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General on Benghazi Intervention: ‘We Should Have Tried… Always Move to the Sound of the Guns’

Could U.S. forces have reached the consulate in time? “We may have been able to, but we’ll never know," retired official tells panel.

Bill Straub


May 1, 2014 - 6:12 pm
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WASHINGTON – A retired brigadier general who served as deputy director for intelligence at the U.S. Africa Command during the 2012 attack on the consulate in Benghazi, Libya, told a House panel Thursday that military officials quickly realized the encounter was a “hostile action” by terrorists – not a protest-turned-violent as initially portrayed by the Obama administration.

Former Air Force Gen. Robert Lovell, who spent 33 years in uniform, told the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee that command headquarters in Germany didn’t know how long the Sept. 11, 2012, assault on the U.S. Consulate that resulted in four deaths, including that of Ambassador Chris Stephens, would last.

“Nor did we completely understand what we had in front of us, be it a kidnapping, rescue, recovery, protracted hostile engagement or any or all of the above,” Lovell said. “But what we did know quite early on was that this was a hostile action. This was no demonstration gone terribly awry.”

Lovell’s claim counters statements issued in the immediate aftermath by the White House and approved by the Central Intelligence Agency that asserted the confrontation arose as a result of an anti-Muhammad video that appeared on YouTube and led to widespread protests across the Muslim world.

The facts gathered by Africa Command quickly “led to the conclusion of a terrorist attack,’’ Lovell said.

Lovell is the first veteran of the Africa Command to counter the administration’s initial explanation of the incidents in Benghazi, rationales that have been criticized and questioned by Republicans since the time of the incident. But Jay Carney, President Obama’s spokesman, insisted on Thursday that citing the ant-Muslim video as the cause of the attack “was the best information we had at the time.”

“The fact that there were protests around the region threatening our embassies at the very same time is something that is often forgotten, but obviously affected the whole environment about how we perceived what was happening at the time,” Carney said. “And again, the implication is that we were somehow holding back information, when, in fact, we were simply saying what we thought was right. And when elements of that turned out not to be true, we were the first people to say so. It was based on what we knew at the time.”

Lovell also questioned the nation’s response to news about the attack, insisting that the State Department under then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton failed to ask the military to launch an operation to reach the Americans in distress, an action he said should have been taken even if that endeavor proved futile. Instead, the Pentagon reined in forces, asserting that personnel couldn’t have reached the scene in time to prevent any fatalities.

“There are accounts of time, space and capability discussions of the question, ‘Could we have gotten there in time to make a difference?’” Lovell said. “Well, the discussion is not in the ‘could or could not’ in relation to time, space and capability. The point is we should have tried. As another saying goes — always move to the sound of the guns.”

Lovell said there was “desperation” in Africa Command headquarters as military personnel sought to “gain situational awareness and to be able to do something to save people’s lives.”

“Basically, there was a lot of looking to the State Department for what they wanted and the deference to the Libyan people and the sense of deference to the desires of the State Department in terms of what they would like to have,” he added.

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Top Rated Comments   
If you concentrate on the incidental, you miss the vital.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
He was COMPLETELY innocent of what they tried to pin on him, for what they lied about to America and the world, for what they PROMISED he would be arrested.

A man guilty of jaywalking and arrested for serial murder is innocent for the purposes of discussing his being framed to cover up a totalitarian regime's nefarious deeds.

His "parole violation" was certainly not worthy of notifying the media for his midnight rousting.

In fact, it just increased the now clear evidence that Obama and Clinton had MUCH more to hide.

They held a spectacle on 9-11 to "prove" that there was nothing to fear or "oppose" ...they had eliminated the enmity of the radical Islam world. They had become one with the "Muslim Brotherhood". They were "loved and cherished".

And, they would use the date 9/11 to "prove it".

Then, when it all exploded in their faces...they had to change the narrative.

"Someone" had to have "ruined" their story.

That someone was an obscure videographer. And Obama and Clinton had to go into hiding until the "scrub" team cleaned up their mess.

AND...they could NOT allow anyone on the ground to be saved. The order to stand down came from the two people who could not leave any witnesses alive.

They KNEW the videographer was innocent...because they KNEW he was to be the patsy.

They didn't stand over those coffins and promise his head on a platter...for any parole violation.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
They lied for 18 months. They arrested, perp walked and jailed a man they knew was innocent.

Their BEST information on the ground NEVER ONCE mentioned a "protest". That "bootstrapping lie" was based upon a planted narrative...written by and for the WH and State Department...the two being headed by...the disappearing act of Obama and Clinton.

By the time Rice was sent out to the Sunday morning walk of shame, they KNEW what she was about to tell the American people was a fully fabricated bundle of bullspit.

They then HID the evidence, said it no longer mattered and called inquiries into their lies...Republican conspiracy theories.

What this current shell game cloud the focus. The lies, the coverups, the withholding of NOT about an election year political gamesmanship. WHAT WAS SO DAMN IMPORTANT THAT STEVENS HAD TO BE IN BENGHAZI....on THAT date...of all the dates in the calendar?

What were Obama and Clinton up to...that imploded and forced them into hiding? Forced this steaming pile of lies, a false arrest, false imprisonment?

Forced the scrubbing of their fingerprints from EVERY element of this quadruple homicide?

