A private citizens’ report reveals that a U.S.-foreign policy of arming Jihad and disarming Americans is what led to the Benghazi terrorist attack.
“The most important overriding conclusion is that this administration literally switched sides on the war on terrorism,” said Clare M. Lopez, former C.I.A. officer and member of the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi, a private investigative team created to determine the accuracy of events in Benghazi, Libya on Sept. 11, 2012 that left four Americans killed including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens.
Lopez said the United States government, including the Department of State and C.I.A. assisted with the delivery of weapons to known members and affiliates of al-Qaida. “We think that is the most reprehensible part of our entire story.”
U.S. policy was to provide terrorists with the tools necessary to overthrow 42-year Libyan ruler Muammar al-Gaddafi in the Libyan revolution that broke out in February 2011, she said. “We set the stage for everything that would come after.”
When the city of Benghazi, the font of the revolution, was about to fall under Gaddafi control by March 2011, she said the U.S. intervened to save the revolution not to protect citizens as they indicated. “The excuse that we were in Benghazi to save lives does not measure up to the truth.”
America was in a position to end the civil war right there, said the vice president for research and analysis at the Center for Security Policy, a D.C. think tank.
“Had Gaddafi succeeded in capturing Benghazi, the civil war itself could have been stopped,” said Lopez. “CCB learned that Gaddafi’s intent was to get into talks with AFRICOM on a possible exile situation.”
U.S. Africa Command, which is a U.S. forces joint operations center refused to give the go-ahead to truce talks, she said. “The refusal to consider talks proceeded with the war that ultimately took tens of thousands of lives.”
Instead Stevens was sent to help al-Qaida and the Muslim brotherhood win the revolution, she said. “We were there to help al-Qaida overturn Gaddafi.”
The next striking fault of U.S. policy explained in CCB’s interim report is the deliberate and methodical deterioration of security in Benghazi leading up to the terrorist attack, she said.
“Everybody involved from Ambassador Stevens to national decisions to security teams and officers, all of them repeatedly begged for more security in Benghazi and the State Department said no.”
Lopez said security in Libya after the revolution, particularly in the East where Benghazi is located, was deteriorating badly throughout 2012.
“We know that there were numerous attacks in Benghazi on other Western facilities and personnel, such as the International Red Cross, even our own mission was attacked previously in 2012.”
There were reports of numerous al-Qaeda training camps in an around Benghazi itself, she said.
“Of course, these are the guys that won the revolution. They are the ones running the government and they are the ones setting up the terror-training camps.” Gaddafi was captured and killed by opposition forces in October 2011.
A dismantling of security continued until the U.S. military were ultimately disarmed in Cairo and Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012, said Lopez, who is a former professor at the Centre for Counterintelligence and Security Studies in Washington. “The real purpose of U.S. involvement in the beginning of 2011 was to assist the rebels and the whole town of Benghazi win the revolution.”
The White House mantra that Osama Bin Laden is dead and al-Qaeda was on the run did not fit with administration policy, she said.
The CCB believes the White House wanted to create the illusion that American-Libya relations were in a normal status with good diplomatic relations, she said. “By stripping security away from Libya in general but Benghazi specifically, the administration was trying to make a show of normalcy.”
The annex in Benghazi that was attacked was a C.I.A. base of operations with a special mission compound for Ambassador Stevens to use for meetings and business, said Lopez.
On Sept. 12, 2012 the Obama administration ordered the Department of State protective detail agents that were assigned to Stevens to cease from having their weapons or gear physically next to them, she said. “Weapons were found in closets in the next building.”
The same policy order of disarmament was in effect at the Cairo embassy that day as well, she said. “An order was given that no matter what happens you will not fire a shot.”
Luckily no one was hurt or injured in the demonstration that penetrated the outer perimeter of the Cairo embassy, but she said in Benghazi when calls came in of a serious breach of security, the administration did not retaliate.
“There are military forces on bases and ships stationed all over the Mediterranean,” said Lopez. “Every one of these units and forces has as part of its mandate to come to the aid of American diplomatic facilities under assault.”
On Sept. 11, 2012 when the U.S. military received word of a terrorist attack in Benghazi, they were prepared with pre-rehearsed positions, they practiced it, they knew exactly what to do, Lopez said. “But, then, they had to wait for a go-order–without the go-order they could not go.”
Forces all over the Mediterranean would have been aware of the significance of the Sept. 11 date, she said. “Jihadists use special dates, especially 9-11 to launch more attacks, it’s a pattern they have followed in the past.”
Lopez, who was named a Lincoln Fellow at the Claremont Institute in 2011, said the State Department did not want the American people to know that al-Qaeda still existed and there was a real terrorist threat in Libya despite the over throw of Kaddafi.
American policy was one that protected radical Muslims and failed to protect Americans, she said. “Administrative policy was: We will not obstruct the Muslim uprising in North Africa.”
The CCB believes the actions of the Obama administration amounts to a gross dereliction of duty, she said.
“Our leadership, Obama first, Secretary of State, C.I.A., Joint Chiefs of Staffs, every last one of them, who decided it was better to let our people, fight and die alone, rather than admit that al-Qaida was still a force to be reckoned with in Libya are guilty.”