A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a column addressing the national scandal that investigation into the security failures and lies surrounding Benghazi-gate must also expose. This even larger scandal concerns the fact that throughout the revolutionary cycle known as Arab Spring, the Obama administration threw in Uncle Sam's lot with the bad guys -- the "rebels," the "martyrs," the Muslim Brothers, the whole jihad-happy and Shariah-ruling crew in Libya and the wider Middle East. In so doing, Uncle Sam, more or less, crossed to the "other side."
We are continuing this same treacherous policy in Syria, something I hope Mitt Romney (as president, I also hope) comes to understand quickly. In Libya, Obama's Arab Spring policy -- supported by U.N.-niks, Republicans and media alike -- meant making common cause with al-Qaida forces and other jihadists, including Libyan veterans of Afghanistan and Iraq who fought and killed Americans. It was if the whole world had gone mad.
Take the Libya Shield Brigade, an eastern Libyan militia aligned with the Libyan government. Libya Shield members met the eight U.S. Marines who arrived in Benghazi from Tripoli in the wee hours of Sept. 12, 2012. Libya Shield escorted our Marines to the secret annex -- relying on GPS coordinates the Marines brought with them -- where the survivors of the consulate attack had successfully taken cover. This annex did not come under mortar attack until soon after Libya Shield and the Marines arrived. Coincidence? It was in this barrage, by the way, that ex-SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty were killed.
John Rosenthal has reported at WND.com that the Libya Shield Brigade fought in the anti-Gadhafi revolution -- which Uncle Sam, of course, supported -- under the black flag of al-Qaida. Rosenthal further notes that in October 2011, Libya Shield's leader, Wissam Bin Hamid, issued a statement to Arabic jihadist websites stating: "The Islamic Shariah is a red line, we will not cede one rule of it, and Islam is the only law-giver and not (merely) the foundation (of the law)."
Bin Hamid, not at all incidentally, is also described on an online jihadist forum as a veteran of jihad in both Iraq and Afghanistan. This is what I mean by Libyan "allies" who have fought and killed Americans from the Other Side. Now, they're escorting Marines to secret American annexes, and doing so as a matter of Obama administration policy.
This is a crucial piece of the Benghazi story. The U.S. wasn't relying on Libya Shield and, as I've written before, the February 17 Martyrs Brigade in some ad hoc security arrangement. This is all part of continuing Arab Spring policy.
A U.S. embassy cable made public by congressional investigators makes this patently clear. While requesting more security on March 28, 2012, Eric Nordstrom, then U.S. regional security officer in Libya, notes that "rebuilding and expanding" the "local" guard force is one of his "core objectives." This objective directly relates to what he describes as the State Department's recommendation for "developing plans to transition our security staffing ... to (a model) that incorporates more locally based and nonemergency assets."
Naturally, these "plans" weren't working. Hence, Nordstrom's request for more American security. And hence the denial from State for reasons, Nordstrom told Congress this month, that came down to the fact "there was going to be too much political cost." It is these "politics" -- this Obama policy of outreach to jihadists -- that must be exposed and stopped.
The final diplomatic cable to go out under the late Ambassador Christopher Stevens' name is dated Sept. 11, 2012. It recounts events of the previous week in Benghazi, including a Sept. 9 meeting between an unnamed U.S. diplomat and, whaddya know, Wissam Bin Hamid, commander of Libya Shield. A second Libya Shield commander, Muhammad al-Gharabi, was also present. During a fractious-sounding meeting, the Libyans declared their support for the Muslim Brotherhood candidate then running to become Libyan prime minister, and threatened to withdraw security from the U.S. in Benghazi if another candidate won in upcoming elections.
It makes for surreal reading. Here we see a Muslim Brotherhood supporter, jihadist veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, and fighter for Shariah under the al-Qaida flag threatening American officials, and it's just another bulleted point in a routine cable home to the State Department. Little wonder, of course, that two days later, Bin Hamid's militia and others like it in eastern Libya were unable to forestall disaster. What a dastardly joke: They were all too likely involved in it.
It gets worse. As Rosenthal notes in his WND.com article, "The jihadist inclinations of Bin Hamid and his Libya Shield forces are not unknown to the U.S. government. Indeed, a recent study prepared by the research division of the Library of Congress links the Libya Shield Brigade to al-Qaida and even cites speculation that Bin Hamid may be the leader of the al-Qaida network in Libya."
We must find out how we got to this perilous place and why. But first we have another question to answer: Do we really want four more years of the same?