Skip to comments.Benghazi: Symbol of Obama's Leadership
Posted on 10/30/2012 6:23:35 AM PDT by Kaslin
The first statements from the Obama administration about what happened in Benghazi seemed plausible. There were, after all, protests throughout the Muslim world on the anniversary of 9/11 -- some incited by Islamists using an obscure video to arouse anti-American fervor in the mobs, and some, no doubt, just pelting U.S. embassies on general principles. When the administration explained that one of those protests had spun out of control and led to the murder of our ambassador and three other Americans in Libya, there seemed no reason to doubt it.
For a day. But within hours, the administration account deflated like a punctured balloon. CBS reported that there was no protest outside the consulate in Benghazi. Members of Congress who were briefed said the attack was a military-style assault. We learned that an al-Qaeda affiliate claimed responsibility for the attack. It was reported that Ambassador Stevens had noticed increased al-Qaeda activity, had feared for his safety, and had requested additional security, only to be turned down. Yet day after day, the administration continued to distort reality by referring to the Internet video.
Most of the press was willing to let the story fade because the man in charge is their man, and he is in a tight race for reelection. But Fox News, Eli Lake of The Daily Beast, and one or two others have revealed details about the administration's handling of the crisis that are beyond embarrassing -- they verge on malfeasance.
According to Fox's Jennifer Griffin, former Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods, who was part of a small team at the CIA safe house about a mile from the consulate, heard shots fired at 9:40 p.m. He urgently requested backup from the CIA and asked permission to head to the consulate to help. The request was denied three times. He and his team were told to "stand down."
Woods and others disobeyed orders and headed over to the consulate where they rescued several people and carried away the body of Sean Smith. They did not find the ambassador. Upon returning to the safe house, they again requested military back up and were again denied. They were soon under fire. The fighting there went on for four more hours. Washington was in constant touch with personnel in Benghazi through email. In addition, Griffin reports, a special operations force was stationed only 480 miles away at Naval Air Station Sigonella in Italy. They could have flown to Benghazi in less than two hours. The New York Post further reports that a military drone aircraft was over Benghazi at the time of the attacks, relaying real time information back to Washington.
President Obama told a Denver TV station, "I gave three very clear directives. Number one, make sure that we are securing our personnel and doing whatever we need to. Number two, we're going to investigate exactly what happened to make sure it doesn't happen again. Number three, find out who did this so we can bring them to justice."
Investigations can stretch on for a long time -- certainly past Nov. 6. If the president gave such an order, why were urgent pleas for military support denied? Would the military defy the orders of the Commander in Chief? General David Petraeus says that the CIA never denied a request for help -- which raises the question: Who else but the White House would have made such a decision?
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta may have answered the question -- and exposed Obama's claim of directing that our personnel be secured as false. Panetta explained,"[The] basic principle is that you don't deploy forces into harm's way without knowing what's going on, without having some real-time information about what's taking place. And as a result of not having that kind of information, the commander who was on the ground in that area, Gen. Ham, Gen. Dempsey and I felt very strongly that we could not put forces at risk in that situation."
Really? Is the Secretary of Defense really saying that we can't put forces at risk when Americans are already at risk and are being shot at? Why do we have a military again? Tyrone Woods certainly didn't have any doubt about what to do when Americans were under attack. He defied orders and rushed to help, sacrificing his own life. It's what any member of the armed forces would normally do -- unless restrained by incompetent civilian authority.
Please help me. I am trying as hard as I can to get out the word about cross-border authority. I just can't believe reporters don't know enough to ask the right questions! It's infuriating. Libya, as far as standing down the rescue, is 100% Obama's show, and nobody else's. Only he can grant CBA, not Biden, not Panetta, not Dempsey, not Hillary, and certainly not Ham in Germany.
The entire episode is explained perfectly inside the context of not granting CBA. The CIA QRF in Tripoli? No problem, send them on the local Tripoli station chief's say-so. He merely informs up COC that he has done so. CCs them so to speak. "This is what I am doing." Ditto if Predators were in country, no problem using them.
But the big rescue air armada streaming toward Libya right away after the alarm got to Stuttgart and Africom? That has to stop. I believe at the 5pm meeting with Panetta and Biden in the Oval Office, he said, "No outside military intervention," on the basis that the last report was the "lull" from the consulate, at about 1030 p.m. in Benghazi, when the attack appeared to be over and the situation stabilizing.
