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Separately, a second intelligence source said CIA operations in Libya were based on a presidential finding signed in March 2011 outlining covert support to the Libyans. This source said there were signs that some of the arms used in the Benghazi attack — assault rifles, mortars and rocket-propelled grenades — ended up in the hands of the terrorists who carried out the Benghazi attack as a result of the CIA operation in Libya.
The unanswered questions — that appear unasked by most congressional investigators — include whether the CIA facility in Benghazi near the diplomatic compound and the contingent of agency officers working there played a role in the covert transfer through Turkey of captured Libyan weapons or personnel to rebels fighting the Bashar Assad regime in Syria.
“There was a ship that transported something to Turkey around the time Ambassador Chris Stevens met with a Turkish diplomat within hours of his murder,” the official said. “Was the president’s overt or covert policy to arm Syrian rebels?”
The administration has refused publicly to provide lethal assistance to the Syrians because many of the opposition groups are Islamist radicals.
The official said congressional investigators need to ask whether the president indirectly or directly helped bolster al Qaeda-linked terrorists in the Jabhat al-Nusrah front rebel group in Syria and whether the CIA ran guns and other weapons captured in Libya to the organization.
“Every troubling Middle East-Southwest Asia country — Iraq, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and now maybe Syria — where the Obama administration made a significant policy push has gone over to Islamists that are now much more hostile to the United States,” the official said.
The official said it is time for CIA operatives and contractors who were in Benghazi to show the same courage as the State Department officials from Libya and blow the whistle by sharing the facts with the American people on CIA activities in Libya.
Hillary Rodham Clinton, as secretary of state, did not deny in January that a covert arms operation was underway in Libya. She was responding to a question by Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, about whether “the U.S. [is] involved with any procuring of weapons, transfer of weapons, buying, selling, anyhow transferring weapons to Turkey out of Libya.”
A spokeswoman for Mr. Paul said the senator has not received a response from the State Department.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Bill Gertz is a national security columnist for The Washington Times and senior editor at The Washington Free Beacon (www.freebeacon.com). He has been with The Times since 1985.
He is the author of six books, four of them national best-sellers. His latest book, “The Failure Factory,” on government bureaucracy and national security, was published in September 2008.
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