The American people deserve to know the truth
By Adm. James A. Lyons Sunday, October 28, 2012
There is an urgent need for full disclosure of what has become the “Benghazi Betrayal and Cover-up.” The Obama national security team, including CIA, DNI and the Pentagon, apparently watched and listened to the assault on the U.S. consulate and cries for help but did nothing.
If someone had described a fictional situation with a similar scenario and described our leadership ignoring the pleas for help, I would have said it was not realistic—not in my America – but I would have been proven wrong."We now know why Ambassador Christopher Stevens had to be in Benghazi the night of 9/11 to meet a Turkish representative, even though he feared for his safety. According to various reports, one of Stevens’ main missions in Libya was to facilitate the transfer of much of Gadhafi’s military equipment, including the deadly SA-7 – portable SAMs – to Islamists and other al Qaeda-affiliated groups fighting the Assad Regime in Syria. In an excellent article, Aaron Klein states that Stevens routinely used our Benghazi consulate (mission) to coordinate the Turkish, Saudi Arabian and Qatari governments’ support for insurgencies throughout the Middle East. Further, according to Egyptian security sources, Stevens played a “central role in recruiting Islamic jihadists to fight the Assad Regime in Syria.”
Red Cell In another excellent article, Clare Lopez at RadicalIslam.org noted that there were two large warehouse-type buildings associated with our Benghazi mission. During the terrorist attack, the warehouses were probably looted. We do not know what was there and if it was being administrated by our two former Navy SEALs and the CIA operatives who were in Benghazi. Nonetheless, the equipment was going to hardline jihadis.
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.
Our Benghazi mission personnel, including our two former Navy SEALs, fought for seven hours without any assistance other than help from our embassy in Tripoli, which launched within 30 minutes an aircraft carrying six Americans and 16 Libyan security guards. It is understood they were instrumental in helping 22 of our Benghazi mission personnel escape the attack.
Once the attack commenced, Stevens was taken to a “safe room” within the mission. It is not known whether his location was betrayed by the February 17 Martyrs Brigade, the local force providing security to the consulate, which had ties to the Ansar al-Sharia terrorist group conducting the attack, and to al Qaeda. Unbelievably, we still do not know how Ambassador Stevens died.
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.
[ADM James “Ace” Lyons, Jr. (USN Ret.), as Deputy Chief of Naval Operations, was the principal advisor on all Joint Chiefs of Staff matters and was the father of the Navy Red Cell, an anti-terrorism group comprised of Navy SEALs]
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.
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 creditability is on the line. A congressional committee should be immediately formed to get the facts out to the American people. Nothing less is acceptable.
Retired Adm. James A. Lyons was commander in chief of the U.S. Pacific Fleet and senior U.S. military representative to the United Nations.
Retired Admiral James A. Lyons, Former Pacific Fleet chief: We need full disclosure on Benghazi — now
October 30, 2012 by Ed Morrissey
Lt. Gen. Mcinerney on Benghazi: Whoever gave the “stand down” order is responsible for killing ambassador
Lt. Gen. Tom Mcinerney asked “are we brain-dead?” and says that we should have had ISR (intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance) assets over Libya before the 9/11 attacks ever happened, especially given the fact that radical Islamists were told by Al-Qaeda chief Zawahiri to take out Americans in retribution for our killing of Abu Yahya al-Libi over the summer.
But the most disturbing part of this he says is that during the 9/11 attacks we didn’t even try to save to save our people in Libya, that we didn’t do anything. In fact he goes on to say that whoever gave the “stand down” order to our forces at the annex in Benghazi is responsible for killing Ambassador Stevens and Sean Smith because he believes it’s highly possible that the small force from the Annex could have disrupted the attack and likely saved our Stevens and Smith.
Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer: My sources tell me Obama was in the room watching Benghazi attack
Lt. Col. Tony Shaffer said tonight that his sources tell him that Obama was one of the people in the room watching the Benghazi attack go down and both he and Col. David Hunt agree it would have taken an order by the president to intervene. Further, Col. Hunt said that we were only 20 min away by jet and a couple of hours away by AC-130 gunships and special forces, and the decision not to intervene had to be political.
Benghazigate: We Know Now Who Gave the Order Not to Protect the Consulate
October 26, 2012 By
Oct 29, 2012 Pat DollardVideo by The Right Scoop:
This is from a call into the Rush Limbaugh show today…Barack Obama: Guilty of Negligent Homicide.
