Benghazi: The Definitive Report is going to get more attention for its claim that the Benghazi attack happened as retaliation for assassinations being carried out by CIA “hit squads” against Al Qaeda leaders in Libya. The entire narrative depends on the usual “anonymous sources” which might exist or which might be entirely made up, and fits a little too neatly into Blowback Theory.
To believe it we have to assume that the CIA had the operational capability to carry out on-the-ground assassinations of terrorist leaders who were well protected, but not the capability of defending their own facility.
Tying in with that, the authors claim that General Petraeus was taken down from within the CIA for his support for such attacks, rather than intelligence gathering. The CIA does have a record of forcing out leaders they don’t like.
‘It was well known to Petraeus’s Personal Security Detachment (bodyguards) that he and Broadwell were having an affair. He wasn’t the only high-ranking Agency head or general engaged in extramarital relations, but when the 7th floor wanted Petraeus out, they cashed in their chips,’ Webb and Murphy write.
The book continues: ‘The reality of the situation is that high-ranking CIA officers had already discovered the affair by consulting with Petraeus’s PSD and then found a way to initiate an FBI investigation in order to create a string of evidence and an investigative trail that led to the information they already had—in other words, an official investigation that could be used to force Petraeus to resign.’
Webb and Murphy said the CIA bureaucracy wanted Petraeus out of the CIA. Senior officials were furious over the way he had been running the agency since he was appointed in September 2011.
He was turning the agency’s focus from intelligence gathering and analysis to paramilitary operations, including drone strikes.
Additionally, he ran the CIA like a four-star general, instead of treating it like a political institution, the authors say. His management style made countless powerful enemies within the CIA.
‘It’s almost like they wanted him not just to resign but that they wanted him kicked out of the political game for at least a number of years,’ Murphy told MailOnline.
Webb said his sources in the FBI told him federal agents wanted to close down their investigation when they learned that nothing illegal had happened, but they were told to keep digging. The FBI investigators, Webb says, never wanted to out Petraeus’ affair.
Certainly the entire investigation was highly suspicious and clearly political. The CIA corporate culture is highly dysfunctional and the organization is of dubious. It’s fairly poor at intelligence gathering compared to its rivals.
Porter Goss, who came out of the CIA, wasn’t able to hang on and carry out the necessary reforms and was forced out by a palace coup. It would not be surprising that Petraeus was also forced out. While the authors would seem to suggest that Brennan will do badly as well, I suspect that Brennan is far more in tune with the CIA culture than Goss or Petraeus.