Skip to comments.Former Pacific Fleet chief: We need full disclosure on Benghazi — now
Posted on 10/30/2012 6:54:22 AM PDT by mgist
Former Pacific Fleet chief: We need full disclosure on Benghazi now POSTED AT 9:31 AM ON OCTOBER 30, 2012 BY ED MORRISSEY
Retired Admiral James A. Lyons likely pulled few punches as commander in chief of the US Pacific Fleet during his career and he hasnt started pulling punches now, either. In a blistering column at The Washington Times, the former commander blasts the lack of action from the US when the administration learned our consulate in Benghazi had come under attack, writing that courage was lacking that might have saved at least some of the four American lives lost on September 11. Someone high up in the administration, Lyons writes, let our people get killed and he wants some answers immediately as to whom:
The Obama national security team, including CIA, DNI, State Department and the Pentagon, watched and listened to the assault but did nothing to answer repeated calls for assistance. It has been reported that President Obama met with Vice President Joseph R. Biden and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta in the Oval Office, presumably to see what support could be provided. After all, we had very credible military resources within striking distance. At our military base in Sigonella, Sicily, which is slightly over 400 miles from Benghazi, we had a fully equipped Special Forces unit with both transport and jet strike aircraft prepositioned. Certainly this was a force much more capable than the 22-man force from our embassy in Tripoli.
I know those Special Forces personnel were ready to leap at the opportunity. There is no doubt in my mind they would have wiped out the terrorists attackers. Also I have no doubt that Admiral William McRaven, Commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, would have had his local commander at Sigonella ready to launch; however, apparently he was countermandedby whom? We need to know.
I also understand we had a C-130 gunship available, which would have quickly disposed of the terrorist attackers. This attack went on for seven hours. Our fighter jets could have been at our Benghazi mission within an hour. Our Special Forces out of Sigonella could have been there within a few hours. There is not any doubt that action on our part could have saved the lives of our two former Navy SEALs and possibly the ambassador.
Having been in a number of similar situations, I know you have to have the courage to do whats right and take immediate action. Obviously, that courage was lacking for Benghazi. The safety of your personnel always remains paramount. With all the technology and military capability we had in theater, for our leadership to have deliberately ignored the pleas for assistance is not only incomprehensible, it is un-American.
There has been plenty of speculation as to what Ambassador Chris Stevens was doing in Benghazi in the first place, which Lyons touches on in his column. Even apart from that, though, this argument above is the key to the failure of the American response. We always come to the aid of our diplomatic missions when under attack, especially with as many assets in the area as we had at the time. Its worth noting that we intervened militarily in Libya in the first place to prevent a massacre of civilians by Moammar Qaddafi in Benghazi and now were supposed to believe that we couldnt coordinate a military response to an attack in that same city on our own consulate in seven hours?
Heres another curiosity, too. General Carter Han, who commanded AFRICOM on September 11th, had already been rotated back home. Now we find out hes leaving the Army altogether:
General Carter F. Ham, the Combatant Commander of Africa Command (AFRICOM) and a key figure in the Benghazi-gate controversy, is leaving the Army. On October 18, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta had announced that General Ham would be succeeded at AFRICOM by General David Rodriguez. Later speculation tied this decision to the fallout from the September 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi that killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens. However on Monday October 29 a defense official told The Washington Times that the decision [to leave AFRICOM] was made by General Ham. He ably served the nation for nearly forty years and retires after a distinguished career. Previously all that was known was that General Ham would be rotating out of AFRICOM at some future date, but not that he was leaving the service. General Ham is a few years short of the mandatory retirement age of 64, but it is not unusual for someone of that rank to retire after serving in such a significant command.
James Robbins notes that the White House insisted that Ham took part in the decision not to supply assistance to the consulate, but Ham told Rep. Jason Chaffetz that no one had asked him about it. Hams retirement could mean that the Pentagon had some sort of disciplinary action pending against him over the incident (also the subject of much speculation, but little in the way of direct sourcing), or it could have a different meaning altogether. It would be inappropriate for Ham to criticize his Commander in Chief while still in uniform, although he could go to Congress to report any perceived malfeasance at any time.
And spills the beans -- beyond political spin or repair...
WWPD? (What Would Patton Do) ?
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.
Watch for some reason to have General Ham arrested and locked up in military jail till way after the election...
If they make that HUGE MISTAKE....
The truth will eventually come to the surface...
I would hope Articles of Impeachment would be drafted shortly thereafter...
Thanks for your thoughts...
The deaths still lie at the feet of the president who tried to downplay terrorism by denial after denial. I await it blowing up in his face....to put it nicely.
* When exactly did the President learn on the attack? Was he notified promptly or did he not learn about it for some time? If so, why?
* How was he notified? What was he doing and who was he with?
* What actions did he take upon learning the news? What orders did he issue, and why? To whom did he issue these orders? Did he meet with advisers in a situation room?
Yet when questioned, Obama acts like he was only peripherally involved, if he was even involved at all.
“Really, Mr. President? You can't tell us ANYTHING about what went on until “all the facts are in”? Don't you even REMEMBER wht YOU did?!!”
Apparently, forethought escapes these people. They simply rely on a corrupt media to cover for them. We need to find a way to take down corrupt media...
Yes, he's right. People high up let our people get killed. By inaction allowed the murder and rape of good men.
The New York Times will NOT care about this story until 'in-some-fashion' blame can be pinned on a person perceived to be somewhat conservative. Nothings going to happen until that scapegoat can be found and exposed a few days before the election... Then all the sycophantic newspapers in the country will WAKE up and follow the New York Times.
“However on Monday October 29 a defense official told The Washington Times that the decision [to leave AFRICOM] was made by General Ham.”
After Benghazi (but only about halfway through his tour).
Deliberate - and un-American - two very important puzzle pieces...
If any of the people in the National Security apparatus had any character they would not have denied aid to those heroes. After Romney wins the entire lot have got to be fired and investigated.
If any of them have the courage to come forward now I'll be surprised. They are a disgrace to this country and those men who died.
OK. If the Annex and the mission are American soil in Benghazi, then why didn’t we send in a big military force to secure them after the fight?
Even if Ham is removed from command, he is still in the Army, and subject to military discipline. If he is given a direct order "You WILL NOT talk about events of Sept 11-12 relating to Benghazi, and you will not talk to reporters AT ALL", then that's that. He shuts up or gets a secret court martial and a dishonorable discharge.
And why weren't the Predators used? (Seems like the refusal to confirm whether or not they were armed is like a tacit admission that at least one of them was.)
What was Woods being told when he took out an IR laser? Was he led to expect an imminent response?
"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.
Apparently drones were also included in the POTUS's version of "outside military intervention".
"That, and who "set him up" by sending him to Beghazi to meet the Turks on 9-11, with them leaving after dark. "
The amateur and pathological liar is exposed once again.
I am shocked that General Petraeus has remained silent on this - I cannot believe he wasn’t privy to Zero (or the Africom Commander) giving the “stand down” order.
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