November 1, 2012

“Two U.S. officials tell Eli Lake that the State Department never requested military backup the night of the attack.”

Okay.  But it’s not like the President or the Defense Secretary weren’t aware of what was happening.  Why didn’t they request military backup?  Worse still, did they actually scuttle plans for a military response and rescue mission, as has been rumored?  Because if this report is accurate, assets were being moved into place and contingencies planned for.  Meaning that at some point, the calculation was made not to chance a military response.

And that’s unconscionable — particularly if the calculus for making a decision was a political one.

Daily Beast:

On the night of the 9/11 anniversary assault at the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, the Americans defending the compound and a nearby CIA annex were severely outmanned. Nonetheless, the State Department never requested military backup that evening, two senior U.S. officials familiar with the details of military planning tell The Daily Beast.

In its seventh week, discussion about what happened in Benghazi has begun to focus on why military teams in the region did not respond to the assault on the U.S. mission and the nearby CIA annex. The only security backup that did arrive that evening were former special-operations soldiers under the command of the CIA—one from the nearby annex and another Quick Reaction Force from Tripoli. On Friday, Fox News reported that requests from CIA officers for air support on the evening of the attacks were rejected. (The Daily Beast was not able to confirm that those requests were made, though no U.S. official contacted for this story directly refuted the claim either.)

It’s unlikely any outside military team could have arrived in Benghazi quickly enough to save Ambassador Chris Stevens or his colleague Sean Smith, both of whom died from smoke inhalation after a band of more than 100 men overran the U.S. mission at around 9:30 p.m. that evening and set the buildings inside ablaze.

But military backup may have made a difference at around five the following morning, when a second wave of attackers assaulted the CIA annex where embassy personnel had taken refuge. It was during this second wave of attacks that two ex-SEALs working for the CIA’s security teams—Glenn Doherty and Tyrone Woods—were killed in a mortar strike.

Normally it would be the job of the U.S. ambassador on location to request a military response. But Stevens likely died in the first two hours of the attack. The responsibility for requesting military backup would then have fallen to the deputy chief of mission at Benghazi or officials at the State Department in Washington.

“The State Department is responsible for assessing security at its diplomatic installations and for requesting support from other government agencies if they need it,” a senior U.S. Defense official said. “There was no request from the Department of State to intervene militarily on the night of the attack.”

The president, however, would have the final say as to whether or not to send in the military. By 11 p.m. Benghazi time, 90 minutes after the assault began on the U.S. mission, Obama met with the National Security Council to discuss the attack. NSC spokesman Tommy Vietor said the president “ordered Secretary Panetta and Chairman Dempsey to begin moving assets into the region to prepare for a range of contingencies” at that meeting.

According to the senior Defense Department official, those assets included a special operations team from central Europe to be staged at the Sigonella Naval Air Station in Italy and other small teams of Marines deployed at U.S. Naval bases known as FAST platoons. (These details were first reported by Fox News.) By the time the special operations team and the Marines were prepared to go forward with the rescue mission, however, the first wave of the attack was over.

[…]

Panetta said last week that he and the military’s leadership did not have enough “real-time information about what’s taking place” to send in reinforcement that evening. However, three U.S. Defense and intelligence officials confirm to The Daily Beast that a surveillance drone was at the scene of the attack while personnel were evacuated from the diplomatic compound to the CIA annex—though the drone was not present at the beginning of the attack.

The Pentagon did eventually play one role in the aftermath: when personnel from the U.S. mission and CIA annex were at the airport, the Defense Department transported them from Benghazi to Tripoli.

Representative Jason Chaffetz, the Republican chairman of a House oversight subcommittee investigating the Benghazi attacks, told The Daily Beast that General Carter Ham, the outgoing U.S. commander of Africa Command, “told me directly that he had no directive to engage in the fight in Benghazi.” Spokesmen from Africa Command declined to comment for this story.

We already know Clinton and State screwed the pooch by denying requests for increased security, even after they knew that the consulate could not withstand a coordinated attack.  And now it seems that after the initial mistake, the follow-on mistakes were made by the President and the Defense Secretary.

No one left behind my ass.