(As a soft exception, Obama may have authorized sending an unarmed Predator from outside of Libya, but I am thinking the two Predators were already in-country, and hence available to use within no CBA granted rules.)
"No outside military intervention" equals "no cross-border authority" and that constitutes "standing orders" until POTUS changes them. Nobody else can un-decide the POTUS decree. The rescue air-armada of C-17s, C-130s and SOF helos like MH-47 Chinooks and Pavehawks cannot proceed directly to Libya without CBA being granted, so instead they are all staged at Sigonella, Sicily.
USN ships are in position to "lilypad" helos for long over-water flights. Airborne tankers are coming into position. SOF forces in Sigonella are going over their gear for different contingencies. Fuming all night as officers keep checking in with operational commanders. "Hold in place, no rescue yet. We can't find the President, it sounds like," say the colonels to the majors and captains. 100s of military must know about this. I keep waiting for the conclusive whistle-blowers to come forward BEFORE the election. After won't matter, it will be for the historians.
Panetta is falling on his sword for Obama with his absurd-on-its-face, "The military doesn't do risky things" defense of no rescue. Panetta is destroying his future reputation entirely, to save Obama. The question is why? Loyalty?
Petreaus was probably "used" in some way early, about the supposed CIA intel link to the Mohammed video, and now he feels burned. So he conclusively said via his PAO, "The stand-down order did not come from CIA." Well, what is higher than CIA? Only White House. Obama, nobody else. Petreaus is naming Obama without naming him.
Now, as far as Obama / Huma Abedin / Valerie Jarrett etc actually wanting Ambassador Stevens dead, to terminate the end of the very dirty Libyan arms to Syrian AQ programs, I can't speculate. Obama is not competent enough I'm thinking.
But for sure, the ambassador going to unsecure Benghazi on 9-11 of all days stinks to me of a setup. You can bet Stevens would have told the Turks, "No, 9-11 is not a good day for us," and stayed in Tripoli behind many high and thick walls. For him to go to dangerous Benghazi on 9-11 means the Turks totally insisted, but why would they care about the meeting date, unless they were in on a hit as the Judas goat?
Alternatively, ordering Stevens to meet the Turks in Benghazi on 9-11 may have come from down OUR chain of command. Stevens seems to have been wearing two hats as ambassador and CIA arms shipper. Moving between more-secure Tripoli, the Benghazi "consulate," and the CIA "annex." So orders to him might come down the State or the CIA commo channels, or both. I am unclear on his job title and true position, but either the CIA or State sends him final instructions. How this works with dual-hatted ambassadors, I havent a clue.
But Stevens meeting the Turks at the unsecure Benghazi "consulate" on 9-11 stinks to me of a deliberate setup. The Turks left the meeting and probably flashed their headlights to the attack team commanders lurking in shadows. A coded text, a word on a phone, meaning, "The ambassador is there, with minimal security: proceed with the attack plan."
But that is all pure speculation. What I know FOR SURE is that the big "stand down order" issue revolves around granting or withholding cross-border authority.
Every SOF officer and ops officer all the way up has this drummed into his head. We can make Obama respond to this question, even if reporters must shout it at him while he's doing storm cleanup photo ops. If the reporters KNOW enough to ask the quesion. That's why I am shouting all over the internet about CBA.
I can't believe cross-border authority permission is not one of the top discussion points about Benghazi.
That, and who "set him up" by sending him to Beghazi to meet the Turks on 9-11, with them leaving after dark.
And of course, down the road, was the military rescue-in-progress turned back because Obama actually wanted to make sure the consulate was wiped out? Is that why the spooks at the annex were refused permission to travel the under one mile to intervene? That would connect it all together, but for now, the best focus is on Obama either granting or withholding cross-border authority for the rescue.
Feel free to repost these musings of a long-ago SOF officer anywhere you please.
I read these things, and I just have more questions. Why wasn’t the Ambassador found in those first few searches? He was there with the Turkish emissary, but how do we know where he was after 8:30pm? The computer guy is dead and the security guy has been shot and I haven’t seen him. We have photos of the Ambassador’s body, but other than that, what do we really know about where he was? They say they found his body in a hospital, but they also said a movie caused this.