While the media drools all over itself about a sex scandal, let’s not forget that beneath the sensationalism lies a deeper, more important story: Benghazi. One of the most intriguing new details that has surfaced since General Petraeus’s sudden resignation was Paula Broadwell’s comment claiming that the CIA had several Libyan militiamen held captive at the compound in Benghazi:
“Now I don’t know if a lot of you heard this, but the CIA annex had actually had taken a couple of Libya militia members prisoner. And they think that the attack on the consulate was an effort to try to get these prisoners back. So that’s still being vetted.”
Naturally, the Obama administration promptly came out with a denial of any such prison’s existence. In its denial, the CIA is actually cited President Obama’s executive order from January 2009 banning the agency from operating detention centers:
the CIA has not had detention authority since January 2009, when Executive Order 13491 was issued. Any suggestion that the Agency is still in the detention business is uninformed and baseless.
Obama’s executive order was put in place specifically to end the Bush-era controversy over “enhanced interrogation” (i.e. torture) at secret CIA detention centers. This is from a 2007 Washington Post article about secret CIA prisons and the interrogation methods that went on there:
The CIA exploited NATO military agreements to help it run secret prisons in Poland and Romania where alleged terrorists were held in solitary confinement for months, shackled and subjected to other mental and physical torture, according to a European investigative report released here Friday.
Some of the United States’ highest-profile terrorism suspects, including Khalid Sheik Mohammed, considered the prime organizer of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, were detained and interrogated at the facility in Poland, according to the 72-page report completed for the Council of Europe, the continent’s human rights agency.
Dick Marty, a Swiss lawyer hired by the council, said the CIA conducted “clandestine operations under the NATO framework,” providing military intelligence agencies in member countries – including Poland and Romania – the cover to assist the agency in disguising the use of secret flights, operations and detention facilities from the days immediately following the Sept. 11 attacks until the fall of last year.
Fox News, which has been one of the only news organizations actively pursuing the Benghazi scandal, checked Paula Broadwell’s claims against their sources, and they cast serious doubt on the CIA’s denial:
In the original Oct. 26 Fox News report, sources at the annex said that the CIA’s Global Response Staff had handed over three Libyan militia members to the Libyan authorities who came to rescue the 30 Americans in the early hours of Sept. 12.
A well-placed Washington source confirms to Fox News that there were Libyan militiamen being held at the CIA annex in Benghazi and that their presence was being looked at as a possible motive for the staged attack on the consulate and annex that night.
According to multiple intelligence sources who have served in Benghazi, there were more than just Libyan militia members who were held and interrogated by CIA contractors at the CIA annex in the days prior to the attack. Other prisoners from additional countries in Africa and the Middle East were brought to this location.
The Libya annex was the largest CIA station in North Africa, and two weeks prior to the attack, the CIA was preparing to shut it down. Most prisoners, according to British and American intelligence sources, had been moved two weeks earlier.
If the Fox News sources check out and the CIA/Obama administration’s denial ends up being debunked, the next question is why the Obama administration was allowing the CIA to operate a detention facility in Benghazi, and what kind of interrogation tactics were being used there.
“Enhanced interrogation” would certainly explain the level of secrecy and coverup by the Obama administration surrounding the Benghazi terrorist attacks. It would also perhaps explain why Benghazi was so important that General Petraeus went to Libya and personally inspected the CIA facility after the attack. A scandal of this magnitude would have been the biggest “October surprise” any election season has ever seen.
A CIA detention center and enhanced interrogation would fly in the face of everything President Obama has run against since day one of his campaign. However, it would, at the same time, jive perfectly with his actions since he’s been President: increased use of drone attacks, indefinite detention without charges, failure to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay.
Exit question: If Obama signed an executive order to close the prison at Guantanamo Bay on January 22, 2009, and that prison is still open and operational today, what makes anyone sure that Obama has kept his word on the CIA detention centers he banned by executive order on the very same day?
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