Benghazi – OK, this is serious and it’s bad
Leon Panetta wants to dismiss all of this as “Monday morning quarterbacking”. I beg to differ.
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 was denied by U.S. officials — 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.
If true, and there is a shred of evidence to support this, this is malfeasance of the worst type. You have an ambassador in danger in an unsecured location that is basically indefensible and is calling for help and those who could help are told to “stand down?”
Of course two of the former SEALs disregarded that order and went.
But according to Fox it wasn’t just the CIA Annex that was told to “stand down”. The CIA Annex then came under attack:
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 fighting at the CIA annex went on for more than four hours — enough time for any planes based in Sigonella Air base, just 480 miles away, to arrive. Fox News has also learned that two separate Tier One Special operations forces were told to wait, among them Delta Force operators.
So we have a 4 hour gun battle going on at an obviously sensitive installation, we have drones on site, F/A 18s an hour away, a C-130 Spectre gun ship about an hour and a half away and they’re denied support?
A Special Operations team, or CIF which stands for Commanders in Extremis Force, operating in Central Europe had been moved to Sigonella, Italy, but they never told to deploy. In fact, a Pentagon official says there were never any requests to deploy assets from outside the country. A second force that specializes in counterterrorism rescues was on hand at Sigonella, according to senior military and intelligence sources. According to those sources, they could have flown to Benghazi in less than two hours. They were the same distance to Benghazi as those that were sent from Tripoli. Spectre gunships are commonly used by the Special Operations community to provide close air support.
According to sources on the ground during the attack, the special operator on the roof of the CIA annex had visual contact and a laser pointing at the Libyan mortar team that was targeting the CIA annex. The operators were calling in coordinates of where the Libyan forces were firing from.
Secretary Leon Panetta told reporters at the Pentagon on Thursday that there was not a clear enough picture of what was occurring on the ground in Benghazi to send help.
“There’s a lot of Monday morning quarterbacking going on here,” Panetta said Thursday. “But the basic principle here … is that you don’t deploy forces into harm’s way without knowing what’s going on.”
Let’s try this again … you had your people under attack, you had drones on site, you had a spec ops guy on the roof lasing the mortar team and Panetta claims they “didn’t know what was going on?”
That says a hell of a lot more about Panetta and Obama than anyone else. Anyone worth their salt goes for over kill, not “wait and see” in a situation like that. Situations like this are why you have contingency plans and units designated as Quick Reaction Forces (QRF). You can always recall your forces. And, if you give even a stinking whit about force protection you go in and secure the area and personnel who were under attack anyway.
That should be SOP and, as you can tell, they had the forces available to do that. Panetta is full of exactly what Obama accused Romney of.
This is a farce. A deadly farce that was mishandled from the get go.
U.S. officials argue that there was a period of several hours when the fighting stopped before the mortars were fired at the annex, leading officials to believe the attack was over.
Anyone know what this is considered in the military? A groundless assumption. We don’t operate off groundless assumptions. We react and do what is necessary based on reality and in order to secure our personnel and facilities. And, what “U.S. officials” are arguing is a steaming pile of BS and anyone with an ounce of sense knows that.
And what did their utter and incomprehensible incompetence cause? Death. Death to OUR people, that’s what:
Tyrone Woods was later joined at the scene by fellow former Navy SEAL Glen Doherty, who was sent in from Tripoli as part of a Global Response Staff or GRS that provides security to CIA case officers and provides countersurveillance and surveillance protection. They were killed by a mortar shell at 4 a.m. Libyan time, nearly seven hours after the attack on the consulate began — a window that represented more than enough time for the U.S. military to send back-up from nearby bases in Europe, according to sources familiar with Special Operations. Four mortars were fired at the annex. The first one struck outside the annex. Three more hit the annex.
But you know, the Prez was late for a date in Las Vegas, so … no time for that sort of nonsense.