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by
Bridget Johnson

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May 1, 2014 - 3:41 pm

Today’s Benghazi hearing has sparked a bit of conflict between GOP-led House committees that investigated the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attack.

At a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) asked retired USAF Brigadier General Robert Lovell, the former Deputy Director for Intelligence for the U.S. African Command (AFRICOM), about the military response to the assault on the diplomatic facility.

“It was desperation there… it was desperation to gain situational awareness and to be able to do something to save people’s lives,” Lovell said of the mood at the operational control room. “…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.”

“We didn’t run to the sound of the guns? They were issuing press releases. We had Americans dying. We had dead people. We had wounded people. And our military didn’t try to engage in that fight. Would you disagree with that?” Chaffetz asked.

“Four individuals died. Sir, we obviously did not respond in time to get there,” Lovell said.

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), though, said in a statement after the hearing that Lovell wasn’t in a position to give such a perspective of the evening.

“I appreciate the service of Brigadier General Robert Lovell and his willingness to testify. He confirmed what my committee has understood for some time, that the military never believed this was a protest gone bad, and that the President fundamentally failed to posture our forces respond to any emergency in the weeks before 9/11,” McKeon said.

“Beyond those confirmations, BG Lovell did not serve in a capacity that gave him reliable insight into operational options available to commanders during the attack, nor did he offer specific courses of action not taken,” the chairman continued. “The Armed Services Committee has interviewed more than a dozen witnesses in the operational chain of command that night, yielding thousands of pages of transcripts, e-mails, and other documents. We have no evidence that Department of State officials delayed the decision to deploy what few resources DoD had available to respond.”

“In the end, while BG Lovell did not further the investigation or reveal anything new, he was another painful reminder of the agony our military felt that night; wanting to respond but unable to do so.”

Bridget Johnson is a veteran journalist whose news articles and opinion columns have run in dozens of news outlets across the globe. Bridget first came to Washington to be online editor at The Hill, where she wrote The World from The Hill column on foreign policy. Previously she was an opinion writer and editorial board member at the Rocky Mountain News and nation/world news columnist at the Los Angeles Daily News. She is an NPR contributor and has contributed to USA Today, The Wall Street Journal, National Review Online, Politico and more, and has myriad television and radio credits as a commentator. Bridget is Washington Editor for PJ Media.

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Top Rated Comments   
The general is not in a position, by his own admission, to determine if the military "could" have successfully saved the four Americans. However, as far as "should have tried" goes, with 33 years in the service, he's in a pretty good position to say that.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Them DEM's lied, so Obama would be re-elected and Hillary would be clean as a whistle to run in 2016, Period.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (22)
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I get the impression, that Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), is defensive about any investigating he didn't do.

Remember, it was Judicial Watch who got these emails. Since this Buck McKeon was on the Armed Services Committee, it seems he would have had the same opportunity, to get the same emails and didn't.

I think some in the GOP, didn't want to have to investigate this, until, it became obvious, they had no choice. Maybe he's afraid people are going to ask him, why he didn't get these emails sooner.

He's trying to diminish what the General said, because it's become obvious that people like him didn't dig deeper, because they obviously didn't want to. Afraid to be called a racist, Chairman? Is that why you didn't do your job? Is that why you're trying to diminish what this General said, from your cushy office?
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
The order from the WH in all actions that night were 'stand down'. And the Fleet Admiral and General Carter Ham did not 'stand down' fast enough and both were cashiered for their actions.
When the Compound sent messages for support, many of them. The order of the night was 'Stand Down' period.... Why this order.... we had fighter jets within 2 hours under the command of the Fleet Admiral who was cashiered. We had AfriCom Carter Ham who could respond....
The response from the administration was 'there was not enough time to respond with help'. How do they know that.... Did they have a special time table of how long this attack would last..... Or did they, the administration, have some inside information of this 'attack' that no one else had? Or was this really an attack at all in the beginning..... Was this something else going on... Was this why the Ambassador and a single Aid were on the roof alone with no weapons when the ex-Seals came through the hole in the wall. Was this why on the video we hear all of the shooting and fires but no people ever getting shot.... until the ex-seals obtained weapons at the Compound and then they shot AAS people.. demonstrators.. While they were defending the Compound, the Ambassador disappeared... No one knew where he was. The ex-Seals left and went back to the Annex and reported in to the OIC of the CIA, there were 22 CIA people there.... Later that night the Ambassador was taken by the AAS and he died at the Libyan hospital.... Then the Annex came under attack and both of the ex-Seals who had gone to defend the Compound were killed by a single incoming mortar, so it was reported.... by the CIA... Is it time to exhume the bodies and see how they died????
Who was sending out these 'Stand Down' orders... from the WH...?
What was reported by the ex-Seals to the OIC of the CIA upon their return to the Annex?
It is time for some real questions?????
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
I heard Valerie Jarrett gave those stand down orders. Is she legally allowed to do that? No.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Get it Straight...Generals do not care about the troops...

You can never BE a general, if you do. We, in any personal sense to them, are faceless, interchangeable, expendable assest at their disposal.

Their career comes first, and in the best cases, such careers advance by the efficent USE of the soldiery to accomplish The Worthy Mission...but not always...

When mistakes happen, or something goes wrong, its under the bus WE go....or, in cases of Forbidden Political Fallout, its under the RUG....

Think of Lt. Cally, and Major Hassan....one gets a little house arrest for the My Lai massacre, and the other fawned and coddled (grow a beard? Sure thing!) and call it "workplace violence"....

