Benghazi Consulate Massacre: questions about the CIA’s mission there


**Posted by Phineas

One of the interesting revelations in all the tawdry news surrounding former CIA Director Petraeus’ affair with Paula Broadwell (1) concerns the mission of the CIA annex in Benghazi, the location to which diplomats were whisked after the consulate was overrun and where two former SEALs lost their lives defending them. According to Petraeus’s former mistress, the CIA was running a secret prison at the site, and the attack may have been a raid to rescue the prisoners. Speaking at an alumni symposium at the university of Denver, she:

…confirmed the reports on Fox News that the CIA annex asked for a special unit, the Commander in Chief’s In Extremis Force, to come and assist it. She also said that the force could indeed have reinforced the consulate, and that Petraeus knew all of this, but was not allowed to talk to the press because of his position in the CIA.

“The challenge has been the fog of war, and the greater challenge is that it’s political hunting season, and so this whole thing has been turned into a very political sort of arena, if you will,” she said. “The fact that came out today is that the ground forces there at the CIA annex, which is different from the consulate, were requesting reinforcements.

“They were requesting the – it’s called the C-in-C’s In Extremis Force – a group of Delta Force operators, our very, most talented guys we have in the military. They could have come and reinforced the consulate and the CIA annex. Now, I don’t know if a lot of you have heard this but the CIA annex had actually taken a couple of Libyan militia members prisoner, and they think that the attack on the consulate was an attempt to get these prisoners back. It’s still being vetted.

“The challenging thing for Gen. Petraeus is that in his new position, he’s not allowed to communicate with the press. So he’s known all of this – they had correspondence with the CIA station chief in Libya, within 24 hours they kind of knew what was happening.”

“Commander in Chief’s In Extremis Force” refers, I believe, to a force controlled by the regional commander, in this case the head of Africom, not forces directly controlled by the President. It should also be noted that, later in her talk, Broadwell gave some support to the infamous YouTube video as one source for the disaster: the Libyan jihadis, seeing the disturbances in Cairo and elsewhere, decided this would give them good cover for their real motive.

The CIA denied had earlier denied refusing to render aid to its Benghazi station, and now denies maintaining a secret prison, but Jennifer Griffin, a reporter who’s been doing real journalism on Benghazi, maintains that there was a CIA prison there and that it contained more than just a couple of Libyans:

According to multiple intelligence sources who have served in Benghazi, there were more than just Libyan militia members who were held and interrogated by CIA contractors at the CIA annex in the days prior to the attack. Other prisoners from additional countries in Africa and the Middle East were brought to this location.

The Libya annex was the largest CIA station in North Africa, and two weeks prior to the attack, the CIA was preparing to shut it down. Most prisoners, according to British and American intelligence sources, had been moved two weeks earlier.

The CIA, though, categorically denied these allegations, saying: “The CIA has not had detention authority since January 2009, when Executive Order 13491 was issued. Any suggestion that the agency is still in the detention business is uninformed and baseless.”

So no we have a massive case of “he said, she said,” only involving much more than marital infidelity. James Taranto quotes Griffin to ask some pertinent questions:

Griffin concludes with the question: “What was the CIA really doing in Benghazi . . ., and who in the White House knew exactly what the CIA was up to?” Did the CIA act in contravention of the executive order, and if so, did the president approve? Did the order create a need to keep up appearances that led to the deaths of Americans in the field?

So now, on top of the Benghazi massacre, we need to know if our CIA Director was sharing highly classified information pertaining to our war with Islamism with his mistress. And, implied in Griffin and Taranto’s questions, did the President even know? Apparently Attorney General Holder, to whom the FBI reports, knew about the investigation for months… but didn’t tell Obama that his CIA chief was potentially severely compromised? Really?

But, then again, people apparently don’t tell Holder about important things, either.

This administration’s talent for being left in the dark is impressive, no?

Maybe it’s time for the relevant committees of Congress to shine some light on that darkness.

(1) I honestly don’t give a rat’s rear-end about Petraeus’ infidelity, other than it disgraces an otherwise stellar career and shows a profound lack of judgment and sense on the part of someone entrusted with a critical role in our nation’s security. We are owed answers here, and I don’t care who Congress has to subpoena to get it.

(Crossposted at Public Secrets)

4 thoughts on “Benghazi Consulate Massacre: questions about the CIA’s mission there

  1. A more rudimentary question is, if Petraeus and his replacement in Dumbf**kistan, General Allen, are in a command position where troops’ lives are dependent on the unhindered performance of their leadership duties, when do they find the time to cavort with stray opportunistic women? This is an object lesson in the arrogance and misplaced sense of entitlement among military officers; and that is based on experience.

  2. Now that they raided her house and found “state secrets” I wonder if there was more than sexual infidelity happening. Can you or I just ask to download thousands of pages of classified documents so we can write a book? This is getting creepier by the day. Was she a spy? Was she looking for ammunition to declare the Obama administration incompetent? Inquiring minds want to know!

  3. Seems this would be a great story for a satirist, something along the lines of, say, “Barack in Wonderland?”

    There is so much incompetence, such misdirection, such nefarious imperiality, it should be no trouble to create a story about a little boy who fell down a rat hole into a strange land full of strange and evil characters whose evil and idiocy pervades the entire landscape.

    In the meantime, let’s see just how serious the government is about having someone, not authorized, be in possession of “top secret” documents. This may be a good test to see if that designation is simply a meaningless phrase, if it’s meant only for documents potentially embarrassing to the administration, or if it means what it says.

  4. I have a bad feeling that the sexual aspect is not really a “distraction.” I have a very nasty hunch that this whole Libya deal is much bigger than any of us can see right now, and we may never unravel all the threads.

    But at least it didn’t harm Obama’s reelection. We sure dodged a bullet on that one, huh?

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