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Tue Sep 25, 2012, 08:36 AM

Libya Attack Casts Unwanted Spotlight on CIA and Blackwater Role in Syria

According to yesterday’s NYT, the CIA station in Benghazi numbered a dozen Agency officers and contractors at the time of the attack that left the U.S. Ambassador and two other Americans killed. That is an unusually large CIA provincial post for a country where the US is not presently involved in hostilities. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/24/world/africa/attack-in-libya-was-major-blow-to-cia-efforts.html?pagewanted=all

The forced evacuation of the Benghazi post was called “a catastrophic intelligence loss,” by one American official interviewed who has served in Libya.

Why did the CIA have such a large presence in that Eastern Libyan city which has long been the center of radical Salafi and Jihadi terrorist groups in Libya? The answer lies only partly in surveillance. There is also the role of the United States in providing equipment, training and coordination to Libyans for Jihad operations against the Shi’ia-dominated regime in Syria, regime change activities publicly admitted to by the Obama Administration in early April after a leak revealed that Blackwater mercenaries have been carrying out that role. See, http://security.blogs.cnn.com/2012/04/02/u-s-aid-to-syrian-opposition-includes-specialized-communications-equipment/; http://articles.businessinsider.com/2012-03-20/news/31212864_1_stratfor-provides-syrian-opposition-regime-change#ixzz27OhmbKHi

Unexpectedly Large CIA Presence in Benghazi

The New York Times provides some additional insight into the CIA contingent that operated secretly out of a compound near the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi:

Within months of the start of Libyan revolution in February 2011, the C.I.A. began building a meaningful but covert presence in Benghazi, a locus of the rebel efforts to oust the government of Colonel Qaddafi.

As was previously reported, the late Ambassador Stevens arrived covertly in Benghazi in April of last year and immediately set to work coordinating rebel groups in the area in efforts that ultimately led to the overthrow of the Gadhafi regime in August. Until the night of the September 11th attack this year, Stevens worked closely with various militant groups, and apparently felt comfortable operating openly in the area without a substantial security detail.

Given the size and established presence of the US diplomatic and intelligence presence in Eastern Libya, and the apparently close relationship with militant groups there, it is particularly shocking that a Libyan Islamicist group with links to al-Qaeda was able to mount with complete surprise what most now see as a well-planned and coordinated military attack. Officials have accused al Qaeda in the Magreb of carrying out the surprise assault on the Consulate and the nearby CIA compound to which consular staff evacuated, which itself came under lethal and well-aimed attack. The effect of this has reportedly derailed some US policy planning, and “has dealt the Central Intelligence Agency a major setback in its intelligence-gathering efforts at a time of increasing instability in the North African nation.”

Leak Revealed Former Blackwater Director, US Congresswoman, and Romney Advisor Involved with Libyan Jihadists and Syrian Regime Change Operation

In March, a leak of emails from Stratfor, a private international security firm revealed that “Mr. Smith,” a former director of Blackwater, had a role in organizing the Libyan opposition in early 2011, and was subsequently sent later last year to contact Syrian rebels in Turkey. See, http://articles.businessinsider.com/2012-03-20/news/31212864_1_stratfor-provides-syrian-opposition-regime-change#ixzz27POcdOi8

As we will see, below, practically all those publicly identified in this curious episode have suddenly exited from sight, including an 8-term US Congresswoman.

The last emails about Smith were sent on December 13, shortly before the Stratfor mail servers were hacked. In one email, Mr. Burton (head of counterrorism at the company) summarizes the activities of Mr. Smith and some of his associates in Syria late last year: http://english.al-akhbar.com/gi-files/5331882got-moment-syria-757-478-7383-post-i-think

"**Source and Dr. Walid Phares are getting air cover from Congresswoman [Sue] Myrick to engage Syrian opposition in Turkey (non-MB and non-Qatari) on a fact finding mission for Congress.
** The true mission is how they can help in regime change.
** Source intends to offer his services to help protect the opposition members, like he had underway in Libya."

