Obama’s Iran-Contra: The real Benghazi scandal

Aaron Klein Author, Impeachable Offenses
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One would be hard pressed to find a more significant impeachable offense than aiding and abetting the sworn enemies of the United States, especially when any such support includes sending weapons to our murderous adversaries. A crime on that scale would certainly be made all the more serious if those same enemies turned around and utilized the U.S.-provided arms to kill Americans.

We are not here referring to the so-called “Fast and Furious” scandal in which President Obama’s Justice Department purposely allowed, with deadly consequence, licensed firearms dealers to sell weapons to illegal straw buyers with the intent of tracking the guns to Mexican drug cartel leaders. Instead, we document a much less reported gun-walking scandal, one you will soon regard as the “Fast and Furious” of the Middle East, the Iran-Contra of the Obama administration. It could be the White House got away not once but twice with the same misdeed of arming our foes.

In the case presented here, the enemy consists not of drug lords but of al-Qaeda, along with a witches’ brew of anti-American jihadists. The results are not dead U.S. border agents but a murdered U.S. ambassador, along with three other diplomatic staff, in one of the most brazen assaults on an American overseas target in history. To make matters worse, we will show how our president and top administration officials deliberately and repeatedly lied to the American public while taking actions that fomented anti-American sentiment, aided an Islamist revolution currently sweeping the Middle East and North Africa, and possibly helped create, whether wittingly or not, a well-armed al-Qaeda army that is already attacking our interests and fueling conflicts worldwide.

We will also show how the Obama administration engaged in a massive cover-up of the events that transpired during the Benghazi attacks, as well as the shocking reason our ambassador was sent to Benghazi on September 11, despite the many known (and ignored) security threats to the U.S. mission there. You are about to be introduced to the real Benghazi scandal. This chapter alone should result in the immediate impeachment of Obama, as well as topple other administration officials.

The true nature of the ‘consulate’

Information surrounding the September 11 attacks against the U.S. mission in Benghazi has been so distorted by the Obama administration and so misreported by the news media that many Americans still don’t have the most basic of facts straight.

Let’s start with the true nature of the Benghazi facilities. For months after the attacks, the vast majority of all news media coverage worldwide referred to the U.S. facility that was attacked as a “consulate,” even though the government itself has been careful to call it a “mission.” A consulate typically refers to the building that officially houses a consul, or an official representative of the government of one state in the territory of another. Consulates at times function as junior embassies, providing services related to visas, passports, and citizen information.

On August 26, about two weeks before he was killed, Ambassador Stevens attended a ceremony marking the opening of consular services at the American embassy in Tripoli, meaning the functioning U.S. consulate  was working out of Tripoli. The new U.S. consul in Libya, Jenny Cordell, was stationed at the embassy in Tripoli. A search of the State Department website could find no consulate listed in Benghazi.

The main role of a consulate is to foster trade with the host govern­ment and care for its own citizens who are traveling or living in the host nation. Diplomatic missions, on the other hand, maintain a more generalized role. A diplomatic mission is simply a group of people from one state or an international intergovernmental organization present in another state to represent matters of the sending state or organization in the receiving state.

However, according to a State Department investigative report on the attacks, the U.S. facility in Benghazi did not fit the profile of a diplomatic mission either. The results of the Accountability Review Board (ARB) probe, which we have read carefully, contain information indicating the U.S. mission in Libya was involved in activities outside the diplomatic realm. The thirty-nine-page document uses phraseology and descriptions not previously utilized to describe the facility and the role it may have played in Benghazi. The report, based on an investigation led by former U.S. diplomat Thomas Pickering, calls the facility a “U.S. Special Mis­sion.” Again, until the report’s release, government descriptions routinely referred to the facility as a “mission,” while the news media largely and wrongly labeled the building a “consulate.”

The report divulges how the mission’s special “non-status” made providing security to the facility difficult. “Special Mission Benghazi’s uncertain future after 2012 and its ‘non-status’ as a temporary, residential facility made allocation of resources for security and personnel more difficult,” it said.

The report contains information that clearly contradicts any claim that the special mission was to serve as a liaison office to the local government. It documents how the local Libyan government was not even informed of the existence of the mission.

To the keen observer, the State Department report raises major unanswered questions about what was going on at the Libyan mission. Specifically, one glaring question is why the host government was not informed of the facility’s existence. Was the facility being used for secretive purposes? What was happening there?

Arms to Jihadis, White House lies

On multiple occasions, Middle Eastern security sources have provided this writer with information indicating that both the U.S. mis­sion and the nearby CIA annex in Benghazi served as an intelligence and planning center for U.S. aid to rebels in the Middle East, particularly those fighting the regime of Bashar al-Assad of Syria. Prior to the establishment of the Libyan mission, the United States also coordinated aid to the rebels who eventually toppled Libya’s Gaddafi. That aid, the sources stated, included weapons shipments coordinated with Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar. The sources described how the weapons were carefully purchased with Arab and Turkish funds to skirt laws about the accountability of U.S. funding for CIA and other intelligence operations.

Days after the Benghazi attacks, I broke the story that Stevens himself played a central role in recruiting jihadists to fight Assad’s regime in Syria, according to Egyptian and other Middle Eastern security officials. Stevens served as a key contact with the Saudis to coordinate their recruit­ment of Islamic fighters from Libya and other parts of North Africa. The jihadists were sent to Syria via Turkey to attack Assad’s forces, said the security officials.

The officials also said Stevens worked with the Saudis to send names of potential jihadi recruits to U.S. security organizations for review. Names found to be directly involved in previous attacks against the United States, including in Iraq and Afghanistan, were ultimately not recruited by the Saudis to fight in Syria, said the officials. (Take note of that detail, since it will become relevant again in a few paragraphs.)

Until April 2013, the White House has repeatedly denied it was involved in helping to arm the rebels. Such action at the time was considered highly controversial because of the inclusion of jihadists, including al-Qaeda members, among the ranks of the Free Syrian Army and other Syrian opposition groups. Besides White House denials, other top U.S. officials and former officials, including Hillary Clinton, have implied in congressional testimony that they didn’t know about any U.S. involvement in procuring weapons for the rebels.

Now, a starkly different picture is emerging, one that threatens the longstanding White House narrative that claims the Obama administration has only supplied nonlethal aid to the Syrian rebels. My reporting on U.S. coordinating arms shipments to the rebels has been confirmed by several major news agencies, including the New York Times and Reuters.

Created al-Qaida army?

The possibly illegal transfer of weapons and aid to Middle East rebels is clearly resulting in a newly emboldened al-Qaeda. Even the United Nations is warning that weapons delivered to Libya during the uprising there are being used to fuel conflicts in Mali, Syria, Gaza, and elsewhere.

That Obama administration policy of support for the jihadist Libyan and Syria rebels may have already come back to haunt us in other ways. Besides questions about the arms used in the coordinated assaults against our facilities in Benghazi and the UN report on weapons proliferation, there are also claims of ties between the Benghazi attacks and a brazen assault on an Algerian gas complex where foreigners, including Americans, were employed.

Editor’s Note: The above is an excerpt from Impeachable Offenses: The Case for Removing Barack Obama from Officeby Aaron Klein and Brenda J. Elliott.