Perhaps being overlooked is the CIA’s role in using the Benghazi mission to coordinate U.S. aid to opposition insurgent groups acting in Syria amid information those same insurgents significantly consist of jihadists, including al-Qaida groups.
KleinOnline One week before he was slated to testify before Congress on the Benghazi debacle, Petraeus on Friday night announced his resignation citing an extramarital affair.
Rep. Peter King, House Homeland Security Committee Chairman, charged in an interview with CNN that Petraeus is “at the center of this, and there are answers that only he has.” King was referring to the Benghazi attacks. Asked if he will still call for Petraeus testify despite his resignation, Rep. King replied, “Absolutely, to me, he’s an absolutely necessary witness.”
That Benghazi compound is repeatedly referred by the news media to as a “consulate.” However, as KleinOnline reported the building was not a consulate and at no point functioned as one, according to informed Middle East security officials. Instead, the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi served as a meeting place to coordinate aid for the rebel-led insurgencies in the Middle East, the security officials said. Among the tasks performed inside the building was collaborating with Arab countries on the recruitment of fighters – including jihadists – to target Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria.
The distinction may help explain why there was no major public security presence at what has been described as a “consulate.” Such a presence would draw attention to the shabby, nondescript building that was allegedly used for such sensitive purposes. U.S. officials have been more careful in their rhetoric while not contradicting the media narrative that a consulate was attacked. The State Department website lists no consulate in Benghazi.
Last month, the State Department gave a vivid account of Stevens’ final day during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. It was disclosed that about an hour before the attack began, Stevens concluded his final meeting of the day with a Turkish diplomat. Turkey has been leading the insurgency against Assad’s regime.
In September, KleinOnline broke the story that Stevens played a central role in recruiting jihadists to fight Assad’s regime in Syria, according to Egyptian security officials.
Stevens served as a key contact with the Saudis to coordinate the recruitment by Saudi Arabia of Islamic fighters from North Africa and Libya. The jihadists were sent to Syria via Turkey to attack Assad’s forces, said the security officials. The officials said Stevens also worked with the Saudis to send names of potential jihadi recruits to U.S. security organizations for review. Names found to be directly involved in previous attacks against the U.S., including in Iraq and Afghanistan, were ultimately not recruited by the Saudis to fight in Syria, said the officials.
Al-Qaida among U.S.-supported rebels
As KleinOnline reported, questions remain about the nature of U.S. support for the revolutions in Egypt and Libya, including reports the U.S.-aided rebels that toppled Muammar Gadhafi’s regime in Libya consisted of al-Qaida and jihad groups. The U.S. provided direct assistance, including weapons and finances, to the Libyan rebels.
Similarly, the Obama administration is currently aiding the rebels fighting Assad’s regime in Syria amid widespread reports that al-Qaida jihadists are included in the ranks of the Free Syrian Army. Earlier this month, Obama announced $50 million more in aid to the Syrian rebels.
In August, KleinOnline quoted a senior Syrian source claiming at least 500 hardcore mujahedeen from Afghanistan, many of whom were spearheading efforts to fight the U.S. there, were killed in clashes with Syrian forces last month. Also, Jihadiya Salafia in the Gaza Strip, a group that represents al-Qaida in the coastal territory, had declared three days of mourning for its own jihadists who died in Syria in recent weeks.
There have been widespread reports of al-Qaida among the Syrian rebels, including in reports by Reuters and the New York Times. NY Times Quoting Officials: Petraeus Deeply Involved in Supplying Gunmen in Syria
KleinOnline reported in May there was growing collaboration between the Syrian opposition and al-Qaida as well as evidence the opposition is sending weapons to jihadists in Iraq, according to an Egyptian security official. READ MORE