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I found the Great Detective in his Mayfair club as expected at that hour, and we left the Reading Room where talk is forbidden. I had rushed to give him the recently leaked Pakistan Government report on Osama bin Laden, who had rivalled Professor Moriarty in evil cunning. But Holmes had read it already, of course; his brother Mycroft had sent an advance copy by Foreign Office courier. I was dazzled by the report’s honesty, the vicious criticism of its own bureaucracy, of negligence and mind-boggling incompetence that kept the mass-murderer free for many long years. Surprisingly, my aloof friend embraced me.

“Ah, my dear Watson!” he exclaimed. “Ever so loyal! Ever so earnest, attentive and reliably wrong! Were the report not so amateurish and so painfully obvious a fraud, it might have been the hoax of the decade!” I was crestfallen.

He rang for some pre-prandial club Madeira, a late-vintage Sercial. “You will recall, old friend, my celebrated case of the dog that didn’t bark in the night. Which dog is not barking here?” he asked and I averted my gaze in silent embarrassment.

“Their own intelligence services, of course. Testimony from the head of the ISI, their military Inter Services Intelligence directorate, is mysteriously absent from the document which alludes to it nevertheless.” Holmes held his glass of amber liquid up to the gaslight and admired the reflection.

“How convenient,” he mused, “how obviously and stupidly convenient. If that is a mere oversight, my dear boy, then I am Queen Marie of Roumania!” He clapped his hands, rose abruptly and began to pace through the empty card-room, between the baize-covered tables and simple bentwood chairs.

“Next,” he continued, “the authors let slip that his house and compound in the military garrison-town of Abbottabad, in which Osama was discovered by the Americans and later killed, were specially built to contain him. From the photos they were made to look old, in a style common to the 1940s and no later than the 1960s, like the surrounding residences; you will recall my monograph on Pakistani vernacular architecture, written just after my more famous work on cigarette ash.” I nodded thoughtfully.

“It took a lot of planning and preparation, especially by his two peasant bodyguards from the uplands if they had no outside help, especially in a nearly omniscient police state in a town overrun with military, military police and military intelligence,” he posited. “But why a new building instead of hiring an old one?” he asked. “Why go to all that expense and trouble? Why risk the scrutiny that could have been avoided by taking an old house long familiar to the neighbours?”

Thingstocome poster bin ladenHe paused to fill his calabash, then realised that smoking in clubs had been banned, cursed and jammed it back in his jacket pocket.

“Just as a guess,” he pondered, “for the same reason that Osama was housed in the middle of an army town instead of lodged somewhere remote and private. An old building may have been already bugged by anyone; a new one bugged only by the government agency erecting the building from scratch while keeping him under jealously tight surveillance.”

“You are a marvel, Holmes!” I exclaimed.

“Next we examine the motive,” he insisted. “There are two possible explanations and two alone. Either their keen and well-funded intelligence service completely missed the world’s most wanted terrorist as he moved about freely year after year, or the ISI—crammed with radical Islamists since the days of General Zia ul Haq—sheltered their hero but now would rather appear incompetent than evil. The answer speaks for itself in a police-state where one can’t have a dinner party without intelligence reports being filed.”

“Next we turn to how they claimed the unbelievable and botched the job with this flimsy report,” Holmes continued methodically.

“Pakistani spooks can be clever,” he surmised, “but only possess a certain low cunning. They should have left a few gaps in their published findings to create believability. Instead, they covered all possible explanations and tipped their hand. The arrogant blunderers must have been so proud of themselves.”

Holmes continued: “They said the bin Laden affair ‘culminated in the avoidable humiliation of the people of Pakistan,’ with ‘culpable negligence and incompetence at almost all levels of government,’ trying to make their document look sincere by uncharacteristically slamming their own state security apparatus. Weasel-wording would have been traditional and hence more credible were it an independent report to an unsuspecting government. This suggests that their primary audience is gullible foreigners, not their leaders who probably approved every word.”

“It rails against an ‘American act of war,’ and a great humiliation; credibly reflecting popular opinion there and deflecting the obvious criticisms,” Holmes declared. “The more clever defence, Watson, is always a careful self-indictment, or better yet incandescent patriotic rage. This document tries both.”

