Clinton Takes Question for the Record

Seemingly overlooked multiple media reports surrounding Turkey-Libya weapons transfer

• January 23, 2013 2:01 pm


Sen. Rand Paul (R., Ky.) criticized Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her failure of leadership during the long-awaited Benghazi hearing. Paul was also curious about unconfirmed reports of weapons transfers:

"Is the US involved with any procuring of weapons, transfer of weapons, buying, selling, anyhow transferring weapons to Turkey out of Libya?"

Clinton seemed to balk at the question:

"To Turkey? I will have to take that question for the record. Nobody’s ever raised that with me."

Paul noted it had been in media reports and expanded his question to ask if the annex that was close by had any involvement in purchasing weapons and transferring them to other countries. Clinton said she did not know, and she did not have any information on it.

Clinton seemingly overlooked numerous news reports that support Sen. Paul’s line of questioning.

The Times published an article on Sept. 14, 2012 by Sheera Frenkel about a Libyan ship carrying weapons and entering a Turkish port:

A Libyan ship carrying the largest consignment of weapons for Syria since the uprising began has docked in Turkey and most of its cargo is making its way to rebels on the front lines, The Times has learnt.

Among more than 400 tonnes of cargo the vessel was carrying were SAM 7 surface-to-air anti-aircraft missiles and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs), which Syrian sources said could be a game-changer for the rebels.

"This is the largest single delivery of assistance to the rebel fighting units we have received," said Abu Muhammed, a member of the Free Syrian Army (FSA), who helped to move the shipment from warehouses to the border. "These are things that could change the tide — if they are used correctly."

The Times was shown the Libyan ship, the Intisaar or the Victory, in the Turkish port of Iskenderun and papers stamped by the port authority by the ship's captain, Omar Mousaeeb, a Libyan from Benghazi and the head of an organisation called the Libyan National Council for Relief and Support, which is supporting the Syrian uprising. …

Rebel commanders interviewed by the Times said that organisers of the ship conferred with their Libyan counterparts to ensure that the cargo would be split evenly within various Free Syrian Army (FSA) units. But when the ship arrived, the consignment was registered to individuals from the Turkish IHH group, a charity with ties to the Muslim Brotherhood.

Fox News similarly reported about the Libyan-flagged ship in October:

Through shipping records, Fox News has confirmed that the Libyan-flagged vessel Al Entisar, which means "The Victory," was received in the Turkish port of Iskenderun—35 miles from the Syrian border—on Sept. 6, just five days before Ambassador Chris Stevens, information management officer Sean Smith and former Navy Seals Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty were killed during an extended assault by more than 100 Islamist militants. …

The cargo reportedly included surface-to-air anti-aircraft missiles, RPG's and Russian-designed shoulder-launched missiles known as MANPADS.

The story was additionally covered by Business Insider