Guest Post by Mara Zebest
The team involved in tracking the Benghazi suspects are being pulled out—how convenient.
In the Fox video report below, around the 1:50 minute marker, fox news reports:
“We’ve also been told that by multiple sources that the one special forces leader who came in to take over a few months ago, actually had a yelling match with the acting U.S. Ambassador at the time, William Roebuck, saying ‘Are you going to let these men get away with murder?’ And that response was met with quote ‘Crickets’“
FoxNews reports the following:
Two weeks after the Obama administration announced charges against suspects in the Benghazi attack, a large portion of the U.S. team that hunted the suspects and trained Libyans to help capture or kill them is leaving Libya permanently.
Special operators in the region tell Fox News that while Benghazi targets have been identified for months, officials in Washington could “never pull the trigger.” In fact, one source insists that much of the information on Benghazi suspects had been passed along to the White House after being vetted by the Department of Defense and the State Department — and at least one recommendation for direct action on a Benghazi suspect was given to President Obama as recently as Aug. 7.
Meanwhile, months after video, photo and voice documentation on the Benghazi suspects was first presented to high-level military leaders, the State Department and ultimately the White House, prison breaks in the country have eroded security. U.S. special forces have now been relegated to a “villa,” a stopover for the operators before they’re shipped out of the country entirely.
“We put American special operations in harm’s way to develop a picture of these suspects and to seek justice and instead of acting, we stalled. We just let it slip and pass us by and now it’s going to be much more difficult,” one source said, citing 1,200 prisoners escaping two weeks ago. “It’s already blowing up. Daily assassinations, bi-weekly prison escapes, we waited way too long.”
The latest development raises questions about when the attackers will be brought to justice in the murder of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans last September.
The special operators are starting to get frustrated at the lack of action, and Fox News has been told by multiple sources that one special forces leader “literally yelled” at former Libyan Chief of Mission William Roebuck “and told him, ‘so you’re willing to let these guys get away with murder?’”
The outburst was “met with crickets,” the sources said.
Asked about what actions have been taken on the suspects, the U.S. Department of Justice declined to comment. However, a senior U.S. official with knowledge of the situation in Libya suggested there is always intelligence to be gained by simply watching and listening to the suspects.
In addition, Pentagon officials disputed what the operators in question are claiming, saying that group was not specifically tasked with finding the Libyan suspects responsible for the Benghazi attack. These officials said other forces out of Fort Bragg are tasked with that mission, and they are not leaving. Pentagon officials also say the trainers, which were authorized by Congress under part of the defense budget to facilitate training of Libyans for counterterrorism, were not there to track the Benghazi suspects. They insist congressional funding is very clear in its mission: for training locals in counterterrorism.
However, special operators in the region counter the claims and suggest the Pentagon and State Department are playing with words, saying those being pulled are in fact tasked with both training the Libyans and identifying Benghazi attack suspects. “The training is partly a cover and some of these guys … provided the information on suspects directly to U.S. military commanders and the U.S. State Department last November and again in January. They are there and trained to find, fix and finish,” one said.
Fox News reported earlier this year that American forces had identified suspects by the end of November 2012, and reported on their whereabouts to Roebuck last January, yet no action was taken. They returned again in January to identify and locate these same suspects after being requested to do so by military leaders. In the months since, the operators in the region have been sitting in de facto standby, despite the Justice Department charges being filed. [...]
Read on for more here.