“Next, by the authors predicting that their findings may be suppressed,” he mused, “the six-month delay between publication and the intentional leak made it seem all the more believable. Then, ultimately, by still warning of ‘the possibility of connivance inside or outside the government,’ they gave themselves, and their masters, the ultimate escape clause. It could have been astoundingly unbelievable negligence or else,” he added, slipping into a music-hall Pakistani accent, “Goodness Gracious Me! The nefarious evil-doing of someone else entirely!”

“How bloody convenient!” snapped Holmes, slamming his empty glass on the nearest tabletop. “Their report lets you choose only between two carefully selected options, cloaking the one obvious answer that they want to cover up; their wholesale protection of the world’s most wanted terrorist after Moriarty! They mock thousands of innocent Americans murdered in the Twin Towers, Watson! They mock us too! Damn them, Watson! Damn them all!”

Holmes thrust his hands deep into his trouser pockets and stared into the glimmering coal fire. Slowly, his rage subsided and my friend adopted his usual reflective tone.

“So, to paraphrase that famous case of mine, we heard the barking and presumed there was a dog, but there was no dog at all,” he concluded mildly. “There was only the incompetent whimpering of a decidedly Third World government guilty of abetting terror, who overdid their excuses and gave themselves away.”

His voice rose again in his usual intellectual pride: “Quod erat demonstrandum, old friend! Circumstantial analysis of course; but so far, game, set and match!”

He paused and turned, displaying his famous aquiline profile over a clenched fist: “By thunder and mark my words, Watson, this struggle isn’t over yet!”

“But Holmes!” I exclaimed “Have you told the Foreign Office?

The detective smiled: “Sir Malcolm was leaving just as you came in. No doubt over supper he will speak to our friends in Grosvenor Square, at the American Embassy.” He looked at his gold pocket watch.

“Watson, old fellow, the club chef’s serving jugged hare again. It’s one of your favourites and last orders are at nine. Let us stroll upstairs, shall we?”

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Published: Jul 9, 2013
Stephen Masty (1954-2015) was a Senior Contributor to The Imaginative Conservative. He was a journalist, a development expert, and a speechwriter for three US presidents, British royalty and heads of government in Asia, Africa and the Caribbean. He spent most of his adulthood working in South Asia including Afghanistan, and he was a writer, poet and artist in Kathmandu.
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2 replies to this post

    Forget about Susan Rice and all the talking point lies. Forget the Congressional investigation into who changed the talking points. Just make the case simple. Who killed ambassador Chris Stevens? Treat the Incident at Benghazi as a murder mystery.

    We could call in the famous fictional detective Sherlock Holmes to help solve the murder. Holmes, who was really the creation of the author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, when not playing the violin or investigating a crime, once remarked, “When you have eliminated all which is impossible, then whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.”

    Odd as it may seem, Holmes may have been on the case longer than we know. The blogger Bookworm wrote in 2012 about the incident at Benghazi, “Sherlock Holmes certainly understood that, when wrongdoing is at issue, silence is as significant as noise:”

    He continued, “The Benghazi cover-up is so huge that the drive-by media isn’t doing it’s usual lying, puffing, and obfuscation. Instead, it’s fallen completely silent. It is pretending that Benghazi never happened.” (1)

    According to Holmes, what are the impossibilities that must be eliminated to solve the murder of ambassador Stevens? What is the improbably explanation that remains that helps us find the murderers? So far, there have been at least three explanations for the murder of Chris Stevens.

    The first explanation is the explanation put forward by the White House. Ambassador Stevens was murdered by a rioting mob that was protesting an anti-Muslim video. This explanation is impossible and has been discredited by most who have looked into the murder. Holmes would soon learn that the attack at Benghazi was well planned and had noting to do with a video.

    It would become clear to Holmes that the US Congress is wasting its time looking into the morphing of talking points the administration put forward as a smoke screen. All the while Congress is issuing subpoenas, the real murderer is covering his tracks. Holmes had seen this type of misdirection before.

    Next, we have the explanation of a gun running scheme that went bad. Stevens was supposedly involved with members of al-Qaeda in Libya and was illegally moving shipments of guns and weapons, especially ground-to-air missiles, via Turkey to Syria.

    A deal was going down at Benghazi the night of September 11, 2012, but something went wrong. The Libyan rebels, who wanted the arms to support the rebels in Syria, then killed Stevens.

