October 26, 2012

Three on the Benghazi scandal

Turning out to be quite the story -- first from Jennifer Griffin at FOX News:
EXCLUSIVE: CIA operators were denied request for help during Benghazi attack, sources say
Fox News has learned from sources who were on the ground in Benghazi that an urgent request from the CIA annex for military back-up during the attack on the U.S. consulate and subsequent attack several hours later on the annex itself was denied by the CIA chain of command -- who also told the CIA operators twice to "stand down" rather than help the ambassador's team when shots were heard at approximately 9:40 p.m. in Benghazi on Sept. 11.

Former Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods was part of a small team who was at the CIA annex about a mile from the U.S. consulate where Ambassador Chris Stevens and his team came under attack. When he and others heard the shots fired, they informed their higher-ups at the annex to tell them what they were hearing and requested permission to go to the consulate and help out. They were told to "stand down," according to sources familiar with the exchange. Soon after, they were again told to "stand down."
And the operatives did everything right -- had they gotten the requested support, this could have been nipped in the bud with minimal losses:
At that point, they called again for military support and help because they were taking fire at the CIA safe house, or annex. The request was denied. There were no communications problems at the annex, according those present at the compound. The team was in constant radio contact with their headquarters. In fact, at least one member of the team was on the roof of the annex manning a heavy machine gun when mortars were fired at the CIA compound. The security officer had a laser on the target that was firing and repeatedly requested back-up support from a Spectre gunship, which is commonly used by U.S. Special Operations forces to provide support to Special Operations teams on the ground involved in intense firefights.
The laser 'paints' the target and a smart-bomb homes in on the laser -- perfect aiming from several miles up. Lots more at the site. Second -- from ABC News:
President Obama Begs Off Answering Whether Americans in Benghazi Were Denied Requests for Help
In an interview with a Denver TV reporter Friday, President Obama twice refused to answer questions as to whether the Americans under siege in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012, were denied requests for help, saying he�s waiting for the results of investigations before making any conclusions about what went wrong.
And finally, David Petraeus is pissed -- from The Weekly Standard:
Petraeus Throws Obama Under the Bus
Breaking news on Benghazi: the CIA spokesman, presumably at the direction of CIA director David Petraeus, has put out this statement: "No one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need; claims to the contrary are simply inaccurate.�

So who in the government did tell �anybody� not to help those in need? Someone decided not to send in military assets to help those Agency operators. Would the secretary of defense make such a decision on his own? No.

It would have been a presidential decision. There was presumably a rationale for such a decision. What was it? When and why�and based on whose counsel obtained in what meetings or conversations�did President Obama decide against sending in military assets to help the Americans in need?
We saw yesterday that there were emails to the White House Situation Room -- Obama knew and did not act. Posted by DaveH at October 26, 2012 6:19 PM
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