FILE - In this Sept. 14, 2012 file photo, Libyan military guards check one of the U.S. Consulate's burnt out buildings during a visit by Libyan President Mohammed el-Megarif, not shown, to the U.S. Consulate to express sympathy for the death of the American ambassador, Chris Stevens and his colleagues in the deadly attack on the Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Senior State Department officials pressed for changes in the talking points that U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice used after the deadly attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya last September, expressing concerns that Congress might criticize the Obama administration for ignoring warnings of a growing threat in Benghazi.  (AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon)
Back when the US consulate in Benghazi was still smoking rubble, a story bubbled to the surface that a rescue force based in Europe was ready and able to intervene at Benghazi to attempt to save American lives but it was told to stand down. In fact, the “stand down” story has been one of the more enduring parts of the Benghazi story. Back in October, 2012, I did a long-ish look at the issue in Did Obama Refuse To Aid Our Men In Benghazi?

Long story short. We know a Predator drone was overhead. We know that one of the dead men was illuminating targets with a laser designator. The only possible reason one of the guys would be using a laser designator was that there was aerial fire support of some type on station and he was in contact with a controller that managed it. The profile, because of the limited range of the radios the men had, points to an AC-130 Spectre gunship.

Now, thanks to more released emails, we have a much clearer picture and a lot more questions.

This is the email in question:

benghazi spin up email

This is Judicial Watch’s take:

Judicial Watch today released a new Benghazi email from then-Department of Defense Chief of Staff Jeremy Bash to State Department leadership immediately offering “forces that could move to Benghazi” during the terrorist attack on the U.S. Special Mission Compound in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012. In an email sent to top Department of State officials, at 7:19 p.m. ET, only hours after the attack had begun, Bash says, “we have identified the forces that could move to Benghazi. They are spinning up as we speak.” The Obama administration redacted the details of the military forces available, oddly citing a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) exemption that allows the withholding of “deliberative process” information.

Bash’s email seems to directly contradict testimony given by then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta before the Senate Armed Services Committee in February 2013. Defending the Obama administration’s lack of military response to the nearly six-hour-long attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Panetta claimed that “time, distance, the lack of an adequate warning, events that moved very quickly on the ground prevented a more immediate response.”

In my original story, I note that when asked about a stand down order, both the CIA and White House said they never issued one but pointedly did not say one was not given. All the evidence pointed to a rescue effort being mounted.

Now we know a rescue offer was made to Hillary Clinton. We have to assume the rescue forces had a chance of arriving in time to save lives, otherwise the offer would not have been made, yet it never launched. If the White House didn’t give the stand down order we can only assume that Hillary Clinton told the Pentagon, thanks but no thanks.