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FOLLOWING DEBACLE OF SEPTEMBER 11
by Sharon Rondeau
(Oct. 20, 2012) — On Thursday, The Post & Email received a link to an article which had been published on September 20, 2012 at Gulag Bound in response to the September 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya and subsequent deaths of four Americans working for the State Department. The article, which was published in two parts, was written by Denise Simon, who has been serving as a Senior Research Analyst on Domestic and Foreign Policy for Maj. Gen. Paul E. Vallely (Ret.), a former Fox News military analyst and founder of Stand Up America.
The Post & Email read Ms. Simon’s analysis of the Benghazi violence and its causes and immediately requested an interview, courtesy of Arlen Williams. Williams had kindly hosted The Post & Email while we were offline from January 26 through February 3 of this year.
Part 2 of Ms. Simon’s article concludes:
The work of the CIA, the Joint Terrorism Task Force, the FBI and all associated agencies are angered by the blame and worse by the loss of work opportunities due to this administration. There should also be a State Department warning to all U.S. personnel that work in locations around the world that your government has no intentions to ensure your full protection and safety, certainly so if you are in a country where Sunni’s, Shi’ites or other radical Islamists prevail. It would be prudent to look deeply at security contracts and video feeds for any voids in your personal safety.
Ms. Simon told The Post & Email that she has been analyzing information for Vallely for “a couple of years” after retiring from the telecommunications field. When we asked her in what field she considered herself an expert, she responded, “I’m not an expert in anything; I just pick up clues and do the research and analyze it. I look at some history and form some conclusions. Then I try to back away from my conclusions to figure out where I’m wrong. I vet myself, and once I get it down pat, I publish it.”
On September 11, 2012, Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three contractors working for the U.S. State Department were killed in a violent terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya For more than two weeks, the Obama regime insisted that anger over a little-known anti-Islamic video was the cause but was forced to admit that the consulate had been attacked by terrorists. The incident is now investigation by the State Department, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and the FBI. On October 10, a former head of security for the State Department in Libya testified that requests for more security were denied by career State Department supervisor Charlene Lamb and that “we were not going to get resources until the aftermath of an incident.” Nordstrom said in a written statement that the policy of “normalization” rather than of high security was carried out in Libya. He reported that the response to his requests for heightened security given recent terrorist attacks which had caused the British delegation to leave Libya was “You can’t request an SST (Site Security Team) extension.”
In a ten-page letter addressed to Obama and signed by Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa and Subcommittee on National Security, Homeland Defense, and Foreign Operations Chairman Jason Chaffetz, they stated on page 2 that “For this administration to assume that terrorists were not involved in the 9/11 anniversary attack would have required a willing suspension of disbelief,” a phrase Hillary Clinton had used in 2007 in regard to testimony from Gen. David Petraeus, who is now CIA director.
The State Department has blamed the White House for the incorrect information which identified the attack as “a protest” in the days and weeks immediately following the torching of the consulate. The White House has blamed the intelligence community for faulty information, but the intelligence community has said that they knew within 24 hours that a terrorist attack had taken place.
The Post & Email asked Ms. Simon about the history of an Al Qaeda operative who she identified at the beginning of her piece, Sufyan Ben Qumu. It was believed that Qumu had been Osama bin Laden’s driver and had been a prisoner at Guantanamo Bay for six years, then released in 2007 to Libya under the condition that he be kept imprisoned.
Prior to 9/11, Gaddafi had imprisoned Qumu, but he had escaped to Sudan. He fought with the Taliban in Afghanistan during the 1980s against the Russians and has recently been described as “a returned fighter” and trainer of Libyan rebels.
Gaddafi did not honor the conditions of Qumu’s release from Cuba and allowed him his freedom “as part of its reconciliation effort with Islamists in 2008.” Qumu is linked to those who financed the September 11, 2001 attacks and a Libyan Islamic militant group.
Ms. Simon said that Gaddafi released Qumu because Gaddafi “hated Al Qaeda” and wanted the group’s members out of his prisons. “He was one of the first names that came up on my radar when this moment happened in Benghazi,” Ms. Simon told us. “So I started doing a little research on him and came across a New York Times article published in April of last year whose headline said he had been released but had become an ally of the United States. Hillary was trying to run diplomatic affairs within Libya, and he came under her radar and we employed him in a fashion. Then he ended up turning on us. We have a history of that happening, so that’s where that assertion came from. He became an ally.”
THE POST & EMAIL: Do you think he really was an ally, or was he a double agent or just pretending to be our friend?
MS. SIMON: I think he was pretending to be our friend. We do have a history of taking people who we think have “cured” themselves while being in prison and we say, “OK, we’re going to lighten things up for you; we know what your history is, so you need to help us with this.” We obviously took down Gaddafi, and he didn’t like Gaddafi, so what better character to put on your payroll? I can’t say that he was physically on the payroll, bu t we certainly had some kind of agreement or connection with him to remove Gaddafi.
THE POST & EMAIL: Are you positive about that?
MS. SIMON: I’m 90%.
THE POST & EMAIL: What do you think Qumu’s role was after Gaddafi was removed from power?
MS. SIMON: Once he was released, he had to make himself a future. Once you’re rogue, you stay rogue. Did we pay him? I can’t prove that; I don’t know that anybody can, but he has some very nefarious connections; otherwise, he would not have been a Gitmo detainee. So he went back to Ansar Al-Sharia, and you also have the Rahman Brigade with the Blind Sheikh, who is imprisoned in the United States. It is strongly alleged by the intelligence community that Qumu is the one who attempted the murder of the British ambassador and did a handful of bomb blasts on the Red Cross facilities, and possibly even the previous attacks on the Benghazi diplomatic post.
