The February 17 Brigade Liberates the Prisoners

I’ve got a half-done post backstage talking about the conflicting evidence regarding the February 17 Brigade’s behavior the night of the Benghazi attack. Suffice it to say that, while they had been reliable in the past, and while CIA and State timelines differ about what kind of help they provided the night of the attack, there’s a lot of evidence to suggest they had allowed the attack, if not participated themselves.

Thus, it seems another “friendly” force potentially trained by David Petraeus’ people turned on the Americans.

But as Josh Gerstein notes, in an update to his post on Paula Broadwell’s apparently classified comments on October 26, Fox actually tied the February 17 Brigade to the prisoners at the annex.

Later in her remarks, Broadwell, said some of her information had come from a Fox News report. Fox said Monday that it’s “original” Oct. 26 report did mention three Libyan militia members being turned over by the CIA to Libyan authorities. That detail does not appear in the version of the story now posted online, but Fox reporter Jennifer Griffin did include it in at least one report.

“We’re also told, those at the CIA annex took into custody three Libyan attackers and were forced to hand them over to the Libyan February 17th forces that came to help at the annex approximately 4:00 in the morning. They handed these three Libyans over. It is not clear from U.S. officials what happened to the libyans and whether those Libyan attackers were in fact released in in the end by the Libyans,” Griffin reported.

Now, this syntax seems to suggest the prisoners were not–as Fox is now reporting–more general detainees, but people tied to the attack taken prisoner. Here’s what Fox currently says.

In the original Oct. 26 Fox News report, sources at the annex said that the CIA’s Global Response Staff had handed over three Libyan militia members to the Libyan authorities who came to rescue the 30 Americans in the early hours of Sept. 12.

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.

As a threshold matter, I want to know why Fox took out that report if now–post-election–they’ve got multiple sources confirming what they took out of their earlier report.

But I also think this really confirms that part of the cover-up here is that the militia that was supposedly friendly–indeed, had been friendly and responsive going back some months–was undermining us in this case.

Marcy has been blogging full time since 2007. She’s known for her live-blogging of the Scooter Libby trial, her discovery of the number of times Khalid Sheikh Mohammed was waterboarded, and generally for her weedy analysis of document dumps.

Marcy Wheeler is an independent journalist writing about national security and civil liberties. She writes as emptywheel at her eponymous blog, publishes at outlets including the Guardian, Salon, and the Progressive, and appears frequently on television and radio. She is the author of Anatomy of Deceit, a primer on the CIA leak investigation, and liveblogged the Scooter Libby trial.

Marcy has a PhD from the University of Michigan, where she researched the “feuilleton,” a short conversational newspaper form that has proven important in times of heightened censorship. Before and after her time in academics, Marcy provided documentation consulting for corporations in the auto, tech, and energy industries. She lives with her spouse and dog in Grand Rapids, MI.

29 replies
  1. orionatl says:

    so ms broadwell’s inside info on prisoners came from fox news?

    the benghazi portion of this scandal is still very important to untangle,

    but the personalities portion of the scandal seems to degenerating into a farce involving power groupies.

  2. Ben Franklin says:

    !7 may have been reliable in removing Khaddafi, but the Salafists might want to tell you the story of the scorpion and the frog….’You knew what I was.”

    from wiki;

    “Ansar al-Sharia carried out destruction of Sufi shrines in Benghazi, which they regarded as idolatrous.[8] In In November 2011, Libyan Salafis engaged in a series of attacks on Sufi shrines all over the country. “On August 25 Ansar al-Sharia even deployed an excavator to destroy the Sidi Al-Sha’ab Mosque (which contained the tomb of a Sufi saint) in the center of Tripoli…”[9] Mohamed Yousef el-Magariaf, the president of the General National Congress (GNC) denounced the shrine attacks as “disgraceful acts,” and said “those involved were criminals who would be pursued.”[9]”

    Human intel hasn’t improved much since 9/11

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/16/world/middleeast/attack-by-fringe-group-highlights-the-problem-of-libya-militias.html?pagewanted=all

    Kinda makes you wonder what our folks were thinking…”what makes you think they were thinking?”

  3. rugger9 says:

    This will be very interesting indeed. Following the timeline posted in C&L, combined with the known closeness of Betrayus and Rove, it seems that the CIA director was trying to get President Obama fired. I knew there would be something, but back in the earlier days of the campaign for anyone but Mittens I expected it to be as the GOP nominee.

    Because of the non-secret affair [according to Rove] Betrayus could read the tea leaves after John Edwards’ trial and realized Plan A was no longer operative, so he decided to help Mittens. It’s a shame Chesty Puller would not be able to get his hands on Betrayus, Youtube would be profitable for years on the video.

    Since the Faux story about no support has been roundly debunked like the no-help-requested story about Mayor Nagin, can someone explain to me why Faux still has a license to pollute our airwaves? The FCC does actually have rules about on-air fibbery.

    It will also be very interesting to see just how DiFi goes after this. Someone didn’t do their job vetting or monitoring in the land of the spooks, or do we still have a herd of Gosslings there? Until we get facts and only facts from the intel side, we will continue to have nasty surprises.

  4. EH says:

    4am? Perfectly normal time to handle business as usual. There will be hilarious irony if Mittens is proven to have been right on any of this.

  5. rg says:

    Ms Broadwell’s reference to FoxNews as as source of knowledge reminds me of Cheney on a TV talk show saying something to the effect of: “We learn today from the Washington Post that Saddam has been attempting to obtain uranium from Africa.” She went further to say that she learned this “from a distribution list (she’s) on”. One can’t help but wonder what list that is, and why that detail was important to announce.

