Americans rescued from the facility in Benghazi were saved by Gaddafi loyalists — not the Libyan government or the militia group contractually obligated to provide security, the final report from the House Select Committee on Benghazi reveals.
After lethal mortar attacks, a special operator in Benghazi testified that: “We decided that the situation we had was untenable to stay at the compound. We didn’t have enough shooters and there were too many wounded, and we were definitely going to lose our State Department wounded if we had stayed there much longer.”
The Americans in the annex, though, did not have the security vehicles and “gun trucks” necessary to evacuate to the airport in Benghazi. Help would eventually arrive.
“The forces that arrived at the Annex shortly after the mortar attacks were able to transport all State Department and CIA personnel safely to the airport. The forces, known as Libyan Military Intelligence, arrived with 50 heavily-armed security vehicles,” the select committee’s report says.
The Libyan Military Intelligence was not part of the Libyan Government that the Obama administration supported. Neither was it a component of the “February 17 Martyrs Brigade, recommended by the Libyan Government and contractually obligated to provide security to the Mission Compound.”
The report also states that “the February 17 Martyrs Brigade militia, which provided interior armed security at the Benghazi Mission compound, informed the Diplomatic Security Agents two days before the Ambassador was scheduled to arrive it would no longer provide off-compound security.”
“Instead, Libya Military Intelligence—whom the CIA did not even know existed until the night of the attacks—were comprised of former military officers under the Qadhafi regime who had gone into hiding in fear of being assassinated, and wanted to keep their presence in Benghazi as quiet as possible so as to not attract attention from the militias in control of Benghazi,” the report later notes.
It continues to say, “In other words, some of the very individuals the United States had helped remove from power during the Libyan revolution were the only Libyans that came to the assistance of the United States on the night of the Benghazi attacks. ”
American operatives on the ground only found out about the Libyan Military Intelligence group after a National Police officer described his capabilities as “next to helpless.”
“It was also this group, not groups previously given credit by previous investigations, that came to the rescue of the Americans in those early morning hours —likely saving dozens of lives as a result,” the select committee concluded.