December 18, 2013
Left to Die in Benghazi
By Bill Schanefelt and Gary Crowder
The assault on the Temporary Diplomatic Mission Facility in Benghazi (Often still erroneously referred to as a "Consulate") and its associated Annex on 9/11/12 brought much reporting centered on the general lack of security prior to the event and on the failure of the military to respond after the assaults began.
Of late, those two issues have come into much sharper focus by new revelations in testimony during hearings at the House Intelligence Committee (Written about on these pages here and here.)
For example, in a report on those hearings, Fox News correspondent Catherine Herridge told Megyn Kelly that a notice was posted at the Annex to be on alert on 9/11/12 and that the agents were told a year before the event that, should the Annex be assaulted, the agents would be "on their own."
To our knowledge, and by all accounts that we have read, no element of the military was put on standby immediately prior to or on 9/11/12.
Revelations about the lack of adequate or any forceful reaction to the event are yet more stunning.
Thanks to Mr.Pinko at IOwnTheWorld, we can hear (At 1:45) Rep. Trey Gowdy, (R-SC) ask why no military response was ordered when "they didn't know when it was going to end."
This fact is of extreme importance, and we encourage readers to keep it in mind, for new reports are coming out daily.
Furthermore, as frequent AT contributor, Ed Timperlake, writes elsewhere:
At Benghazi, the U.S. lost the first set piece battle against Al-Qaeda. With no counter-attack, the enemy held its objective. This is a classic definition of a military defeat and one which will have dangerous consequences for the future.
Additionally, no one has been brought to account:
The refusal of the State Department to adequately defend American personnel in Benghazi was a shocking failure. The lies told after the attack by administration figures were appalling. So, too, is the unwillingness of Hillary Clinton to truly take responsibility for what happened. But the administration's seeming lack of interest in bringing those responsible to justice is a scandal of an altogether higher order.
One of the important critics of the lack of response is Committee Member Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) who told Fox News' Megyn Kelly earlier this month:
...the contractors' account raises questions as to why no one was sent to help the Benghazi compound that night when it was unclear whether the attack had ended. "What if they attack had gone on for another 24 hours?" he asked. "Would they have sent help then?"
Again, to our knowledge, and by all accounts that we have read, no element of the military was, in fact, launched in response to the assault.
Consider this: An officer on the bridge of a ship up-bound in a channel who observes a down-bound, right-of-way ship moving into the up-bound ship's side of the channel would immediately sound an alarm, order right-rudder, and shout "stand by for collision."
What, then, we ask, happened when Alec Henderson, the Regional Security Officer (RSO) in the Compound's Tactical Operations Center (TOC,) radioed that the Compound was under assault?
That is, we have always been informed that at 9:40 pm local time in Benghazi, no one, anywhere, knew that the Compound was about to be assaulted, but by 9:45 everyone, everywhere, knew everything there was to know at the time about the assault.
Our question is: What happened, everywhere, at 9:45?
We wrote recently on these pages that AFRICOM at one point ordered the Predator/Reaper remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) then flying over rebel camps near or in Derna at the very easternmost point in Libya, to divert to Benghazi.
But we do not know what alarm was sounded when the Duty Officer at AFRICOM first heard of the RSO's message from the TOC.
Nor do we know what order his Standard Operations Procedures (SOP) manual would require him to give.
Nor do we know what shout he gave out to various elements within AFRICOM.
Nor do we know what would have been the immediate reactions to such actions?
What would have been happening until someone ordered a halt?
We do not know what alarm was sounded when the Duty Officer at 352d Special Operations Group at RAF Mildenhall first heard of the RSO's broadcast from the TOC, nor do we know what order he might have given to the USAF aerial refueling tankers that are usually on alert there.
However, we know that those aerial assets could have been launched within minutes in response to an assault 3-4 hours away, and, if they could have been launched, what other assets could also have been launched?
C-130 Hercules transports are usually on alert at Ramstein AB in Germany, and all of the above questions apply to the Duty Officer at Ramstein and to the aircraft there. Those questions certainly apply to the Duty Officers at the various Combatant Command HQs, the Pentagon, Langley, Foggy Bottom, Aviano, Sigonella, Rota, and elsewhere.
Most importantly, those questions apply to the Duty Officer in the White House Situation Room.
What is key is that that dozens of Agency, governmental, and military personnel around the world would have been aware of the exact nature of the attack as it was occurring, yet, save for officers at the Annex and in Tripoli, they apparently did nothing!
Or, more importantly, were orders given and then rescinded? And (From sundance at Theconservativetreehouse.com,) if they were rescinded, by whom, when, and on whose authority were they rescinded:
Denis McDonough, Deputy National Security Advisor...update[d] the President and Vice President on the situation in the Middle East and North Africa....[as] National Security Advisor Tom Donilon and Chief of Staff Jack Lew [watched....]
Did someone, fearing a Blackhawk down situation, issue stand down orders? Doug Ross asks:
Perhaps House Oversight Chairman Darrell Issa could subpoena Valerie Jarrett [et. al.] to determine what [they knew] about the night of September 11, 2012. That is, if it doesn't impact the 42 other investigations he's "working on".
We heartily agree with Mr. Ross!
We, of course, know that Mr. Obama's interest during that time was centered elsewhere.