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These Are the Questions Mideast Experts Want Congress to Ask on 'Benghazigate'


"Can the attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi be disassociated from the larger failure of American policy towards Libya?"

The scene at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012. (Image source: AP/Mohammad Hannon) (contrib)

The scene at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon) (contrib)

The Center for Security Policy (CSP), a non-profit, non-partisan organization that specializes in identifying policies and actions related to national security, hosted three of the country's foremost experts Tuesday to discuss sharia law as it relates to U.S. foreign policy, particularly with regards the scandal now known as “Benghazigate.”

During a panel held at Hillsdale College’s Kirby Center in the nation's capital, author of the new book "Shariah vs. Freedom," Dr. Andrew Bostom, author Diana West and former duty expert on radical Islam for the Joint Chiefs of Staff Stephen Coughlin, connected the dots between the botched foreign policy of the Obama administration and the terror attack that left a U.S. ambassador, two Navy SEALs and an additional civil servant dead at the hands of al Qaeda militants in Libya.

What's more, the panelists, along with CSP, have released a series of hard-hitting questions they believe Congress must ask during all upcoming hearings on the Benghazi scandal. Some of these questions are featured below.

In an official press release, Frank Gaffney, founder and president of CSP, noted that in the wake of the 2012 presidential election, with Congress now back to work, "legislators must drill down not simply on the details of what happened during and following the murderous terrorist attack in Benghazi last September."

"They must examine that event as a microcosm of – and teachable moment concerning – the Obama administration’s pro-Islamist policies that gave rise to it.  Getting answers to the questions our panel has posed will do much to shed light on both."

The ten most pressing questions released by the Center are as follows:

1)      Can the attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi be disassociated from the larger failure of American policy towards Libya and the region that has involved engaging Islamists, including the Muslim Brotherhood and even individuals and organizations known to be associated with al Qaeda?  For example, hasn’t the U.S. government entered into a relationship with Libya Shield, which fought under the black flag of al Qaeda during the “February 17th revolution.” Libya Shield is led by Wissam bin Hamid, who official sources have identified as a jihadist and veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan, and possibly the leader of al Qaeda in Libya. Yet, this man met with U.S. diplomats on September 9, voiced his support for MB candidate running for PM in Libya and threatened to withdraw security from US if the candidate he said the US backed won. Who authorized this meeting and this relationship? The same should be asked about February 17th Martyrs Brigade, from which Ansar al Sharia is said to have spun off.

2)      Were jihad, anti-infidel, pro-shariah factors taken into consideration in formulating U.S. policy on Libya and the so-called Arab Spring more generally? Why not? How would such factors have shaped the policy differently?

3)      Who came up with the idea of blaming an anti-Mohammed video for the attack in Benghazi when it was clear from Day 1 at State and the Tripoli CIA station and by Day 3 at the FBI (after it interviewed survivors) that there was no protest, period?

4)      Who coordinated the dissemination of this false narrative, notably to the President, UN Ambassador Susan Rice, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, CIA Director Petraeus and White House spokesman Jay Carney?

5)      Who drafted the President's September 25th address to the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in which he cited the video six times and declared, “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam”?

6)      Who called the deflection operation off, and when? Is it coincidental that that seemed to occur after the UNGA speech, which stands as the closing bookend to the video-narrative that the White House and, as others dropped out, Obama alone pressed for two full weeksafter the attack.

7)      Meanwhile, why did the CIA and other intelligence agencies ignore a seemingly more significant video – Ayman al-Zawaheri's video exhorting Libyans to take revenge for the U.S. killing of Libyan al Qaeda leader Yahya al Libi that was posted online on September 9 and September 10? Spokesmen such as George Little at Pentagon have explicitly stated there was no prior warning about Benghazi. Doesn't a 9/11 anniversary video from the head of AQ exhorting Libyans to fight Americans count as a warning?

8)      Did President Obama order the U.S. military not to come to the aid of Americans under attack on 11 September 2012?  Mr. Obama told a local Colorado TV reporter that he made his priorities clear “the minute I found out what was happening.” He continued: “Number one, make sure that we are securing our personnel and doing whatever we need to.” Did Obama issue such a directive, written or oral? If so, was it carried out? If not, why did the president lie to the reporter?

9)    “White House Counterterrorism Advisor John Brennan reportedly was aware that there was a relationship [between General David Petraeus and Paula Broadwell] as early as the summer of 2011.”  Yet, myriad published reports indicate that only a small number of individuals in the FBI and Department of Justice, including Attorney General Eric Holder, were privy to the investigation into this affair.  Which is it? And, either way, was the President actually kept in the dark until after the election?

10)  The CIA’s Benghazi station was reportedly engaged in a covert operation aimed at helping an international effort to arm the so-called “Syrian opposition” by shipping weapons recovered from “liberated” Qaddafi-era caches.  If, as the New York Times has reported, the bulk of the armaments being sent to the “rebels” in Syria by Turkey, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are winding up in the hands of the most radical Islamist elements, some supplied by us are likely reaching al Qaeda operatives, as well.  Has the Obama administration been secretly arming Syria’s opposition, including al Qaeda and/or other radical Islamists?

Whether members of Congress actually ask any of the questions above remains to be seen, but in light of what appears to be a smear campaign conveniently timed both to distract attention away from the president's role in the Benghazi terror attack while simultaneously discrediting General David Petraeus prior to his testimony, it seems more vital than ever that tough questions be asked and, more pointedly, answered.
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