U.S.-Approved Arms for Libya Rebels Fell Into Jihadis’ Hands

James Risen, Mark Mazzetti and Michael S. Schmidt
The New York Times
12/5/2012

The Obama administration secretly gave its blessing to arms shipments to Libyan rebels from Qatar last year, but American officials later grew alarmed as evidence grew that Qatar was turning some of the weapons over to Islamic militants, according to United States officials and foreign diplomats.

No evidence has emerged linking the weapons provided by the Qataris during the uprising against Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi to the attack that killed four Americans at the United States diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, in September.

But in the months before, the Obama administration clearly was worried about the consequences of its hidden hand in helping arm Libyan militants, concerns that have not previously been reported. The weapons and money from Qatar strengthened militant groups in Libya, allowing them to become a destabilizing force since the fall of the Qaddafi government…

…The case of Marc Turi, the American arms merchant who had sought to provide weapons to Libya, demonstrates other challenges the United States faced in dealing with Libya. A dealer who lives in both Arizona and Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, Mr. Turi sells small arms to buyers in the Middle East and Africa, relying primarily on suppliers of Russian-designed weapons in Eastern Europe.

In March 2011, just as the Libyan civil war was intensifying, Mr. Turi realized that Libya could be a lucrative new market, and applied to the State Department for a license to provide weapons to the rebels there, according to e-mails and other documents he has provided. (American citizens are required to obtain United States approval for any international arms sales.)

He also e-mailed J. Christopher Stevens, then the special representative to the Libyan rebel alliance. The diplomat said he would “share” Mr. Turi’s proposal with colleagues in Washington, according to e-mails provided by Mr. Turi. Mr. Stevens, who became the United States ambassador to Libya, was one of the four Americans killed in the Benghazi attack on Sept. 11.

Mr. Turi’s application for a license was rejected in late March 2011. Undeterred, he applied again, this time stating only that he planned to ship arms worth more than $200 million to Qatar. In May 2011, his application was approved. Mr. Turi, in an interview, said that his intent was to get weapons to Qatar and that what “the U.S. government and Qatar allowed from there was between them.”

Two months later, though, his home near Phoenix was raided by agents from the Department of Homeland Security. Administration officials say he remains under investigation in connection with his arms dealings. The Justice Department would not comment.

Mr. Turi said he believed that United States officials had shut down his proposed arms pipeline because he was getting in the way of the Obama administration’s dealings with Qatar. The Qataris, he complained, imposed no controls on who got the weapons. “They just handed them out like candy,” he said.

Read the entire article at The New York Times.

From October: Government ‘People Will Go to Prison’: Beck Breaks Down Obama’s ‘Lying’ on Libya in Fiery Segment.  The video in this article has expired, but someone has captured portions of it to YouTube.

Update: Nobody in charge at office that inspected Benghazi security

The State Department has gone without an inspector general for four years, raising concerns that the Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the U.S. Embassy in Libya could have been averted or, at least, more thoroughly investigated if President Barack Obama had filled the post during his first term.

The last head of the Office of the Inspector General of the Department of State was Howard Krongard, who retired in January 2008.

Since Krongard’s departure, the critical role of overseeing an office charged with investigating instances of fraud, waste and mismanagement in the State Department has gone unfilled…

…“Whether there’s a question about Benghazi, or whether it has to do with fiscal management, or potential criminal wrongdoing, or crossing the political lines like violations of the Hatch Act, it’s important that there be an internal watchdog,” [Heritage Foundation senior legal fellow John] Malcolm added.

Throughout his first term, President Obama has consistently declined to name anyone to lead the OIG [Office of the Inspector General]…

Also, BenghaziGate: Obama Admin Knew Libyan Terrorists Had US-Provided Weapons This NYT article analyzed at Breitbart’s Big Peace.

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