Report: WH Approved Weapons Transfers That Armed Libyan Islamists

Posted: Dec 07, 2012 10:33 AM

A post-election revelation from the New York Times:

The Obama administration secretly gave its blessing to arms shipments to Libyan rebels from Qatar last year, but American officials later grew alarmed as evidence grew that Qatar was turning some of the weapons over to Islamic militants, according to United States officials and foreign diplomats. No evidence has emerged linking the weapons provided by the Qataris during the uprising against Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi to the attack that killed four Americans at the United States diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, in September. But in the months before, the Obama administration clearly was worried about the consequences of its hidden hand in helping arm Libyan militants, concerns that have not previously been reported. The weapons and money from Qatar strengthened militant groups in Libya, allowing them to become a destabilizing force since the fall of the Qaddafi government. The experience in Libya has taken on new urgency as the administration considers whether to play a direct role in arming rebels in Syria, where weapons are flowing in from Qatar and other countries.  

In the administration's defense, at least this time they didn't knowingly put dangerous weapons into the hands of known killers.  No, this was just garden-variety negligence.  The Times reports that no evidence currently suggests that these specific weapons were used in the deadly raid that claimed the lives of four Americans, including our sitting ambassador.  Can you imagine the nonstop media firestorm that would undoubtedly arise if one or more American officials were murdered by foreign enemies armed to the teeth by the US government?  I certainly can't.  Incidentally, the press has evidently decided that the Benghazi story is over -- despite the criminal negligence leading up to the attack, the inexplicable abandonment of our personnel during the raid, and the multi-week cover up that followed.  "It's a tragedy, not a scandal," the media bien pensants inform us; meanwhile, they'll remain on guard for a real outrage to come along.  Rest assured, the next time a Republican president's Attorney General lawfully relieves some US attorneys of their duties, they'll be all over it.  The Weekly Standard's Stephen Hayes is aghast.  He lays out the administration's evolving Benghazi story in a damning, detailed piece:

On November 27, as Carney was insisting from the White House podium that all questions had been answered, acting CIA director Morell offered yet another account of the talking points story in a meeting with three senators. Morell was on Capitol Hill with Susan Rice as she met with three Republican senators?—?John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and Kelly Ayotte?—?in order to answer questions about the administration’s handling of Benghazi. Several minutes into the meeting, following some sharp criticism of the administration from McCain, Graham asked about the edits to the unclassified talking points provided to Rice. Morell told the senators that the FBI had made the edits?—?an explanation that surprised his audience. When Graham asked him why the FBI would have made the changes, Morell had an answer ready: They did not want to jeopardize the ongoing criminal investigation into the attacks. Graham was furious. He pointed out that this was yet another explanation of the changes to the talking points and asked Morell how referring to al Qaeda participation in the attacks would affect any investigation. Within hours, the story changed again. The CIA notified the GOP senators that Morell had been wrong and that the changes to the language about al Qaeda had been made by the CIA and not the FBI. All of which raises the question: How is it that Morell, who accompanied Rice precisely so that he could provide an authoritative account of what had happened, didn’t know? Another problem: The latest version contradicts Petraeus, who had testified that the reference to al Qaeda that was in the version he approved was only taken out after the CIA passed them along. That’s five changes to the story about the talking points in two weeks?—?and we still have a glaring contradiction between the testimony of the former CIA director and the latest claims from his replacement.

The reasons Obama officials have given for the edits have changed, too. At first we were told that al Qaeda references were excised because the links were thought to be “tenuous”?—?despite the fact that one of the pieces of intelligence supporting the al Qaeda ties was an intercepted phone call. Perhaps mindful of that evidence, we were later told that mentioning al Qaeda in the unclassified talking points could jeopardize sources and methods. Then came Morell’s contention that the FBI didn’t want to compromise an investigation and, following that, the current claim that we didn’t want to tip off the attackers that we were on to them by publicly assigning them responsibility. When I asked a former senior intelligence official about that possibility, he said: “Nobody who can spell the word ‘intelligence’ believes that for a second.” A U.S. official investigating Benghazi was more blunt: “Complete bullshit.”  

Hayes ties the White House's Libya dissembling to their public posturing in the aftermath a failed terrorist attack on a Delta flight into Detroit on Christmas day in 2009, as well as the attempted Times Square bombing in 2010.  Read the whole thing.