Latest Benghazi FOIA Lawsuit May Reveal What Congress Knew Before Attack
Judicial Watch, a Washington D.C based watchdog organization, announced last week, that it filed on May 15, a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit against the U.S. Departments of Defense and State to get records relating to briefings that any members of Congress’ “Super 8” may have received about “the activities of any agency or department of the U.S. government at the Special Mission Compound and/or classified annex in Benghazi, Libya.”
Breitbart News previously reported how the Benghazi issue is interwoven with U.S. law regarding White House briefings on covert CIA actions the executive branch wishes to authorize.
This general protocol to notify Congress of such covert actions has been the law since the passage of the 1947 National Security Act. By 1980, legislation was passed and signed into law to give the president the authority to limit prior notification of extremely sensitive covert actions to eight members of Congress.
From their FOIA, Judicial Watch has requested:
a) Any and all records detailing the dates on which any official of the [Departments of Defense and State] briefed any of the following members of Congress on matters related to the activities of any agency or department of the U.S. government at the Special Mission Compound and/or classified annex in Benghazi, Libya.
- Rep. John Boehner [Speaker of the House]
- Rep. Mike Rogers [Chairman, House Select Permanent Committee on Intelligence]
- Rep. Charles “Dutch” Ruppersberger [Ranking Member, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence]
- Rep. Nancy Pelosi [Minority Leader of the House]
- Sen. Dianne Feinstein [Chairman, Senate Select Committee on Intelligence]
- Sen. Saxby Chambliss [Vice Chairman, Senate Select Committee in Intelligence]
- Sen. Harry Reid [Senate Majority Leader]
- Sen. Mitch McConnell [Senate Minority Leader]
b) Any and all records produced by any official of the[ Departments of Defense and State] in preparation for, use during, and/or pursuant to any of the aforementioned briefings (including, but is not limited to, any and all reports, analyses, presentation slides, and/or notes).
c) Any and all records of communication between any official of the [Departments of Defense and State] and any of the aforementioned members of Congress and/or any of their respective staff members regarding, concerning, or related to activities or operations of any agency of the U.S. government at the Special Mission Compound and/or the classified annex in Benghazi, Libya.
CNN and the UK Telegraph both reported in August of 2013 that a complex arms operation was happening in Benghazi prior to and during the attack and the White House and the State Department have never confirmed why the CIA annex was in Benghazi to begin with.
Since 2013, Breitbart News has spoken to different members of the Super 8 and each have denied knowing anything about an arms running operation in Libya, but while only one has confirmed that he was aware of the existence of the CIA annex in Benghazi, others were either unaware of the CIA facility or were not willing to say either way.
Some members may try to publicly deny the classified information they are briefed about. Pelosi, a Super 8 member, was snagged in 2009, when it came to light she was briefed in 2003 by the Bush White House about the administration's tactic to water-board terrorism suspects during interrogations. Pelosi previously denied she was aware of this fact and attacked the Bush administration for it.
Radio host Laura Ingraham asked Speaker John Boehner on January 24, 2013 about Senator Rand Paul’s gun running in Libya questioning to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Paul asked if the secretary was aware of U.S. involvement in the procuring of weapons that were transferred, bought or sold to Turkey out of Libya. Clinton, seemingly confused, told Paul "nobody [had] ever raised" the issue with her before.
Boehner replied to Ingraham, “I’m somewhat familiar with the chatter about this and the fact that these arms were moving towards Turkey, but most of what I know about this came from a classified source and I really can’t elaborate on it.”
Congressman Rogers (R-MI), though, told Breitbart News in June of 2013, “I get to see all of that stuff. I have seen nothing that would allow me to conclude that the U.S. government was in any way shape or form involved in gun running in Libya. I looked at it all.”
Senator Chambliss (R-GA), when asked in February of 2013 if he knew anything about the gun running issue Senator Rand Paul asked Clinton about a month earlier replied , “I’m not familiar with that.”
Senator Feinstein (D-CA) told Breitbart News in March of 2013 she “didn’t know what” Senator Paul was talking about in regards to his questioning of Clinton and the Secretary's knowledge about the gunrunning issue in Benghazi.
Congressman Ruppersberger (D-MD) also did not appear to know anything about a gunrunning operation in Libya either, telling Breitbart News in May of 2013, “I don’t know anything about that. The only thing I know is that even before he was ambassador, he knew very much about Libya and he had a lot of good relationships and contacts, trying to resolve issues, but I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
The existence of the CIA annex in Benghazi prior the attack also seemed to not be on some of the Super 8’s radar. In fact, according to the Senate’s Intelligence Committee report (p.27-28) on Benghazi, General Carter Ham-- the second Commander, U.S. Africa Command, was not aware of the annex either before the attack happened.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell told Breitbart News on Tuesday that he could not recall if the White House briefed him about the annex before the attack, while Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) refused to tell Breitbart News if the White House briefed him at all about the CIA annex in Benghazi before the attack, citing the briefings’ classified nature.
Senator Feinstein (D-CA), however, previously told Breitbart News in January she was not aware of the CIA annex prior the attack, but Senator Saxby Chambliss’s office told Breitbart News that he was informed about the CIA annex in Benghazi before the terrorist strike on the compound. Back in September, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, would not “confirm nor deny anything” about whether she was briefed in advance by the White House about the existence of a CIA annex in Benghazi, Libya.
Fred Rustman is not buying some of the members’ responses on the issue. A 24-year now retired veteran of the CIA and a leader of OPSEC, Rustman told Breitbart News in September of 2013 that it would be impossible for members of the Super 8 not to know what was happening in Benghazi at the CIA Annex before the attack.
"They knew. Absolutely," Rustman said. "I no longer have access to classified information, but I strongly suspect that from reading the reporting, that the CIA was there to kind of police up all the MANPADS in [Libya], certainly in the area, and then they had all those MANPADS within the base and when they were evacuated after Sean and Ty were killed, those MANPADS were not evacuated with the rest of them."
Rustman went further, "[The MANPADS (Man-portable air defense systems)] were left there for the insurgents to get back. So that’s probably one of the things [the U.S. government] is pretty embarrassed about and they don’t want to get out. However, many of those MANPADS they policed up over those past two months that were sitting in that annex, are now out on the streets. I think that’s one of the things they’re trying not to let out."
“[The Super 8] would know that. Those are classified briefings. They are top secret. They would know what the CIA was up to in Benghazi. Whatever they were doing was legal and the right thing,” he said.