THE POST & EMAIL: Did Qumu act alone?
MS. SIMON: Qumu and the people who took up the cause of the Rahman Brigade. You have two factions here. The whole point of this is that in August of this year, the intelligence community published a report that talks about Al Qaeda factions within Libya and what they have been doing, who they are, where they go, what they do, and that was the launch point for a lot of my conclusions. This report is not a confidential report; it was published by the Library of Congress. I use mostly open-source materials. I do have some other connections which I generally do not reveal. For the sake of anybody, I use open source. The document from the Library of Congress does talk about the “Wild West,” if you will, in Libya and who is operating there.
In my piece, I discussed the weapons that Gaddafi had. He had been amassing weapons for 30 years, including some huge weapons of mass destruction. The Bush administration certainly slapped him around, so he began to behave. He got rid of his chemical weapons and WMDs, but they had to go someplace. There’s conjecture that they went to Syria, and probably so, but that’s not the point. The point is, “What did he keep?” What he did keep was a large inventory of conventional weapons. The part that was striking to me were the MANPADS, which are truck-fired, surface-to-air missiles. He had an estimated number in the range of 20,000 which went missing. Where are they? Allegedly, we have found 5,000. There is still some number of those that are missing along with any other conventional weapons that he had.
The State Department was very concerned about what he already owned and who had their hands on them now, given the history of Al Qaeda operating in Libya. So we put some State and CIA station chiefs in Libya and we hired a handful of former SEALS and intelligence people to see if we could track these weapons. That is precisely what Sean Smith, the information officer, and the two former SEALS were doing: they were tracking where these weapons go.
THE POST & EMAIL: There are news reports which have said that, although initial reports stating that they were performing security work.
MS. SIMON: Precisely. The other fascinating this: post-Gaddafi, we had drones operating in Libya, flying all the time, so you can’t blame the intelligence community for the fallout and the deaths of the four Americans in Benghazi. The intelligence community has been gathering evidence and information for quite some time. The intelligence community is not going to sit on anything. They’re going to pass it on up to the administration. They don’t want to sit on this. If something happens, they don’t want to be blamed.
So you have drone video, cable communications, phone communications; all of these things are written up and passed on. Very likely, they end up in a presidential daily briefing. Well, who gets those; who reads those?
THE POST & EMAIL: It’s been reported that Obama doesn’t attend a lot of them.
MS. SIMON: Well, we know that. We absolutely know that. But does the National Security Council, the Denis McDonoughs…those people work in the White House. Then you have [United Nations Ambassador] Susan Rice, who works for Hillary; then you have Hillary and Panetta.
[Editor’s Note: The United Nations Ambassador was “elevated” to a cabinet-level position by Obama, although previous administrations did not give the position cabinet ranking. If the Secretary of State or President is present at a United Nations meeting, the ambassador does not attend. In September 2009, Obama acted as chairman of the United Nations Security Council. Rice’s appointment is presented as a function of the U.S. State Department, which includes ambassadors to foreign countries.
The webpage describing Susan Rice’s activities and responsibilities states that she was unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate in 2009, that she represents Obama’s “new era of engagement,” has worked to “strengthen the world’s common security and prosperity…” and has demonstrated “support for life-saving interventions in Libya…”]
The CIA also does briefings to members of Congress. So in my humble opinion, I can’t exonerate the people like John Kerry or Lindsey Graham or John McCain. I can’t insulate them from any of this. We know that we were working to take down Gaddafi, and we were arming the Libyan rebels as well. So we may have a two-pronged weapons hunt going on: the weapons that we gave the rebels, and the weapons that Gaddafi already had in his inventory.
THE POST & EMAIL: Did Christopher Stevens become involved in the weapons issue?
MS. SIMON: I cannot confirm that Amb. Stevens himself was on top of and completely involved in the weapons-chasing. I’m convinced that he was aware of it. I am more convinced, however, that he was more concerned about the Al Qaeda factions going on in Libya, because allegedly, the very people he was to meet with ended up killing him. Whether or not that was a situation where he was going to try to meet with them about weapons, I don’t know. That’s not typically something an ambassador does, but in the country of Libya, and because Libya is such a hotbed, in this particular case, it likely was. But I cannot de facto make that statement. I can tell you that Sean Smith and the two former SEALS were doing that; that is precisely what they were doing.
THE POST & EMAIL: Were they looking for arms which had gone to terrorists or something else?
MS. SIMON: Well, they were stolen. After Gaddafi fell, all of these factions went in there and stole them. The fascinating thing is how many people within the Gaddafi regime were part of these groups who decided to flip? Gaddafi had no use for The Muslim Brotherhood; he was very much of a Western-culturized person in his later years. But what ended up really happening here? We needed to find these weapons. And who really has them So who within the Gaddafi regime met up with some of these jihadists and other groups? Where did the weapons go? Were they selling them? using them? Were they handing them off to other factions to have them used in Iraq or Lebanon or Syria or Yemen? We don’t know. That is the whole crux of the problem. The bigger problem is this: We don’t have anybody in Libya now; we don’t have an ambassador; we don’t have a Sean Smith or two former SEALS. We do, in fact, have some CIA station people, but the work that those three guys were doing is now all for naught. I can tell you that they certainly passed on the intelligence on the work that they were doing, most likely to the CIA, and from there, I would say it certainly went to the State Department.
Now we have a situation where Libya is functioning completely unchecked. Nobody knows what to do. That’s a problem. We removed Gaddafi, and now Libya falls into the hands of the jihadists and maybe into the hands of a large faction of The Muslim Brotherhood and/or Iran. I can’t put Iran in completely, but I would be remiss if I dismiss Iran’s future influence in Libya.