RUSH: Now to the phones since it’s Open Line Friday. Doug in San Antonio. Great to have you on the program, sir. Hello.
CALLER: Hi, Rush. Thanks. I wanted to speak to the question of when the president knew and why Secretary Panetta refused to support the CIA annex request either to move to the consulate or to reinforce. Within a few minutes of the consulate being under attack — I’m a retired lieutenant colonel special operations planner for 15 years — the personal security detail for the ambassador notified the communications room in Tripoli who then, on the top secret side, sent a message to the White House Situation Room that the ambassador was in peril, okay? And they did that by code word and it would have been within minutes of the attack commencing.
The White House Situation Room has a list of what’s called Essential Elements of Friendly Information. That’s the military’s acronym for it, but they would have a similar thing, a critical information list. Certain things go right to the person that’s standing next to the president, both military and civilian leadership. So he would have known within minutes or it’s supposed to be informed within minutes because an ambassador is a four-star equivalent, very high, very important person, you know, represents the president and essentially is the president’s — you know, is the surrogate of the president in that country. So the White House cannot deny that the president knew immediately.
RUSH: They are. They are.
CALLER: Well, it’s a bald-faced lie, you know. I’m giving you some inside baseball information –
RUSH: Look, I believe you. You’re talking about watch desks. That tells me you know what you’re talking about.
CALLER: Well, it’s even a little more frustrating than that. So when that message, that code word goes out, flash traffic, that an ambassador is in peril, okay, the –
RUSH: We have heard this. In our parlance, the way we heard this, Doug, was essentially the panic button was hit. That’s how this was explained to me the first time. Somebody who knew what they were talking about referenced this as a panic button essentially was hit, and that once that happens, everybody that receives it knows what’s going on. There’s no doubt about it. So that’s pretty much true, right?
CALLER: Right. But it’s even more detailed than that, Rush. What it means is when a code word goes out, there’s standard operating procedures. The geographic combatant commander that’s responsible for Libya would have been part of that message traffic, and his CINC’s In-Extremis Force, which is, you know, a Special Forces unit –
RUSH: Okay, let me stop you there for another question, because what a lot of people have been told, the excuse that has been offered, in fact, from Condoleezza Rice on Greta Van Susteren a couple nights ago, the impression is, “Well, there’s so much traffic coming in, there’s so many e-mails, so many cables, so many memos, it would take somebody hours to sift through it.” What you’re telling me is that there are systems designed to penetrate all that in a real emergency?
CALLER: Well, there’s three networks, Rush. The e-mails that have been released are unclassified e-mails. On the top secret side, a flash traffic message from the embassy Tripoli to the White House Situation Room, it’s like an IM. I mean, it’s immediately responded to. You have to acknowledge receipt of it.Okay? So it’s immediate. It gets to the person, the watch officer sitting there, boom, flashes on his screen, he has to acknowledge receipt. And then there’s a protocol for who he then sends it to. He physically turns to someone, the senior guy on watch, “This is a critical element of information. POTUS needs to hear this,” and that’s what would have happened.
So no one in the White House can deny that — well, they can deny it, but the fact is the protocol says someone marched their happy little ass up to the senior guy standing next to POTUS and said, “Sir, ambassador in Libya is in peril.” And if he was missing, that is even a higher precedence. And then the chain would have also gone out automatically to the geographic combatant commander, AFRICOM, and he would have then turned to his special operations commander and said, “I want the In-Extremis Force, you know, strip ready in five minutes.” And evidently they were strip ready in Sigonella and they would have the assets to penetrate the airspace, you know, an MC-130 papa, which is a C-130 specially equipped with electronic countermeasures. They didn’t need permission to enter Libyan airspace, okay?
I’m giving you a lot of Inside Baseball stuff, and maybe putting myself in a little peril by doing it, but the In-Extremis Force, they would have been chomping at the bit to do this. It was turned down, POTUS, at his five p.m. Eastern time meeting with the principals, that’s when he put the kibosh on everything. It was a conscious act. It has to be because, you know, the In-Extremis Force is required to be prepared to do In-Extremis non-combatant evacuation operations for its geographic responsibility, the entire continent of Africa. So there’s always somebody ready to go, and the aircraft are always prepared to go.
It’s maddening to say that there was not intelligence. An intelligence guy is not a decision-maker. He’s just some analyst dude that tells the decision-makers this is what we know. Well, the decision-makers who are so risk-averse now need perfect intelligence. They would have had to have, you know, in the calculus of this, to know that, whatever the attacking force was, if I put 15 or 50 or a hundred operators on the ground, you know, they’ll have success. No one knows that. In soft planning, you plan to fail half the time.
