August 5, 2013

America’s Assassination Program in Libya

Last week’s prison break in Benghazi is just the latest indicator that Libya, and Benghazi in particular, is sliding deeper into chaos and sectarian violence. Between the prison breaks, riots, bombings, and shootings, there is something else that has gone overlooked. While much of the violence appears to be tribal in nature (with Libya roughly divided into three regions, East, West, and South), or conflict between the moderates and Islamists, or even a liquidation of Gaddafi era officials, there is also another player on the scene. One that is keeping a much lower profile.

Our first indication that something was up came in the aftermath of the attack on the U.S. consulate and CIA annex in Benghazi on 9/11/12. The details of the attack itself are laid out in Benghazi: The Definitive Report, which I wrote with Brandon Webb. But here is an additional piece of information not in the book. When Ambassador Chris Stevens was lost in the smoke caused by a fire lit by the Ansar Al-Sharia militia, a Diplomatic Security Service member made several valiant attempts to go back into the fire to find him. Eventually, he had to break off his search due to smoke inhalation. The last time I inquired about this individual, I was told that he was still in the hospital due to the smoke inhalation he suffered. Ty Woods then arrived at the annex with his Global Response Staff element and they fought off Ansar Al-Sharia, recovered the remains of Sean Smith, and saved the other Americans. But Stevens was nowhere to be found and Ty’s element had to retreat back to the annex with the other Americans.


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About the Author

is an eight year Army Special Operations veteran who served as a Sniper and Team Leader in 3rd Ranger Battalion and as a Senior Weapons Sergeant on a Military Free Fall team in 5th Special Forces Group. Having left the military in 2010, he is now working towards a degree in Political Science at Columbia University. Murphy is the author of Reflexive Fire, Target Deck, the PROMIS series, and numerous non-fiction articles about Weapons, Tactics, Special Operations, Terrorism, and Counter-Terrorism. He has appeared in documentaries, national television, and syndicated radio.

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  • MysterBlack

    JHR13 MysterBlack I'm not sure I can accept that the only problem was some idiot talking about covert ops to the press.  If you believe Jack and Brandon's reporting, the first problem was the ops preceding the attack on the consulate were so secret that it left the CIA and State department in a situation where they didn't know the same people they were interacting with and surveilling on the ground in Benghazi were being shot at and killed by another group of Americans they didn't know about.  And it appears now the leak is related to a lack of action that could have happened for months.  If the button hadn't been pushed yet, I find it not likely this leak was the thing that fucked everything up.  And if the bad guys didn't know that we'd have covert teams hunting them after the attack, then I'm not sure we should really be worried about their overall prowess in taking over the world either...

  • JHR13

    MysterBlack Sounds like some idiot talked about a covert ops to the press. Same ol same ol. Pentagon stalls out on a good initial plan made by our favorite comic heros.

  • kansas

    JHR13  I apologize for any offense, it was not intended.  My interest was more in the source of this particular story (people in or connected to the state dept), and the fact that it was a pretty comprehensive example of blaming the victim.

  • MysterBlack

    Hey Jack.  You seen this report? http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/08/23/team-involved-in-tracking-benghazi-suspects-pulling-out-sources-say/ While I have been critical of having a secret assassination program in Libya before the attack which left an ambassador and others out to dry (at least the lack of deconfliction part), this seems to be more ineptness.  No matter the causes of the attack, even if our policies played a role, weakness after the fact (I'm guessing due to fear that the assassination program would go public big time and connect back to the initial attack, though I may be wrong) is only going to embolden these guys further.  Past mistakes are no reason to not kill them once they've clearly killed Americans.  While I think our strategy clearly needs to include longer term goals than endless tit-for-tat (Ha!), it seems part of that strategy has got to be the principle: If you kill Americans, particularly an ambassador, we will come and fuck you up.  Anyway, I'd be interested in your thoughts on this new wrinkle in the story.

  • JHR13

    kansas The Ambassador had business that day with a noted professional at the Hospital as well as other documented meetings. Keep the BS about somebodys personal life out of a serious discussion.