According to the report, Obama and Clinton “changed sides on the war on terror” in 2011 by actively working to arm Al Qaeda terrorists fighting against the regime of Moammar Gadhafi, making U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens essentially an illegal arms dealer.
The operation would have been illegal because Congress had not authorized it and because it offered material support to a designated Foreign Terrorist Organization, which is why President Obama and his administration have been so anxious to keep the truth under wraps.
A number of the 17 members of the CCB spoke with WND to offer their personal insights into the report and the work of the commission, but not as official spokespeople.
Many mentioned concerns that the Washington establishment, including Republicans, would continue to work to suppress the truth about events in Benghazi, Libya, that culminated in the death of four Americans, including Stevens, during an attack on Sept. 11, 2012, on the diplomatic mission and nearby CIA annex there.
The report claims that the Obama administration knowingly armed radical Islamic terror groups in their fight against the Libyan dictator.
“(T)he U.S. was fully aware of and facilitating the delivery of weapons to the Al Qaeda-dominated rebel militias throughout the 2011 rebellion,” it stated.
“The rebels made no secret of their Al Qaeda affiliation, openly flying and speaking in front of the black flag of Islamic jihad, according to author John Rosenthal and multiple media reports,” the interim report said.
“And yet, the White House and senior Congressional members deliberately and knowingly pursued a policy that provided material support to terrorist organizations in order to topple a ruler who had been working closely with the West actively to suppress Al Qaeda.”
Providing material support to a known terrorist organization is, of course, a crime under federal law.
The report concluded that the Obama administration policy led directly to “the empowerment of jihadist organizations like Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood.”
Commission member Clare Lopez, a former CIA operations officer and current vice president for research at the Center for Security Policy, offered additional background that the Obama administration would almost certainly wish she hadn’t.
“In early 2011, before Gadhafi was deposed, Christopher Stevens came to Benghazi in a cargo ship,” she told WND, “and his title at the time was ‘envoy to the Libyan rebels,’ which basically means Christopher Stevens was America’s very first envoy to al-Qaida.”
Stevens was responsible for delivering “small arms, including Kalashnikovs, rocket-propelled grenades and lots of ammunition” that had been manufactured in Eastern Europe and shipped to Qatar to Al Qaeda-affiliated rebel groups in Libya, mostly by ship but sometimes by airplane.
At the time, he stayed at what would later become known as the Special Mission Compound in Benghazi, the site of the first attacks on Sept. 11, 2012.
“This was about weapons going into Libya,” Lopez explained, stating that Stevens had to coordinate with Al Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood organizations to accomplish his mission of arming the Libyan rebels.
But that reversed after Gadhafi was successfully deposed, she said.
“Now Stevens (had) the job of overseeing the shipment of arms from Libya to Syria to arm the rebels fighting Assad, some of whom ultimately become al-Nusra in Syria and some become ISIS,” once he was officially appointed ambassador to Libya.
This time, Stevens coordinated with Turkey to arrange transport of the arms.
Former CIA counterintelligence expert Kevin Shipp told WND that the CIA often used a third party — such as Qatar or Turkey — for “gun-running operations in which the CIA wants deniability,” WND reported.
He also said that members of the Obama administration could be guilty of treason for the gun-running program.
“The shocking part, maybe even a violation of international law that the Obama administration has been terrified to have fully revealed, is that Stevens as part of his duties as a State Department employee was assisting in the shipment of arms first into Libya for the al-Qaida-affiliated militia, with the weapons shipped subsequently out of Libya into Syria for use by the al-Qaida-affiliated rebels fighting Assad,” Shipp told WND.
“Very possibly, these gun-running activities could be looked at even as treasonable offenses,” he added.
While the interim report was quickly written off by Obama supporters as just another conspiracy theory, the membership of the Citizens Commission on Benghazi includes enough serious military and intelligence professionals to give one pause.
Americans ignore the findings of a panel that includes such men at their own risk.