Brennan: from Barack to Benghazi

By Douglas J. Hagmann

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21 February 2013: Benghazi. Few Americans ever heard of the city in Libya until the murder of four Americans, including a U.S. ambassador, on September 11, 2012. Fewer still heard of the movie Innocence of Muslims, until it was suddenly blamed for a non-existent protest outside of a non-existent embassy in Benghazi within hours of the attack.


For two weeks in our nation’s history, the obscure and amateurish video was persistently and very publicly cited as the cause for the protests and murders in Benghazi by the highest ranking officials in the Obama administration. Barack Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice, and others blamed the little known video for the attack on what was deliberately mischaracterized as a U.S. consulate in Benghazi.

Even today, the majority of officials in power don’t seem to want to talk about what happened in Benghazi, and Obama and Clinton repeatedly stonewalled all legitimate investigation of the incident. Why? Because any honest investigation into the activities taking place there would confirm a secret CIA operation intended to arm anti-Assad rebels, including the Iranian and Syrian backed Ansar al Sharia terror group. The purpose of this operation, the objective of which remains in place, is to topple Assad and replace him with a Saudi backed leader. Based on research and investigation, it appears that somewhere amid the magician’s fog of this illegal “black op” overthrow is John O. Brennan.

The Arabic-speaking John Brennan, who serves as Obama’s assistant for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, and is the choice to head the CIA,  has seen his share of exposure in the alternative media lately. Most recently, former FBI agent John Guandolo alleged that Brennan, while working as the CIA station chief in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia from 1996 to 1999, converted to Islam. According to agent Guandolo, Brennan visited Mecca and Medina during the Hajj, which are traditionally off limits to non-Muslims during that period. Former agent Guandolo cites Brennan’s presence and his comments about his visits as evidence of his conversion.

Beyond his possible conversion to Islam, however, Brennan’s other actions are much more troubling, particularly as they relate to his past history with Obama, and more recent history related to Benghazi, drone warfare, and his involvement with an administrative “kill list.” It appears possible that, by nominating Brennan to be the nation’s top spy chief, Obama might be tying up loose ends that are shrouded by controversy. One loose end is the Benghazi operation and the manner in which an obscure Internet video was immediately blamed. Yet another loose end relates to Obama’s passport records while he was on the campaign trail in 2008. These two significant incidents involving questions and controversy, lies and murder, are like bookends to a four-year stint in a star chamber.

Based on extensive investigation by this author, the former might well relate to the latter, as determined by the “digital footprints” and historical digital records of both incidents. Investigation of both incidents finds common digital forensic factors that suggest that the same person or persons involved in the 2008 passport office break-in (or at least the same entities) might be involved in the dissemination of the video Innocence of Muslims immediately following the 2012 attacks in Benghazi. Or, it would appear that way.

It is the professional opinion of this author, holding certification in Internet Profiling, that both incidents, despite this four-year span, appear to involve companies associated with corporate entities serving, or otherwise connected to, the U.S. government. This was determined through analysis of the IP addresses used to upload and change certain characteristics of the video, among other investigative indications.

Based on this research and investigation, the one person identified as seeming to have some level of involvement in the midst of both incidents is John O. Brennan.

2008 Passport office break-in

It has been reported and confirmed that computer files maintained and managed by the United States Passport Office were illegally accessed on three separate occasions in 2008 as follows: 9 January 2008, 21 February 2008, and 14 March 2008. Although the initial story broke in The Washington Times on Thursday, 20 March 2008, an article containing additional information was published two days later, on Saturday, 22 March 2008.

At that time, it was disclosed by State Department spokesman Sean McCormack that three (3) employees of two (2) separate government contracting firms were suspected in the “break-in,” and that the files access included those of then-Presidential candidate Barack Hussein Obama, Hillary Rodham Clinton, and John McCain. The motives for the accessing of records was unclear, according to investigating officials. The firms that employed the suspects were identified as Stanley, Inc., a firm that employed two suspects, and The Analysis Corporation, that employed one suspect.

Of note is that, according to published reports, in 2006 the firm identified as Stanley, Inc. was awarded a $164 million government contract to print new U.S. passports. Despite the security breach, Stanley, Inc. (currently a wholly owned subsidiary of CGI Federal, Inc.) announced on 17 March 2008 that they were awarded a five-year, $570 million contract to continue support of the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs/Passport Services Directorate.

The contract services include the production, operational and business process support training, procurement, administration and evaluation of critical supplies, and facilities management support at the four Passport Centers, and 14 Passport Agencies nationwide, along with the Headquarters’ support offices.

