Belmont Club

Unfinished Business

The uncertainty that still surrounds events at Benghazi was emphasized by a report by Bill Gertz, based on al-Qaeda claims, that ambassador Chris Stevens was killed by lethal injection when an attempt kidnap him as a hostage to exchange for a high ranking Jihadi prisoner failed.

An al Qaeda terrorist stated in a recent online posting that U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens was killed by lethal injection after plans to kidnap him during the Sept. 11 attacks in Benghazi went bad.

The veracity of the claim by Abdallah Dhu-al-Bajadin, who was identified by U.S. officials as a weapons expert for al Qaeda, could not be determined. However, U.S. officials have not dismissed the terrorist’s assertion.An FBI spokeswoman indicated that the bureau is aware of the claim but declined to comment because of the ongoing investigation into the Benghazi attacks. … A State Department spokesman had no comment…

According to a March 14 posting on an al Qaeda-linked website, Dhu-al-Bajadin stated that Stevens was given a lethal injection that was overlooked during the autopsy.

The “plan was based on abduction and exchange of high-level prisoners,” the terrorist wrote on the prominent jihadist Web forum Ansar al-Mujahideen Network. “However, the operation took another turn, for a reason God only knows, when one of the members of the jihadist cell improvised and followed Plan B.”

Sensational stories like this can only reinforce speculation widely found on the Internet that there was more to Benghazi than meets the eye. Nor will an AP report that Tom Donilon just resigned as national security adviser to be replaced by Susan Rice quiet things down. That anti-Muslim LA video sure must have been something.

As to the kidnapping angle, Front Page Magazine in a story some weeks ago cited a cellphone video, supposedly taken during the attack in which the words “‘mahadesh, mahadesh yermi, Dr. Morsi ba`atna’” [are heard to be uttered] which translates to: “Don’t shoot, don’t shoot, Dr. Morsi sent us.”

Dr. Morsi, for those who have forgotten, was deeply interested in the release of the Blind Sheik. But this is not conclusive because there is no way of easily telling whether the video was dubbed.  And Morsi may be a common name in those parts.

What is not in dispute is that the FBI investigation remains open. “The FBI, in a statement, said the Benghazi investigation is ‘ongoing.'”

The Associated Press reported … that, according to unnamed U.S. officials, five men have been identified, and that the government has enough information to justify the U.S. military grabbing the suspects but not enough evidence to try them in civilian court. The U.S. military has updated plans to “capture or kill” alleged perpetrators of the deadly terror attack on the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, CNN reported last week.

CNN says that any attempt to “capture or kill” those individuals would have to be approved by President Obama. Far from being forgotten the Benghazi incident is still apparently very much alive and forces are reputed to be in place awaiting orders to go into action.

The plan has series of “capture or kill” options that Obama would have to approve. It’s not known how much of this he may have been briefed about.

One military official said the military is well aware that if it is ordered into action now by the White House, it could be viewed as a political move in light of the ongoing controversy over Benghazi. But he noted that initial planning began shortly after the attack last year.

Special operations forces have stayed in the North Africa region since the attack in varying numbers to collect intelligence and be ready to launch attacks if ordered. CNN has been asked to not say where those forces are located.

Just what “capture or kill” means is a subject of contention among legal scholars. They can’t seem to agree on what it means. Daniel Klaidman, formerly of Newsweek, has actually written a book of that title on the subject that is on sale at Amazon.  According to a  book review by the Washington Post, it portrays President Obama as sounding like George W. Bush.

Klaidman reports that the president’s focus on Awlaki was so intense, one of his briefers, Gen.James Cartwright, thought that “Obama’s rhetoric was starting to sound like George W. Bush’s, whom he had briefed on many occasions. ‘Do you have everything you need to get this guy?’ Obama would ask.”

What is clear is that the president found Awlaki’s American citizenship, in Klaidman’s words, “immaterial.”

Whether that was the unexorcised spirit of GWB speaking or President Obama himself is apparently the excruciating dilemma at the heart of this administration’s policies. Granted Awlaki was a bad guy. The Washington Post story continues.

Another of Obama’s key advisers, a liberal lawyer at the State Department named Harold Koh, was a little queasier about the whole killing enterprise. Koh was skeptical of the counterterrorism community’s conclusions about Awlaki, so he went to study the intelligence reports on the radical cleric for himself in a “crappy little room” in the State Department reserved for reading classified material.

“If Awlaki wasn’t going to be able to defend himself in a court of law, then perhaps Koh could at least ensure that the government’s case against him was legitimate,” Klaidman writes. Koh spent five hours poring over stacks of intelligence. “There were plans to poison Western water and food supplies with botulinum tox, as well as attack Americans with ricin and cyanide,” Klaidman writes. “Koh was shaken when he left the room. Awlaki was not just evil, he was satanic.”

Shoot. Botulism, ricin, lethal injections, cyanide, evil, satanic, ‘here comes Dr. Morsi’, Obama sounding like George W. Bush. It’s beginning to sound like a Fu Manchu movie. There are only fugitive glimpses in this drama, but no steady views.   As to definitions, the phrase “capture or kill” has a common sense meaning to the layman. Where there is not enough evidence to bring someone to trial, “kill or capture” sounds an awful lot like “take care of it”. But you never know.

The Three Conjectures at Amazon Kindle for $1.99
Storming the Castle at Amazon Kindle for $3.99
No Way In at Amazon Kindle $8.95, print $9.99
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