Wednesday, August 7, 2013

A Review of "Benghazi: The Definitive Report"

A Review of "Benghazi: The Definitive Report"
February 12, 2013 • 10:49AM
Benghazi: The Definitive Report, By Brandon Webb and Jack Murphy; New York: William Morrow, February 2013; 80 pages
Although this report written by Jack Murphy, a former U.S. Army Ranger and Brandon Webb, a former U.S. Navy SEAL, has some weaknesses, its strong point is that it exposes the role of Obama's nominee to become Director of the CIA, John Brennan, as the person whose secret assassination operation run with the blessing of Obama was ultimately responsible for the fact that Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed in Benghazi.
Although the 83-page eBook does not hold Obama responsible for Brennan's crimes, which Obama authorized, and does not fully explore the inside-outside operation run by the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group to carry out the terrorist attack, it nonetheless presents a case which should contribute to stopping the confirmation of Brennan as CIA Director and which could lead to the impeachment of Obama.
In the first chapter, "The Libyan Powder Keg," the authors identify the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, members of which returned home from Afghanisan with the most radical religious ideas "such as Wahhabi Islam, originally from Saudi Arabia." They also point out that on a per-capita basis Libya, in particular, Benghazi and Derna, provided the greatest number of al-Qaeda fighters against the U.S. in Iraq. These two cities, they write, have traditionally been the home of the "Libyan Fighting Group."
Importantly, Ambassador Stevens was aware of this during his stint in Libya as Deputy Chief of Mission in 2007-2009. From what they report Ambassador Stevens clearly recognized the danger inherent in the project to overthrow Gaddafi:
"While Stevens commented on the difficulty faced in dealing with Gaddafi, in regard to African regional issues, he did state outright to General Ward (AFRICOM commander prior to being removed for misconduct) and Secretary Rice that Libya (pre-Civil War) was a strong ally in the fight against terrorism. He reiterated that Gaddafi feared a 'terrorism belt' that stretched through the Sahel on his southern border from Mauritania to Sudan and was proud of the fact that he's convinced the tauregs in the south to cease smuggling weapons and terrorists through the desert in exchange for economic incentives. Stevens made it clear tht Libyan security services took the threat of the Libyan Fighting Group and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) very seriously. So long as Gaddafi remained in power, these elements were kept in check internally by the dictator."
Moreover, what the authors argue is that Stevens was opposed to the policies being carried out by Brennan behind his back:
"While it is an open secret that the United States has been facilitating or at the very least allowing, large weapons transfers from Libya to rebel fighters in Syria, it is unlikely that Stevens was involved in these activities, as they do not fall under purview of a Foreign Services officer in the State Department. Furthermore, Ambassador Stevens did not see eye to eye with White House counterterrorism adviser John Brennan when it came to unilateral military action, which Stevens saw as counterproductive to his mission in Libya."
Thus they write that "Stevens likely helped consolidate as many weapons as possible after the war to safeguard them, at which point Brennan exported them overseas to start another conflict."
The authors maintain "behind closed doors, President Obama had given his counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan, carte blanche to run operations in North Africa and the Middle East.... In 2012, a secret war across North Africa was well underway.... With JSOC (Joint Special Operations Command) Brennan waged his own unilateral operations in North Afria outside of the traditional command structure." These operations were "off the books." "Sometime prior to September of 2012, this JSOC element was directed by John Brennan to conduct operations in Libya. These operations targeted a high-level Al Qaeda operative who will not be named here out of consideration of operational security."
Their basic thesis is that "in the weeks before the Benghazi tragedy, they most likely hit a known associate of al-Suri in order to get him to 'up periscope' and increase his visibility, which would then make it possible for JSOC to run a targeted operation to kill or capture him."
The authors are perhaps deliberately contradictory as to the target of this operation. They say they won't name the target but then they name Al-Suri. About Al-Suri they say the following: "one of the main targets is known to be Yasin Al-Suri, one of the last major league Al Qaeda leaders.... Al-Suri is the architect behind Al Qaeda's current open-front setup, which encourages self-radicalizing cells to work independently in a sort of 'plug and play' strategy." (There are actually two al-Qaeda operatives, with the last name al-Suria, Yasin and Abu Musab. Abu Musab is the individual who better fits their description.)
They also mention senior al-Qaeda operative Abd Al-Baset Azzouz, who was dispatched from Pakistan by Al-Zawahiri to establish a base of AQ operation in Libya. But they don't mention another Al-Qaeda senior operative also believed to be in Libya, Abd al Hamid al Ruqhay, alias Abu Anas al-Libi.
They do mention the drone assassination of Abu Yahya al-Libi in Pakistan in June 2012 in the same time period as they say Brennan's operations were launched in Libya, but they do not mention Al-Zawahiri's call for retaliation, nor do they identify the LIFG's active involvement in Benghazi even though at the end of the report they identify Abdel Hakim Belhadj as the emir of the LIFG.
Nonetheless, as stated above, the strong suit of the book is the contention that Brennan's operations authorized by Obama caused a retaliation by Ansar al-Sharia, which caught the CIA off guard. "They had no idea that Special Operations missions would be kicking the hornets' nest in Libya and therefore could not prepare for the fallout that would result."
They also assert that the forced resignation of CIA Director David Petraeus was a palace coup, and that John Brennan wanted to become Director of Central Intelligence.
"It is an open secret in Washington, D.C, that John Brennan is a world-class windbag.... He has long had his eye on becoming the Director of Central Intelligence or Director of National Intelligence."
Their conclusion is that John Brennan should be reined in or fired, but if what they say is true, and there is good reason to believe it is, what they document must be thoroughly probed by the U.S. Congress, and if Barack Obama authorized Brennan's actions, then Barack Obama is impeachable for authorizing the "private war" carried out by Brennan in violation of the U.S. Constitution.

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