The Analysis Corporation (TAC), based in McLean, Virginia is a wholly owned subsidiary and the intelligence division of Global Defense Technology & Systems, Inc. (GTEC), a defense contracting company that is “focused on mission-critical, technology-based U.S. national security solutions.” It has been since renamed Sotera Defense Solutions.

Founded in 1990, the Analysis Corporation has been working on counterterrorism and national security projects, including (but not limited to) maintaining national “watch-listing” activities. According to open source reports, the intelligence part of GTEC is staffed by former senior officials from the intelligence community. They are operationally involved with nearly every branch of the intelligence community, including the U.S. Department of State, Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).

It is important to note that two employees working for Stanley, Inc. were fired. A third employee of The Analysis Corporation was the primary focus of the ongoing investigation. At the time of the break-in, the Analysis Corporation was owned and operated by John O. Brennan (CEO from November 2005 to January 2009). It is also important to note that during this period, John O. Brennan served as a close advisor to Obama in 2008 on matters of intelligence and foreign policy. Following a 25-year career in the CIA, Brennan also worked with the campaign to elect Obama during his first presidential campaign.

With regard to the breach of the passport office files, revelations regarding the results of the government investigation appear to have fallen into a deep, black hole in terms of any publication of investigative findings. Aside from the termination of two of the three suspects, the legal disposition of their cases (including the employee of Stanley, Inc.) remains unknown.

 

Unintended consequence?

At the time of the passport office break-in, Barack Hussein Obama was on the campaign trail as the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee. The news of the breach was made public within a week of the last intrusion. A week later, on 21 March 2008, while Obama was campaigning, he was asked for his reaction by ABC News Jake Tapper. It is obvious that Obama became officially aware that the public had been informed about the level of the breach, and that his personal and confidential biographical information, in addition to his international travels on his diplomatic and personal passport, were apparently “accessed.”

On April 8, 2008, Obama admitted, for the first time in any public venue as a presidential candidate, that he traveled to Pakistan in 1981. It is reasonable to ask whether Obama would have disclosed his Pakistan trip at this time had it not been for his uncertainty about whether or not the information had already been made public.

Even ABC News appeared surprised at this sudden and unexpected revelation, considering all of the talk about Pakistan and U.S. foreign policy during the previous several months. It is critical to understand that Obama never disclosed his Pakistan trip at any time during any policy discussions or debates prior to the passport office breach.

Mysterious death

Deeper investigation into the break-in found evidence that, in addition to the passport files, ancillary documentation of Obama, Clinton, McCain and several others was also compromised. Information that would facilitate identity fraud was also breached, as was the credit header information of various individuals. Based on this author’s most recent investigative findings, it is the professional belief of this author that this additional information provides the link between the break-in and an individual known as Lieutenant Quarles Harris, Jr. [Author's note: "Lieutenant" (and all known spelling variations) is the individual's given name, and does not represent any "rank" in any military or law enforcement agency.]

It is also important to point out that during the investigation of the breach of the passport office records, The Washington Times reported that “officials do not know whether information was improperly copied, altered or removed from the database during the intrusions” [Emphasis added]. As time progressed, so did the leaks. It was learned that at least one employee at the U.S. Department of State was a co-conspirator in the break-in.

According to published reports, that employee might have shared credit card information obtained during the breach with a man identified as Lieutenant Quarles Harris, Jr.

Based on the continued investigation of this author, it appears that Harris was the intended recipient of stolen credit card information from a State Department employee also involved in the breaches, but he received more than what he bargained for. When he realized the scope of the crime and the explosive nature of the information he possessed, he turned to investigators for protection. He also began to talk with investigators, and ultimately he made a deal with federal prosecutors.

Before he could make good on his deal, Lieutenant Quarles Harris, Jr. was found shot to death in his car on April 17, 2008, just over a month after the last breach. He was found in front of the Judah House Praise Baptist Church in the northeast section of Washington. He had been shot once in the head.

The murder of Harris remains unsolved, and the official account of the murder is that Harris was either a victim of random violence, or his murder was a result of a “street deal gone bad.”

2012: Innocence of Muslims explained

In many ways, the video Innocence of Muslims can be compared to the bloody glove found at Rockingham, a reference to a piece of evidence in the infamous O.J. Simpson murder trial. The video is critical evidence in the murder of four Americans – men who died in a dusty land on the dark continent. Due to the lies perpetuated by those in office, they will be denied earthly justice as Americans continue to passively accept the contemptible hubris of those spinning such tales. In this investigation of multiple murders, felonious and even traitorous activities, however, the video provides important clues in the form of digital bread crumbs. These digital bread crumbs have left a trail directly to doorstep of agencies involved in playing a supporting role in U.S. counter-terror operations, and those in government they serve.

