Report: Ambassador Stevens Wanted Special Forces to Stay in Benghazi; State Yanked Them
October 8, 2012 - 7:03 am
Before I get to the story, let’s walk through President Obama’s obnoxious bragging that his opponent is “new to foreign policy.”
Barack Obama was “new” to foreign policy four years ago. He opposed the Iraq surge that turned that war around. He chose a man for his running mate who has gotten just about every foreign policy question wrong over the last 30 years. Obama never familiarized himself with foreign policy. He gives speeches and calls it a day.
After the attack in Benghazi, he and his team lied to the American people about what happened.
Now, to the story:
Lt. Col. Andy Wood, the former head of a Special Forces “Site Security Team,” said in a pair of interviews that the embassy staff, including slain Amb. Chris Stevens, had wanted his group of 16 special operations soldiers to stay in Libya.
“[The] first choice was for us to stay,” Wood told ABC News.“That would have been the choice of the embassy people in Tripoli.”
Wood told CBS News that when he found out his team was being removed in August, he felt, “like we were being asked to play the piano with two fingers. There was concern amongst the entire embassy staff.”
The State Department’s response? Pulling special forces out of a war zone didn’t matter.
In a statement to ABC News, the State Department said that there was not a net loss of security personnel on the ground in Libya when Wood’s unit was pulled out. “The SST was enlisted to support the re-opening of Embassy Tripoli, to help ensure we had the security necessary as our diplomatic presence grew. They were based in Tripoli and operated almost exclusively there. When their rotation in Libya ended, Diplomatic Security Special Agents were deployed and maintained a constant level of security capability. So their departure had no impact whatsoever on the total number of fully trained American security personnel in Libya generally, or in Benghazi specifically.”
Here’s the part where the Clinton State Department throws a career military officer under the bus.
The State Department also noted that Wood was deployed in Tripoli and said he was unfamiliar with the security situation in Benghazi, where the terrorist attack ultimately occurred.
Yes, some State Department official in Washington just said that Foggy Bottom knew better about the security situation in Libya than a career military officer who was in Libya, after the US ambassador there was killed, and after the revelation that State pulled special forces from the country just a month before the assault.
More: Jake Tapper reports on the story today on GMA.