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CIA Honored Benghazi Chief in Secret Ceremony

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Eli Lake
The Daily Beast
May 21, 2013

At a secret February ceremony at CIA headquarters in Langley, Va., the chief of the CIA’s base in Benghazi the night of the 9/11 anniversary attacks there was awarded one of the agency’s highest intelligence medals, according to U.S. military and intelligence officials.

The honor given behind closed doors to “Bob,” the officer who was in charge of the Benghazi intelligence annex and CIA base that was attacked in the early morning of September 12, 2012 and then abandoned for nearly three weeks, illustrates the murky lines of command that preceded the attack, and helped make it a politically volatile issue. While the State Department was responsible for elements of the security for the diplomatic mission at Benghazi, the mission itself was used primarily for intelligence activities and most the U.S. officials there and at the nearby annex were CIA officers who used State Department cover.

That purposeful ambiguity between diplomatic and intelligence efforts abroad has meant that at home, the State Department has taken almost all of the public blame for an error that was in part the fault of the CIA. And while CIA contractors performed heroically on the evening of the Benghazi attacks, Bob was also responsible in part for one major failure the night of the Benghazi attack: his officers were responsible for vetting the February 17 Martyr’s Brigade, the militia that was supposed to be the first responder on the night of the attack, but melted away when the diplomatic mission was attacked.

To be sure, the CIA has reviewed what went wrong in the Benghazi attacks in its own internal report. The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence has conducted three classified hearings with CIA officials regarding Benghazi. CIA deputy director Michael Morell is scheduled to testify in closed session before the committee on Wednesday regarding Benghazi.

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This article was posted: Tuesday, May 21, 2013 at 11:00 am





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