RUSH: What about the story we’ve been told that not only was there so much traffic coming in that it was impossible to find the right stuff, which you’ve now explained, but they’re also telling us that the president wasn’t told for a while, and even now, as recently as today, they’re saying that the three most recent e-mails — it sounds like we’re talking about — flash traffic’s not e-mails, right?
CALLER: Flash traffic is digital from station to station.
RUSH: Right. So they’re misleading us left and right. They’re trying to say, “Well, the president –” They will not explain. They will not tell us what happened to the three e-mails and why he didn’t get them or why he wasn’t told or when he knew or what. They’re basically portraying the president as removed from all this.
CALLER: Well, the bottom line is a flash traffic saying that the ambassador is in peril, or, worse, missing, you know, the protocol is for someone to physically contact with a person in the chain that’s supposed to determine what happens next. Now, I wasn’t in the Oval Office so I can’t –
RUSH: Let me ask you, the question came up yesterday that I couldn’t answer, and I need to ask you, just from what you’re saying. This is unreal, but let’s assume they can’t find POTUS, let’s assume he’s just not engaged. Who has trigger authority on a response to something like that? I mean, you say we don’t need permission to send a C-130 in there to disrupt. Who orders it in there, in a situation like this? Who has the authority to order the C-130s wherever they are, Italy, wherever they are, to take action? If you can’t find the president — is the president the only guy that can give that order?
CALLER: No, sir. Okay? Basically in the absence of permissions, okay, you have standing orders. And one of the standing orders to geographic combatant commander is to observe life of American citizens –
RUSH: Exactly. Precisely.
CALLER: And he’s a four-star, you know, he’s in Germany. AFRICOM headquarters is in Germany, and their op-center would have been monitoring this in real time, ’cause it’s part of their geographic responsibility. And they would have been going through the different permutations of courses of action of who can get there the quickest. Now, in their geographic area they have Combined Joint Task Force, Horn of Africa, which is in Djibouti. I served there when it was the Joint Special Operations Task Force Crisis Response Element, and we have responsibility for all of CENTCOM and AFRICOM in Africa because at the time there was no AFRICOM. And we had the capacity to get from where we were in Djibouti to Benghazi in about three hours, four hours, depending on what we wanted to take. Now, if we wanted to go in there with a lot of operators, and at the time we had about a hundred operators, it would have taken us probably five hours.
RUSH: Okay, Doug, you’re sitting out here, you obviously are intimately familiar with all this. So what’s going through your mind, A, in real time when you hear about this, and then in subsequent days when you hear the excuses or explanations that have been offered for why no action was taken? I mean, I may be putting you on spot and you can’t share that with us, but I gotta ask you.
CALLER: It stems from Desert One, Rush, it stems from the failure of Desert One during the Iranian hostage rescue. And what commander wants to repeat that, you know. Now, at the lieutenant colonel level, at the colonel level of the In-Extremis Force of all these different headquarters, State Department, everybody was saying, “Let’s go! Let’s get boots on the ground and kick these people’s asses and get our people.” But who makes those decisions? It’s POTUS, V POTUS, State, and Def. And they had a five o’clock Eastern time meeting, and they said no. You know, we’re willing to have the consulate overruled and the embassy overrun — (phone connection goes bad)
RUSH: The fact that they’re afraid of replicating Carter’s boondoggle, that’s not gonna fly with a lot of people.
CALLER: Well, sir, I hate to break it to you, but the people that are-four-stars right now, okay, were young officers, and they saw what happened to the leadership, okay? I’m not saying on the Special Ops side. You know, Special Ops guys –
RUSH: But I mean there are alternate explanations. There are political campaign explanations that people have conjured up to explain why Obama would not want any military activity taking place there in order to make sure that an image is created for his campaign: We’re defeating Al-Qaeda. They’re on the run. We got bin Laden.
CALLER: All those memes, you know, are probably in play, but mostly it’s just incompetence and not understanding the principal of you don’t leave anybody behind, okay?
RUSH: Doug, look, I know you’ve stuck your neck out here and you obviously know your stuff intimately well and I really appreciate your call. It’s fabulous to get your input and knowledge on this. Somewhere, somebody refused to make a gutsy call.