The video is the Achilles heel that serves to expose their nefarious cover-up.

Many perplexing questions remain unanswered about the video that Obama, Clinton, Rice, Carney and others blamed on the attack and murders in Benghazi. Although I’ve carefully documented the history of the video that ultimately came to be known as The Innocence of Muslims in a previous report (available here), a few key issues to summarize new and significant findings, however, need to be addressed.

First, it is the professional opinion of this author, based on extensive investigation, that the video was a “made-to-order” production by orders from – and payment by –  our own intelligence community. The alleged producer of the video, publicly identified as Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, was associated with an individual known as Eiad Salameh, the cousin of Walid Shoebat, a man well known in counter-terrorism circles. According to Shoebat, Salameh was the subject of an extensive FBI investigation relating to a large scale fraud operation several years ago.

According to Mr. Shoebat, his cousin Salameh was in the sights of the FBI for three decades, had reportedly committed numerous federal crimes during this period known to the FBI, but was never arrested. This author was able to confirm that Salameh was connected to Nakoula, specifically for the purposes of this video, and that the activities of both were well known to the FBI at the highest levels. This author also confirmed that the facts presented by Mr. Shoebat in his 23-page report titled Anti-Muhammad Film “Innocence of Muslims” has a terrorist financier connection that includes major failures at the FBI, although disputes some of his conclusions based on evidence unavailable to him.

To be precise, it is the contention of this author, based on an examination of numerous court documents and the totality of evidence, that the video was created and produced by individuals who were acting as operational assets for the FBI. If this type of activity sounds familiar, it should as it is the same template that is commonly and frequently used by our government. It is the same template used in the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center and numerous “terrorist” operations since.

It appears possible that the FBI had enough evidence of criminal wrongdoing by Salameh and his associates to send him to jail indefinitely. Because Salameh and his associates had contacts and were communicating with terrorists in other countries, the CIA became involved as well. Based on the evidence reviewed, it is the professional opinion of this investigator that the casual conduit between the FBI and the CIA was John Brennan, who was acting at the time as the assistant to President Barack Obama for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism operations. Brennan also had numerous contacts within the burgeoning world of private counter-intelligence companies and operatives.

From my investigative findings, it appears that the “order” for the video was placed in 2011, at the time the Arab Spring was gaining momentum. It was also a time when anti-Muslim sentiment and “hate speech” was gaining worldwide attention in the U.S.

A video to incite and inflame Muslims for the dual purpose of causing violent outbreaks for specific times and to create a catalyst to stifle any criticism of Islam was desired, although no legitimate film producer wanted the job nor could be trusted in this “black op” assignment. Accordingly, the FBI appears to have given Nakoula, who was associated with Salameh a choice between cooperation and prison. It appears that he chose the former option.

Using a combination of willing participants and people duped into co-operating, Nakoula used his connections to involve some more well-known members within the “anti-jihad” movement, many who would sign on to any such project without performing any due diligence investigation of the people behind the endeavor. While seeming to serve his handlers within the intelligence community, Nakoula was also working for his own personal gain. Despite its actual low budget, the cost to the intelligence agency funding it was high.

The production of the video began about 14 months before the Benghazi attack in July of 2011. The initial name of this production was called Desert Warrior, but was changed on 30 June 2012 to The Innocence of Bn [sic] Laden. The following day, it “premiered” at The Vine Theater in Los Angeles under that name in order to provide legitimacy. Promotional flyers, written in Arabic, were provided in advance of (and at) the opening. According to public accounts, however, no one showed up to watch the movie and it was quickly forgotten.

The roughly 14-minute video later appeared on the YouTube channel of a man known as Sam Bacile under the title The Real Life of Mohammed on 1 July 2012. Clearly, the video had been digitally manipulated in an obviously amateurish manner from the original filming to the final incarnation. Replacement of the original dialogue to obviously antagonistic and insulting lines was clearly evident in the final video that appeared online.

If Nakoula had an operating budget provided by the CIA, why was the video such an obvious amateurish production? The reason, I was told by sources with knowledge of this video, is that much of the money was used by Nakoula and Salameh, who both had criminal histories involving fraud. Essentially, the FBI and the CIA were “out-conned” by a couple of convicted con artists.

Meanwhile, the U.S. operations in Benghazi were being shut down as the job had been mostly completed and the U.S. was getting pressure from the Turkish and Russian governments. The operatives in Benghazi needed a diversion to finish their operation. A large scale anti-U.S. demonstration in Tripoli, Cairo or elsewhere would serve as cover to wind things down in Benghazi and would divert and otherwise occupy the press.

