Islamic totalitarian law, is far stronger today than it was on 9/11. The problem is the American government along with the American media is totally incompetent, as they are selling the American people fairy tales about Islam that have no basis in facts or reality.

  • ObamaYoMoma

    All this in response to a decimated, on-the-run terrorist organization?

    I hate to rain on this writer’s parade, but jihad, in stark contrast to terrorism, is holy fighting in the cause of Allah for the establishment of Islam via the eventual imposition of Sharia, which is Islamic totalitarian law. Thus, unless this writer believes AQ does what it does out of poverty and despair, then he ought to know by now the differences between terrorism and jihad. Especially, since terrorism is always and only violent and perpetrated for any number of differing political agendas, while jihad, on the other hand, is both violent and non-violent, but astronomically far more non-violent relative to violent, and also given the fact that terrorism is a product of all cultures and all societies, while jihad, on the other hand, is only a product of Islamic culture and society.

  • Joel Cairo

    Having spent many years in the Levant and the east, I can vouch for the fact that there is grave danger and the American Government is not paying proper attention.

  • Donald J DaCosta

    That CNN has joined the search for the truth about Benghazi is a good sign but whether or not the rest of the Obama clown squad get involved remains an open question.

    What is most infuriating about this is the apparent, intentional participation of John Boehner and company in thwarting the appointment of a special prosecutor with the power to subpoena witnesses. Obama and company will not reveal the truth without the threat of prosecution for perjury. Some, even given that. This, the promised “most open administration in history” is, in fact, the most secretive, divisive and lawless.

    Given subpoena power, the first witnesses called to testify should be those who are now suspected of covering up the names of the witnesses on the ground in Benghazi who are now being shuffled into obscurity. The latter must be identified and subpoenaed next.

    What is Obama trying to hide and why? Need any of any political stripe be reminded that if this was Obama with an (R) as opposed to a (D) any one of these “phony” scandals would have ended his presidency long before the 2012 election, including and especially Benghazi. That he continues to skate, unscathed, accompanied by bold self proclamations that he is being plagued by
    accusations of “phony scandals” is tantamount to an egregious dereliction of journalistic integrity. No one in the current crop of stellar journalists, icons of their equally stellar networks, cares to challenge, not one lie but a disturbing number of lies? This is not Woodward and Bernstein; this is a lousy imitation of a bungling, bumbling, slapstick, Laurel and Hardy routine and I’m not laughing.

    • Jim Ward

      Boehner and company can’t milk this phony scandal any further because none of the facts support the baseless allegations. After 10 months of investigations, hearings, and reports, the truth remains the same: The only lawbreaking in Benghazi was done by the terrorists.

      • Donald J DaCosta

        “None of the facts support the baseless allegations.” Specifically which facts Jim and which allegations?

      • truebearing

        Where is your evidence? All I see are lies intended to support more lies by Obama.
        I see you’re calling the attackers in Benghazi “terrorists,” yet your Dear Leader wouldn’t do the same. Are you saying he is a liar? Am I to understand that you knew his phony BS about the anti-Islam video triggering the attack was a lie? Then why are you supporting him? If you think all of the information gleaned from the hearings and investigations is “baseless,” then when did you decide terrorists were the culprits? That isn’t Obama’s official explanation. That was only proven later by those “baseless” investigations and hearings. LOL!

        • Jim Ward

          CBS/AP reported the very next day that U.S. officials were investigating the Benghazi attacks as terrorism. The President called it an “act of terror’ in the Rose Garden that morning. He did so again in Nevada and in Colorado. Even the much maligned remarks of Ambassador Rice on the following Sunday’s news shows had the well-armed extremists — the militants — perpetrating the attacks and said the investigation would determine the depth of their links to al Qaeda.

          Only partisans claim that the Administration stated that this was a peaceful protest gone awry. The fact remains that the evidence — including eyewitness reports from Benghazi — points to the militants taking action without lengthy preplanning and in response to the anti-Muslim propaganda video that, after being widely televised throughout the Mideast, led to protests, riots and attacks on more than 54 U.S. facilities in 20 nations.

  • spyeatte

    If indeed the oversight committees are being given the truth and the whole truth, I could live with that. The problem is the CIA and other three-letter agencies have little or no credibility when it comes to the truth because of a recent history of deliberate cover-ups and lying. Something other than simple gun-running is happening here. This certainly isn’t the first time the CIA has been involved in getting weapons to certain groups and there have been good reasons – I would never second-guess that. No, there is something else they don’t want revealed – something big.

  • DontMessWithAmerica

    No surprises here. The big surprise and the big question is; WHY HAS THE GOP BEEN SITTING ON ITS HANDS?

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Geoffrey-Britain/100003802091841 Geoffrey Britain

      But its not a surprise, its business as usual. The GOP is acting to protect Obama. No other explanation fits Boehner and Session’s behavior. They are doing so out of political self-interest.

  • jack

    I just want to know why were these 35 agent helping defend the ambassador??

    • jac

      Not Helping sorry!

    • tagalog

      And where were they? Demonstrating for more regulation of assault weapons?

  • tagalog

    What is it about the Benghazi attack that is so sensitive that its secrets must be protected so assiduously?

    Why the concern with the claim that Congress is preoccupied with the Benghazi incident? When the Congressional inquiry over Communist espionage agents in the U.S. government went on for about 20 years, and with sustained intensity during the years between about 1947 and 1955, nobody but liberals was terribly worried about it. How about the six years of investigation into Iran-Contra? That was defended as absolutely essential to the democratic form of government.

  • dougjmiller

    Islamic extremists, with al Qaeda leading the pack, are waging wars of aggression all around the globe. Islamic imperialists desire world domination and the elimination of all religions other than their perverted version of Islam. They will kill every man, woman and child they can get their filthy hands on. They will murder every Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, Jew, Atheist and even non-radical or different sect Moslem they can in order to frighten the rest of the population into submission. The good people and the decent nations must work together to defeat radical Islam if we want to preserve civilization.

  • jackcb

    This situation is getting worse and worse by the minute. I like to hear that representatives like Trey Gowdy, Frank Wolf and Jason Chafitz are talking about it on TV. However, talk is cheap, action is what counts and there isn’t enough of that. The way that the government of the United States is set up, no one branch has more authority than the other. Therefore, Congress has as much authority as the President and should be forcing the issue rather than talk about it on TV. Congress should start cracking hard on Obama. He should be subpoenaed to appear before Congress and Impeachment proceedings should be started.