So, What’s With This CIA Secret Prison In Benghazi?

Fox News has the latest on the David Petraeus affair. (Pun intended.) Emails, harassment, FBI investigations, secret CIA prisons in Benghazi. But of course, President Obama knew nothing about any of this, even though everyone else seemed to.

Biographer Paula Broadwell could be facing questions about whether she revealed classified information about the Libya attack that she was privy to due to her relationship with then-CIA Director David Petraeus.

At an Oct. 26 speech at her alma mater, the University of Denver, on the same day that Fox News reported that the rescue team at the CIA annex had been denied help, Broadwell was asked about Petraeus’ handling of the Benghazi situation.

Her response was reported originally by Israel’s Arutz Sheva and Foreign Policy’s Blake Hounshell.

Broadwell quoted the Fox News report when she said: “The facts that came out today were that the ground forces there at the CIA annex, which is different from the consulate, were requesting reinforcements.”

Broadwell went on to explain more sensitive details from the Benghazi attacks, particularly concerning what the real cause might have been.

“Now, I don’t know if a lot of you heard this, but the CIA annex had actually, um, had taken a couple of Libyan militia members prisoner and they think that the attack on the consulate was an effort to try to get these prisoners back. So that’s still being vetted.”

You can read the whole thing, but it still leaves some questions unanswered.

Two separate questions here. One: Is the CIA still operating secret prisons and, if so, how are they questioning their prisoners? Enhanced interrogation is the only part of the Bush counterterror playbook that O hasn’t adopted, or so we’ve assumed. We’ll see. Two: Did Ansar al-Sharia and its partners in jihad find out about the prisoners and attack the annex on 9/11 to try to free them? I’m thinking … probably not, for the reasons Ed gave this morning. If they thought there were prisoners at the annex, why’d they attack the consulate first and give up the advantage of surprise? The attack on the consulate wasn’t a diversion, either: According to the CIA’s timeline, the first attack at the annex didn’t happen until 11:56 p.m., more than two hours after the consulate attack had begun and after the CIA security team had already returned from the consulate to the annex. That makes it sound like the jihadis tailed the CIA’s people back to the annex; if they were planning an ambush to free prisoners, they should have had people pre-positioned there to move in as soon as they saw the CIA security team leave for the consulate earlier in the evening. And again, per Ed, if you were going to hold prisoners somewhere in the Middle East, why on earth would you choose a city as unstable as Benghazi?

Besides, the timeline of the Petraeus/Broadwell affair is hard to square with the idea of her being privy to secret info about Benghazi. (Read More)

There’s a huge thread at memeorandum. None of this makes any sense. High level officials in the FBI and the DOJ supposedly knew about the affair between Petraeus and Broadwell months ago, yet somehow President Obama wasn’t informed until a day or two after the election?

Update: The father of Jill Kelley, the social liaison who was harassed by Broadwell, said this is all a smokescreen to cover up something bigger.

But Broadwell’s father said Sunday his daughter is the victim of character assassination and implied the bombshell story is just a smoke screen for something bigger.

“This is about something else entirely, and the truth will come out,” Broadwell’s dad, Paul Krantz, told the Daily News outside his home in Bismarck, N.D.

“There is a lot more that is going to come out,” said Krantz, claiming he was not allowed to elaborate. “You wait and see. There’s a lot more here than meets the eye.”

Also, ABC News provides an explanation for the FBI not informing the White House earlier.

The FBI withheld its findings about Gen. David Petreaus’ affair from the White House and congressional leaders because the agency considered them the result of a criminal investigation that never reached the threshold of an intelligence probe, law enforcement sources said today.

The sources said agents followed department guidelines that generally bar sharing information about developing criminal investigations. The FBI is also aware of its history under former director J. Edgar Hoover of playing politics and digging into the lives of public figures. As one official said, the rules are designed to protect people (both private and elected officials) when negative information about them arises in the course of a criminal investigation that is not a crime.

Even though Petraeus was not under a criminal investigation at the time, that doesn’t mean he can’t be prosecuted.

One result is that Petraeus could possibly face military prosecution for adultery if officials turn up any evidence to counter his apparent claims that the affair began after he left the military.

I wonder if that will have any bearing on his testimony before Congress, if he is subpoenaed.

Update 2: But let’s not forget that Eric Holder knew about it. Do you think he kept this information from Obama? The timing of the White House being notified after the election, but before the Congressional hearing, is questionable at best.

Update 3: IBD wonders if Petraeus was blackmailed, and if so by whom. Good question.