  6. prostratedragon says:

    @rg:

    Stratfor? I seem to recall she had a business relationship of some kind with them sufficient to hypothesize that that’s what she meant.

  7. joanneleon says:

    @rg: I got that distinct impression too — that Broadwell mentioned that Fox News had reported about the Libyan militia detainees, but that wasn’t her original source on the matter. Maybe she was Fox News’ source to begin with, or someone she was associated with.

    If she laments that Petraeus can’t talk to the media now (does anybody believe that!?! CIA is famous for having people embedded in the news, spreading propaganda like crazy, etc) then maybe she helped him out with his problem of not being able to talk to the press?

    Based on the things that she said in that UD speech, she seems like a loose cannon.

  8. joanneleon says:

    Is it possible that in the process of shutting down the CIA annex which also seems to have served as a black ops interrogation/detention site, that they released some militia members who then rejoined and informed their fellow militia allies about the treatment they received, and this caused the backlash/attack on the consulate and annex? Was it just bad treatment or was it worse than that?

    Was Stevens aware of interrogations/detentions at the annex?

  9. rugger9 says:

    @joanneleon: #8
    Maybe a black ops site in the Bushie times, but Obama is smarter than that. Perhaps a drone control point would make more sense to me. Then again, there are still Gosslings in the “company” and if they saw that Betrayus was “one of them” some stuff may have gone on. Let’s also not forget contractors are probably in the area too even if it’s not reported.

    If the locals got the idea that the consulate was a CIA haven whether or not it’s true, the consulate would be a target. Your observation about why Stevens may be interested is worth digging into.

    Broadwell is an associate of Rove, as is Petraeus. That pretty much ensures she has no ethical compass, and I wouldn’t put it past Rove to have orchestrated the affair to get or throw dirt on Obama.

  10. What Constitution? says:

    @GulfCoastPirate: That is an excellent question, which probably will turn out to be due to tachyon emissions. I’m still waiting to find out who has the blue dress. We’ll know before anyone changes the subject, to be sure.

  11. jo6pac says:

    @prostratedragon: Yes, she has an email address there and remember when Anonymous went through their firewall a took all the emails like did to others in this industry. I wonder what they’re setting on and maybe don’t know it yet

  12. Ben Franklin says:

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/why-did-cia-director-resign-why-was-the-u-s-ambassador-to-libya-murdered/5311311

    “The U.S. supported opposition which overthrew Libya’s Gadaffi was largely comprised of Al Qaeda terrorists.

    According to a 2007 report by West Point’s Combating Terrorism Center’s center, the Libyan city of Benghazi was one of Al Qaeda’s main headquarters – and bases for sending Al Qaeda fighters into Iraq – prior to the overthrow of Gaddafi:”

    THIS is why Petraeus is verklempt. Incompetence arising from blue balls and the consequences of same.

  13. ryanwc says:

    The Chicago Tribune (and presumably its sister LA Times) is reporting that Petraeus and Broadwell shared an email account into which they would save drafts that the other could then read without the message ever having been sent, to avoid an additional opportunity for interception. A minor detail, but I thought it was interesting.

  14. orionatl says:

    @DonS:

    i read the esquire article.

    in my view of the writing, the author was trying to develop (or, maybe, improve) a clumsy novelistic style of reporting.

    that style did not invite my confidence in his reporting.

    petraeus could run for damn well anything so long as he resigned, and eric massa seemed a monuentally untrustworthy source.

  15. DonS says:

    @orionatl:

    not sure what esquire article you are referring too. In any case, there are a lot of blanks still to be filled in and if political dirty tricks are to be found it’s quite possible Rove’s fingerprints are somewhere.

  16. ryanwc says:

    @marksb:
    I don’t think that’s the implication. I’m sure they knew it resided on servers and could be picked up by anyone who required them to divulge accounts.

    Just that without sending it out across the tubes, it’s unlikely to be picked up by the bots that Cheney unleashed on us all.

  17. orionatl says:

    @DonS:

    that’s o.k. let me help.

    go to your crooks and liars citation.

    scroll down until you find, in “citation blue”, the phrase “real and long-standing”. thsa’s the esquire article your citation pointed us to and the one i critiqued.

    garbage in my opinion; but i already said that, just somewhat more gently.

    enjoy.

    report back if you have more opinions on the relationship between rove and petraeus.

  18. orionatl says:

    @DonS:

    perhaps i can be of further help, lest one get lost in the forrest of a citation.

    try this:

    “… I’m smelling a Rove rat. Are you? Why the silence from Cantor? Clearly Reichert tipped Cantor off in the hopes of using this information in some way. The Petraeus/Rove relationship is real and long-standing. Is it possible that Paula was passing Rove information to use against President Obama in his re-election bid? …”

    this is the paragraph that will lead you to your esquire cite about rove and petraeus.

    the phrase “real and long-standing” is in blue and points one to the article.

  19. DonS says:

    @orionatl:

    Thanks for the guidance; I hadn’t read through all of that and perhaps shot from the hip. We’re all kind of wandering around in the dark here but anyone is going to stumble upon some light it’s not going to be by simply letting the system work itself out, as it were. More questions from outside the box need to be asked.

    Cheers.

  20. orionATL says:

    @DonS:

    indeed and agreed.

    similarly, all i do initially is shoot from the hip on every scandal/mystery.

    then i read comments and additional posts,

    then start deciding what makes sense.

    cheers.

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