Gutless Call: Far Worse Than We Thought

The stories, both official and unofficial, from sources inside and outside the administration, continue to evolve. The facts, even as we know them today, are incomplete and contradictory. But wind the clock back, if you will, to the first several days after the 9/11 terrorist attack on the Benghazi consulate that resulted in the murders of 4 American citizens, including Ambassador Stevens. From the very beginning there was the stench of incompetence at the top, of being lied to, and worst of all, of a creepy sense that there was no real concern for the lives lost, no righteous anger, and no sense of retribution.

In the immediate aftermath we heard the administration line that it was a spontaneous mob gone wild, and we knew instinctively that was too pat, and contradicted facts which were already becoming known. The whereabouts of the ambassador were unknown for several hours, and the battle was known to have gone on for hours at at least two sites. We watched Obama’s pitifully inadequate statement just before he jaunted off to Vegas for scheduled campaign activities.

We saw several embassies attacked in the following days, and the black Al Qaeda flag raised over at least two portions of sovereign American soil, while no saber-rattling proceeded from an administration that seemed bent on excusing the terrorists. We saw our UN Ambassador and our President peddle known lies to the UN, blaming an obscure video for inciting the Muslim mobs. We got word of a multi-million dollar ad that supposedly ran in Pakistan in which both the President and Secretary of state denounced the video.

Americans were bitterly angry at such cowtowing, lying, and blame-shifting. Obama’s poll numbers in the upcoming election immediately began to crumble.

Boy, weren’t those the good old days for the Obamanistas. It’s a ton worse now.

Fast forward to now. We are in possession of very damning facts that we did not know originally. Further, we can connect the dots into some areas, and every pathway through the matrix speaks of even worse facts.

