CIA Annex In Benghazi Was Unknown To U.S. Commander
The extensive Senate report on the Sept. 11, 2012, Benghazi attack dropped a major, unreported bombshell: The commander of U.S. forces in Africa was not aware of the existence of the besieged CIA annex.
The staggering detail raises the question of what was transpiring at the fated annex and nearby U.S. special mission and why key members of the Defense Department, including those responsible for responding to emergency situations, were not aware of it.
Questions now must also be raised as to why, on the night of attack, command of an elite unit known as C-110, or the EUCOM CIF, was reportedly transferred from the military’s European command to AFRICOM, or the United States Africa Command.
Page 28 of the 85-page report states: “With respect to the role of DoD and AFRICOM in emergency evacuations and rescue operations in Benghazi, the Committee received conflicting information on the extent of the awareness within DoD of the Benghazi Annex. According to U.S. AFRICOM, neither the command nor its Commander were aware of an annex in Benghazi, Libya.
“However, it is the Committee’s understanding that other DoD personnel were aware of the Benghazi Annex.”
Page 77 of the report further divulges that Gen. Carter Ham, then-commander of U.S. Africa Command, “was not even aware there was a CIA annex in Benghazi at the time of the attacks.”
The report states: “We are puzzled as to how the military leadership expected to effectively respond and rescue Americans in the event of an emergency when it did not even know of the existence of one of the U.S. facilities.”
On the night of the attack, Ham was placed in charge of the C-110, a 40-man Special Ops force maintained for rapid response to emergencies. The force was trained for deployment for events like the Benghazi attack. Command was transferred from the military’s European command to Ham in the middle of the attack.
Ultimately, the C-110, which had reportedly been training in Croatia during the attack, was not deployed to respond in Benghazi. Instead it was ordered to return to its forward operating base in Italy.
Muslim Security Wasn’t So Helpful In Benghazi After All
The Senate’s report on the Benghazi Sept. 11, 2012, assault provides a new detail about the role of an Al Qaeda-linked organization that provided external security to the fated U.S. special mission.
According to the report, the Libyan 17th of February Brigade militia refused to “provide cover” for the U.S. security team that was trapped inside the compound.
That information was not mentioned in the State Department-sanctioned Accountability Review Board, or ARB, investigating the Benghazi attack. The ARB paints a picture of the 17th of February Brigade as largely aiding in the evacuation of the U.S. personnel at the mission.
The 17th of February Brigade, which was hired by the State Department to protect the U.S. facility in Benghazi, operates under the Ansar-Al-Sharia banner. Ansar al-Sharia, tied to Al Qaeda, has been implicated in carrying out the attack.
In another stunning yet unreported revelation, the Senate report states the 17th of February Brigade militia hired to protect the fated U.S. special mission had “vandalized” and “attacked” the mission in the months prior to Sept. 11, 2012.
That new information raises the question of why the State Department would continue to employ the 17th of February Martyrs Brigade to provide external security to the U.S. facility.
The Senate report states the U.S. Benghazi mission “had been vandalized and attacked in the months prior to the September 11-12 attacks by some of the same guards who were there to protect it.”
The State’s ARB investigating the attack did not contain that information.
Obama Rewards Old Friends
Newly confirmed U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson was an early fundraiser and key backer of Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.
Johnson sat on the Obama campaign’s national finance committee and advised the first-time presidential candidate on national-security and foreign-policy issues.
He was identified in 2007 as one of Obama’s lead fundraisers in New York City, then considered the political territory of Hillary Clinton.
In an interview with the New York Times in 2007, Johnson said Obama singled him out as a power broker in 2006. That year, the then-senator called Johnson to tell him he may run for president and asked him to hold off on committing to any candidate until after he made a decision.
“Barack, I’m with you,” Johnson said he replied.
The Times reported that during Obama’s first campaign, Johnson “was trying to poach in the heart of Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s financial territory,” referring to New York, where Clinton was a senator.
“She and her husband have been working New York for 16 years and they know where they are,” Johnson told the Times. “But I think we’re going to surprise a lot of people with who signs up.”
At the time, Johnson was a litigation partner at New York’s Paul, Weiss law firm. He was the first black partner of the firm.
The abandonment of the Clinton machine may have been particularly stinging since Johnson served under Bill Clinton as the general counsel of the Air Force. He was a former assistant U.S. attorney in the Southern District of New York. As a litigator, Johnson represented Big Tobacco as well as major defense firms.
In 2009 it was reported that he owned up to $15,000 in stock several defense contractors, including Alliant Techsystems, Lockheed Martin, L3 Communications and General Electric.
Johnson was in the news in recent days after he said at a conference on Friday that illegal aliens have “earned the right to be citizens.”
“An earned path to citizenship for those currently present in this country is a matter of, in my view, homeland security to encourage people to come out from the shadows,” said Johnson, speaking at the United States Conference of Mayors
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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