Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., raised questions during a radio interview today about whether the Obama administration was smuggling guns to jihadist rebels in a possible “international Fast and Furious” that the White House has tried to cover up.
Speaking on “Aaron Klein Investigative Radio” on New York’s WABC Radio, Paul said the guns scheme could help explain the reason for the coordinated attacks against the U.S. special mission and CIA annex in Benghazi last September.
Stated Paul: “There is also some concern about whether or not Libyan arms are being ferried through Turkey into Syrian rebels and whether or not that had something to do with the cover-up that came out of the administration when the administration was saying that, ‘Oh, this attack in Benghazi had something to do with a film.’
“Maybe that was to cover up that there was some kind of gun smuggling going on over there, some kind of international fast and furious was going on in Libya and that this was a cover-up,” Paul continued. “These are some of the questions that we are going to have for Hillary Clinton when she comes before our committee.
“I am very concerned about the president giving arms to Syrian rebels,” Paul told Klein.
The politician, who will serve on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said the U.S.-backed rebels in Syria include jihadists tied to al-Qaida.
“There’s about a million Christians in Syria, one of the largest populations of Christians are in Syria. They are not necessarily siding with the rebels because many of the rebels are extremist radical Islamists such as Al-Nusra elements of al-Qaida. And there is concern that the Christians will not be tolerated, will be wiped out if the rebels win,” Paul said.
Many rebel fighters are openly members of terrorist organizations, including al-Qaida.
Immediately following the Benghazi attacks, President Obama and other White House officials notoriously blamed supposed anti-American sentiment leading to the violent events on an obscure anti-Muhammad video on YouTube they claimed was responsible for supposedly popular civilian protests that they said took place outside the U.S. mission – protests, they claimed, that devolved into a jihadist onslaught.
However, vivid accounts provided by the State Department and intelligence officials later made clear no such popular demonstration took place. Instead, video footage from Benghazi reportedly shows an organized group of armed men attacking the compound, officials said.
KleinOnline has filed numerous reports quoting Middle East security officials describing the mission in Benghazi as serving as a meeting place to coordinate aid for the rebel-led insurgencies in the Middle East.
Among the tasks performed inside the building was collaborating with Arab countries on the recruitment of fighters – including jihadists – to target Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria, the officials said.
According to the 39-page report released last month by independent investigators probing the attacks at the diplomatic facility, the U.S. mission in Benghazi was set up without the knowledge of the new Libyan government, as KleinOnline reported.
“Another key driver behind the weak security platform in Benghazi was the decision to treat Benghazi as a temporary, residential facility, not officially notified to the host government, even though it was also a full-time office facility,” the report states. “This resulted in the Special Mission compound being excepted from office facility standards and accountability under the Secure Embassy Construction and Counterterrorism Act of 1999 (SECCA) and the Overseas Security Policy Board (OSPB).”
The report, based on a probe led by former U.S. diplomat Thomas Pickering, calls the facility a “Special U.S. Mission.”
During the Libyan revolution against Moammar Gadhafi’s regime, the U.S. admitted to directly arming the rebel groups.
At the time, rebel leader Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi admitted in an interview that a significant number of the Libyan rebels were al-Qaida fighters, many of whom had fought U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
He insisted his fighters “are patriots and good Muslims, not terrorists,” but he added that the “members of al-Qaida are also good Muslims and are fighting against the invader.”