In the month and a half since our consulate in Benghazi was sacked and our ambassador and three other staffers killed the Obama regime is no closer to presenting a coherent, truthful narrative of what happened before, during, and after the incident than it was when it uttered its first deliberate lies and misdirections on September 12.
Right now we are being treated to the vision of the highest level of the ongoing criminal enterprise that governs us playing the equivalent of a game of musical chairs.
About a week ago, the political branches of the regime decided to finger the intelligence services as the culprits. We've been told over and over how there just wasn't sufficient intelligence provided to either anticipate the attack or to determine the identities of the attackers. Of course, we now know that both those stories are unmitigated falsehoods.
The newest question is who allowed the four men to be killed in Benghazi, or conversely who forbade any attempt to save their lives. This decision seems to reach all the way into the Oval Office.
What we now know is that the attack was monitored, in real time, in the State Department, the Pentagon, the White House, and at Africom HQ in Germany. We know there was a Predator drone overhead and we know the consulate provided live audio feed of the attack until the end.
An important fact is buried here.
Predators don't just magically appear on the scene. They have to be launched and they have to have a mission when they are launched. A Predator UAV has a range of 675 miles with a max speed of 135mph. The UAV almost certainly had to have been launched from the US facility at Signonella in Sicily.
This means that the UAV was launched over three hours before the attack began and the operation order issued some time before launch. This implies that hours before the attack was launched there was sufficient concern about something in Benghazi that a UAV was tasked to be on station.
The administration is also fond of referring to the attack being at night. While that is true, what they are trying to do is create the illusion that the attack happened in the middle of the night in Washington. It didn't. The attack began around 2pm EST, right in the middle of the duty day with everyone who was needed to make the required decisions on hand.
President Obama met with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Vice President Biden in the Oval Office at 5 p.m. ET, a little more than an hour after the onset of the attack. The Pentagon began moving military assets:
-- Eight from Special Operations were sent from Tripoli.
-- A "FAST team" (Fleet Anti-terrorism Security team) of Marines from Rota, Spain, were sent to guard the Embassy in Tripoli.
-- A Special Operations force was moved from central Europe to Sigonella Air Base in southern Italy, just 480 miles from Benghazi.
-- F-16s and Apache helicopters remained parked and unused at Aviano Air Base in northern Italy.
-- Two Navy destroyers already in the Mediterranean Sea were moved off the coast of Libya on the day of the attack but were never used.
Asked why the U.S. military did not do more, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Thursday the first rule in such a situation is not to deploy troops into harm's way unless there is a clear picture of what is happening.
One doesn't know what to make of Panetta's statement. You never have a “clear picture” of an evolving combat operation. This is what Clausewitz referred to as “friction” and the “fog of war.” It seems that a reasonable observer would conclude that real time video feed plus real time audio communications with the people in the consulate provided as close to a “clear picture” as possible in the absence of a Vulcan Mind Meld with the terrorist leader.
So we have a rescue force staged in Sigonella. We have the people on the ground begging for help. And we seem to have had an AC-130 gunship in near proximity to the action. And a decision was made by someone that caused the death of these four men just as surely as any action by a Libyan terrorist:
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."
Woods and at least two others ignored those orders and made their way to the consulate which at that point was on fire. Shots were exchanged. The rescue team from the CIA annex evacuated those who remained at the consulate and Sean Smith, who had been killed in the initial attack. They could not find the ambassador and returned to the CIA annex at about midnight.
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.
Pay special attention to the last graf. The security officer was painting a target with a laser designator. You don't do that unless the AC-130 is close enough to acquire the target.
Not long after Jennifer Griffin filed the report quoted above, CIA Director David Petraeus issued a statement:
"No one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need; claims to the contrary are simply inaccurate. ”
What it doesn't say practically screams at the reader. He is clearly saying that someone denied help but it wasn't anyone in the CIA. He doesn't even deny that the CIA passed on the bad news.
Now the White House has said it wasn't them:
The White House on Saturday flatly denied that President Barack Obama withheld requests for help from the besieged American compound in Benghazi, Libya, as it came under on attack by suspected terrorists on September 11th.
"Neither the president nor anyone in the White House denied any requests for assistance in Benghazi," National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor told Yahoo News by email.
The White House statement really doesn't mean anything. First and foremost, this White House lies just to keep in practice. They'll lie about what cereal Obama had for breakfast so lying about something akin to manslaughter is hardly unsurprising. As we parse the statement, keep in mind the White House doesn't actually command military forces. Any order from the White House would be relayed by way of the Secretary of Defense who is increasingly looking like the guy with no chair nearby as the music stops.
Panetta's weaselly “clear picture” statement gives the impression of a man with a guilty conscience. He is the guy who exercised command authority over all the resources available to attempt a rescue and he is the guy who would have told them to not respond. But the idea that the President of the United States just abruptly left the situation room and did no participate in the decision is ludicrous on its face.
The facts now seem fairly clear. Forces were positioned to effect a rescue of at least some of the men who are now dead. An order was given by the Secretary of Defense to not launch a rescue attempt either by the reaction force staged in Sicily or by an AC-130 gunship orbiting over head. The White House had video feed and audio feed available presenting them with a clear picture of the situation on the ground. And the President of the United States decided four dead Americans was a small price to pay for preserving the political fiction of the Arab Spring.