As was subsequently determined, Jamie F. Smith, the chief executive of the security firm SCG International, is a former director of Blackwater. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SCG_International_Risk

SCG emails reveal that in 2011 its operatives were involved in training the Libyan resistance and were allegedly on the scene in August to confirm the killing of Gadaffi .(doc-id 3980511) http://english.al-akhbar.com/gi-files/3980511more-insight-libya-confirmation-gadhafi-dead-ly700

In an early email sent to Stratfor on February 11, 2011, Smith talked-up the company's intelligence gathering and said his own "background is CIA and our company is comprised of former DOD [i.e. Department of Defense], CIA and former law enforcement personnel.” (doc-id 257534) http://english.al-akhbar.com/gi-files/257534thank-you-please-do-not-publish-email-your-website

“We provide services for those same groups in the form of training, security and information collection," Smith stated to Stratfor (doc-id 5441475) If these emails are accurate, that places privatized CIA operatives in the thick of regime change operations in Syria, as well as Libya, long before these activities were acknowledged by the Obama Administration. Public exposure of covert operations is never good for business, and one must also bear in mind that for every intelligence failure there is usually an expendable scapegoat or someone claiming to be one.

Easily dissolved shell companies are like bathroom tissue in this game. Erik Prince, himself, made just that claim before he changed Blackwater’s business name to Xe (later spun off Academi), packed his bags, and moved his headquarters to Dubai. It is not surprising, therefore, that Mr. Smith’s company is also exiting stage right. The future of SCG International has been called into question by the fraud conviction of Mr Smith and the $9.5 million judgement against Mr. Smith and SCG as detailed here: http://hamptonroads.com/2012/07/despite-fraud-air-force-kept-using-va-beach-contractor

Smith wrote in a December 13, 2011 email to Stratfor’s VP for counter-terrorism, Fred Burton. Smith claimed that he "and Walid Phares were getting air cover from Congresswoman [Sue] Myrick to engage Syrian opposition in Turkey (non-MB and non-Qatari) on a fact finding mission for Congress.” In early February this year, Myrich an 8-term Republican incumbent suddenly and without real explanation announced she would not run again. Interesting coincidence, certainly. http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/02/07/1062548/-NC-09-Republican-Rep-Sue-Myrick-will-retire

Burton is a former Deputy Chief of the Department of State's counterterrorism division for the Diplomatic Security Service (DSS). Blackwater/Xe, which now operates under the name Academi, recently received part of a multi-billion dollar State Department contract to provide the same types of services as SCG. Foggy Bottom and Langley can be peculiarly forgiving.

Walid Phares, named by the source as part of the “fact finding team,” is a Lebanese-American citizen and has served as a co-chair to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s Middle East advisory group.
A profile of Walid Phares published in Salon details Phares’ history with right-wing militias during the Lebanese civil war and subsequent activist role in conservative U.S. foreign policy circles. http://www.salon.com/2011/10/07/romneys_scary_middle_east_advisor/

Benghazi Attack Latest in a Long History of Blowback to CIA from Operations in Libya

The Agency has had a long and checquered history in its dealings with Libyan terrorists and strongmen, and its own US citizen go-betweens. On Saturday, Sept. 22, Edwin P. Wilson, a retired CIA officer, died. He was 84. Wilson was branded a traitor and convicted of shipping arms to Libya, had his conviction overturned after he served 22 years in prison

In 2004, a federal Judge overturned the conviction finding that the prosecution had knowingly submitted a false affidavit that omitted nearly 90 meetings Wilson had with CIA superiors during the period he allegedly had gone rogue, selling 40,000 pounds of plastic explosives to Libyans, according to the Washington Post obituary: http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/obituaries/edwin-wilson-former-cia-operative-convicted-of-selling-arms-to-libya-dies-at-84/2012/09/22/3f97da2e-04f1-11e2-9132-f2750cd65f97_story.html

Wilson who set up front companies abroad for the CIA and posed as a rich American businessman was convicted in 1983 for shipping 20 tons of C-4 plastic explosives to Libya. At trial, he said he did it to ingratiate himself with the Libyan government at the CIA’s request.

