Yes, There Was a Plan For Gunrunning to Syria

Katie Pavlich

2/7/2013 3:20:00 PM - Katie Pavlich

Two weeks ago, Senator Rand Paul asked then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton if Benghazi served as a gateway for the United States to run weapons to Syrian rebels through Turkey. Today during testimony on Capitol Hill, outgoing CIA director Leon Panetta admitted there was a plan, supported by Clinton and former CIA Director David Petreaus, put in place to arm Syrian rebels but was stopped by President Obama.

 Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Mr. Panetta and Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, were asked by Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, if they had supported the recommendation that weapons be provided to the Syrian resistance.

“We did,” Mr. Panetta said.

“You did support that” Mr. McCain asked again.

“We did,” General Dempsey added.

The White House, however, was worried about the risks of getting more deeply involved in the crisis in Syria. And with President Obama in the midst of a re-election bid, the White House rebuffed the plan, rejecting the advice of most of the key members of Mr. Obama’s national security team.

So, did this happen? Or not? Senator Paul seems to think so even though the administration denies it. A report from Fox News' Catherine Herridge in October 2012 suggests the weapons transfer may have taken place.

A mysterious Libyan ship -- reportedly carrying weapons and bound for Syrian rebels -- may have some link to the Sept. 11 terror attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Fox News has learned.

Through shipping records, Fox News has confirmed that the Libyan-flagged vessel Al Entisar, which means "The Victory," was received in the Turkish port of Iskenderun -- 35 miles from the Syrian border -- on Sept. 6, just five days before Ambassador Chris Stevens, information management officer Sean Smith and former Navy Seals Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty were killed during an extended assault by more than 100 Islamist militants.

On the night of Sept. 11, in what would become his last known public meeting, Stevens met with the Turkish Consul General Ali Sait Akin, and escorted him out of the consulate front gate one hour before the assault began at approximately 9:35 p.m. local time.

Although what was discussed at the meeting is not public, a source told Fox News that Stevens was in Benghazi to negotiate a weapons transfer, an effort to get SA-7 missiles out of the hands of Libya-based extremists. And although the negotiation said to have taken place may have had nothing to do with the attack on the consulate later that night or the Libyan mystery ship, it could explain why Stevens was travelling in such a volatile region on the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

When asked to comment, a State Department spokeswoman dismissed the idea, saying Stevens was there for diplomatic meetings, and to attend the opening of a cultural center.

As a reminder: Clinton doesn't know anything about arms heading to Turkey...