‘60 Minutes’ Report Contradicts State Department
Last week’s “60 Minutes” segment on the Benghazi Sept. 11, 2012, attacks apparently contradicts a central element of the State Department’s Accountability Review Board report, this column has found.
“60 Minutes” reported that “orders to wait” were given to forces in Tripoli that could have immediately aided the besieged Benghazi compound. However, the Accountability Review Board, or ARB, specifically states the team was “not delayed by orders from superiors.”
The CBS program reported that about “30 minutes into the attack, a quick reaction force from the CIA Annex ignored orders to wait and raced to the compound, at times running and shooting their way through the streets just to get there.”
The narrative of ignoring “orders to wait” seems to directly contradict page 23 of the ARB report. The page states: “Just prior to receiving the TDY RSO’s distress call shortly after 2142 local, the head of Annex security heard multiple explosions coming from the north in the direction of the SMC.
The ARB report said “the Annex response team departed its compound in two vehicles at approximately 2205 local.”
“The departure of the Annex team was not delayed by orders from superiors; the team leader decided on his own to depart the Annex compound once it was apparent, despite a brief delay to permit their continuing efforts, that rapid support from local security elements was not forthcoming.”
Did The U.S. Sabotage Its Own Mission?
Did the Obama administration sabotage an operation to capture one of the most important terrorist figures charged with carrying out the Benghazi attack?
Questions are now being raised about the timing and manner in which the U.S. earlier this month seized wanted militant Abu Anas al-Libi, who was living openly in his home in Libya and potentially could have been captured at a different time. Al-Libi is thought to have played a role in the 1998 U.S. Embassy bombings in Kenya and Tanzania.
A new CNN report sheds light on how al-Libi’s capture interfered with an operation by covert U.S. operatives to grab Ahmed Abu Khattalah, a senior leader of the Ansar Al-Sharia militia wanted for the Benghazi attack.
Al-Libi was seized by U.S. Special Forces on October 5 in a daylight raid outside his home. His whereabouts for years were so well known that he has previously given scores of news media interviews in public places in Libya. The raid was carried out as Special Forces were potentially just hours away from capturing Khattalah after tracking his whereabouts, U.S. officials told CNN.
The news agency related that U.S. Forces may have been ready to act to capture Khattalah as soon as the day after al-Libi’s arrest, according to some officials. CNN revealed that a top level White House meeting was scheduled for around October 7 to get Obama’s final approval to capture Khattalah.
However, al-Libi’s capture and its subsequent announcement to the news media sent Khattalah deep underground and also caused a major rift with the Libyan government, which has demanded an end to U.S. raids in its country.
CNN reported the Khattalah raid never materialized “partly because there was so much publicity inside Libya and in the western press about the al-Libi capture.”
The news network reported the aborted Khattalah raid is leading “to sensitive questions inside the administration about the tradeoff between getting al-Libi and going after the perpetrators of the politically charged Benghazi attack.”
Obama previously vowed to make it is a “priority” to bring the Benghazi suspects “to justice.”
Turkey Helped Israel Strike Syria
Turkey provided key intelligence that aided in the reported Israeli air strike on Syria last week, according to informed Middle Eastern security officials.
Drawing the ire of Israeli officials, the Obama administration has confirmed that Israeli warplanes struck a Syrian military base. Israel has so far refused to comment. There is fear the White House confirmation could pressure Syria to retaliate.
According to the informed Middle Eastern security officials, the targets stuck included Iskandar, cruise, and other anti-aircraft missiles and launchers that could be transferred to the Iranian-backed Hizbullah.
Al Qaeda Gathers In Israel’s Backyard
Israel is growing increasingly concerned about the concentration of al Qaeda and other global jihadists in the neighboring Egyptian Sinai Peninsula.
Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, is questioning the wisdom of President Obama’s reported decision to withhold hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to Egypt at a time when the Egyptian military is fighting global jihadists in the Sinai, according to Israeli diplomatic sources.
The sources said Netanyahu sent messages in recent days to Egypt’s interim president, Adly Mansou, and Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, the country’s defense minister. The messages expressed Netanyahu’s opinion that U.S. sanctions could weaken the Egyptian military’s ability to fight al Qaeda.
The sources further stated that a recent Israel Defense Force intelligence report warned that the Sinai is quickly turning into a central location for al Qaeda, with reports of large numbers of jihadists moving to the Sinai after fighting in Syria. Some of the jihadists, the report related, are attempting to infiltrate the Gaza Strip.
The concern has led Israel to turn a blind eye as Egyptian warplanes bombard Salafist Islamic groups in the Sinai in technical violation of a peace treaty that calls for the area to be demilitarized.
Earlier this month, the State Department announced an unspecified cut back in the annual $1.5 billion in U.S. aid to Egypt.
Senior Senate leadership aides told Fox News that the U.S. is holding back “a dozen F-16s; a similar number of AH-64 Apache helicopters; four M-1/A-1 tank kits (tanks that are shipped in pieces and assembled in the receiving country); and an unspecified number of Harpoon missiles (typically an anti-ship missile).”
Additionally, Fox News confirmed that the Obama administration is withholding a planned transfer of $260 million in cash to the Egyptian government and has delayed a $300 million loan guarantee that was part of U.S. military financing programs.
About the Author: Aaron Klein is the Jerusalem bureau chief for Breitbart News. Visit the website daily at www.breitbart.com/jerusalem. 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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