Governor Christie with President Obama. If Governor Romney loses, Christie will be odds on favorite in 2016.<quoted text>
Benghazi was staffed by CIA operatives whose job may have been not just to secure and destroy dangerous weapons (like RPGs and SAMs) looted from former Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafis stockpiles during and after the 2011 revolution, but also perhaps to facilitate their onward shipment to the Al-Qaeda- and Muslim Brotherhood-dominated Syrian opposition.
Obama signed an intelligence finding sometime in early 2012 that authorized U.S. support for the Syrian rebels and by mid-June 2012, CIA operatives reportedly were on the Turkish-Syrian border helping to steer weapons deliveries to selected Syrian rebel groups. According to an Oct. 14, 2012 New York Times article, most of those arms were going to hard-line Islamic jihadists.
One of those jihadis was Abdelhakim Belhadj, former leader of the Al-Qaeda-linked Libyan Islamic Fighting Group Abdelhakim Belhadj (LIFG) and head of the Tripoli Military Council after Qaddafis ouster. During the 2011 revolt in Libya, Belhadj was a key contact of the U.S. liaison to the Libyan opposition, Christopher Stevens.
In November 2011, Belhadj met with Syrian Free Army (SFA) leaders in Istanbul, Turkey, as well as on the Turkish-Syrian border. Further, Belhadjs contact with the SFA comes in the context of official policy adopted by the post-Qaddafi Libyan government, which sent a delegation to Turkey to offer arms and possibly fighters to the Turkish-backed Syrian rebels.
The multilateral U.S.-Libya-Turkey agreement to get weapons into the hands of Syrian rebels which were known to be dominated by Al-Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood elements -- by working with and through Al-Qaeda-linked jihadist figures like Belhadj, was confirmed by the appearance of a Libyan-flagged vessel, Al-Entisar, which docked at the Turkish port of Iskanderun on September 6, 2012.
Suspected of carrying weapons bound for the Syrian rebels, the ships cargo reportedly included Russian-designed, shoulder-launched missiles known as MANPADS, RPGs and surface-to-air missilesall of them just the sort of weapons available in Libya.
U.S. Ambassador Chris StevensStevens last meeting in Benghazi the night he was killed was with the Turkish Consul General Ali Sait Akin, who is variously reported to have been there to discuss a weapons transfer or a warning about the possible compromise of the L
It is all the more baffling then that, in view of the obvious priority that the U.S. government had placed on its Libya-to-Syria weapons pipeline operation, such a systematic effort in the weeks leading up to the September 11 attack was dedicated to stripping the Benghazi base of the security protection it so desperately needed in a deteriorating Libyan security environment and despite the repeated pleas of Ambassador Stevens and others in both Tripoli and Benghazi for more security.
From at least February, 2012 onward, the Regional Security Officer (RSO) at the U.S. Tripoli Embassy, Eric Nordstrom, had urged that U.S. security measures in Libya be expanded, citing dozens of security incidents by Al-Qaeda-affiliated groups, including Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM)
In August 2012, Stevens reported that the security situation in Benghazi was deteriorating, yet in spite of this, the 16-man Site Security Team assigned to Libya, comprised of Special Forces led by SF LTC Andy Wood, was ordered out of Libya, contrary to the Ambassadors stated desire that they stay.
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