By Victor Thorn
It has taken two months, but news involving what really happened in Benghazi, Libya at the United States consulate is beginning to leak out. As reporters Adam Entous, Siobhan Gorman and Margaret Coker of The Wall Street Journal admitted on November 1, “The U.S. effort in Benghazi was at its heart a CIA operation.”
On September 11, 2012, a heavily armed group staged a nighttime attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. For the next several hours, gun battles erupted in that building as well as in a neighboring location that had been used by the CIA as a “safe house.” When the dust settled on September 12, four Americans were dead, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens.
New reports now indicate that the Western press in Libya, including New York Times correspondents, knew all along that the assault was not “a spontaneous attack brought about by an anti-Islamic movie in the United States.” Instead, the attackers targeted a spy operation being run by the CIA tasked with moving weapons to rebel fighters around the Middle East.
It all started just after the Obama commencement of a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO)-led invasion of Libya wherein national leader Muammar Qaddafi was murdered. With the war winding down, the CIA established its first intelligence annex in Libya in February 2011. With Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s State Department providing diplomatic cover to conceal the operation’s true nature, CIA contractors recruited anti-Qaddafi rebels and provided weaponry to them.
Strong evidence now exists that Stevens seized weapons in Libya and sent them to Syria via Turkey where rebel groups created by the CIA and the Mossad are battling President Bashar Assad’s army for control of the nation.
Michael Kelley of Business Insider, which is described as one of the fastest growing financial websites on the Internet, wrote on November 3: “A Libyan ship—which reportedly weighed 400 tons—docked in southern Turkey on September 6, and its cargo ended up in the hands of Syrian rebels. The man who organized that shipment, Tripoli Military Council head Abdelhakim Belhadj, worked directly with Stevens during the Libyan revolution. These weapons [were] presumably from Muammar Qaddafi’s stock of about 20K portable heat-seeking missiles, the bulk of which were SA-7 surface-to-air anti-aircraft missiles.”
On November 9 AMERICAN FREE PRESS interviewed a source who requested to be used only as “background” for this story. AFP asked him if he felt that forces, who originally worked with the CIA and NATO to overthrow Qaddafi, attacked the CIA safe house because they were angered that their bounty—thousands of high-tech weapons—were now being taken from them and dispatched to another group of CIA mercenaries in Syria.
He responded: “The Libyans were pawns in their own revolution. NATO and the Obama administration wanted Qaddafi out, so they used the home team to do it. Soldiers that opposed Qaddafi received their funding from NATO and the CIA. Then, after these rebels did the dirty work and got rid of Qaddafi, the CIA went searching for his heat-seeking missiles.”
Once the CIA planted roots in Libya, AFP’s source picked up the story of what transpired.
“Some of the same forces that were set against Qaddafi were later used to provide security at the CIA’s safe house,” he said. “Although many of the details are still clouded, it’s certain that the CIA embassy was not attacked due to an anti-Islamic film, as the administration initially claimed.”
AFP inquired as to whether President Barack Obama would have been apprised and directly knowledgeable of the CIA’s weapons-running operation. “Yes,” he said.
To illustrate how extensively the CIA was involved in this mess, the source stated: “Of the 30 men stationed in Benghazi, only seven weren’t officially employed by the CIA. Once the mission was attacked, CIA contractors got most of their fellow Americans out. Yet, following their rescue mission, some of them were tracked down and killed.”
The success of the CIA operation moving guns out of Libya was what ultimately doomed the mission there. “For at least 30 days prior to the September 11 onslaught, Stevens’s emails prove that he felt an attack was imminent,” said AFP’s source. “But since the CIA had already moved a majority of weapons out of Libya on the September 6 boat dispatched to Turkey, there was no more need for the mission in Benghazi. Now that most everyone knows about this situation, the CIA’s cover was blown, which is something they never wanted.”
AFP inquired as to whether there was any possibility that Stevens had been deliberately set up. AFP’s contact replied, “At the very least, somebody was negligent about security at the embassy, and Stevens knew more about the Libyan gun-running operation than anyone.”
Now, conveniently, Stevens is dead and CIA Director David Petraeus resigned on November 9 “due to marital indiscretions.”
As of this writing, Petraeus will testify behind closed doors on Capitol Hill about his role in the Benghazi scandal.
By Victor Thorn
Although CIA agents promote an aura of calculating professionalism and perfection, sometimes their actual performance strays far from this carefully crafted image. In 2011, Hezbollah leaders in Beirut exposed several CIA operatives after their sloppy and amateurish Keystone Kops-like practices were uncovered.
The specifics are almost comical if they weren’t so serious. When trying to determine a codeword to be used when meeting with foreign contacts, the secret agents selected “pizza.” Then, laughably, they all met in public at a Beirut Pizza Hut. Making matters worse, the men dialed their CIA handlers on cell phones that were easily traced by Hezbollah’s internal security forces.
