Benghazi Probe: Obama Officials Refused to Address Gun-running

The New American | 29 June 2016

In its final report on the death of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans in Libya, the GOP-controlled House Select Committee on Benghazi failed to provide meaningful answers or accountability on the most serious issues and questions surrounding the attack. Chief among those issues was the Obama administration’s bizarre and unconstitutional decision, based on a United Nations resolution, to ally itself with al-Qaeda and other jihadists in the war on a former U.S. terror-war ally, Libyan dictator Moammar Gadhafi. Another crucial issue left essentially unaddressed was the Obama administration’s lawless gun-running programs delivering weapons to known terrorists in Libya, and later to dangerous jihadists in Syria.

While the report did highlight certain blatant lies by the administration — the deliberate lie about a “spontaneous protest” over an “anti-Muslim video,” for example — critics blasted the congressional probe as a whitewash and a wasted opportunity. Even some lawmakers spoke out.

Crucial to understanding the attack is understanding what was happening in Libya before the attack. Unfortunately, the congressional report sheds little new light on that question. Perhaps that should not be surprising, considering the fact that GOP leaders failed to uphold their oath of office by failing to rein in Obama when he illegally announced his UN-approved war against Libya. Only Congress has the power to declare war under the U.S. Constitution, and UN resolutions purporting to commit American troops to a war hold no legitimate authority. Instead of stopping Obama, though, Congress allowed him to launch an illegal war and said practically nothing, with a few notable exceptions in both parties who pointed out that it was an impeachable offense.

Another crucial element to understanding Benghazi is understanding the nature of Obama’s illegal war. As has been thoroughly documented by this magazine and numerous other sources, the Obama administration sided with known al-Qaeda terrorists and their affiliates in their war on Gadhafi, whom they viewed as an “apostate” Muslim.

Another critical element to the Benghazi story is the Obama administration’s illegal gun-running schemes — both into Libya when Obama was supporting jihadists against Gadhafi, and out of Libya after the fall of Gadhafi when the globalist establishment was backing jihadists against Syrian strongman Bashar al Assad. The report touches on the issue, and, apparently, the congressional panel spoke to at least one person who “raised the possibility that the U.S. was overseeing some sort of weapons shipping.” Indeed, countless media reports and government officials in recent years have highlighted the fact that the administration was running guns from the Port of Benghazi to jihadists in Syria — many of whom were fighting for al-Qaeda, and many of whom would later become the Islamic State.

Documents also show the administration was running guns to jihadists in Libya. Then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a key player in the illegal war on Libya and the subsequent Benghazi cover-up, was a fervent supporter of illegally arming jihadists on the State Department’s own list of terror organizations.

The gun-running operation to Libyan jihadists was purportedly authorized by a “Presidential Intelligence Finding” — yes that is a real thing, though totally unconstitutional — and was apparently known as “Operation Zero Footprint.” The Islamic dictatorships ruling Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, along with NATO, also played a key role in the program. The guns were flowing straight to well-known jihadists and terrorists, some of whom had previously battled U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

While direct evidence linking the gun-running machinations to the Benghazi attack has not yet surfaced publicly, top U.S. military and intelligence officials with the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi concluded that, “it is a certain fact that had the Obama administration not switched sides in what was then called the Global War on Terror (GWOT), jihadist rebels never would have succeeded in overthrowing the West’s erstwhile ally, Muammar Qaddafi, in the first place.” “But switch sides they did,” the report concluded. The evidence of the gun-running schemes is overwhelming.

Unfortunately for Americans and the cause of justice, however, the congressional report essentially adds nothing to what is already known, and in fact fails to even confirm what everyone already knows. Apparently Obama’s “National Security Council” refused to allow any officials in any agency to answer questions about the gun-running schemes. As officials constantly say when trying to justify illegal spying, if they have nothing to hide, why are they scared? “Over the course of nearly a dozen interviews with the State Department, the Defense Department and CIA personnel, witnesses consistently refused to answer questions related to certain allegations with respect to U.S. activity in Libya even though the House specifically gave the committee access to materials relating to intelligence sources and methods,” explained the report. “Most of these questions related in some way to allegations regarding weapons. These refusals meant significant questions raised in public relating to Benghazi could not be answered.” How and why Congress could or would allow such blatant criminal activity to remain an official mystery, and thereby go unpunished, was not made clear.

