(CNSNews.com) – Retired Army Lt. Gen. William G. Boykin—who is the former commander of the U.S. Special Forces Command, the former deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence and who, in the 1990s, worked with the CIA—told CNSNews.com in a video interview last week that he believes it is a reasonable supposition that the U.S. was supporting or planning to support the Syrian rebels via Benghazi, Libya.
The CIA, however, says Boykin’s supposition is erroneous and that the U.S. was not conducting or planning covert action to support Syrian rebels through Benghazi.
“These assertions are both baseless and flat wrong,” a CIA spokesperson told CNSNews.com on Tuesday.
Boykin, who retired from the Army in 2007, believes that such an action, or planned action, would help explain why Amb. Chris Stevens was in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012, visiting that city for the first time since he had departed from it in November 2011 after having served there as a special envoy to the Libyan rebels who overthrew the Qaddafi regime.
“Then what was Stevens doing there on September 11 of 2012?” Boykin said in an interview with CNSNews.com. “More supposition was that he was now funneling guns to the rebel forces in Syria, using essentially the Turks to facilitate that. Was that occurring, (a), and if so, was it a legal covert action?”
Before terrorists attacked the State Department’s Special Mission Compound in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012, Amb. Stevens had met there with a Turkish diplomat.
About two hours after Amb. Stevens escorted the diplomat out of the main gate of the compound, dozens of terrorists swarmed through the same gate, beginning the series of attacks that would result in the deaths of Amb. Stevens, State Department Information Management Officer Sean Smith, and former Navy Seals Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, who were working for the CIA.
According to the State Department Accountability Review Board report, a Greek cargo ship first delivered then-Special Envoy Chris Stevens to Benghazi on April 5, 2011. Benghazi was then the center of the Libyan rebellion, and Stevens was accompanied at that time by ten State Department Diplomatic Security agents.
Stevens stayed initially in Benghazi at the Tibesti Hotel. But because of security concerns, he moved into the CIA Annex in Benghazi on June 1, 2011.
“Benghazi, however, was still very much a conflict zone,” said the ARB report. “On June 1, 2011, a car bomb exploded outside the Tibesti Hotel, and shortly thereafter a credible threat against the Special Envoy mission prompted Stevens to move to the Annex.”
Three weeks after that, Stevens moved into the State Department’s own facility in Benghazi. “On June 21, 2011, he and his security contingent moved to what would become the Special Mission Benghazi compound (SMC),” said the ARB report.