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2 Aug, 2013 19:11

CIA had dozens of operatives in Benghazi during consulate attack

CIA had dozens of operatives in Benghazi during consulate attack

Dozens of CIA operatives were reportedly near the scene where US Ambassador Christopher Stevens was killed last September 11, and the agency has gone to great lengths to keep the operatives’ actions a secret.

In an exclusive report, CNN said there were as many as 35 Americans on the ground in Benghazi at the time of the attack, 21 of which were working in a building that is believed to be operated by the Central Intelligence Agency. What the operatives were doing there that day remains a mystery, and it appears that the agency is making an extensive effort to try to stop any more information leaks.

“You have no idea the amount of pressure being brought to bear on anyone with knowledge of this operation,” an unnamed source told CNN.

The controversial news has been a cause of concern for some who fear that the US government could have prevented the attack, and US. Rep. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) believes the CIA is hiding something major. Since January, the agency has extensively questioned its operatives and subjected staffers to more frequent polygraph tests. A source told CNN that the agency’s actions are an unprecedented attempt to prevent information about Benghazi from ever being leaked.

“I think it is a form of a cover-up, and I think it’s an attempt to push it under the rug, and I think the American people are feeling the same way,” Wolf said.

A source told the news agency that some CIA operatives who were involved in Libya have been subjected to frequent – and sometimes monthly – polygraph exams. CNN analyst Robert Baer said that this is unusual, since agency employees are typically subjected to lie-detector tests once every three to four years, and “never more than that.”

“If somebody is being polygraphed every month, or every two months it’s called an issue polygraph, and that means that the polygraph division suspects something, or they’re looking for something, or they’re on a fishing expedition,” he said. “But it’s absolutely not routine at all to be polygraphed monthly, or bi-monthly.”

The CIA is allegedly trying to find out if any of its employees or agents are talking to the media or members of Congress about what happened at Benghazi on the night of Sept. 11, 2012. One insider says that doing so is risky, and could have far-reaching consequences.

“You don’t jeopardize yourself, you jeopardize your family as well,” the source said.

Dean Boyd, a CIA spokesman, has denied allegations that the agency is covering something up. He claims that CIA employees are always welcome to speak to members of Congress, and that the agency has shared “an extraordinary amount of information related to the attack on US facilities in Benghazi.”

But the information leaks present a different narrative, and questions remain unanswered about the number of Americans and CIA operatives who were at the scene at the time of the Benghazi attack. Wolf said in the days after Sept. 11, several sources with ties to the CIA demonstrated a willingness to share what they know with members of Congress. But now, there is nothing but silence from CIA operatives and contractors.  

“Initially they were not afraid to come forward,” he said. “They wanted the opportunity, and they wanted to be subpoenaed, because if you’re subpoenaed, it sort of protects you, you’re forced to come before Congress. Now that’s all changed.”