From The Clarion Project.
Report: Jihadist Group Hired to Defend U.S. Benghazi Mission
In an “exclusive” story, a Newsmax.com reporting on Fox News has uncovered that the Libyan militia group that was hired by the State Department to defend its embattled diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, were clearly al-Qaeda sympathizers, and had even prominently displayed the al-Qaeda flag on a Facebook page for months before the deadly attack.
Newsmax.com reports that, “A document recovered from the mission two days after the attack indicated the State Department had arranged for the Martyrs Brigade to act as a “Quick Reaction Force” to protect the mission. The Memorandum of Agreement states that ‘in the event of an attack on the U.S. mission, QRF will request additional support from the 17th February Martyrs Brigade.’ ”
Noteworthy is the fact that on October 30, more than six months ago, The Clarion Project’s Clare Lopez reported:
“In August 2012, Stevens reported that the security situation in Benghazi was deteriorating, yet in spite of this, the 16-man Site Security Team assigned to Libya, comprised of Special Forces led by SF LTC Andy Wood, was ordered out of Libya, contrary to the Ambassador’s stated desire that they stay.
“Note that, at any time, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton could have ordered the deployment to Benghazi of additional security experts from the Department of Security (DoS) Bureau of Diplomatic Security (or Diplomatic Security Service—DSS), but apparently chose not to do so.
“Instead, DoS hired a British firm, Blue Mountain, to manage its security in Benghazi, and Blue Mountain subcontracted the job to a local jihadist militia called the February 17 Martyrs Brigade who have known Muslim Brotherhood ties.
“Furthermore, Nordstrom testified at the October 11, 2012 Congressional hearings that ‘in deference to sensitivity to Libyan practice, the guards at Benghazi were unarmed’-- an inexplicable practice for a place as dangerous as Benghazi.”
The Martyrs Brigade, financed by the Libyan defense ministry, is considered the largest and best armed militia in eastern Libya. It consists of at least 12 battalions and possesses a large collection of light and heavy weapons in addition to training facilities. Its membership is estimated at between 1,500 and 3,500.
The group has carried out various security and law and order tasks in eastern Libya and Kufra in the south. Some of its members are also believed to be fighting the Assad regime in Syria. They fly the al-Qaeda flag on their Facebook page, and have long been al-Qaeda sympathizers.
The Brigade was paid by the U.S. government to provide security at the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya. There is no evidence that the Martyrs Brigade fulfilled its commitment to defend the mission on Sept. 11, when it came under attack.
That assault claimed the lives of four Americans: Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, information officer Sean Smith, and former Navy Seals Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty. Stevens was the first U.S. ambassador to be killed in the line of duty since 1979.
On their Facebook page, several members professed to support Ansar al-Sharia, the hard-line Islamist extremist group, who is believed to have carried out the attack on Benghazi. The State Department, however, refuses to comment on whether or not this was the case.
The recent congressional report on Benghazi documents the group’s use of kidnapping and making threats against Americans. Just days before the attack, the group announced that they would no longer provide security when members of the embassy staff left the compound.
House Republicans recently released an interim progress report on its investigation into the Benghazi killings. It cited "numerous reports" that "the Brigade had extremist connections, and it had been implicated in the kidnapping of American citizens as well as in the threats against U.S. military assets."
Despite those known threats, the many requests for additional security from the mission went unanswered by the State Department, for reasons that remain unclear. Documents show that despite the requests for more security, some made in the immediate months before the attacks, the State Department withdrew military personnel charged with defending American diplomatic personnel in Libya, thus actually reducing security.
Newsmax.com reported on an email exchange between the mission’s regional safety officer and the State Department’s Charlene Lamb, deputy assistant secretary in charge of diplomatic security.
As late as July of 2012, the officer had requested the U.S. military security team be allowed to continue to protect the mission. Lamb replied, “NO, I do not [I repeat] not want them to ask for the [military security] team to stay!”
The list of questions on Benghazi keeps on getting longer: Why would the State Department hire a group that openly displayed its admiration for al-Qaeda, and ask it to participate in the defense of its diplomatic mission? Why did the State Department hire a group which is close to and so connected to al-Qaeda? And why was the 16-man security force removed just a couple of weeks before the attack?
More importantly, why did the U.S. not move to save the embassy staff during the attack when military personnel have testified that it would have been entirely possible to send in American forces in the area? Why were “stand-down” orders given to these forces? Why are Benghazi whistle blowers reporting on being threatened with losing their job by the CIA the State Department if they talk?
Many are hinting that his story might end up being a massive cover-up by the Obama administration in general and Hillary Clinton in particular.