I am posting this here because friends and not-so friends are telling me in private that the fact checkers, New York Times etc say it is unverified that an estimated 20,000 surface to air missiles were in Libya and that was a reason for the Ambassador Stevens and other Americans to be in Benghazi.
Let me help them out. Maybe they will stop accusing me of posting myths and fake news, but I doubt it.
U.S. Army General Carter Ham, commander of Africom, who led Operation Odyssey Dawn, the initial United States role in the 2011 military intervention in Libya, answering questions in the U.S. Senate Arms Services Committee, April 7, 2011: “Senator, to the second part of your question first, I’m very concerned about the proliferation of weapons, notably shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles which we assess there were perhaps as many as 20,000 in Libya as the operation began. Many of those we know are now not accounted for, and that’s going to be a concern for some period of time.
“In an interview with ABC News last month [August 2012], Glen Doherty, a 42-year-old former Navy SEAL who worked as a contractor with the State Department, [and died in Benghazi] said he personally went into the field to track down so-called MANPADS, shoulder-fired surface-to-air missiles, and destroy them. After the fall of dictator Moammar Gadhafi, the State Department launched a mission to round up thousands of MANPADS that may have been looted from military installations across the country. U.S. officials previously told ABC News they were concerned the MANPADS could fall into the hands of terrorists, creating a threat to commercial airliners.”
“Though Libya had an estimated 20,000 man-portable surface-to-air missiles before the popular uprising began in February, Assistant Secretary of State Andrew Shapiro told ABC News today [Sept 27 2011] the government does not have a clear picture of how many missiles they’re trying to track down.” …“The missiles, four to six-feet long and Russian-made, can weigh just 55 pounds with launcher. They lock on to the heat generated by the engines of aircraft, can be fired from a vehicle or from a combatant’s shoulder, and are accurate and deadly at a range of more than two miles.”
US covered up fatal MANPAD missile downing of US military Chinook helicopter.