(MintPress) – U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, (R-Kentucky), is gaining attention for a question posed to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during a Congressional hearing Wednesday, during which the senator questioned if the U.S. was shipping weapons from Libya to Turkey, alleging they then made their way into Syria to arm the rebels.
According to a Times of London report, a ship traveling from Libya to Turkey on Sept. 11 was carried 400 tons of cargo, including weapons headed for Syria’s rebels. The U.S. has skirted around the issue of whether it was arming Syrian rebels, some of whom have ties to Saudi Arabia and Qatar. Continued reports of rebel funding, however, have continuously hit media outlets.
In October, 2012, a Fox News story mirrored information released by the Times of London, stating Libyan vessel Al Entisar, docked in the Turkish port of Iskenderun, located just 35 miles from the Syrian border. Libyan Ambassador Chris Stevens, who died in the Sept. 11 attacks on his Temporary Mission Facility (TMF) was allegedly in talks with Turkish Consul General Ali Sait Akin that very night.
When Rand presented his question to Clinton, she did not specifically address the issue.
“I will have to take that question for the record,” Clinton said. “No one’s ever raised that with me.”
Conservative commentators issued a firestorm of criticism of Clinton for her lack of response.
“Senator Paul was trying to get down to the million-dollar answer today when he asked about any Libyan ships transferring heavy arms via Turkey. He was trying to get the outgoing Secretary of State to admit that she knew about the weapons and the CIA action that was ongoing,” writes Christopher McDaniel of PolicyMic, a libertarian news organization.
Sen. Benjamin Cardin, a Democrat from Maryland, asked Clinton how the U.S. makes sure that weapons it provides to opposition in conflicts like the Libyan revolution don’t pour over into the hands of terrorists, specifically citing Algeria.
Clinton admitted Libyan weapons were a source for terrorists in Afghanistan, Syria and Mali, although said that they stemmed from Gaddafi warehouses — not U.S. supplies.
“We had a concerted effort to try to track down and find and recover ManPads,” Clinton said. “The vast majority of weapons came out of Gaddafi warehouses,” she said, adding that those weapons spread to Syria.
In December, the Times, citing “well-placed diplomatic sources,” reported the U.S. had purchased stockpiles from the late Libyan dictator, Moammar Gadhafi, and was launching a cover operation to send weapons to arm Syrian rebels.