We may never know what was going on in Benghazi before last year's event there, but despite the much-hyped interview given yesterday by Joe DiGenova, the CIA almost certainly was not shipping U. S. SAMs or SAMs of any kind to Syria:
[DiGenova is] a former U.S. attorney who now represents Mark Thompson, one of the so-called "Benghazi whistleblowers"...says he's been told that some "very ugly people" had stolen the missiles, and that the Benghazi annex played a key role in the theft.
That's unlikely, and I think that it can safely be said that any SAM's in Libya last year were not SAMs supplied by the U.S. to Libyan rebels prior to Kaddafi's demise -- not even the Obama Administration is dumb enough to supply SAMs to Islamists anywhere these days:
Kaddafi had large amounts of SAMs and other sophisticated weaponry, and the rebels got their hands on some or most of them when Kaddafi's regime collapsed. Those rebels are cooperating with other Jihadis in the Maghreb and may be supplying those rebels with some of the weaponry so obtained.
Scott Johnson at Powerline has reservations about the report:
The administration's concealment (about pre-event activities) and our ignorance are conducive to the propagation of rumor and misinformation. One reader comments: "The reaction of the administration from day one has been simplistic and borderline delusional. It is reminiscent of a toddler's explanations for a broken lamp." (emphasis the author's)
Rick Moran also suggests caution saying:
[I'm n]ot dismissing the story outright but before we accept it, we'd need considerably more information.
What follows is a review of the various and conflicting thoughts about what was going on in Benghazi prior to 9/11/12 in the hope that the readers will have more background with which to evaluate stories that are coming out and will be coming out on the subject.
It is indisputable that the CIA was, in fact, collecting some of those various weapons, and the CIA or other entities may or may not have been shipping some of the collected weapons to Syria via Turkey.
If weapons were being shipped they were being shipped without formal congressional authorization. But they could have been being shipped if President Obama had made a secret "finding" about Syria similar to that made a year earlier about Libya:
People familiar with US [sic] intelligence procedures said that Presidential covert action "findings" are normally crafted to [authorize] a range of potential US government actions to support a particular covert objective....[And] the White House also would have to give additional "permission" allowing such activities to proceed.
Congressional leaders and some top members of several congressional committees would have had to have been notified if Mr. Obama had made such a finding.
Supporting that notion is the fact that House Speaker John Boehner is slow-walking investigations and stonewalling the appointment of a select committee leading to speculation that he had been told about and backed such activities.
Michael Rubin believes that those activities would be "Strategic Suicide" for the U. S.:
Obama seems to be blind to the strategic implications of Bashar al-Assad's downfall... Wrong are those who say Bashar al-Assad and his father brought quiet to the border with Israel... The fall of the Syrian regime would roll back Iranian influence away from the strategically important Eastern Mediterranean. That said, arming the Syrian rebels is wrong and would gravely undercut U.S. national security.
Read Paul Mirengoff's comments on Rubin's piece here.
However, that belief does not preclude the possibility that that shipping of weapons was happening last year, something many people do believe was happening.
On the other hand, John Hinderaker says that Powerline has:
...a congressional source who has knowledge of the Benghazi investigation. Our source wrote to say that these reports of a CIA scandal are bogus[.]
Read that source's very informative report here.
Absent definitive, on-the-record statements from Benghazi survivors or other authoritative persons, discussions about pre-event activities are speculative.
Allahpundit exhaustively examines the question on HotAir:
This isn't the first time that someone with inside info has floated the theory that SAMs were key to what the CIA was doing in Benghazi... [But] if the missiles were being kept at the annex and that the Benghazi attack was really an operation by jihadis to steal them, it's... odd that they would have attacked the consulate first... [and] odd that the CIA would choose a fragile, dangerous place like Benghazi as a base for running missiles to Syria when they could do it from Qatar or Jordan...[.]
Michael Ledeen doubts that there was gunrunning going on pre-event and has written a lot about Benghazi (some links to his thoughts can be found here).
Former United States Deputy Undersecretary of Defense Jed Babbin is convinced that the Obama Administration's post-event actions area cover-up of pre-event criminality. That is, that F&F in the Maghreb was done à la Contragate and that it could well be much worse than Contragate. He spoke about it with John Batchelor here (starting at 31:00), and listening to it is well worth about five minutes of your time
Babbin's Spectator piece on the same subject is here:
He was either acting without congressional authority or in violation of laws on the books that are supposed to block those actions.
Col. Ken Allard retired from the Army, was a former NBC News military analyst, and is an author on national security issues, and he writes about that matter here:
...Benghazi may not be Watergate at all but Iran-Contra, the arms scandal that nearly ended the presidency of Ronald Reagan. If the Benghazi diplomatic facility was actually being used to warehouse arms shipments to Syrian rebels, then that fact immediately raises a whole new set of issues. Among the most important: Were those arms shipments legal and did they occur within the guidelines set by Congress?
If you missed Daren Jonescu's recent brilliant piece on all of this, do read it here, for he discusses how all of the recent stories suddenly appearing about Benghazi may simply be squirrels set free in our backyards:
Months late, CNN has gotten around to "breaking" a story that might help to complete the disturbing puzzle for the mainstream public, namely the allegation that Benghazi was the hub of a CIA weapons-running operation. Within hours, this was washed from the headlines by the "chatter" indicating an imminent terror plot that required the United States to close numerous diplomatic facilities. (Hurray, NSA!) And then, within days, the mainstream media was "breaking" the news that the first charges had been laid in connection with the Benghazi attack. (How convenient.)
And J. Robert Smith discusses the cover-up and its horrific cost to CIA guys here:
More greatly disturbing than you seeing the U.S.A. in a Chevrolet Volt (government fleet car, of course), are reports of intimidation, with threats, veiled or not, aimed squarely at your family. These reports aren't leg-tingling, but spine-chilling.
It is an unnerving and must-read piece!
I have written extensively about the inconsistencies in "official" reports and on the many heretofore unanswered questions here, here, and here.
More hearings are forthcoming, and Congressmen Frank Wolf, Jason Chaffetz, and Darrell Issa (among others) will be pressing for answers in those hearings and elsewhere. Additionally, Sen. Rand Paul constantly hints that he knows more than he's saying on the subject.
Let's wish them all well in their endeavors, but let's not get our hopes too high for now: Team Obama will not easily let the truth be known! That gang will be letting more squirrels out of the bag regularly -- be they Libyan squirrels or other ones.
And MSM enablers will be asking no substantive questions of them.