Firm That Provided Intelligence On Bergdahl Tied To Benghazi Fiasco
The shadowy private intelligence firm subcontracted by the Defense Department that provided information on kidnapped soldier Bowe Bergdahl was partnered with another obscure outfit that provided security at the attacked U.S. special mission in Libya.
FoxNews.com reported Friday that the Eclipse Group, run by former intelligence operatives, provided the military with intelligence that Bergdahl converted to Islam, declared he was a “mujahid,” or Islamic warrior, and at certain times was allowed by his captors to carry a gun.
Eclipse is headed by Duane R. “Dewey” Clarridge, a former senior CIA operations officer known for his role in the so-called Iran-Contra Affair, where senior U.S. administration officials secretly helped facilitate the sale of arms to Iran despite an embargo. Clarridge was charged with seven counts of perjury and false statements to Congress but was pardoned by President George H.W. Bush in 1992.
FoxNews.com reported that during the period of his subcontracted work, from November 2009 through May 31, 2010, Eclipse provided extensive information on Bergdahl, including at least 13 situation reports, to Brig. Gen. Robert P. Ashley Jr., who in April 2010 was named an intelligence director at U.S. Central Command, or CENTCOM.
One report said a member of the Haqqani network claimed Bergdahl had declared himself a “mujahid.” Another report detailed Bergdahl’s possible whereabouts and revealed the soldier was playing soccer with his captors.
Still another report said Bergdahl temporarily escaped from his captors only to be recaptured and punished with confinement in a metal cage.
Eclipse, meanwhile, is tied to the obscure Blue Mountain firm that was contracted by the State Department to provide external security at the U.S. special mission in Libya attacked on Sept. 11, 2012.
Blue Mountain was reportedly one of the only private firms willing to meet the State Department’s unusual requirement that the Benghazi compound be “protected” by unarmed local Libyan guards instead of armed, well-trained guards in the known major jihadist threat environment in Benghazi.
In October 2012, Reuters reported that the State Department’s Benghazi security contract was worth $783,284 and was listed as a “miscellaneous” award, instead of being included in the main State Department contract that funds security at overseas compounds.
For Blue Mountain to legally work in Libya and meet Libyan regulations, it had to first form a business partnership with a local security firm.
A December 2011 United Press Internation report said Blue Mountain joined forces one month earlier with Clarridge’s Eclipse Group.
Reuters reported Eclipse and Blue Mountain parted ways in the spring of 2012 over problems with Tripoli contracts, according to several sources familiar with the matter speaking to the news agency.
Hillary Clinton Lies In New Book
Published excerpts of the Benghazi chapter in Hillary Clinton’s book, Hard Choices, contain misleading statements about the deadly attack and the then-secretary of state’s personal role in the decision-making process.
Denying a personal role in the decision-making process regarding security of the compound, Clinton writes that she did not see the cables requesting additional security.
She claims cables related to the security at the compound were only addressed to her as a “procedural quirk” and didn’t actually land on her desk.
Clinton writes: “That’s not how it works. It shouldn’t. And it didn’t.”
However, the Senate’s January 2014 report on the Benghazi attack reveals lawmakers found that the Benghazi facility required special waivers to be legally occupied, since it did not meet the minimum official security standards set by the State Department. Some of the waivers could only have been signed by Clinton herself, the Senate found.
Clinton would have a lot of explaining to do if she signed waivers allowing the facility to be legally occupied without reviewing the U.S. special mission’s security posture.