Commentary Magazine


Benghazi Clues in Petraeus Scandal?

Via NRO’s Eliana Johnson, Charles Krauthammer provides a possible explanation for why the CIA supported the “spontaneous protest” narrative on the Benghazi attack.

Here’s Paula Broadwell’s reference to a potential secret CIA prison in Benghazi, which she made during a Denver University speech in October:

“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.”

As Krauthammer notes, Obama signed an executive order banning CIA detention centers right after he took office. The CIA can hold detainees temporarily without violating the order — which, based on Broadwell’s comments, may have been the case — but it can’t operate an actual prison. Obviously most of the media doesn’t find this worthy of investigation, but Fox News has a source who seems to support the “actual prison” scenario:

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.

Fascinating, if true. If detainees were being sent there from other countries for interrogation, wouldn’t that be a legitimate black site rather than a short-term holding cell for local jihadis?