A failed state, a terrorist haven, four dead Americans – this is the Hillary Clinton record in Libya we know about.
But new evidence -- and a review of the public record -- reveals that Hillary Clinton’s actions in Libya were not just disastrous policy, but a violation of U.S. anti-terrorism law.
A recent report to the Foreign Affairs Committee of the British House of Commons concluded that Western intervention in Libya was based on "inaccurate intelligence" and "erroneous assumptions." Advocates failed to recognize that “the threat to civilians was overstated and that the rebels included a significant Islamist element," and the failure to plan for a post-Qaddafi Libya led to the "growth of ISIL" in North Africa.
However, “inaccurate intelligence” doesn’t fully describe the whole story. A closer examination of the run-up to the Libya debacle on September 11, 2012 leads to the irrefutable conclusion that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton knowingly armed radical Islamist terrorists in Libya.
The American public was told that the intervention in Libya was necessary to prevent a humanitarian crisis. But just as Hillary Clinton would describe the attack on our Benghazi diplomats as a spontaneous protest over a video, the military intervention that led inexorably to the debacle in Benghazi was sold on false pretenses: to prevent an imminent massacre of civilians engaged in a pro-democracy uprising.
Hillary Clinton described the 2011 Arab Spring rebellion in eastern Libya as a spontaneous pro-democracy uprising, but the Libyan connection to radical Islamic extremist groups was well known long before 2011.
The region where the rebellion began was a fervid recruiting ground for jihadis who killed American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The leaders of the “civilian uprising” that Hillary Clinton supported were members of the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) who had pledged allegiance to Al Qaeda. They refused to take orders from non-Islamist commanders and assassinated the then leader of the rebel army, Abdel Fattah Younes.
The LIFG had been jailed under Qaddafi until hundreds of their members were released through a de-radicalization program. That program was spearheaded by an exiled Muslim Brotherhood affiliated Libyan cleric based in Qatar named Ali al-Sallabi. The jihadis pledged they would never use violence against Gaddafi again.
But nearly as soon as the LIFG was released they took up arms against the Qaddafi regime.
Just as there was ample evidence that Hillary’s “pro-democracy protestors” were radical Islamists, there was no truth to the assertion a civilian massacre was imminent.
Libyan doctors told United Nations investigators that, of the more than 200 corpses in Tripoli’s morgues following fighting in late February 2011, only two were female. This indicates Qaddafi’s forces targeted male combatants and did not indiscriminately attack civilians. Nor had Qaddafi forces attacked civilians after retaking towns from the rebels in early February 2011.
While Muammar Qaddafi had a 40-year record of appalling human rights violations, his abuses did not include large-scale attacks on Libyan civilians. We restored full diplomatic relations with Qaddafi in 2007 and he was a key partner in counter-terrorism efforts.
LIFG and affiliated jihadis received at least 18 shipments of arms from Qatar with the blessing of the U.S., the Wall Street Journal reports. The arms shipments were funneled through none other than Ali al-Sallabi, the Qatar cleric who brokered their release from prison.
The Islamists were able to pay for the weapons because Clinton had convinced Obama to grant full diplomatic recognition to the rebels, against the advice of State Department lawyers and the Secretary of Defense.
As the Washington Post reported, this move “allowed the Libyans access to billions of dollars from Qaddafi’s frozen accounts.”
These arms shipments are significant for several reasons. It led to the indictment of American arms dealer Marc Turi who was charged with selling weapons to Islamist militants in Libya through Qatar. The charges were dropped this week after Turi threatened to reveal emails showing Clinton had approved the sales.
Here’s where it gets very sticky for Secretary Clinton. The rebel leaders were on the State Department’s Foreign Terrorist Organization list. It is a direct violation of the law to provide material support for terrorist organizations under 18 U.S. Code 2339A & 2339B. Penalties for providing or attempting to provide material support to terrorism include imprisonment from 15 years to life.
Nor is the Qatar connection insignificant. Qatar has donated anywhere from $1 to $5 million to the Clinton Foundation, and emails reveal members of the Qatari royal family were privileged with back channel meetings with Secretary Clinton at the State Department. While whipping up support for the Libya military campaign, Clinton told Arab leaders, “it’s important to me personally,” the Washington Post reported.
Hillary Clinton’s prosecution of foreign policy in Libya crossed several lines: she showed extremely bad judgment by ignoring military and intelligence officials, she let personal interests conflict with U.S. foreign policy and, most importantly, she may have broken the law -- again.
Any one of these transgressions should disqualify her from holding any kind of leadership role in our government, let alone president of the United States. The last one qualifies Hillary Clinton for government housing, though not in the White House.
Lt. General (Ret.) Michael T. Flynn spent 33 years as an intelligence officer. He served as the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency and the Senior Military Intelligence Officer in the Department of Defense. He is the founder of the Flynn Intel Group, a Commercial, Government, and International consulting firm. He is the co-author of the New York Times bestseller, co-written with Michael Ledeen, of "The Field of Fight: How We Can Win the Global War Against Radical Islam and Its Allies" (St. Martin's Press, July 12, 2016).