Trey Gowdy’s recently released Special Committee on Benghazi report, followed by the Citizens’ Commission on Benghazi report, provide new insights into the tragedy that cost the lives of four Americans, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. This catastrophe goes much deeper than our failure to respond to multiple, well-coordinated attacks on our Benghazi facilities on the night of Sept. 11, 2012. The genesis for the attack was actually the “Outreach to Muslims” speech by President Obama on June 4, 2009, in Cairo with the outlawed Muslim Brotherhood leadership prominently seated in the front row. When he declared that it was part of his responsibility as president of the United States to fight against negative stereotypes of Islam, wherever they appear — that said it all.
Therefore, when al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood-controlled militias launched their revolt against the Moammar Gadhafi regime in February 2011, the Obama administration showed where its true sympathies lay. It switched sides in the global war on terror and allied with the Islamic jihadists. This dramatic change in U.S. policy can most likely be attributed to the fact that Mr. Obama made an ideological commitment to support the expansion of Muslim Brotherhood power throughout the Middle East and North Africa. This commitment is substantiated by the 2010 Presidential Study Directive 11, which solicited proposals and instructed key government agencies to collaborate on the formation and execution of a plan for enabling Muslim Brotherhood expansion by way of regime change in Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Yemen and other Middle East countries.
Based on newly released emails, there is no question that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and President Obama knew they would be supporting Islamic jihadists — our sworn enemy — with funding, training and weapons, as well as facilitating the flow of arms to rebels in Syria, including those that morphed into the Islamic State.
Mrs. Clinton then ignored all military advice not to intervene militarily in the Libyan civil war. The decision turned out to be a catastrophic disaster that transformed Libya into an Islamic jihadi safe haven. When Gadhafi entered into truce negotiations with Gen. Carter Ham of United States Africa Command, and sent signals that he was willing to abdicate, the indications are that it was Mrs. Clinton who terminated those negotiations. Her political aide Jake Sullivan said it all when he wrote in August 2011 that Mrs. Clinton had “leadership/ownership/stewardship of [Libya] policy from start to finish.” This alone should raise serious questions about her judgment and leadership qualifications.
According to the Gowdy Select Committee report and new evidence, there was never a humanitarian crisis in Benghazi, which was the stated reason for the intervention. It appears Mrs. Clinton, the Clinton Foundation and unscrupulous individuals’ real motivation for intervention was money. Incredible.
After the fall of Gadhafi in October 2011, chaos reigned in Benghazi. In Egypt, Mohammed Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood government was firmly in control. With the Brotherhood penetration of U.S. government agencies and carte blanche entry into the White House, Egypt enjoyed unprecedented relations with America. Mr. Morsi’s No. 1 objective was to attain the release of Omar Abdel-Rahman (the Blind Sheikh).
Repeated requests by Ambassador Stevens for increased security were either denied or unanswered. Security forces that were in country were deliberately withdrawn, e.g., Lt. Col. Andy Woods’ 16-man team stationed in Tripoli was removed. On Aug. 11, Stevens called the security situation unpredictable. On Aug. 16, he sent a cable stating that the Special Mission Compound could not withstand a coordinated attack.
On Aug. 29, the Libyan government placed Benghazi under a “state of maximum alert” due to attacks on foreigners and other acts of violence. According to the CIA annex security team, there were multiple warnings of an impending attack against our facilities in Benghazi. For reasons that remain unanswered, these warnings were ignored.
On the night of the attack, despite the fact that U.S. commander in chief, Europe and United States Africa Command failed to pre-position forces to be able to respond to an attack, U.S. assets were available and ready to deploy immediately when the Benghazi attack commenced. However, they were held back from even attempting a rescue effort. Specifically, there were two AC-130 Spectre gunships “on call” the night of the attack. One was in Djibouti, six hours away, but the other one was in Sigonella, Sicily, just one hour and 45 minutes away. There were two squadrons of F-16s at Aviano, Italy. We know, based on an unnamed source, that the pilots were ready to respond and could have gotten to Benghazi within three hours. We had a 40-man Special Operations Force in Croatia with its own aircraft, which was ready to respond but never got authorization to go beyond Sigonella. There was a 65-man Marine Fleet Antiterrorist Security team at Rota, Spain, but it was delayed for hours, making them change into civilian clothes under orders from Mrs. Clinton.
Of course, none of these forces could have saved Ambassador Stevens and Sean Smith. However, they could have prevented the attack on the CIA annex and saved the lives of Ty Wood and Glen Doherty.
If it were just a dereliction of duty or incompetence, it would not justify the massive cover-up by the Obama administration, which continues to this day. I believe the only justification for the massive cover-up was that Stevens was to be kidnapped and held hostage in exchange for the release of the “Blind Sheikh.”
• James A. Lyons, a retired U.S. Navy admiral, was commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and senior U.S. military representative to the United Nations.
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