- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 17, 2014

After a four-month wait, the House Select Committee on Benghazi at last is launching its first public hearing Wednesday on Capitol Hill, chaired by South Carolina Republican Rep. Trey Gowdy and under the close scrutiny of a skeptical press and Democrats, who already have launched a preemptive “on the record” collection of questions and answers about the attacks. Someone who is keenly interested in it all is Aaron Klein, author of “The REAL Benghazi Story: What the White House and Hillary Don’t Want You to Know,” among other books.

“I hope Gowdy’s committee intends to divine the purpose of the U.S. Special Mission and what kinds of activities transpired at the compound,” Mr. Klein tells the Washington Times. “Were the U.S. special mission and/or the nearby CIA annex in Benghazi involved in any way in procuring weapons to the jihadist rebels fighting the regime of Bashar al-Assad of Syria or to any other rebels fighting in the Middle East or Africa?”

Mr. Klein also wants to know why “internal security for the mission - the quick-reaction force - was provided by armed members of the local Libyan 17th of February Martyrs Brigade. He says the brigade itself is an offshoot of the al Qaeda-linked Ansar al-Shariah, which was implicated in the Benghazi attacks.

“How could the State Department trust an al Qaeda-tied Islamic extremist militia to serve as the armed quick-reaction force within the U.S. special mission?” the author asks.

“I do not expect much fair coverage from a media that is mysteriously uninterested in telling the real Benghazi story, in probing even the most basic facts about the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks,” Mr. Klein adds. “To this day, many in the news media continue to wrongly call the facility a consulate when it was a U.S. special mission, a mission that was so special it was set up without the knowledge of the Libyan government; failed to meet even the minimum security standards of the State Department; and was protected by armed members of a terrorist group offshoot.”

• Jennifer Harper can be reached at jharper@washingtontimes.com.

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