Bumped Up

The David Petraeus saga is just beginning. Tabloid America loves the sex scandal–a seemingly squeaky clean, straight arrow General was actually banging his biographer. His ironically titled biography, ALL IN, apparently had a back story with lots of in-and-out-and-in-and-out. Whose your Daddy?

Paula Broadwell’s speech at the University of Denver over a month ago attracted little attention at the time. Once she emerged as the femme fatale in this national security drama, folks took a second look. And Broadwell was caught on tape making some remarkable assertions:

“The challenge has been the fog of war, and the greater challenge is that it’s political hunting season, and so this whole thing has been turned into a very political sort of arena, if you will,” she said. “The fact that came out today is that the ground forces there at the CIA annex, which is different from the consulate, were requesting reinforcements.

“They were requesting the – it’s called the C-in-C’s In Extremis Force – a group of Delta Force operators, our very, most talented guys we have in the military. They could have come and reinforced the consulate and the CIA annex. Now, I don’t know if a lot of you have heard this but the CIA annex had actually taken a couple of Libyan militia members prisoner, and they think that the attack on the consulate was an attempt to get these prisoners back. It’s still being vetted.

“The challenging thing for Gen. Petraeus is that in his new position, he’s not allowed to communicate with the press. So he’s known all of this – they had correspondence with the CIA station chief in Libya, within 24 hours they kind of knew what was happening.”

This quote exposes the limitations and knowledge of Broadwell. She is dead ass wrong about the CIF aka the Counterterrorism In Extremis Force. The CIF is a Special Forces unit that is part of EUCOM and AFRICOM–i.e., the US military commands responsible for Europe and Africa respectively. The CIF is not REPEAT NOT comprised of “Delta Force.”

Although she does not know what she is talking about with respect to the CIF, her comment about the CIA annex being used to imprison “a couple of Libyan militia members” is explosive. That info was not in the public domain. Although CIA came out today with a strong denial (they said nothing at the time when Broadwell made the claim), FOX NEWS has confirmed from sources with direct knowledge that there were in fact Libyans being imprisoned at that site.

Broadwell clearly had access to information known only to CIA personnel. Who did she know at CIA that could have given her such info? (Note, jrterrier reminds me that Fox reported the info that day, but I don’t think it likely that Broadwell gleaned it from that source.)

What most of the media have missed (not Fox) is the so-called CIA annex. Consider this. What if the activities at that site contained both CIA and a separate entity, foreign owned, that was being used to move weapons to Syrian rebels. Why use a foreign group? If the operation involved a U.S. organization or U.S. personnel, then Barack Obama would have had to sign off on a Presidential Finding authorizing the covert activity.

But what if the Saudis were funneling money for weapons to a foreign entity in Libya that was under the control and direction of the White House? That is called political dynamite.

We already know that the United States via the CIA was helping arm the Syrian rebels. According to the New York Times in a 14 October 2012 article:

Most of the arms shipped at the behest of Saudi Arabia and Qatar to supply Syrian rebel groups fighting the government of Bashar al-Assad are going to hard-line Islamic jihadists, and not the more secular opposition groups that the West wants to bolster, according to American officials and Middle Eastern diplomats. . . .

The United States is not sending arms directly to the Syrian opposition. Instead, it is providing intelligence and other support for shipments of secondhand light weapons like rifles and grenades into Syria, mainly orchestrated from Saudi Arabia and Qatar. The reports indicate that the shipments organized from Qatar, in particular, are largely going to hard-line Islamists.

Note the date. By October 14, more than a month after the attack at the so-called “Annex,” the Administration was putting out the word that it was perplexed and puzzled by the weapons falling into the hands of jihadists.

Guess what? U.S. concern was heightened after its operation based in Libya to help the Saudis funnel weapons to the rebels was destroyed.

Dave Petraeus was right in the middle of this. He went to Turkey on 2 September 2012. Per the New York Times:

American officials have been trying to understand why hard-line Islamists have received the lion’s share of the arms shipped to the Syrian opposition through the shadowy pipeline with roots in Qatar, and, to a lesser degree, Saudi Arabia. The officials, voicing frustration, say there is no central clearinghouse for the shipments, and no effective way of vetting the groups that ultimately receive them.

Those problems were central concerns for the director of the Central Intelligence Agency, David H. Petraeus, when he traveled secretly to Turkey last month, officials said.

The C.I.A. has not commented on Mr. Petraeus’s trip, made to a region he knows well from his days as the Army general in charge of Central Command, which is responsible for all American military operations in the Middle East. Officials of countries in the region say that Mr. Petraeus has been deeply involved in trying to steer the supply effort, though American officials dispute that assertion.

One Middle Eastern diplomat who has dealt extensively with the C.I.A. on the issue said that Mr. Petraeus’s goal was to oversee the process of “vetting, and then shaping, an opposition that the U.S. thinks it can work with.” According to American and Arab officials, the C.I.A. has sent officers to Turkey to help direct the aid, but the agency has been hampered by a lack of good intelligence about many rebel figures and factions.

Ambassador Chris Stevens was meeting in Benghazi, just prior to the attack, with a Turkish Ambassador. This piece from Business Insider in October takes on even more meaning in light of the Petraeus affair:

In March 2011 Stevens became the official U.S. liaison to the al-Qaeda-linked Libyan opposition, working directly with Abdelhakim Belhadj of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group—a group that has now disbanded, with some fighters reportedly participating in the attack that took Stevens’ life.

In November 2011 The Telegraph reported that Belhadj, acting as head of the Tripoli Military Council, “met with Free Syrian Army [FSA] leaders in Istanbul and on the border with Turkey” in an effort by the new Libyan government to provide money and weapons to the growing insurgency in Syria.

Last month The Times of London reported that a Libyan ship “carrying the largest consignment of weapons for Syria … has docked in Turkey.” The shipment reportedly weighed 400 tons and included SA-7 surface-to-air anti-craft missiles and rocket-propelled grenades.

It is no coincidence that Stevens is meeting in Benghazi with a diplomat from Turkey while Petraeus was doing the same in Turkey. They were delivering a message to the Turks that more control over the weapons being funneled out of Libya had to be in place.

Did Congress get a Presidential Finding authorizing the movement of weapons? The answer on that front is probably no. That’s what Obama and his team are desperate to cover up.

Previous article“Broadwell on Benghazi and prisoner at the CIA annex” (and an HK2 open thread)
Next articleWas Jill Kelley an Agent of Access for Foreign Intelligence
Larry C. Johnson is a former analyst at the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency, who moved subsequently in 1989 to the U.S. Department of State, where he served four years as the deputy director for transportation security, antiterrorism assistance training, and special operations in the State Department's Office of Counterterrorism. He left government service in October 1993 and set up a consulting business. He currently is the co-owner and CEO of BERG Associates, LLC (Business Exposure Reduction Group) and is an expert in the fields of terrorism, aviation security, and crisis and risk management, and money laundering investigations. Johnson is the founder and main author of No Quarter, a weblog that addresses issues of terrorism and intelligence and politics. NoQuarterUSA was nominated as Best Political Blog of 2008.