The Soros trolls will come here with their treason in hand, trying to say to see here.

But the King and Queen of the Clown Mafia...(Boza Nostra) are up to their eyeballs in this despicable scandal.

The questions not being asked...are all about the dog that isn't barking.

WHY are Obama and Clinton nowhere to be found...when clearly the WH and State concocted the entire scheme. What they are STILL hiding...THAT is the buried evidentiary key.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (27)
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Obviously that general was of the old school....not one selected by Billy Clinton. He probably thinks winning wars is important.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Libya needs to do it on her own, but since she's never had a democratic government before, she could benefit from our experience. Look what happened in Egypt when she had no help.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm a senior citizen but I long for the days when Americans stood up and spoke their minds. I'm sick of the talk about racial matters, and the high and mighty platforms of sports and entertainment figures. Who gives a d000 if Beyoncé shows her T and A? Why is she paid all that money and why is Geoirge Clooney's engagement headline news? What happened to the Culpepper "DON'T TREAD ON ME" FLAG BEING USURPED BY THE

I AM Mad AS Hell AND I'm tired of taking it. I' tired of having George Clooney's engagement #1 news and Beyoncé's sexuality being the hot topic. I recall, a few years ago when Ted Williams, Dimaggio, and baseball greats stood in a ballfield at an ALL STAR GAME and thinking that their combined salaries didn't equal one of that day's steroid-upped players. When are the voters in the US going to say, "ENOUGH". Lying is something for little kids, not for government leaders. Battle scarred and often, limb-less soldiers don't deserve these political wars where the politicians and lawyers negotiate the terms before the first soldier enters a city. The nerve of that Afghan leader to place restrictions on remaining American troops......Those guys rescued his fair country. Remember the Marines waiting outside Fallujah (I think) for the pudgy guy to agree to let them in? Men died fighting for that @#$% city! They may be the same guys or gals who are denied treatment at a VA Hospital sometime in the future while some extremely well paid bureaucrat figures out how to spend her bonus.
Get mad instead of laughing at some kid, now in a position of responsibility, when he starts his explanation by saying, Dude..." It may have been two years ago but people live, die, work, and loaf during those two years. Everyone doesn't earn salaries in 6 or more figures. Plenty of good Americans teach, put out fires, fix pipes and pot holes for a lot less than that. We are all necessary and a lot of us are patriotic. Armies are made up of people like are staffs in hospitals and police departments.
The man who is installed as president really wanted that job. He ran HARD TWICE. Why isn't he around when there is a crisis? Where is he before he runs up the steps to his super plush Air Force 1. I don't expect Michelle to be pushing a mop around the East Room but I do expect her to be a loyal, patriotic citizen who takes normal vacations and doesn't expect the over-extended taxpayers to fund royal vacations for her and her hangers on.....Those two daughters deserve the life of any teen ager and that should not include palatial tours of continents, meeting royalty, and weeks in tropical paradises...all funded by the good old "mean" USA. I am "mean". I would not allow that family, those hangers-on, or the in-laws to set foot on AF 1. I would say, drive, or take the your fare like the rest of us.
Start getting mad, Start wondering why one steroid-filled athlete is worth more than the salaries of Williams, DiMaggio, and others COMBINED or how that jerk in California ever earned his hefty estate. Do those sports figures really need or deserve the high priced cars or the adulation....Really think about the coswt of the tickets for their games, concerts etc. Most of us can no longer afford to go anyway.

42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Unarmed reconnaissance A-18s were closest and available. A pass or two over the embassy on the deck while above the speed of sound would probably break up the attack. The unexpected always has one think that Allah has something else in mind and one needs to take everything and mull it over before deciding to proceed in any direction.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sounds like the "errors" made in Iraq.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Obama ordered them to stand down because he was in on the plot to kidnap the ambassador and later trade for the blind sheik so he could look like a hero.

Kevin Dujan, a political analyst and radio and TV host wrote an article and appeared on radio on October 8 putting forth a theory that the attack of the Libyan consulate was tied neither to a video or terrorism, but a botched kidnapping of Ambassador Stevens.

That Barack Obama had arranged with the Muslim Brotherhood to kidnap the Ambassador, and through Obama’s supposed affinity with the Muslim world, Obama would save the day and get the ambassador released.

But the Muslim Brotherhood wanted something in return.

Their beloved Blind Sheik.

42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Howdy Chilly
Obama's moral conduct leaves me ready to believe your scenario, but I'd have to see an awful lot of very convincing evidence before I actually do believe it. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof.
42 weeks ago
42 weeks ago Link To Comment
Obama's policy was to have a small footprint presence in Libya, so that doomed everyone in Benghazi. Hoping that Islamic jihadist group would attack the compound was not a security posture appropriate for Libya. Obama is directly responsible for the murders at Benghazi.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
"What difference does it make now?"

The same difference as to why the statute of limitations never runs out for murder.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
moonbasealpha, I believe that the situation was that the ex-SEAL had targeted the mortar with a laser in expectation of a an air strike; however, there were no strike aircraft there to help. Unfortunately, by using the laser and not then getting a strike on the enemy position, the SEALs revealed their position and were killed by enemy fire.
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
The Copt, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula was a political prisoner.

Was Stevens trafficking weapons to the MB is Syria via Turkey?
43 weeks ago
43 weeks ago Link To Comment
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