  • FACT – in months leading up to the terrorist strike, the ambassador and military and CIA assets on the ground had described a dangerous and deteriorating security environment in Libya and Benghazi.
  • FACT – Ambassador Stevens made repeated requests to the top of the State Department for additional security, and was repeatedly and emphatically denied. In fact, security units rotated out of Libya and were not replaced.
  • FACT – numerous entities had live video feed from on-site cameras of the events unfolding at the consulate – among them CIA headquarters in Langley; Africa Command (AFRICOM) HQ in Germany; the Situation Room in the White House; and the State Department.
  • FACT – along with video feeds, there exists a protocol of alerts (think of email or IM, except with very large red print and loud sirens that go off) such that when an emergency takes place anywhere in the world, a communication from an on-site person gets the immediate attention of numerous entities, including all those listed above.
  • STRONG EVIDENCE – implied in statements by SecDef Panetta are that the WH Situation Room [or alternatively the Pentagon, with Panetta himself aware of unfolding events] was indeed monitoring the situation in real time.
  • FACT – Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Charlene Lamb, who has some responsibilities in the area of diplomatic security, says that she received such an alert within 20 minutes of the first attack on the Consulate, and that she followed the events in real time.
  • SPECULATION – surely, surely, Charlene Lamb brought events to the attention of SecState Clinton very early in the attack.
  • STRONG EVIDENCE – standing protocol indicates that an event such as that in Benghazi with an ongoing attack and a missing US Ambassador would cause instant notification of the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, and the President’s Chief of Staff. High-ranking people have indicated that AFRICOM was in the loop.
  • FACT – there was no mob. The video contains no evidence whatsoever of a mob, and numerous eyewitnesses have confirmed that in the days since.
  • STRONG EVIDENCE – it stretches the imagination to suppose that Obama and Clinton did not know that the “mob angry over the video” story was false. But I suppose at this point it’s not proven. If they did not know it was a lie, then very high-ranking people lied to them both, knowing they would act and make public statements blaming mob violence, and knowing the truth was unlikely to be suppressed for long. Also, Obama has a notable penchant for blaming others when caught in the squeeze. Panetta would not have lied on this. Obama or his advisors concocted the story, and pinned the blame on the video.
  • FACT – for all of the latter portion of the fight, America had drones overhead making real-time video to go along with that of on-site cameras.
  • FACT – the fight went for 7 hours at 3 facilities. During all of that time the whereabouts of the ambassador were unknown. It was by every definition a major emergency.
  • STRONG EVIDENCE – One of the CIA operatives “painted” an enemy mortar position with a laser. That is done ONLY when supporting forces (air assets) are in the area and able to strike. It is not done in the hopes that assets 2 hours away might come. This means that there were assets in the area. Either there was a C-130 Spectre gunship (very unlikely, because it would have been supported by jet fighters, and nobody anywhere is saying that happened), or an armed Predator drone (highly likely).
  • FACT – AFRICOM had at its disposal numerous assets that could have been brought into play within 1, 2, or 4 hours. Among them: fighter jets; C-130 Spectre gunships; weaponized Predator drones; teams of Special Forces;
  • STRONG EVIDENCE – a unit located at a CIA compound a mile way from the consulate made repeated requests to CIA to allow them to engage the enemy at the consulate. They were refused, and ultimately they defied orders and went to the aid of Americans. Two of those men died very late in the fight after heroic efforts that saved numerous lives.
  • STRONG EVIDENCE – protocol is such that immediate and decisive military support from AFRICOM would have been the default action and need not have required OK higher up the chain.
  • WELL-INFORMED SPECULATION – the United States military forces, particularly those in-theater and battle-experienced, have a culture and a history of not leaving men stranded. Call it machismo, call it heroic; either way, it’s there and it’s strong. General Carter Ham, the CINC of AFRICOM, is hardly a desktop warrior, having commanded forces on the ground in Mosul, Iraq, and commanded the (illegal, undeclared) war on Libya in 2011. It is highly doubtful that General Ham would have been originator of “stand down” orders.
  • FACT – SecDef Panetta claims that no action was taken because we didn’t have a firm grasp on exactly what was happening on the ground.
  • FACT – he lies when he says we did not have good on-site intel. It is known that the Americans were feeding constant information up the chain. In addition, two drones (Predators I believe) were above, feeding real-time video up the chain. They had better real-time on-site intel than most combats missions do.
  • FACT – Panetta is admitting that the decision not to send support during the ongoing attack was at his level or higher. Only Obama is higher.
  • FACT – Obama has claimed in the last couple of days that as soon as he was informed of events in progress, he immediately issued orders “to make sure we are securing our personnel and doing whatever we need to do.”
  • FACT – that directly contradicts the statement of SecDef Panetta. Panetta says we didn’t secure our forces because we didn’t have enough on-site information. If Obama actually ordered action, then Panetta countermanded it. And if that happened, Obama would have acted against Panetta (blamed him, fired him, something of that sort). Failure to do take any action is implausible.
  • LOGICAL CONCLUSION – Obama is lying. Panetta is lying about a lack of information, but telling the truth when he says the “no action” orders came from SecDef or President. And if those two were in conversations during the events, which they surely were, then the decision to leave our people in Benghazi to die was made by Obama. Or more likely, he dithered, left orders to wait for further instructions, then went to bed.
  • INFORMED SPECULATION – Furthermore, it is very possible that people at AFRICOM could have acted in the absence of orders, or in defiance of orders, and did not. Time will tell us more of what happened at that site. Needless to say, nobody there is talking right now.

We are faced with a reality that the president knew in real time what was going on, and due to decisions by him, American personnel were needlessly left stranded. Americans on the ground (and probably others, as the future may bear out) acted heroically, and two of them died directly due to inaction from above. In full possession of the facts, the next day he made public statements blaming a video and spontaneous mob violence, then he flew off to Vegas for campaign events. I don’t care if it’s incompetence or indecisiveness, or if he just doesn’t care about American lives and American interests. In the end, the costs were steep.

Nice gutless call, Not-My-President. Have fun next Tuesday, while your own assets fail to come to your aid when you need it most.

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