Benghazi mission was CIA operation, report
Libyan civilians celebrate the raiding of Ansar al-Shariah Brigades compound in Benghazi. Transfer cases (below) are placed into hearses during the Transfer of Remains Ceremony marking the return to the US of the remains of the four Americans killed in Benghazi. AP PhotoThe U.S. mission in Benghazi that came under attack by militants on Sept. 11 was mainly a secret Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) operation, the Wall Street Journal reported Nov. 2, as U.S. intelligence officials said it took less than 25 minutes for the CIA to aid State Department staff during the consulate attack.
The Wall Street Journal said the mission was mainly a CIA operation, adding that of the 30 American officials evacuated from Benghazi following the assault, just seven worked for the State Department.
It also identified the two security contractors killed in the attack, former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, as working for the CIA and not the State Department. In a break from tradition, it said CIA Director David Petraeus did not attend the ceremony when the coffins arrived back on American soil in order to conceal the CIA operation in eastern Libya. It said that the nearly two dozen CIA operatives secretly worked out of a separate building known as the “annex,” to which officials at the consulate had retreated following the initial attack before coming under fire again.
President Barack Obama has faced a storm of pre-election questions about why there was not more security at the U.S. consulate where four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, were killed on Sept. 11.
The Journal suggested that the security lapse may have been due to miscommunication between the CIA and the State Department, with the latter assuming the annex security team was a sufficient backup for its own guards.
US responded within 25 minutes
CIA security officers came to the aid of State Department staff less than 25 minutes after they received the first call for help during the attack on the U.S. Consulate, U.S. intelligence officials said Nov. 1 as they laid out a detailed timeline of the CIA’s immediate response to the attack from its annex less than a mile from the diplomatic mission. The timeline was offered just days before the presidential election in a clear effort to refute recent news reports claiming that the CIA told its personnel to “stand down” rather than help repel attackers at the consulate. Fox News reported that when CIA officers at the annex called higher-ups to tell them the consulate was under fire, they were twice told to “stand down.” The CIA publicly denied the report.
Intelligence officials told reporters Nov. 1 that when the CIA annex received word of the assault, about half a dozen members of a CIA security team tried to obtain heavy weapons and other assistance from the Libyans. When the Libyans failed to respond, the security team, which routinely carries small arms, went ahead with the rescue attempt. The officials said that at no point was the team told to wait.
Instead, they said the outmanned and outgunned team members made all the key decisions on the ground, with no second-guessing from officials monitoring the situation from afar.
Compiled from AFP and AP stories by the Daily News staff
US model plane bomb plotter gets 17 years
BOSTON – Agence France-Presse
An American supporter of al-Qaeda was sentenced Nov. 1 to 17 years in prison for plotting to bomb the Pentagon and U.S. Capitol using remote-controlled model planes laden with explosives.
Rezwan Ferdaus pleaded guilty in July to the scheme, which turned out to be an FBI sting. His 17-year prison term, handed down by a judge in Boston, will be followed by 10 years of supervised release, a Justice Department statement said.
Ferdaus, 27, was arrested in September 2011 as part of an undercover operation in which FBI agents posed as members of al-Qaeda.
“His actions were self-initiated, deliberate and dangerous,” said First Assistant U.S. Attorney Jack Pirozzolo. “He intended to unleash horrific acts of violence against the people of the United States both here and abroad.”