TEL AVIV – Information contained in newly declassified Pentagon documents may resurrect questions about claims the U.S. was running an interrogation center or secret prison in Benghazi, Libya, prior to the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks there.
Last week, the Pentagon produced 486 pages in response to a Judicial Watch’s Freedom of Information Act lawsuit asking the Defense Department to release “any and all” records produced by the U.S. Africa Command Operations Center concerning the Benghazi attacks.
One document was entitled, “Commander U.S. Africa Command request for forces.”
It contained Pentagon instructions to all deployed forces as part of what was known as Operation Jukebox Lotus, the codename for the crisis response that worked to secure U.S. interests in the region following the Benghazi attacks.
The operation began on Sept. 12 and was led by U.S. Africa Command. It also involved other forces, including those from the U.S. European Command.
On page No. “AFRICOM 87″ of the released documents, the following order about “detainees” was issued to the forces that deployed as part of the operation: “Transport of non-DOD passengers, detainees, and/or and (sic) cargo on DOD-owned or operated lift is not authorized without review and coordination by the HQ USAFRICOM Deployment and Distribution Center (ADDOC), IAW Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreements (ACSA) and/or other authorities.”
The document did not further mention detainees. It did not specify whether there were any detainees in Libya or to which detainees the order was referring. It was unclear whether this was a general order about the possibility of detainees or was in reference to any specific detainees.
There have been some unsubstantiated reports claiming the CIA was running an interrogation center or secret prison at the Benghazi Annex.
An October 2012 Fox News report quoted a well-placed Washington source confirming “there were Libyan militiamen being held at the CIA annex in Benghazi and that their presence was being looked at as a possible motive for the staged attack on the consulate and annex that night.”
Fox News further cited multiple intelligence sources who served in Benghazi as saying, “There were more than just Libyan militia members who were held and interrogated by CIA contractors at the CIA annex in the days prior to the attack. Other prisoners from additional countries in Africa and the Middle East were brought to this location.”
The same day Fox News originally reported on the alleged CIA prison in Benghazi, Oct. 26, 2012, Paula Broadwell, the alleged mistress of ex-CIA Director David Petraeus, gave a speech in which she claimed the CIA may have operated a secret detention center in Benghazi.
The 41-minute speech, a keynote address at a University of Denver alumni symposium, was removed from the university’s YouTube account after it was publicized in two links on the popular Drudge Report on Nov. 11, 2012.
Following media inquiries, the video was reposted by the university at a different link.
University of Denver spokeswoman Kim Divigil told WND at the time the video “was down for several hours this morning but immediately restored.”
During the session, Broadwell stated, “Now I don’t know if a lot of you heard this, but the CIA annex had actually had taken a couple of Libya militia members prisoner. And they think that the attack on the consulate was an effort to try to get these prisoners back. So that’s still being vetted.”
It wasn’t clear whether Broadwell was simply referring to the Fox News article about prisoners being held in Benghazi.
A CIA spokesman flatly denied Broadwell’s claim of a prison at the Libyan annex.
The spokesman said the CIA “has not had detention authority since January 2009, when Executive Order 13491 was issued.” Suggesting the agency is “still in the detention business is uninformed and baseless,” the spokesman added.
With research by Joshua Klein.
Pentagon doc suggests secret U.S. detention facility
Sun, 01 Mar 2015 22:15:28 GMT