A federal judge threw out that conviction in 2003, saying the government failed to correct information about Wilson’s service to the CIA that it admitted internally was false.

It was never fully revealed what happened to the 20 tons of C4, but at the time Libya was providing safe refuge to a number of terrorist groups, such as Abu Nidal, who like Gadhafi, performed services for both sides during the long twilight of the Cold War and always welcomed cash payment.

So, in other words, the court found, the US Government really was feeding tons of plastic explosives to terrorists in Libya through CIA cutouts in the 1980s. Gadhaffi himself emerged from semi-pariah status after he cooperated with the Bush Administration in execution of its torture and rendition program.

That seems to have established a tradition of such things with regard to Libya, given that Libya also provides many of the Jihadi fighters from its eastern region around Benghazi that have been showing up in Syria, blowing up things there, as they also did in Iraq while we occupied that country.

Libya Long a Center of Terrorists for Hire

This brings us forward to the sudden death of Ambassador Stevens two short weeks ago. It is obvious that Chris Stevens was an extraordinarily brave and devoted Foreign Service Officer who died in service to his country. But, he also was the victim of another tradition, the less noble practice of the United States of employing terrorists against what is declared within in Washington to be our enemies. We saw that in the Balkins and breakaway Muslim TransCausasus regions of the former Southern Soviet Union during the 1990s, when US Special Forces and covert operators worked side-by-side with Osama bin Laden and other Saudi paramilitary to drive out the Russian and Serbian remnants, and took control over the enormous energy riches of that region. Among the US Special Forces operators in Kosovo in 1998 was a Navy Seal named Erik Prince, who soon thereafter resigned from the military and founded Blackwater, the history of which is intrinsically tied to al-Qaeda. http://www.dailykos.com/story/2009/12/04/810764/-Erik-Prince-American-Bin-Laden-CIA-Asset-Money-Gunmen

Chris Stevens was of course aware of our alliance with bin Laden and al-Qaeda in the Balkins, as he was of the history of Libyan Jihadis when he arrived on a Greek freighter in Benghazi in April, 2011 to organize these groups into an effective fighting force to depose Muammar Ghadafi. If Mr. Smith is to be believed, he was there at the same time, running a Blackwater spin-off operation as part of the same regime change operation. Neither went in without knowing they were dealing with terrorists. As Vice Consul in 2008, Stevens had catalogued the Jihadi militants in Eastern Libya, including the groups then sending large numbers of Libyan suicide bombers working with al-Qaeda to wage war on the Shi’ia and U.S. forces in Iraq.

Just as history brought Erik Prince and Osama bin Laden together in Kosovo, so too did events conspire to produce blowback in Benghazi. We can only hope that the bloodbath being brewed up in Syria by these same terrorists and mercenaries does not again explode in our well-scrubbed hands.

(Please see, Part 1, Blowback in Benghazi, Attack Linked to Regime Change Operations in Libya and Syria, http://www.democraticunderground.com/10021343355 , crossposted at http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/09/14/1131854/-Blowback-in-Benghazi-Attack-Linked-to-Regime-Change-Operations-in-Libya-and-Syria )

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Reply Libya Attack Casts Unwanted Spotlight on CIA and Blackwater Role in Syria (Original post)
leveymg Sep 2012 OP
Octafish Sep 2012 #1
Octafish Sep 2012 #2
leveymg Sep 2012 #3
Comrade Grumpy Sep 2012 #4

Response to leveymg (Original post)

Tue Sep 25, 2012, 09:08 AM

1. There's only one thing more un-democratic than Secret Government...

That is Privatized Secret Government.

Thank you for the education, leveymg. My eyes are dry from not blinking while reading your post.

Startling doesn't begin to describe what your work conveys.

