Intriguing and confounding stuff, via WMAL radio and the Daily Mail:
Four hundred American surface-to-air missiles were 'taken from Libya' during the terror attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, a former U.S. Attorney who represents whistleblowers claimed on Monday. He added that the U.S. intelligence community is terrified they might be used to shoot down airliners. Joe diGenova, whose wife Victoria Toensing – a former deputy assistant attorney general – also represents Benghazi witnesses and others with knowledge of the terror attack, told WMAL radio that the loss of those missiles is also one the reason the U.S. State Department shut down 19 embassies across the Middle East last week. 'A lot of people have come forward to share information with us,' he said during the radio station's 'Mornings On The Mall' program Monday morning. 'We have learned that one of the reasons the administration is so deeply concerned' is that 'there were 400 surface-to-air missiles stolen, and that they are ... in the hands of many people, and that the biggest fear in the U.S. intelligence community is that one of these missiles will be used to shoot down an airliner. 400 missiles, surface-to-air missiles, taken from Libya.'
Was this the objective of the Benghazi terrorist attacks? Did the raid and the looting happen simultaneously? What were the weapons doing at the US diplomatic mission and/or CIA annex in the first place? When CNN dropped its bombshell report -- about which the president wasn't questioned at his Friday presser -- it included a glancing reference to a rumor that's been percolating for months; namely, that the US government was using Benghazi as conduit to covertly ship weapons (like SAMs) to Syrian rebels:
Speculation on Capitol Hill has included the possibility the U.S. agencies operating in Benghazi were secretly helping to move surface-to-air missiles out of Libya, through Turkey, and into the hands of Syrian rebels. It is clear that two U.S. agencies were operating in Benghazi, one was the State Department, and the other was the CIA.
Allahpundit points out that the guys at Powerline have been expressing deep skepticism over this theory for some time, perhaps for good reason:
Michael Ledeen speculated in an e-mail to Powerline that Syria had nothing to do with it; what probably happened, he thinks, is that the CIA was trying to collect some of the heavier weapons Libyan rebels had acquired during the war with Qaddafi. That makes more sense. It does seem odd that the CIA would choose a fragile, dangerous place like Benghazi as a base for running missiles to Syria when they could do it from Qatar or Jordan, say, instead.
Let's throw out the Syria speculation for a moment. Say our government (understandably) didn't want serious weapons in the hands of rag-tag bands of jihadis roaming around Northern Africa. Say the CIA was deployed to surreptitiously collect as many SAMs as they could, and spirit them out of the country, thus denying Al Qaeda-type groups access to weaponry that could easily bring down a commercial airliner. If our operatives were stockpiling these munitions at various American compounds in Benghazi -- which you'll recall was a rebel hotbed during the war to oust Ghaddafi -- then the successful 9/11 massacre is an even bigger outrage. How could it be that the administration didn't have ample security forces in the city to protect not only our people, but these weapons? Remember, the State Department rejected multiple requests for a more robust presence. What makes at least some sense about the clandestine smuggling operation theory is that the US would have had some reason to operate with a very light footprint on the ground. Such an attempt at misdirection would still have been totally reckless, of course, but it's something. But if there were hundreds of SAMs just being "protected" at US government compounds, why on earth did we have sub-minimal security on hand, much of which was outsourced to a lightly-armed (and likely complicit) local militia? This is quite a number of troubling questions about a "phony scandal," wouldn't you say?