(h/t nr)

Posted by Jeff G. @ 4:56pm
39 comments | Trackback

Comments (39)

  1. It’s it delightfully transgressive Obama chooses today to appear before his adoring crowds dressed in his bomber jacket, as though, had he personally been on the scene in Benghazi he’d a blown hell out those nasty jihadis? Whadda mensch, whadda killah.

  2. he should save that jacket for when he’s a judge on dancing with the stars

  3. Barry and Michelle can adapt a new version to their post-White House hip-hop clothing line, Wear On Women. Kick it up with some pink and so.

  4. WARNING! My vagina is protected and supplied with necessary resources by the government!

  5. NPR plays the mormon card like food stamp’s reelection depended on it

    m.npr.org/news/front/164101548

    good job NPR that should help

  6. Las Vegas Review takes a strap to the Wonce.

  7. Obama chooses today to appear before his adoring crowds dressed in his bomber jacket, as though, had he personally been on the scene in Benghazi he’d a blown hell out those nasty jihadis?

    lol. The only problem is the butcher he tries to act the gayer he looks.

  8. Went just like clockwork. Consulate burned, ambassador killed, secret papers left by FBI. Barry got some milk and cookies and went to bed. Nothing out of the ordinary there.

  9. What rescue effort? I can’t wait to hear the details!

    And the press lets him get away with it.

  10. rummy

    HH: In your book, Known And Unknown, there area plethora of footnotes, detailed, minute by minute in some cases, explanation of where you were and what you did and when you did it. Is there any doubt in your mind that the White House already knows what the timeline is for Benghazi vis-à-vis what went on with the President, the Vice President, the Secretary of Defense and the National Security Advisor, and events in Libya?

    DR: No, I’m confident they do. They have people in the White House that record the beginnings of phone calls, and who’s on the call, who’s in the Oval Office at any given moment. They know what’s happening, and the White House, the Situation Room, is of course the repository of information coming from all over the world. And there is no lag in the updating of data that feeds into the Situation Room to the national security advisor and the White House chief of staff. I was chief of staff of the White House for President Ford, and I just can’t imagine that he could not have been, if he desired to be, in continuous contact as to what was taking place.

    HH: Is there any doubt in your mind that they’re trying to run out the clock on the election, Secretary Rumsfeld?

    DR: It certainly feels like that…..

    link

  11. It’s unlikely any outside military team could have arrived in Benghazi quickly enough to save Ambassador Chris Stevens or his colleague Sean Smith, both of whom died from smoke inhalation after a band of more than 100 men overran the U.S. mission at around 9:30 p.m. that evening and set the buildings inside ablaze.

    Stevens was still alive when the locals pulled him out, hours after the assault started. Had they been sent air support, the small team that was on the ground might have been able to get to him sooner.

  12. US officials: No delays in rescue effort in Libya

    You can’t delay something that doesn’t exist.

  13. - They actually think they cab beat this. They are wrong.

  14. They are wrong indeed, BBH. If CBS is reporting on it now, I see a confab going on in news bureaus tonight. They either go after this story or they kiss their shaky credibility good-bye forever.

  15. Hey.
    Everyone knows that when you get tattered by the bus, shit gets left behind.
    Under. Over. Through. The bus must go on and it is up to your relatives to go pick up your leftovers.
    Obviously.

    The Messiah is too busy healing Muslim sensibilities and trying to avert climate change to worry about your ass. After all, the world around you is obviously precarious…. around the new Messiah? Jay Z is in the house baby!!

  16. I see a confab going on in news bureaus tonight.

    – Apparently they don’t think Beck is bluffing.

    – I sent an Email off to Fox asking them if Geraldo is now an official surrogate for Obama. and if he refuses to do his job as a so-called journalist, and defends a corrupt regime in a cover-up why the hell is he still working on their network?

  17. They are wrong indeed, BBH. If CBS is reporting on it now, I see a confab going on in news bureaus tonight. They either go after this story or they kiss their shaky credibility good-bye forever.

    Sharyl Atkisson is reporting it, and they ought to just cancel the Pulitzers this year and give them all to her. Someone let me know when Scott Pelley, Charlie Rose and Gayle King are talking about it.