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Response to leveymg (Original post)

Wed Sep 26, 2012, 11:25 AM

2. The OP should have 100 Reccs and 100 comments.

The why, from way back when:

Exposing the Libyan Link

by Seymour M. Hersh (NY Times – June 21, 1981)

Five years ago, two former operatives of the Central Intelligence Agency made a deal with Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi to supply the Libyan strongman with explosives for huge sums of cash. They also hired former Green Berets to set up a secret training school to teach the Libyans the latest techniques in assassination and international terrorism. As a cover for these operations, the two men, Edwin P. Wilson and Frank E. Terpil, operated several seemingly legitimate export companies. To head one such company, they hired another former C.I.A. employee, Kevin P. Mulcahy. For a long time, Mulcahy let himself believe that the entire operation was really part of an unofficial but approved American intelligence operation being carried out by an ”old-boy” network of former Government workers, intelligence agents and Green Berets with strong and lasting connections to Washington officialdom. In this, the second of a two-part series, Mulcahy discovers that the Qaddafi connection is illegal and not an intelligence operation, and, at considerable personal risk, goes first to the C.I.A. and then to the F.B.I. Seymour M. Hersh, a former reporter for The New York Times, is at work on a book about Henry Kissinger to be published by Summit Books. By Seymour M. Hersh hortly before midnight on a muggy Washington Sunday in September 1976, Kevin P. Mulcahy, a former C.I.A. analyst who was then in the export business, telephoned the duty officer at agency headquarters in McLean, Va. ”There are problems overseas,” Mulcahy said without elaboration, and he had to talk immediately to the agency’s assistant to the deputy director of clandestine operations.

Mulcahy would wait for a return call.

The call came within the hour. On the telephone was Theodore G. Shackley, one of the most influential men in the C.I.A. Mulcahy had a disturbing tale to tell. The firm of which he was president had agreed to sell the hardware of terrorism – explosives and delayed-action timers – to Libya’s Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi. Moreover, the firm had also agreed to set up a training school to teach Libyans the latest in the techniques of terrorism and political assassination. Only days before, Mulcahy told Shackley, he had been ordered to purchase an American-made Redeye missile, a weapon capable of shooting down a commercial airliner, for delivery to the Libyan ruler. Mulcahy’s two business partners, Edwin P. Wilson and Frank E. Terpil, who had brought Mulcahy into the firm, were themselves former C.I.A. operatives.

Now, on the telephone, Mulcahy asked Shackley: ”Is this a C.I.A. operation or not?” Shackley was noncommittal, and Mulcahy now knew that his worst suspicions were correct: The Wilson-Terpil operations did not have the sanction of the C.I.A. He knew that in the close-knit world of Government intelligence word would somehow get back within days to Mulcahy’s partners that he had gone to the authorities. So he quickly went into hiding, disguising his appearance and using a false name. But he anticipated that his partners and their associates would be quickly seized, convicted and imprisoned. He expected this would happen not only for his own well-being, but also to stop an operation he believed inimical to the national-security interests of his country and to world peace.



That the OP doesn't have 100 Reccs shows me either a lot of people who give a damn don't know about the OP or that the people who do know about the OP don't understand why it is so important for them -- and their future.

Thanks, again, leveymg. You are a National Treasure.

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Response to Octafish (Reply #2)

Wed Sep 26, 2012, 01:52 PM

3. Thanks for the rec. BTW: this was written before a federal judge found Wilson was meeting w/CIA

handlers all along during the Libyan arms deals, and that evidence of that fact was withheld and an affidavit falsified to convict Wilson. That makes Hersh's account fundamentally wrong.

I think Hersh should revisit this, and should read Joe Trento's books on the same in which he has Shackley running a multi-story dirty-tricks and wet ops shop (using Libyans, Cubans, and others), both from inside the Agency and after his forced retirement after the Wilson fiasco broke open the wall of plausible deniability in CIA-sponsored terrorism. It's with great sadness that I see the spooks are back to their old, dirty-tricks.

As for DU, some of the best minds aren't around anymore and many of the rest are just cheerleaders for anything this President does. Rah! Rah! Go home team! Don't rain on our parade! That makes me increasingly anxious about what we do in Syria and Iran after the election - potential for grassroots antiwar movement has been effectively neutralized (you'd think that would make Bibi happy). I wouldn't even be too surprised if I got tombstoned sometime soon.

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Response to leveymg (Original post)

Wed Sep 26, 2012, 02:11 PM

4. Sunlight is a good disinfectant. Thank you.


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