...why Obama didn't give orders to defend our consulate and American lives in Benghazi. The answer is becoming clearer each time President Obama and Secretary of Defense Panetta issue a denial or explanation of their inaction.
...an honest reporter during a local interview on the campaign trail in Denver. On October 26, for the first time, Obama was asked directly about the explosive reports on CBS and Fox News, a week earlier, that the CIA and our military denied direct requests for help by the Americans fighting for their lives during the seven-hour battle in Benghazi.
Denver TV's Kyle Clark twice tried to pin Obama down by asking the key question: "Were they denied requests for help during the attack?"
Obama's answer is the proof of his guilt, and it gives us a clue as to the doctrine informing his decision to do nothing. The most damaging part of Obama's evasive answer is this:
... the minute I found out what was happening, I gave three very clear directives. Number one, make sure that we are securing our personnel and doing whatever we need to. ... I guarantee you that everyone in the state department, our military, the CIA, you name it, had number-one priority making sure that people were safe.Yet the undeniable fact is that nothing was done. We know that the CIA security agent in Benghazi, Tyrone Woods, asked for permission to rescue Ambassador Stevens when Stevens was still alive and in the safe room. Woods was told twice by the CIA to stand down. He then disobeyed direct orders and rescued the survivors at the consulate, but it was too late for Stevens and Sean Smith.
This is the blatant lie that condemns the liar. The president says here that immediately, "the minute I found out what was happening," he gave the order to the military, the CIA, to everyone, to secure our personnel in Benghazi and do "whatever we need to."
Secretary of Defense Panetta tells us the military had gunships and Special Forces less than two hours away in Sicily but felt it was too "risky" to send in reinforcements or air cover. It would have been normal military procedure to pre-position air cover and assets from Sicily to Benghazi, but Panetta says this was not done. The air support and FAST platoons, we are told, were left in Sicily. All the U.S. military did was send two unarmed drones to observe the battle.
So if President Obama is not lying about his directives, he is saying that the CIA and the Defense Department and our military chain of command disobeyed the direct order of our commander in chief to do everything in their power to rescue our people under attack in Benghazi. And that as commander in chief, Obama did nothing in response to their dereliction of duty.
That doesn't happen. No one believes that; the president is lying. He did not issue directives to the CIA, our military, and State to "secure our personnel" and "do whatever we need to do."
We know it was not the CIA on its own that made the decision to abandon Ambassador Stevens and the eight others with him in the consulate. The CIA say they did not advise anyone in the administration to deny help to the Americans in Benghazi. A CIA spokesman on October 27 issued 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.
General Carter F. Ham, the combatant commander of Africa Command (AFRICOM), says he was never asked to send help.
Congressman Jason Chaffetz, Utah Republican, said that General Ham told him during a visit to Libya that he had never been asked to provide military support for the Americans under attack in Benghazi.On October 18, General Ham resigned.
Panetta explained why no help was sent on October 26, the same day Obama was telling the Denver reporter he had ordered the military to do "whatever we need to."
Panetta admitted we did nothing. He says the military had the readiness and capability to help. He says the military responded quickly and deployed forces close to Benghazi, ready and capable of responding "to any contingency."
We quickly responded, as General Dempsey said, in terms of deploying forces to the region. We had FAST platoons in the region. We had ships that we had deployed off of Libya. We were prepared to respond to any contingency and certainly had forces in place to do that. Panetta then tells us why the forces were never deployed. He says the top leadership of our military didn't want to send reinforcements, even air support, into harm's way. It was too risky. Panetta does not indicate that he knew of Obama's supposed directives to do "whatever we need to" to save the Americans trapped in the 9/11 attack.
"[The] basic principle is that you don't deploy forces into harm's way without knowing what's going on; without having some real-time information about what's taking place," Panetta told Pentagon reporters. "And as a result of not having that kind of information, the commander who was on the ground in that area, Gen. Ham, Gen. Dempsey and I felt very strongly that we could not put forces at risk in that situation.Note that General Ham had already told Congressman Chaffetz he was never asked to provide military support.
Panetta's statement that we didn't have enough intelligence to risk sending air or combat support is not credible. We had real-time information by video, radio, and e-mail. We had laser targets painted on their mortar nest. When else do you send reinforcements, if not into dangerous situations?
Max Boot writes in Commentary:
Special Operations Forces and other military forces are used to acting on incomplete information, especially in a situation where Americans are under fire and in danger of being overrun. At that point, caution is normally thrown to the wind, and Quick Reaction Forces are launched.We certainly could have saved the lives of CIA agents Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty if President Obama had given orders to do so. There were two drones and perhaps a gunship overhead. The two men died because they painted laser targets on the jihadi mortar nests. They were radioing for air cover, expecting that the target would be bombed and the jihadi attack ended. This is what Navy SEALs do. We have learned from experts that American Special Forces paint such laser targets only when air cover is immediately available, as it gives away your position to the enemy. According to these experts, Woods and Doherty must have believed that air cover was immediately available. Their calls for air support went unanswered, and they died.
If there weren't a manned drone and a gunship sent out -- it was now six hours into the battle -- that indicates that Obama and Panetta did not direct the military to be ready to intervene if necessary. If the drone was sent unarmed and the gunship never sent, it says the military never intended to help under any circumstances.
Bing West, a distinguished combat correspondent and former assistant secretary of defense, has produced a timeline of the Benghazi attacks, which went on for most of the night, suggesting there was plenty of time for substantial U.S. forces to scramble from the U.S. base at Sigonella, Sicily, located almost exactly as far away from Benghazi as the Libyan capital of Tripoli, from whence a small, ill-armed quick-reaction force of 22 men was finally sent. "Stationed at Sigonella," he notes, "were Special Operations Forces, transport aircraft, and attack aircraft - a much more formidable force than 22 men from the embassy."President Obama says, "I gave three very clear directives. Number one, make sure that we are securing our personnel and doing whatever we need to." It is clear that he did not issue such a directive, or else the CIA and the military defied him.