Questions for White House Over Benghazi Just Beginning
We have two likely possibilities for what occurred, plus a subplot involving arms to al-Qaeda, which could be treason.
October 29, 2012 - 10:06 am
But we do not know at this time which actually occurred. Based upon the information we can glean, we’re left with two most probable outcomes.
Either the Obama administration refused to launch close-air support aircraft from nearby bases that could have eliminated enemy forces attacking Americans trapped on the ground, or we had close air support aircraft overhead that could have taken out the terrorists that had Americans under fire with precision weapons — and the administration refused to let them fire.
The moral cowardice of both decisions is unconscionable.
Writing yesterday at the Weekly Standard, William Kristol asked ten questions of the administration, attempting to discover how the White House in general and President Obama in particular responded to the unfolding attacks. It is not a terribly exciting list of questions for the most part, nor was it intended to be. The questions emulate those that might be asked in a criminal indictment:
1.) To whom did the president give the first of his “three very clear directives” — that is, “make sure that we are securing our personnel and doing whatever we need to”?
2.) How did he transmit this directive to the military and other agencies?
3.) During the time when Americans were under attack, did the president convene a formal or informal meeting of his national security council? Did the president go to the situation room?
4.) During this time, with which members of the national security team did the president speak directly?
5.) Did Obama speak by phone or teleconference with the combatant commanders who would have sent assistance to the men under attack?
6.) Did he speak with CIA director David Petraeus?
These are questions of leadership and basic competence that must be answered. Did Obama actually lead? If he did, who under his command failed?
Then Kristol asks the more provocative questions.
7.) Was the president made aware of the repeated requests for assistance from the men under attack? When and by whom?
8.) Did he issue any directives in response to these requests?
9.) Did the president refuse to authorize an armed drone strike on the attackers?
10.) Did the president refuse to authorize a AC-130 or MC-130 to enter Libyan airspace during the attack?
These ten questions alone could end a presidency, but they are far from the only questions swirling around Benghazi. As noted earlier, we face the question of what Ambassador Stevens was doing in Benghazi without security.
Some are speculating that Stevens was in Benghazi to facilitate the transfer of weapons to rebel forces in Syria fighting the regime of dictator Bashar Assad. This is the position of former CIA operative Clare Lopez.