Ken Timmerman, author of Dark Forces: The Truth about What Happened in Benghazi was interviewed Wednesday, November 26, 2014 on 1330AM WEBY in Pensacola by host Mike Bates and this writer. This is the third in a series of interviews with Timmerman on the Benghazi terrorist attack that took the lives of four Americans, US Ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens, Foreign Service Information Manager Sean Smith, and CIA security contractors, Tyrone Power and Glen Doherty. This latest interview with Timmerman was occasioned by the recently released House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) chaired by outgoing Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI).
Timmerman’s views expressed in the interviews are reflective of his Daily Caller, article, “House Intelligence Committee Report Obfuscates Benghazi Arms Smuggling.“ His views parallel those of ex-CIA agent Larry Johnson and Col. Dick Brauer of Special Operations Speaks, that we posted: “UPDATE: The Benghazi House Permanent Select Intelligence Committee Report is a “Whitewash”. Overall Timmerman considers the report, “lame” and a “whitewash” of the conduct by the Administration and the Central Intelligence Agency leadership. He especially called in to question Deputy Director Michael Morell and the Chiefs of Base in Benghazi.
Timmerman believes the media abetted this deception by suggesting that the HPSCI Report exonerated the Administration and the CIA dismissing so-called conspiracy theories. He noted that given the short news cycle following the release of the report, Friday, November 21, 2014, the press barely had time to digest the 37 page report let alone delve into the underlying transcripts. Report findings denying that there was no stand down orders have been contradicted by surviving CIA security contractors in the book 13 Hours. Those contractors engaged in the battle at the Annex said that the Chief of Base in Benghazi had issued such stand down orders several times, resulting in a critical 21 minute delay too late, to rescue Amb. Stevens and aide Sean Smith. When asked his opinion, Timmerman said that with arms and equipment already in a vehicle, the CIA contractors if released in a timely manner might have saved the lives of both Ambassador Stevens and Smith.
Timmerman said that the Report leaves many unanswered questions that might be addressed by the House Select Committee on Benghazi, led by Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC). He doesn’t believe that possible GOP Senate creation of a parallel Select Benghazi Committee in the 114th Session beginning January 2015 would be productive. He noted there have already been five House Committee investigations, including this final report issued by the HPSCI.
On the matter of arms shipment from Libya to Syrian opposition, Timmerman drew a fine line between so-called Presidential Findings authorizing covert operations and liaison with foreign intelligence agencies, the latter not subject to Congressional oversight. He said the CIA briefings on covert operations in Benghazi under Presidential findings were typically given to the Chairs and Ranking Members of both the House and Senate Intelligence Committees and the Senate Majority and Minority leaders as well as the House Speaker and Minority Leader, the so-called ‘eight Cardinals.’ According to his sources none of the briefed Congressional members made any objections. Timmerman, following the revelations by ex-CIA agent Johnson, indicated the filtration of arms was accomplished through a ‘cut out involving British, Turkish, and Qatari Intelligence and Australian contractors.
According to Timmerman, a 400 ton shipment of arms on the vessel Al Entisar was sent by a Libyan Jihadist group to a Turkish Muslim Brotherhood charity, IHH. That attracted Western press whose reports embarrassed CIA Director Gen. David Petreaus and led to former Secretary of State Clinton dispatching the late Ambassador Stevens to Benghazi to shut the operation down. The Turkish Embassy General Consul, who Stevens met in Benghazi on the evening of 9/11/2012, was likely an intelligence official. Timmerman commented that Stevens had conducted liaison with Islamist Libyan militias during the Arab Spring rebellion against Gaddafi. He said that was reflective of the Administration’s distinction that there were good versus bad Jihadists.
When asked about what was going on at the CIA Annex in Benghazi, Timmerman pointed out there were two groups of intelligence personnel there, not including the CIA security contractors at the Annex. One group of CIA operatives was monitoring the activities of local Islamist militia and the arms filtration cut out operation with foreign intelligence agencies. Not even mentioned in the HSPCI report, Timmerman contends was the presence of NSA agents intercepting communications of local Islamist militias and Iranian Quds Force operatives in Benghazi. Timmerman agrees with the comments of Col. Brauer that the Iranian Quds Force operatives had surveyed the Annex in Benghazi preparing it for a possible mortar attack.
Timmerman noted the HSPCI Report comment that use of mortars by the Taliban in Afghanistan was woefully inaccurate reflecting little training in the use of such weapons. Col. Brauer said in an interview with this writer that Soviet 82 mm mortars require a team of four and weigh over 120 pounds. Moreover, each rounds weighs over 7 pounds. Brauer pointed to the expertise in the use of mortars by the Iranian Quds force and military during the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980’s. Timmerman believes that members of the Quds Force in Benghazi were possibly involved in preparation and execution of the mortar attack in Benghazi.
Col. Brauer’s sources suggested that some Republican members of the HPSCI may not have been consulted on the release of Final Report. That prompted observations by Timmerman that in too many instances, ruling majority parties are often side tracked by the interests of Chairman and Ranking Members. That may have played a part in the timing of the release of the House Intelligence Committee report. Timmerman noted former CIA Director Michael Morell’s role in editing the talking points exonerating the Administration and subsequently joining a Washington, DC-based strategic consulting firm, Beacon Global Strategies. The firm with close connections to former aides of Secretary Hillary Clinton and former Pentagon Chief, Leon Panetta. Also joining the firm as Managing Director was Michael Allen former Majority Chief of Staff to outgoing House Intelligence Committee Chair, Mike Rogers. It appears that the revolving door in Washington Intelligence circles creates conflicts overarching important national security interests.
Listen to the 1330 am WEBY interview with Ken Timmerman:
EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.