4 years, 6 months ago
President Obama didn’t deny assistance to the poor souls at Benghazi, or so says President Obama.
The White House on Saturday flatly denied that President Barack Obama withheld requests for help from the besieged American compound in Benghazi, Libya, as it came under on attack by suspected terrorists on September 11th.
“Neither the president nor anyone in the White House denied any requests for assistance in Benghazi,” National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor told Yahoo News by email.
On the other hand, the CIA didn’t tell anyone not to help the poor souls in Benghazi either.
Breaking news on Benghazi: the CIA spokesman, presumably at the direction of CIA director David Petraeus, has put out 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.
The Department of Defense also isn’t responsible.
Following a pair of denials by the CIA and the National Security Council to a Fox News story published Friday, the Pentagon has come under scrutiny for its response to the assault on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya. However, in a statement to The Atlantic Wire, a senior defense official says the Pentagon never rejected requests for military intervention in Benghazi. Not only that, the official said no such requests were ever made.
“The Pentagon took action by moving personnel and assets in the region shortly after it learned of the attack on the Benghazi consulate,” said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity. “There was no request made for military intervention in Benghazi. To be successful, such an operation, if requested, would have required solid information about what was happening on the ground. Such clarity just wasn’t available as the attack was unfolding.”
Oh my. See the problem? The response revealed that there is a problem somewhere along the chain of command. The DoD never received a request for help according to the DoD. But then the equivocation. Just to be successful, they say, they would need “solid information,” and that just wasn’t available. So if they never received any request, why even mention that there wasn’t enough information (according to them) to help the souls in Benghazi?
But then, we also know that the chain of command denied help to the souls at Benghazi.
Citing “sources who were on the ground” in Benghazi, Libya, Fox News is reporting that an urgent request for military help during last month’s terrorist attack on the US consulate there “was denied by the CIA chain of command.”
Among other things reported in some detail, Fox asserts that a Special Operations team had been moved to US military facilities in Sigonella, Italy – approximately two hours away – but were never told to deploy.
“The fighting at the CIA annex [in Benghazi] went on for more than four hours – enough time for any planes based in Sigonella Air base, just 480 miles away, to arrive. Fox News has also learned that two separate Tier One Special operations forces were told to wait, among them Delta Force operators.”
They had access to the most secretive, most well trained, most bad ass operators on the planet. Delta Force. And Delta was told to stand down. It’s breathtaking, really.
So the request for help to the souls at Benghazi was denied multiple times. Yet the President didn’t do it. No request for help ever came to the CIA. The DoD never had any request come in to its offices. In fact, the fingers of blame are busy ensuring that culpability doesn’t fall on the one pointing.
Kel McClanahan, the executive director of the National Security Counselors and an attorney who specializes in national security law, said he didn’t detect any false or misleading statements in any of the denials but noticed a few things about the words the CIA and the Pentagon used that raise questions. With regard to Jennifer Youngblood’s statement, he said “all she said was that nobody told Woods ‘not to help those in need.'”
“Helping those in need is a very broad term,” said McClanahan. “It ranges from fire-bombing the attackers to providing medical assistance. I have complete confidence that nobody at CIA told their field office not to provide any help to those in need. However, she did not say ‘no one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to attack.'” As such, there’s a little bit of wiggle room in how the CIA is defining its terminology. We don’t know exactly what the agency told its operators on the ground. How about the Pentagon?
“DOD, for their part, is probably telling the truth as well, while not telling the whole story,” said McClanahan. He homed in on the Pentagon’s assertion that “There was no request made for military intervention.”
“That doesn’t say to whom or what constitutes a ‘request for military intervention,'” he said. According to the Fox News story, the opportunity to intervene was in the form of a Special Forces team at an air base in Signonella, Italy, which is about two hours from Benghazi. The suggestion in Griffin’s report is that the Special Forces unit could’ve intervened to help Amb. Stevens and the other Americans in a timely manner. (It’s worth noting that U.S. officials told CBS News last week that a fast intervention wasn’t possible because of State Department concerns about violating Libyan sovereignty.)
But we also know that the President’s fingerprints are all over this. Lies are usually counterproductive, as well as immoral and unethical. Meanwhile, four souls were left behind. One cardinal rule for the Marines and Army is that you don’t leave men behind. Ever.
I read the deployment orders (and accompanying PowerPoint presentation to the Battalion) when my son deployed to Fallujah, Iraq, because (then) Lt. Col. William Mullen showed it to me. The men were issued “die in place” orders. It is always better if your family has closure, rather than wondering if you’re alive and tortured or dead. But one simple truth permeated that part of the presentation.
If missing, the Battalion would move mountains to find their men wherever they were. This simple commitment, so revealing of character and integrity, went with the men throughout their combat tour in 2007. The poor souls in Benghazi didn’t have the same commitment from their “brothers.”