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A closer look at Benghazi's 'security'

| Friday, May 17, 2013, 8:57 p.m.

“I want to ask a couple of questions about the February 17 Martyrs Brigade,” said Rep. Blake Farenthold.

The Texas Republican was addressing the three State Department “whistleblowers” who testified before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee about the attack in Benghazi that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

The three witnesses were Mark Thompson, acting deputy assistant secretary of State for counterterrorism; Greg Hicks, former deputy chief of mission in Libya; and Eric Nordstrom, former regional security officer in Libya.

When Farenthold introduced this crucial subject into the hearings, he also opened a window into Benghazi that shone light not only on disastrous Western support for the “Arab Spring,” but also on the core crisis in U.S. foreign policy.

Farenthold: “Mr. Nordstrom, can you tell me the role of February 17 Martyrs Brigade in protecting the consulate in Benghazi?”

Nordstrom: “Certainly. That was the unit, for lack of a better term, that was provided to us by the Libyan government.”

This already was news to me: The Libyan government provided known jihadists to guard U.S. interests?

On second thought, there is nothing fantastic about this when — or, rather, if — we consider that the U.S. government supported an army of known jihadists in its revolution against Libya's anti-jihadist former leader Moammar Gadhafi.

Farenthold: “Were you aware of any ties by that militia to Islamic extremists?”

Nordstrom: “Absolutely. Yeah, we had that discussion on a number of occasions, the last of which was when there was a Facebook posting of a threat that named Ambassador Stevens and Sen. (John) McCain, who was coming out for the elections. That was in the July (2012) time frame. I met with some of my agents and also some (CIA) annex personnel and we discussed that.”

More news: Nordstrom seems to be saying that the February 17 Martyrs Brigade actually threatened both the U.S. ambassador and a U.S. senator — and still served as U.S. security guards.

Farenthold: “Mr. Hicks, you were in Libya on the night of the attack. Do you believe the February 17 militia played a role in those attacks, was complacent in those attacks?”

Hicks: “Certainly, elements of that militia were complicit in the attacks. The attackers had to make a long approach march through multiple checkpoints that were manned by February 17 militia.”

More news: Most media accounts identified al-Qaida-linked Ansar al-Sharia (“Supporters of Sharia”) as the militia manning the checkpoints around the compound that horrible night. Of course, Libya militias seem to be loose organizations with overlapping membership.

If Americans ever learn how and why our government is making common cause with jihadist groups everywhere, they will realize that Uncle Sam has, himself, joined the jihad. Let's hope we learn before it's too late.

Diana West's new book is “American Betrayal: The Secret Assault on Our Nation's Character,” forthcoming this month from St. Martin's Press.

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