By Aaron Klein
TEL AVIV — Did Paula Broadwell, the alleged mistress of ex-CIA Director David Petraeus, reveal a secret CIA detention center in Benghazi during a public speech she gave last month?
Broadwell, a former counterterror operative, co-authored a bestselling biography of Petraeus. She discussed the book during a keynote speech on Oct. 26 at a University of Denver alumni symposium. The speech is available in full on YouTube.
During a question and answer session, Broadwell was asked about the September 11 attacks against the U.S. mission in Benghazi.
She stated: “Now I don’t know if a lot of you heard this, but the CIA annex had actually had taken a couple of Libya militia members prisoner. And they think that the attack on the consulate was an effort to try to get these prisoners back. So that’s still being vetted.”
The existence of a U.S. prison or CIA detention center in Benghazi would be a new development in the debate surrounding the attacks there. The information does not appear to be publicly known.
An extensive KleinOnline search of news media coverage of the Benghazi attacks could find no mention of prisoners being held at the CIA annex.
Today, a CIA spokesperson denied Broadwell’s claim of a prison at the Libyan annex.
The spokesperson told The Daily Beast that “[t]he CIA has not had detention authority since January 2009, when Executive Order 13491 was issued. Any suggestion that the Agency is still in the detention business is uninformed and baseless.”
However, Fox News is quoting multiple intelligence sources claiming prisoners were held at the Benghazi annex.
One source described by Fox News as well-placed in Washington told the news agency 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.
Fox News quoted multiple other intelligence sources who had served in Benghazi as saying other prisoners from additional countries in Africa and the Middle East were brought to the CIA annex.
On Saturday, The New York Times reported that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor spoke to an FBI whistle-blower two weeks ago who accused Petraeus of not only having an extramarital affair but potentially jeopardizing the security of classified information.
During the same university speech, Braodwell may have also divulged information that Petraeus knew “within 24 hours” of CIA annex’s request for reinforcements, reported Israel National News.
“The challenging thing for Gen. Petraeus,”she stated, “is that in his new position, he’s not allowed to communicate with the press. So he’s known all of this – they had correspondence with the CIA station chief in Libya, within 24 hours they kind of knew what was happening.”
Earlier she had said the military could have sent reinforcements.
“They were requesting the – it’s called the C-in-C’s In Extremis Force – a group of Delta Force operators, our very, most talented guys we have in the military. They could have come and reinforced the consulate and the CIA annex.”
With additional research by Joshua Klein