    Glenn Beck thinks there is something to this explanation. “This is why the White House covered,” Beck claims, “because our ambassador was killed by a guy we were running guns to and we are still running guns today,” If these claims are true, then Congress must make the evidence about the gun running public. Beck should testify and tell us all he knows about the Incident at Benghazi. (2)

    Yet, this explanation is also an impossible cause for the murder of Stevens. Even though we are beginning to learn that indeed there was illegal gun running being done at Benghazi and Stevens, as a supporter of the Arab Spring and the Libyan Revolution was involved in it, where is the motive to kill him?

    Why would the Libyan rebels bite the hand that feeds them? Even if the rebels disapproved of Steven’s lifestyle, they had no motive for murder. They were getting what they wanted, either dollars or weapons.

    Furthermore, the attack at Benghazi was well planed, financed and executed. It was not spontaneous. Stevens’ would have known a deal was going badly long before the night of 12 September. Gunning running has to be eliminated as an impossible cause for Stevens’ murder.

    The most improbable explanation for Stevens’ murder, the explanation that remains, is that Stevens was killed as part of a foiled kidnapping plot. Stevens was part of a plan to kidnap an American ambassador, negotiate his release in exchange for the blind Sheik held in a US prison, and then have the US president emerge as a hero and win reelection.

    Holmes was lead to this kidnapping theory by his knowledge of Arabic and his reading of an “al Qaeda-linked website, Dhu-al-Bajadin. The website claimed that Stevens was given a lethal injection that was overlooked during his autopsy.” (3)

    Furthermore, on October 11, 2012 the author of the blog The Last Refuge claimed, “Benghazi was not an assassination attempt, it was a botched kidnapping…The kidnapping was botched when the two ex-Navy Seals, not aware of the plot, decided to offer resistance…The al-Qaeda goal was to kidnap Ambassador Chris Stevens and ransom him back to the U.S. in exchange for Sheik Omar Abdel-Rahman.” (4)

    Walid Shoebat also gives credence to the kidnapping theory, and takes the theory a step further. He involves the president of Egypt in the plot to kidnap ambassador Stevens. Shoebat writes in his article, Hostage Crisis: The Blind Sheikh, Benghazi and Smoking Guns, “A Libyan intelligence document has been produced that directly implicates Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood president Mohammed Mursi in the attacks on American installations in Benghazi on 9/11/12.”

    Shoebat continues, “Four-star Admiral James Lyons (Ret.) who on November 14, 2012, appeared on Fox Business Network with Lou Dobbs…During that interview, Lyons said he believed the only reason that made any sense relative to Ambassador Stevens being in Benghazi on 9/11 was a kidnapping operation in which Stevens could be traded for the ‘Blind Sheikh.'” (5)

    A complex plan, indeed, but it was a plan that could have been executed in far off Benghazi. A good plan, too, except something went wrong. What went wrong was the fact that some Americans at Benghazi who were not part of the kidnapping plot put up a fight.

    This fight killed many Libyans. The other Libyans felt betrayed and turned on Stevens to torture and kill the ambassador. No one likes to be double-crossed.

    The theory that the Incident at Benghazi was a foiled kidnapping to use ambassador Stevens as a bargaining chip for the release of Omar Abdel-Rahman, The Blind Sheik, depends on where former Navy Seal Woods and Doherty were on the night and the subsequent morning of the attack.

    If Woods was not aware of the kidnapping plan that involved Stevens, then Woods’ courage to defend the Americans may have thrown a monkey wrench into the attacker’s plans. Woods and others were the reason “things went horribly wrong” for the attackers. (6)

    Holmes does not know to what extent ambassador Stevens was involved in a kidnapping plot to further the President’s reelection. Given Stevens’ attachment to both the President and the Libyans who overthrew Gaddafi, and his interest in Islam, it is not unreasonable that Stevens could have entertained such an idea.

    Holmes does know, however, according to an article by Terence P. Jeffrey, “…a security team left the CIA annex in Benghazi to go to the aid of the nearby consulate less than 25 minutes after the attack started at 9:40 p.m. Benghazi time (3:40 p.m. Washington time).”

    “This team included former Navy Seal Tyrone Woods…It rescued some people at the consulate, sending them back to the CIA annex.” The team could not find ambassador Stevens, who by this time may have been in the hands of the attackers.

