The night of Sept. 11, 2012 proved just how dangerous a place Benghazi, Libya can be to Americans, but the long-term danger posed by thousands of shoulder-fired missiles is worth considering as well. CBS News’ Sharyl Attkisson, one of few mainstream reporters to stick with the Benghazi investigation, has published a new report detailing the search for thousands of “man-portable air-defense systems,” or MANPADS, left over from the Qaddafi regime.
Before his overthrow and death in the fall of 2011, Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi was believed to have purchased 15,000-20,000 Soviet MANPADS. Concern over the whereabouts of the missiles – and the possibility that terrorists could buy them on the black market and even use them to shoot down American passenger jets – drove a U.S. effort to recover as many as possible. But only about 2,000 were accounted for prior to the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attacks on Benghazi, Libya, according to the source.
Who would have expected something like this to bloom from the much-praised “Arab Spring”?
Keep in mind that much of this is speculation, and Attkisson quotes CBS News national security consultant Juan Zarate as saying, “I don’t think we should be alarmist without more specific data, but this has always been a concern for civil aviation.” There’s no question, though, that Attkisson is one journalist well worth following.