After arrests were made, Hezbollah’s third Secretary General, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, stated that the detainees were “affiliated with the CIA, and one more might be affiliated with European intelligence or Mossad.” He also characterized the U.S. Embassy in Lebanon as “a den of spies.” A similarly embarrassing situation arose around this same time in Iran when U.S. assets had their identities exposed.
Of course, the U.S. isn’t the only one guilty of faulty intelligence operations. In June 2010, the Federal Bureau of Investigation nabbed nearly a dozen Russian spies in large east coast cities, whereas in June federal agents detained a married Chinese couple after they supposedly stole corporate secrets from DuPont and sold them to private companies in their homeland. Even more recently, the Afghani intelligence service disclosed that they had apprehended 15 spies—including military officials, bureaucrats and other government operatives—that had been planted by Iran and Pakistan’s secret service, the ISI. An Afghan spokesman stated that suicide attacks and assassination plots against politicians were being planned.
Speaking about this lack of professionalism within the current intelligence community, on November 21, 2011, reporters Matthew Cole and Brian Ross quoted a former CIA agent that lamented, “We’ve lost the tradition of espionage. Officers take short cuts and no one is held accountable.”
U.S. Embassies Actually Major Spy Hubs
By Victor Thorn
When most people think of embassies or consulates, they think of buildings that house peaceful diplomats who officially represent their home countries. In truth, however,many embassies should be renamed for what they really are: spy hubs.
By all means, the United States is no different than the Russians, Israelis or Chinese in that if given an opportunity they’ll attempt to pry sensitive data from the host country where their embassies are located.
On occasion, these spooks get caught crossing the line of what is acceptable trade-craft behavior.
In November 2010, for example, Norway’s TV2 asserted that U.S. personnel stationed at the U.S. embassy in Oslo conducted “illegal systematic surveillance of Norwegian citizens.”
Confirming these accusations, foreign correspondent Per Nyberg wrote on November 4, 2010: “The embassy hired former police officers and defense staff to take pictures and register people who behaved in a suspicious way.”
Months later, next-door in Sweden, the Swedish intelligence service, SAPO, made even stronger allegations that two U.S. embassy employees were engaged in “illegal, undercover investigations.” A daily newspaper, Svenska Dagbladet, wrote with indignation, “Sweden has become the scene of a foreign power’s terror hunt without the knowledge of the Swedish government.”
Neither of these examples compare to a former black-bag operative named Enrique Prado.
In the June release of How to Get Away with Murder in America: Drug Lords, Dirty Pols, Obsessed Cops and the Quiet Man Who Became the CIA’s Master Killer, Evan Wright chronicled Prado’s exploits. They included involvement in Iran-Contra gunrunning, an espionage program targeting China, membership in a planned CIA secret assassination unit and even moonlighting as a Miami-based Mafia hit man.
After leaving the agency, Prado remained in its tentacle-like network by finding employ with the notorious Blackwater outfit.
In a June 27 article for Wired magazine, Robert Beckhusen noted, “According to Wright, the CIA handed over its hit squad operation to Blackwater, now called Academi, as a way ‘to kill people with precision without getting caught.’ ”
U.S. Pays Big Bucks for Global Embassies
By Victor Thorn
With the United States effectively bankrupt, taxpayers should be asking themselves just how much the U.S. shells out to house high-dollar diplomats around the globe.
According to the State Department, the U.S. annually spends $6.5B to maintain its 285 embassies, consulates and missions around the world. In addition, outlays for personnel and other staffing operations cost an estimated $4.5B.
To convey the breadth and reach of America’s global presence, Dave Seminara of The Washington Diplomat, an independent monthly newspaper, wrote on April 13: “The State Department is a huge player on the international real estate scene. It owns or leases facilities in 270 cities and 189 countries, and is absent only from North Korea, Iran and Somalia. Its real estate portfolio also includes more than 20K properties . . . with total square footage of more than 80M.”
In the past dozen years the State Department has erected over 90 new diplomatic headquarters. One, in Ukraine, cost taxpayers $247M, while another in Morocco drained $187M from Uncle Sam’s coffers.
None of these embassies, though, compares to the $750M white elephant that the U.S. constructed in Baghdad following President George W. Bush’s war. As the largest embassy on Earth, this 104-acre behemoth boasts a movie theater, beauty parlors, food courts that make those inmost American malls pale by comparison, a fully operational sewage plant, tennis courts, a recreation center, swimming pool, plus over 600 blast-resistant apartments. Yet, as William Langewiesche of Vanity Fair magazine opined, “It may already be obsolete.”
Langewiesche, in his November 2007 article, noted how drastically our nation has changed over the past century in terms of foreign policy.
“America didn’t used to be like this,” he wrote. “Traditionally, it was so indifferent to setting up embassies that after its first 134 years of existence, in 1910, it owned diplomatic properties in only five countries abroad—Morocco, Turkey, Siam, China and Japan.”
Victor Thorn is a hard-hitting researcher, journalist and author of over 40 books.