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Quick Takes: News You May Have Missed

Aaron Klein

Aaron Klein

Special Forces Could Have Reached Benghazi In Time

In a bombshell admission that has until now gone unreported, Martin Dempsey, chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff, conceded that highly trained Special Forces were stationed just a few hours away from Benghazi on the night of the attacks of September 11, 2012, but were not told to deploy to Libya.

In comments that may warrant further investigation, Dempsey stated at a Senate hearing last Wednesday that on the night of the attack, command of the Special Forces – known as C-110, or the EUCOM CIF – was transferred from the military’s European command to AFRICOM, or the United States Africa Command.

Dempsey did not state any reason for the strange transfer of command nor could he provide a timeline for the transfer on the night of the attack. Dempsey’s also incorrectly stated the time it takes to travel from Croatia to Benghazi.

His remarks confirm an exclusive Fox News interview aired April 30 in which a special government operator, speaking on condition of anonymity, contradicted claims by the Obama administration and a State Department review that there wasn’t enough time for military forces to deploy the night of the attack.

“I know for a fact that C-110, the EUCOM CIF, was doing a training exercise in…not in the region of North Africa, but in Europe,” the special operator told Fox News’ Adam Housley. “And they had the ability to act and to respond.”

The operator told Fox News that the C-110 forces were training in Croatia. The distance between Croatia’s capital, Zagreb, and Benghazi is about 925 miles. Fox News reported the forces were stationed just three and a half hours away.

“We had the ability to load out, get on birds and fly there, at a minimum stage,” the operator told Fox News. “C-110 had the ability to be there, in my opinion, in a matter of about four hours … four to six hours.”

The C-110 is a 40-man Special Ops force maintained for rapid response to emergencies – in other words, they are trained for deployment for events like the Benghazi attack.

Dempsey was asked about Housley’s report by Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis, at a senatorial hearing Wednesday over Defense Department Budget requests.

Dempsey confirmed the C-110 was indeed at a training exercise. At first he claimed the Special Forces were training in Bosnia and then later stated they were training in Croatia. But he did not explain the discrepancies in his statements about their location nor did he note the discrepancies.

“It [the C-110] was on a training mission in Bosnia, that is correct,” stated Dempsey.

Dempsey had been asked whether they were training in Croatia, not Bosnia.

In further remarks, he stated the forces were in Croatia.

Dempsey was asked whether he agreed with the Fox News timeline that the C-110 could deploy in four to six hours.

“No, I would not agree to that timeline,” he stated. “The travel time alone would have been more than that, and that is if they were sitting on the tarmac.”

Dempsey’s remarks are inaccurate. Even a large passenger jet can travel from the furthest point of Croatia to Benghazi in about two and a half hours or less.

Dempsey further stated that the command of the C-110, or the EUCOM CIF, was transferred the night of the attack, but he didn’t explain why. He could not give a timeline of when the command was transferred, telling Johnson he would take the question for the record.

When Did The White House Know About Snowden?

Did the Obama administration have advance knowledge that whistleblower Edward Snowden had leaked NSA surveillance secrets to the Washington Post and London Guardian newspapers?

Washington Post reporter Barton Gellman, who first revealed Snowden’s information about the classified PRISM program, wrote last Monday that his newspaper took the former intelligence worker’s evidence to “government officials” prior to publishing his article.

Gellman had been in communication with Snowden since at least February, according to news reports.

Wrote Gellman: “The Post sought the views of government officials about the potential harm to national security prior to publication and decided to reproduce only four of the 41 slides.”

Gellman was referring to a PowerPoint presentation Snowden had provided to the reporter detailing PRISM, the top-secret surveillance program that reportedly gathered intelligence from Microsoft, Facebook, Google, and other Internet giants.

Without offering a complete timeline of his communication with Snowden or when he first received the PowerPoint documentation, Gellman relates that a “series of indirect contacts preceded our first direct exchange May 16.”

In an interview with Salon published last Monday, documentary filmmaker Laura Poitras stated that she believes Snowden had been in touch with the Post’s Gellman since February. Poitras has been working with Snowden since January and has been filming his months-long drive to release the information.

Gellman wrote that two weeks before the release of his June 6 story on PRISM , Snowden had asked for a guarantee the newspaper would publish within 72 hours the full text of the PowerPoint presentation.

He said the Post only published the story after first vetting Snowden’s slide presentation with “government officials.”

Questions remain about when Gellman first contacted “government officials” regarding the PowerPoint presentation, as well as who those officials are and the extent to which the officials were briefed about the source of the PRISM information.

Clearly, however, unnamed government officials knew beforehand about the pending leak on the NSA surveillance program, according to Gellman’s account.

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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