    The action taken by Woods may have foiled the kidnapping plans and had the consequence of the kidnappers killing Stevens and planning another attack of revenge hours later. (7)

    “By 11:30 p.m. this security team itself left the consulate to return–while being attacked–to the CIA annex. In the meantime, as the Los Angeles Times reported of the timeline, another security team came from Tripoli to Benghazi aboard a chartered airplane.”

    “[T]he CIA also sent a second six-member team from Tripoli on a chartered plane to help repel the attack,” reported the Times. “This team included Glen Doherty, another former SEAL, who was later killed when attackers fired mortar rounds at the CIA Annex.”

    From this timeline, it is evident that Woods and Doherty were killed seven hours after the first attack. Seven hours is enough time for the attackers to kill Stevens, regroup and attack again. Seven hours is also more than enough time for Holmes to fly in a passenger jet from London to Benghazi and back.

    Recent events in Egypt support Holmes’ theory of the crime at Benghazi. The removal of Egyptian President Morsi, the Incident at Benghazi and Obama may be linked together in a chain of deceit that some are now beginning to understand.

    Perhaps Obama still supports Morsi because Morsi knows the truth about what happened at Bengahzi. Some have suggested that the Incident at Benghazi was a failed attempt to kidnap ambassador Stevens and use his release to further Obama’s reelection. Walid Shoebat gives credence to the kidnapping theory, and takes the theory a step further. He involves the president of Egypt in the plot to kidnap ambassador Stevens.

    Shoebat writes in his article, Hostage Crisis: The Blind Sheikh, Benghazi and Smoking Guns, “A Libyan intelligence document has been produced that directly implicates Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood president Mohammed Mursi in the attacks on American installations in Benghazi on 9/11/12.”

    Shoebat continues, “Four-star Admiral James Lyons (Ret.) who on November 14, 2012, appeared on Fox Business Network with Lou Dobbs…During that interview, Lyons said he believed the only reason that made any sense relative to Ambassador Stevens being in Benghazi on 9/11 was a kidnapping operation in which Stevens could be traded for the ‘Blind Sheikh.'” (8)

    Furthermore, in a recent article Aaron Klein asks the question, is “Egypt’s Morsi behind murder of U.S. ambassador?” Klein writes, “…several major Arabic newspapers ran with a story, first reported by the Kuwaiti paper Al Rai, quoting a Libyan intelligence report on the Benghazi attack that mentions an alleged connection to Morsi and other prominent Egyptian figures. The report…is based on purported confessions of some of the jihadists arrested at the scene. The report states that ‘among the more prominent figures whose names were mentioned by cell members during confessions were: Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi; preacher Safwat Hegazi; Saudi businessman Mansour Kadasa…'” (9)

    If Saudi King Abdullah wants revenge for the toppling of his friend Hosni Mubarak in February 2011, for which he held President Obama responsible, he may release to the press details of the Benghazi attack that point to involvement by the Muslim Brotgerhood and Morsi. (10)

    The motive for the Incident at Benghazi was revenge and the attackers had seven hours to commit murder. The means were the weapons already in their possession. We can imagine Holmes, smoking his pipe and coming reluctantly to this conclusion: Stevens was murdered because the kidnapping plan failed.

    All Holmes has to do now is tie up a few lose ends. We will understand now why the US president was not to be found the night the Benghazi incident was going down. Did he know about the plan to further his reelection, so he need not be involved? The White House has remained silent on this matter.

    Once word reached Washington that things were going badly at Benghazi, the last thing the administration wanted to do was to send help. That would make a bad situation even worse. So, a stand down order was issued, with the hope that every thing would work out in the end, or be covered up by death.

    As to the video, well that was already set up to offer an explanation for the kidnapping. So why not use it to cover the failure, too? If the kidnapping had been successful and Stevens’ release secured, the media would have focused on the release and would have ignored the video.

    After the blanks are filled in and the role of the US State Department in all this is laid out, can you imagine Dr. Watson saying, “Why Holmes, this is brilliant. The improbable has become the actual.”

    “Elementary, my Dear Watson, elementary.”

    Now, if we can just get Sherlock Holmes to testify before Congress. Then, we may be able to put this mystery to rest. We will have solved the murder of ambassador Stevens and the case of the missing Stingers.




    (3) – pagebreak









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