Yesterday Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was released from the hospital following a bout with the flu, a concussion and a blood clot. She is reported to be preparing to testify on the attacks that took place in Benghazi on September 11, 2012. While the media has done all it can to help Americans forget Benghazi, many of us are still out to keep the story front and center every week. Now there seems to be a new twist that is coming out with regards to what took place in Benghazi and this was in the Senate Homeland Security Committee report titled Flashing Red: A Special Report On The Terrorist Attack At Benghazi, which has been largely overshadowed, perhaps even orchestrated by the entire "fiscal cliff" debacle.
The biggest recent development—which was overshadowed by the fiscal cliff negotiations—came on New Year’s Eve, when the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee released a report that raised the question of whether Libyan officials assisted the Benghazi terrorists. The report found that a team of CIA contractors dispatched from Tripoli to Benghazi on the night of the attacks waited at least three hours after arriving at the Benghazi airport before departing to the scene because of negotiations with Libyan government officials. According to the report, members of Congress still don’t know the exact reason for the delay. “Was it simply the result of a difficult Libyan bureaucracy and a chaotic environment or was it part of a plot to keep American help from reaching the Americans under siege in Benghazi?” the report asks.
To be sure, the night of the attack was indeed chaotic. “It’s important to remember that the team from Tripoli faced a chaotic and difficult situation on the ground when it arrived in middle of the night,” one U.S. official tells The Daily Beast. (Both the Libyan ambassador to the U.S. and the State Department declined to comment.) Moreover, Libya’s government was a mess at the time: while it had conducted successful elections earlier that summer, the national assembly in Tripoli had yet to appoint a prime minister or the chiefs of government ministries. Nevertheless, a Senate committee asking this troubling question about the Libyan government is, at the very least, noteworthy.
Meanwhile, the Libyan government was not the only Libyan entity to come under scrutiny in the report. Also singled out was the Feb. 17 Martyrs Brigade, the militia deputized by the Libyan government to provide security at the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi—which largely failed to do its job on the night of the attacks. The Senate report relays doubts U.S. security personnel had regarding the militia before the attack. For example, diplomatic security personnel believed the brigade was responsible for the extrajudicial detention of people in the area, including one incident involving a U.S. diplomatic employee. And on Aug. 29, the chief diplomatic security officer for Benghazi acknowledged concerns that the contract between the Feb. 17 Brigade and the U.S. embassy had expired. The officer wrote, “We also have the usual concerns re their ultimate loyalties. But they are competent, and give us an added measure of security. For the time being, I don’t think we have a viable alternative.”
Other countries seem to be carrying out arrests by their respective authorities of those believed to have been involved in the attacks, such as Turkish authorities arresting Ali Ani al-Harzi, who was caught after he was boasting of the attack on social media and even the arrest of Muhammad Jamil Abu Ahmad, who was arrested by Egyptian authorities, whom U.S. Intelligence officials say participated in the attacks.
According to one U.S. Intelligence officer, who is working on the investigation, “We will usually follow a money trail and a data trail,” one U.S. intelligence officer who is working on the investigation said. “In this case it’s looking like this was more improvised and spur of the moment.” Apparently the attacks did not follow in the same path as previous attacks, such as the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania or the 2000 bombing of the USS Cole.
One wonders if we will hear from Hillary Clinton and if we do will we get any real answers from her. Among some of the most serious questions that demand answers are those that Guy Benson, from Townhall, puts forth:
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Why were US security personnel pulled out of Libya, even as Amb. Stevens warned of heightened risks?
Why was the Benghazi consulate operating below the bare minimum standards for a US diplomatic compound, especially after our government learned that at least ten known Islamist militias were operating in the city?
Was the president made aware of the numerous desperate pleas for help from two former SEALs, who battled the terrorists for seven hours before being killed? If not, why not? If so, what was his response?
Which government officials, specifically, watched the attack unfold in real time -- hour after excruciating hour -- via footage from an American drone? Was that drone armed?
Why were American forces and resources not deployed to help defeat the enemy, particularly while several Americans were alive and urgently seeking reinforcements? Why was a key counterterrorism task force not convened during the attack?