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January 29, 2015 / 9 Shevat, 5775
 
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Quick Takes: News You May Have Missed

Klein-Aaron

There’s More To The
Benghazi Story Than Meets The Eye

The U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, actually served as a meeting place to coordinate aid for the rebel-led insurgencies in the Middle East, according to Middle Eastern security officials. Among the tasks performed inside the building was collaborating with Arab countries on the recruitment of fighters – including jihadists – to target Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria.

This information may help explain why there was no major public security presence at what has been described as a “consulate.” Such a presence would have drawn attention to the shabby, nondescript building that was allegedly used for such sensitive purposes.

Since the mission was attacked, countless news media reports around the world have referred to the obscure post as a U.S. consulate. That theme continues to permeate the media, with articles daily referencing a “consulate” in Benghazi.

A consulate typically refers to the building that officially houses a consul, who is the official representatives of the government of one state in the territory of another. The U.S. consul in Libya, Jenny Cordell, works out of the embassy in Tripoli.

According to Middle Eastern security officials speaking to WND, the so-called consulate was more of a diplomatic meeting place for U.S. officials, including Stevens. The security officials divulged that the building was routinely used by Stevens and others to coordinate with the Turkish, Saudi, and Qatari governments on supporting the insurgencies in the Middle East, most prominently the rebels opposing Assad’s regime in Syria.

Last week, the State Department gave a vivid account of Stevens’s final day during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. It was disclosed that about an hour before the attack began, Stevens concluded his final meeting of the day with a Turkish diplomat. Turkey has been leading the insurgency against Assad’s regime.

Last month, this reporter broke the story that Stevens played a central role in recruiting jihadists to fight Assad’s regime in Syria, according to Egyptian security officials. Stevens served as a key contact with the Saudis to coordinate the recruitment by Saudi Arabia of Islamic fighters from North Africa and Libya. The jihadists were sent to Syria via Turkey to attack Assad’s forces, said the security officials.

The officials said Stevens also 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 U.S., including in Iraq and Afghanistan, were ultimately not recruited by the Saudis to fight in Syria, said the officials.

AP Story Contradicts Reuters Account

A just-released Associated Press account of the Benghazi attack contradicts a Reuters article claiming to quote a protester who described a supposedly popular demonstration against an anti-Muhammad film outside the U.S. mission in Benghazi.

The Reuters article claiming a popular protest against a Muhammad film is also contradicted by vivid accounts provided by the State Department and intelligence officials that no such popular demonstration took place. Video footage from Benghazi reportedly shows an organized group of armed men attacking the compound, the officials said.

The AP has now assembled an account of the Benghazi attack based on first-person witnesses. According to the AP, “It began around nightfall on Sept. 11 with around 150 bearded gunmen, some wearing the Afghan-style tunics favored by Islamic militants, sealing off the streets leading to the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi. They set up roadblocks with pick-up trucks mounted with heavy machine guns, according to witnesses.

“There was no sign of a spontaneous protest against an American-made movie denigrating Islam’s Prophet Muhammad.”

This account contrasts sharply with a Reuters report from Sept. 13 – two days after the attack – describing a supposedly popular protest outside the U.S. mission and even claiming to quote a protester.

Reads the Sept. 13 Reuters report: “Accounts from Libyan and U.S. officials, and from locals who watched what began as a protest on Tuesday against a crudely made American film that insults the Prophet Mohammad spiral into violence and a military-style assault on U.S. troops, point to a series of unfortunate choices amid the confusion and fear.”

The article quotes one protester, by his first name only, described as “a 17-year-old student named Hamam, who spoke to Reuters at the devastated compound on Wednesday.”

About the Author: Aaron Klein is a New York Times bestselling author and senior reporter for WND.com. He is also host of an investigative radio program on New York's 970 AM Radio on Sundays from 7 to 9 p.m. Eastern. His website is KleinOnline.com.


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