However, running guns to terrorist groups is a hugely serious crime — potentially even treason in the form of aiding and abetting enemies at war with the United States, according to top U.S. military and intelligence officials. The Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi, for example, which included numerous senior retired U.S. officials, concluded that the Obama administration “switched sides” in the terror war. One of the founding members of the commission, U.S Army Maj. Gen. Paul Vallely (Ret.), put it this way in an interview with WND: “An honest investigation into Benghazi would prove treasonous acts at the very top of the White House and the State Department, and a continuing cover-up in Congress that now involves the Republican leadership and especially [then-] House Speaker John Boehner.” He also said that he believed Select Committee on Benghazi Chairman Trey Gowdy, a representative from South Carolina, had been put under “much pressure not to get to the truth.” In fact, the commission was coming to the conclusion that the leadership in both parties had no intention of getting at the truth. The conclusion was correct.

Of course, there were a few comparatively meaningless new revelations from the whitewash report by the select committee. Among those highlighted include the fact that no U.S. military assets were sent to Benghazi to rescue the Americans under attack — and nothing was en route even 8 hours after the attacks began. Instead, former Gadhafi officials evacuated the abandoned Americans that were rescued from the jihadist terror attack. One lawmaker described the rescuers, who likely saved “dozens of lives” according to the report, as “Qaddafi’s underground militia.” If those Americans had waited for U.S. military assistance, they would almost certainly be dead, along with the U.S. ambassador to Libya Stevens, Foreign Service officer Sean Smith, and CIA contractors Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty. Their deaths would likely have been brutal, too.

Also confirmed once again was that the administration lied about a ”spontaneous protest” allegedly sparked by an “anti-Muslim” video on YouTube, a lie that was repeated over and over again on talk shows by senior administration officials. There was no protest, of course, and the administration knew that all along, even as it was blatantly lying to the American people. “In the days and weeks after the attacks, the White House worked to pin all of the blame for their misleading and incorrect statements on officials within the intelligence community, but in reality, political operatives like Ben Rhodes and David Plouffe were spinning the false narrative and prepping Susan Rice for her interviews,” said Representative Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) about the findings. But compared with gun-running to known terrorists on the State Department’s terror list, lying to the American people seems rather trivial.

Select Committee on Benghazi Chairman Gowdy, who oversaw the whitewash, released a statement after the committee’s Majority released the document saying basically nothing in a lot of words. “Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods were heroes who gave their lives in service to our country. Their bravery and the courageous actions of so many others on the ground that night should be honored,” he said, without explaining how the whitewash honored them. “When the Select Committee was formed, I promised to conduct this investigation in a manner worthy of the American people’s respect, and worthy of the memory of those who died. That is exactly what my colleagues and I have done. Now, I simply ask the American people to read this report for themselves, look at the evidence we have collected, and reach their own conclusions.” Of course, he knows as well as anyone that virtually nobody is going to read the over 800-page long whitewash.

For those Americans who were hoping the costly congressional investigation would produce answers, there can be no doubt that the final report is a major disappointment — to put it mildly. In fact, the report is such a joke that it raises the possibility of Republican establishment complicity in the crimes that can and should have been exposed as a result of the Benghazi attack.

One useful source of information for Americans is the Citizens’ Commission On Benghazi, which formally released its own report on Wednesday. Thanks to the efforts of Judicial Watch, Americans now also have declassified documents from the Pentagon showing that even as jihadists were killing U.S. officials in Libya, the Obama administration and its allies were showering support on al Qaeda, the Muslim Brotherhood, and other hardcore jihadists in Syria hoping to create an Islamic State in Eastern Syria. Clinton knew about it, e-mails showed.

The people responsible for arming terrorists and jihadists to illegally overthrow foreign governments need to be held accountable. Unless and until they are punished for their crimes, criminal and even treasonous activities at the highest echelons of the U.S. government will continue with impunity.

Alex Newman, a foreign correspondent for The New American, is normally based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @ALEXNEWMAN_JOU. He can be reached at [email protected]

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