Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Benghazi: Who Put The 3 A.M. Phone Call On Hold?

Benghazi was the administration's 3 A.M. phone call. Someone in the administration, perhaps Obama himself or with his knowledge, put that phone call on hold, abandoning our people in Benghazi to their death. Their inaction, no doubt borne of political calculations, is criminal. No need to take my word for it.

Admiral James Lyons, U.S.N., Ret., former commander of the Pacific Fleet, doesn't hold back on the Obama administrations failures in Benghazi or the degree of deception he sees being practiced. Adm. Lyons writes in the Washington Times today, calling for immediate and "full disclosure of what has become the “Benghazi Betrayal and Cover-up:"

Once the attack commenced at 10:00 p.m. Libyan time (4:00 p.m. EST), we know the mission security staff immediately contacted Washington and our embassy in Tripoli. It now appears the White House, Pentagon, State Department, CIA, NDI, JCS and various other military commands monitored the entire battle in real time via frantic phone calls from our compound and video from an overhead drone. The cries for help and support went unanswered.

Panetta's claim that there was insufficient intelligence to launch our military assets in support of the Benghazi mission is just pure, unadulterated bullshit. He had better real time intel than any commander could hope to have going into a combat situation. As to Panetta's claim that Gen. Ham and Gen. Dempsey concurred - I want to hear that with my own ears. That is simply unbelievable. More on Gen. Ham at the bottom of this post.

To continue from Adm. Lyons:

The Obama national security team, including CIA, DNI, State Department and the Pentagon, watched and listened to the assault but did nothing to answer repeated calls for assistance. It has been reported that President Obama met with Vice President Joseph R. Biden and Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta in the Oval Office, presumably to see what support could be provided. After all, we had very credible military resources within striking distance. At our military base in Sigonella, Sicily, which is slightly over 400 miles from Benghazi, we had a fully equipped Special Forces unit with both transport and jet strike aircraft prepositioned. Certainly this was a force much more capable than the 22-man force from our embassy in Tripoli.

I know those Special Forces personnel were ready to leap at the opportunity. There is no doubt in my mind they would have wiped out the terrorists attackers. Also I have no doubt that Admiral William McRaven, Commander of U.S. Special Operations Command, would have had his local commander at Sigonella ready to launch; however, apparently he was countermanded—by whom? We need to know.

I also understand we had a C-130 gunship available, which would have quickly disposed of the terrorist attackers. This attack went on for seven hours. Our fighter jets could have been at our Benghazi mission within an hour. Our Special Forces out of Sigonella could have been there within a few hours. There is not any doubt that action on our part could have saved the lives of our two former Navy SEALs and possibly the ambassador.

Having been in a number of similar situations, I know you have to have the courage to do what’s right and take immediate action. Obviously, that courage was lacking for Benghazi. The safety of your personnel always remains paramount. With all the technology and military capability we had in theater, for our leadership to have deliberately ignored the pleas for assistance is not only in incomprehensible, it is un-American.

To anyone without any military experience, Panetta's claim that there was not sufficient intelligence and that, as a matter of doctrine, we don't put soldier's in harms way without a complete intel picture probably sounds reasonable. I can virtually assure you that to every current and former military officer - on the facts of Benghazi - Panetta's explanation is ludicrous. It is meant to gloss over deliberate inaction that was criminal. As Adm. Lyons concludes:

Somebody high up in the administration made the decision that no assistance (outside our Tripoli embassy) would be provided, and let our people be killed. The person who made that callous decision needs to be brought to light and held accountable. According to a CIA spokesperson, “No one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need.” We also need to know whether the director of CIA and the director of National Intelligence were facilitators in the fabricated video lie and the overall cover-up. Their credibility is on the line. A congressional committee should be immediately formed to get the facts out to the American people. Nothing less is acceptable.

Obama was asked directly, at the Town Hall debate, who denied the requests for additional security in Benghazi in the run up to 9-11 and why they denied those requests. Obama did not answer the questions. Obama was asked directly by a reporter last week whether the administration denied requests for help during the Benghazi attack. Obama did not answer the question. Obama is trying to string this out until after the election. This is a scandal far worse than Watergate, and yet Obama is being aided at every turn by a MSM totally vested in his reelection. This really is surreal.

Update: This from Michael Ramirez at IBD captures the situation perfectly:

The first person we need to hear from is Gen. Ham, the AFRICOM commander during the Benghazi attack. Panetta claims that Gen. Ham agreed with him, that there was insufficient intel to send military support to Benghazi. There is a rumor that Gen. Ham was relieved of his command on that night because he was preparing to disobey an order to stand down. We know that Gen. Ham is still listed as the AFRICOM Cdr, but that Panetta announced his replacement two weeks ago after Gen Ham had only been in command for 18 months. Further, we now learn that Gen Ham is no longer even at his post, he has returned to the U.S. and is being processed out of the Army into retirement. It would be very unusual indeed for a Commanding officer to physically leave his post at any time before a change of command ceremony in which both he and the incoming commander would participate. Someone needs to interview Gen. Ham.

(H/T Hot Air)

Update: The White House has just released photos of Obama in the WH Situation Room, looking at a large screen video link and getting an update on Sandy. Instapundit links to various twitter responses, asking where the pic is of Obama in the Situation Room during the Benghazi attack. Where indeed?

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