  18. “Someone let me know when Scott Pelley, Charlie Rose and Gayle King are talking about it.”

    “But Mitt Romney’s not talking about it!” those ones will squawk, “We don’t have to talk about it if he isn’t!”

    It’s one of their mostest favorite arguments, since it superfically smacks of over-eager bipartisanship.

  19. I worked with Eli for a few years at the NY Sun. Decent guy, knows much about ME intrigue, but is particularly well sourced with hawks and neo-cons.

    That was both good and bad.

  20. It’s one of their mostest favorite arguments, since it superfically smacks of over-eager bipartisanship.

    – No such ploy is going to save their sorry Obama loving asses. When the dam finally breaks the first thing that Fox/Drudge and all the Conservative web-sites should do is publish a list by name of every news org and ‘reporter’ that played along with the blackout. Leave it up in the headline lede for a month.

    – Really gore the bastards.

  21. Mara Liason made that very argument on Special Report tonight, sdferr.

    They have their marching orders at NPR.

  22. 5 more days 5 more days

  23. Ha, I didn’t hear her do it, but I’ve heard her make it before. I’ve heard others make it as well. They’re very fond of it, as I said.

  24. James Ceaser:

    Obama’s defeat poses a delicate problem: What do you do with a retired messiah? Resuming a career as a law professor and sitting on boards of progressive foundations just won’t cut it. Something much bigger, such as the presidency of a prestigious university, might come closer to the mark. University presidents do not have that much to do, other than to raise money and deliver high-toned and empty speeches, tasks at which Obama has excelled. Most fitting might be a position at a university in California, where he would be greatly esteemed by the local population and close to his investments in Solyndra and Fisker.

    O heck, he misses by miles: only a hip-hop clothing line will do.

    “Obama’s defeat poses a delicate problem: What do you do with a retired messiah?” — Wear On Women! — “Resuming a career as a law professor and sitting on boards of progressive foundations just won’t cut it.” — NO indeed! Wear On Women! “Something much bigger, such as the presidency of a prestigious university, might come closer to the mark.” — NO!NO! Wear On Women! “University presidents do not have that much to do, other than to raise money and deliver high-toned and empty speeches, tasks at which Obama has excelled.” — NO!NO!NO! Wear On Women! “Most fitting might be a position at a university in California, where he would be greatly esteemed by the local population and close to his investments in Solyndra and Fisker.” —
    ACH NO! Wear On Women!

  25. Mitt Romney isn’t a Journalist. Or a Jwhorenalist.

    Maybe Obama should try the “Well, Mitt Romney isn’t doing my job either!” defense.

  26. Obama’s defeat poses a delicate problem: What do you do with a retired messiah? Resuming a career as a law professor and sitting on boards of progressive foundations just won’t cut it. Something much bigger, such as the presidency of a prestigious university, might come closer to the mark.

    Ambassador to Libya. #ObamasNextJob

  27. Wouldn’t selling mom-jeans to gangstas be a better proof of messianic cred?

  28. benghazi swim wear in hawaii!!11!!

  29. Heh. Bronco Bama really shouldn’t wear that flight jacket.

    He looks like someone stole his shoulders.

  30. BBH, yeah, I thought the same thing about Beck when the article appeared on CBS. Although, Sharyl has done some damn fine reporting. Atkisson is the only one who’s covered Fast and Furious and Benghazi.

    Atkisson is probably angling for a job with Beck, because I really doubt CBS is all that fond of Sharyl right now.

    The comments on the Atkisson piece are frightening, though. Those stupid Obamatons will defend anything their lord and savior does.

  31. If I were Mitt Romney I wouldn’t say anything either. Why give them any crumbs?

    Benghazi is radioactive an it all belongs to the Wonce. Own it Bronco.

  32. Exactly, leigh. The rule applied here is “When your enemy is making a mistake, back away and let him.”

  33. If Mitt were talking about Benghazi, Mitt talking about Benghazi would be the story, not Benghazi.

    And leigh, they don’t care if you don’t find them credible. You’re not part of their target audience.

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