 

Despite being poorly done, it is important to understand that the video already had its “legend” established. This explains the curiously odd “premier” at the Vine Theater, which was done not for public consumption, but to establish its fictitious pedigree. In the spy world, “legends,” or well-prepared synthetic histories of a person, or in this case a video, is vital.

Although far from perfect, the video Innocence of Muslims, having been virtually dormant on an internet channel for months, was suddenly “discovered” by Egyptian television host Sheikh Khalid Abdulla, who first aired the video on 9 September 2012. Well known in the world of counter-terrorism, Abdullah acted as the Middle East conduit for the otherwise useless video. Due to the persistent promotion of that video, protests broke out in Cairo and more importantly, at the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli.

How did Khalid Abdulla even find the obscure video? It is the professional opinion of this author that the answer might be found by identifying the YouTube channel (or channels) on which it was uploaded. Tracing the digital fingerprints of the various incarnations of the video from the first casting call when it was named Desert Warrior to its final birthing as Innocence of Muslims,  there is an apparent connection to the IP address associated with Stanley, Inc., the company previously referenced in the passport office break-in. From there, the fingerprints get somewhat “smudged,” but a connection is possible to others in the counter-terrorism and defense industry serving the U.S. government. In short, Abdullah was “given” the video by our own intelligence community.

The motive was not only to cause a diversion, but to also facilitate the First Amendment rights of all Americans, especially as they relate to the criticism of Islam. If this sounds too far out or convenient, take a look at the background of John Brennan, who spent time throughout the Middle East, including Egypt. Furthermore, the U.S. intelligence agencies were heavily influencing the media within Egypt following the toppling of Mubarak and the installation of the Muslim Brotherhood backed regime.

Too much free speech is a bad thing

Even deeper investigation of John Brennan has taken this author to his 1980 graduate thesis titled Human Rights, A Case Study of Egypt he wrote while at the University of Texas at Austin. Based on an extensive review of his published thesis, it appears that Obama will have, as his top spymaster, someone in favor of government censorship, or media manipulation for government purposes. His thesis offers valuable insight into his thinking and logic, especially as it relates to his personal experiences in Egypt. Using such personal experience, Brennan seems readily able to justify government censorship actions as in the case of Egypt under Anwar Sadat. It is important to consider that in his thesis, Brennan argues that too much uncensored or unchecked freedom could be detrimental to Egypt’s political environment.

Brennan’s overtly pro-Islamic position is evident in the counter-terrorism policies within the U.S. intelligence community. One would be remiss not note the revisions performed to our internal counter-terrorism training manuals that removed all criticism of Islam under Brennan’s direction.

Given Brennan’s obvious pro-Islamic bias, the views he argued in his graduate thesis that include favoring government censorship under certain conditions, his history with the CIA, and his close ties to Obama, is it not reasonable to question Brennan’s activities while National Security Advisor to Obama during the Benghazi attack even in the absence of evidence already offered? Specifically, is it not possible that the blueprint for use of the video not only to cause a necessary diversion, but to create a case against our First Amendment rights originated with Brennan at the behest of Obama?

Putting it all together

John Brennan, Obama’s pick for top U.S. spy, has recently come under fire for his stance on drone killings, secret kill lists, and in some circles, his alleged conversion to Islam. Some will consider Brennan the obvious choice to head the CIA, given his history with the agency. Few see a different side, a side possibly connected to unseemly activities involving crimes and cover-ups.

Those who object to John Brennan’s nomination are doing so on the basis of the obvious. Such examples include his support for enhanced interrogation techniques, drone use and the maintenance of a secret “kill list” from the star chamber of the White House.

There are many more important questions about Brennan that need to be asked and answered, but few will meet the challenge.

I believe I’ve identified questions about his role in the 2008 passport office security breach in which the file of Barack Obama, among others, was accessed. In that case alone, it is reasonable to wonder what information having significant political capital about Obama and others might be known to this spy legend? Has the spirit of J. Edgar been resurrected in Brennan?

How about his role in the murderous attacks in Benghazi and the subsequent cover-up? Or perhaps greater still, his role in the Saudi intelligence operation known as Arab Spring?

America has a history of creating great spies. America also has a history of turning out some who are adept at working all sides of an agenda, including the opposing sides. At this point in our nation’s history, can we afford to be anything except absolutely certain about the loyalty to our country, our Constitution, and our future of all of our appointees? Not until every question is asked, answered and verified.