RUSH: Doug in San Antonio, Texas, kind of blows Leon Panetta out of the water, and Leon Panetta, we had a sound bite earlier, he said, “Well, we didn’t have enough intel. We didn’t know enough going on.” My guess is that we knew everything, we knew it all. That’s what he was basically telling us. We probably had those C-130s — and we talked about these yesterday, these C-130 Hercules equipped to go in and disperse crowds, buzz low, disperse crowds. They’re an hour away in Italy. It’s a seven-hour operation. They probably are able to get the video feed in the cockpit knowing what’s going on.
Leon Panetta has “blocked” four senior military officers from answering questions on the Benghazi
October 22nd, 2012
The news keeps getting worse. The Washington Free Beacon reports today that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has “blocked” four senior military officers from answering questions on the Benghazi attack posed by Congressman Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-CA), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee (HASC).
McKeon asked the officers to provide answers to questions about security threats by the close of business Friday…Said a HASC aide:
McKeon asked each of the four officers in separate letters whether prior to the Sept. 11, 2012, attack in Benghazi anyone under their command had notified the State Department or other agencies about growing dangers in Libya.
He also wants to know if there were any requests to increase security in Libya for U.S. personnel. … [T]he letters to the four officers asked whether any military officers under their command had recommended “deployment of additional U.S. military forces to Libya due to the threat environment.
Other questions focused on determining if the officers were aware that officers under their command recommended increasing security in Libya prior to the deadly attack.
To your knowledge, has the Department of State or any other federal agency requested additional U.S. military forces to augment security for U.S. personnel in Libya?” McKeon asked.
It is nearly unprecedented that the office of the secretary of defense would prohibit a member of the uniformed military from answering direct questions posed by the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.Indeed. But what, if anything, about the Benghazi incident does have a precedent – outside of the other actions of the Obama administration, such as Fast & Furious? We have reached the point at which the cynical behavior of this administration can’t be reinterpreted or spun. There is no honest purpose for refusing to answer these questions from the House. If the Obama executive is running an actual investigation, we’re at day 39 now after the 9/11/12 attack, and it’s past time to have answers. There is no excuse for the administration’s behavior.
Why would Panetta and the White House use the stonewalling tactic with the House? Presumably because the Democrat-held Senate has given them until after the election to answer its questions. The calculating character of this reprieve from the Senate is obvious.
Many readers probably saw Bret Baier’s Fox News special Friday night on the Benghazi attack and its aftermath (video linked here). For those who missed Lt. Col. Andrew Wood in the recent Congressional hearing – Wood, deployed through the National Guard, led a special security team for the US missions in Libya, until the team was withdrawn earlier this year by a State Department functionary (video of his testimony here) – Baier’s interview with him brings out clearly that State decided to cut the already-inadequate security force in Libya. Wood advocated keeping his team in place, but State decided against it – even though the Defense Department was actually paying for it.
So McKeon’s questions to the Department of Defense are right on point, and the American people are owed the answers. There is a certain pragmatism at work on both sides of the aisle right now; Democrats want to get through the election, and Republicans are likely to take a more perfunctory approach to the Benghazi issue if Mitt Romney wins on the 6th. The public appetite for details – at least, any details we still don’t know this point – will probably wane once the people know the Obama administration is on the way out.
The gingerly treatment of the Obama administration by the MSM on this matter is a timely reminder that the MSM are not peopled with objective journalists. If a Republican administration were backing and filling after the Benghazi fiasco, it would find no rest anywhere. The attacks on it would be relentless. We may say, “And rightly so!” – but the MSM seem incapable of calibration here: either they are in a frenetic feeding frenzy, hammering their own narratives as they “cover” the activities of a Republican administration, or they are declining to cover stories that obviously matter about a Democratic administration. Too seldom anymore do we see from them the middle ground of sober, fair-minded, carefully assembled reporting.
But the most important take-away from the Benghazi fiasco is the nakedly cynical, self-serving behavior of the Obama administration. Four Americans were killed, in a terrorist attack on a facility that should have been protected better, but – because of decisions made by Obama’s appointees – was not. Instead of manning up to what happened and providing the answers that are owed to the people, the administration first built a specious narrative about why the attack was launched, as if that was what mattered, and then spent weeks claiming that it was too early to answer questions on almost any aspect of the topic.
Now the administration has directed senior military officers not to answer questions from Congress. There is no conceivable reason for this, other than to stymie progress on the House’s inquiry.
Originally published at the Optimistic Conservative.