October 26, 2012
Fox News reports that American consular agents under atttack at the Benghazi consul and the nearby CIA annex on September 11th repeatedly pleaded for reinforcements and close air support, which were readily available less than 500 miles away at Sigonella Air Base... but that they were turned down by somebody up the chain of command. Fox News reports that "somebody" was within the CIA chain:
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...."
[T]hey 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.
A CIA spokeswoman hotly denies the allegation, however:
CIA spokeswoman Jennifer Youngblood, though, denied the claims that requests for support were turned down.
"We can say with confidence that the Agency reacted quickly to aid our colleagues during that terrible evening in Benghazi," she said. "Moreover, no one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need; claims to the contrary are simply inaccurate. In fact, it is important to remember how many lives were saved by courageous Americans who put their own safety at risk that night-and that some of those selfless Americans gave their lives in the effort to rescue their comrades."
On the other hand of the coin, the evidence seems quite solid that defenders at the two compounds repeatedly begged for air support or reinforcements; why would the security officer atop the CIA annex be pointing a laser at the mortars, other than to facilitate tracking by a smart bomb?
Yet, it is demonstrable that no air support responded during the entire seven hours of combat, despite the presence of Spectre gunships at Sigonella; the only force to arrive from outside the immediate area was "a Global Response Staff or GRS that provides security to CIA case officers" (which included Glen Doherty, later killed in the attack):
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.
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 were 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.
So how do we reconcile these two seemingly contradictory claims?
- CIA and consular officials repeatedly asked for reinforcements, especially close-air support to take out the mortars, but nobody ever arrived.
- "[N]o one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need."
Assuming neither Fox News nor CIA Director David Petraeus is lying, there are only two possibilities:
First, that CIA and military personnel actually moved heaven and earth to get forces into Libya to turn the tide against the radical-Islamist terrorists; but somehow everything fell to pieces, and nobody could make it all the way to Benghazi. (And mysteriously enough, those mighty forces streaming towards the consulate and the annex left no trace whatsoever in the communications or logistical records.)
Or alternatively, the requests for support were denied... but not by the CIA. That can only mean the denial came from higher up the great chain of being than the cabinet-level CIA Director, which narrows it down to a single suspect: If both Fox News and the CIA spokeschick are honest and accurate, then Barack Obama himself must have made the lethal decision to abandon our personnel to their fates.
We await the expected sputtering denial from la Casa Blanca that they put the kibosh on our own Ambassador Chris Stevens and the three slain defenders: Sean Smith and former Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods. I cannot imagine that it's not on the way, if not already issued before I publish this blogpost.
That will give us a difficult choice to make; who should we believe -- the CIA, led by four-star Gen. David Petraeus, who almost singlehandedly flipped the Iraq war from defeat to victory, and who has undoubtedly called in thousands of air strikes and air support in Iran and Afghanistan?
Or the notoriously vacillating and indecisive Commander in Chief, who has a crystal-clear record of repeatedly evading, dissembling, ducking, and flatly lying to the American people about this very subject?
It's a toughie, a real quandry. But I reckon most folks will figure out who, between those two, is forswearing and perjuring himself.
Hatched by Dafydd on this day, October 26, 2012, at the time of 5:01 PM
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