Both SHOULD have been Personally Executed by their Commanding General after a 15 minute hearing of the facts, stating "this is NOT what Ameican Soldiers DO!" ...

But generals, for all their supposed "blood and guts" warriorism, are conflict/controversy averse...smooth it over, GET it over, as quick as possible without ruffling the wrong feathers. Truth, guilt or innocence be damned.

Generals are Politicians by a different path....some of them turn out to be decent Battelfield Leaders, but most have no such opportunity in their careers, and we are left to wonder what WILL they do when the chips are down...

And most often when it COUNTS...they just dont deliver.
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20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Can't forget Gen Martin Dempsey,been in rear with the gear since '74.Nothing but an over paid mail clerk,and look at him now.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Buck McKeon has the same understanding of a crisis in the military at the late Les Aspin, a Democrats who Clinton asked to serve at Defense. Les denied the necessary support to have avoided Blackhawk
Down. When the facts became known, Les resigned and died within 6 months.
Bucky fits the spot perfectly. I assume the guy in the chain of command and in the location to know knew.
It was AWOL Obama or HRC, State, who failed to act in a timely manner.
Bucky needs to retire and collect his chits for his time of service or whatever they call congressional duty.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
WTF. Just when you think the GOP can't get any dumber, Buck McKeon comes out and says the J2 deputy commander at Africom didn't have the appropriate insight to what was happening during the night the Benghazi diplomatic team was murdered. OMG. I give up.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
I am not sure why McKeon made his statement, as it sounds a bit defensive ... of the military, that is, not of the Obama Administration's handling of the Benghazi attacks. Perhaps McKeon felt that General Lovell was criticizing the military command, but I don't think anybody else took that to be the General's intent. He was expressing regret that the military ended up not responding at all, even if the likelihood of success was low. That is exactly how we'd all hope our military commanders would feel about this sad situation.

As to McKeeon, he chairs the House Armed Services Committee which has held its own hearings on Benghazi. His comments may be taken more as a criticism of his rival House Oversight Committee Chairman Issa - and the natural competition between rival committees - than of the General.

As for those who speak ill of McKeon in other comments on this page, they're speaking out of ignorance and are completely out of line. McKeon has served long and honorably in the House as a strong pro-national defense Republican, and he has announced his retirement from the House after completing his current term.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Just because he is "pro" military does not give him the insight to know what happened. Bucky appears to be a little man who wants the spotlight one more time.
His claim to fame apparently is the chairmanship and bringing home the bacon to his district. Some achievement.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
They started ganging up on BG Lovell from the get go. That Marie Harf chick kicked it off right away, speaking for the state department. They are in Obama CYA mode, big time, right now.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well la de dah for Buck Mckeon. Lets be blunt. The military should have been shadowing the situation with a naval operation off shore and ready to respond. They were not prepared but could have been had the State Department requested support. But the Hildabeast did not ask because she is a leftist arrogant you know what. So men died. I do not blame the military for this debacle. I blame the state department 100% for this lack of prepardness. Why would a guy who was an intelligence officer a general no less with north african responsibility NOT be in a position to know what was going on. Buck Mekeon is a moran. Speaking of dysfunction what in the hell was Susan Rice as an unrelated UN idiot doing speaking on behalf of the State Department? Why not have Jay Carney give the State of the Union address? This shows you that Obama runs this government as if it was one big political campaign. No logic to this debacle at all but the buck stops with our aspiring presidential candidate.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Take all that has happened in the area from Mubarak to Benghazi and look at the actions of Obama in the issues... Now look at the desires of Mohammad Morsi, what was his hot button issue?.... The Blind Sheikh in prison for life in the U.S. Morsi was working to get him released back to Egypt... Obama was pushing Mubarak out and pulling MB Morsi in to power..in Egypt.. What did Obama tell the Muslim Brotherhood in his speech in Egypt.... He said 'Watch and you will see what I will do for you'. Then MB Morsi was elected. Then Libya was freed from Kadafi and the MB took over, all of the weapons we had given to Kadafi were available to those MB fighting in Syria against Asad....
Now look at all that happened prior to Benghazi... Hillary drew down all security in Benghazi to zero.... Then Stevens came to Benghazi -- Why did he come to Benghazi where there was no security... For what purpose??? Remember Morsi was working day and night to get the Blind Sheikh released from Federal Prison and returned to Egypt.... Obama was instrumental in getting Morsi in power in Egypt.... Doe anyone start to see a picture here.... Now take everything that happened on the night of Benghazi and try to figure out what was really going on.... Look at the videos of the night in Benghazi and try to fit it all together with a motive..... The answer to all of this will be staring you in the face.....
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Maybe someone who writes that "Buck Mekeon is a moran" is looking in the mirror ... or at least needs remedial spelling education, not to mention political awareness, before he posts before the whole internet universe on such matters as this.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
The general is not in a position, by his own admission, to determine if the military "could" have successfully saved the four Americans. However, as far as "should have tried" goes, with 33 years in the service, he's in a pretty good position to say that.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
I am not familiar with Buck McKeon but after reading his statement, as quoted in this article, he is a disgrace who clearly stands with those who would destroy this country and its people.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
What is disgraceful, exactly, about the Buck McKeon remarks? He did not defend the Obama Administration's overall handling of the Benghazi affair - indeed, he spoke just the opposite, that:

"... the President fundamentally failed to posture our forces respond to any emergency in the weeks before 9/11." Which is the real scandal ... not the fact that once placed in an untenable position, our military was unable to rescue our people once under attack in a remote location.

McKeon spoke of the sworn testimony before his committee, which is the lead committee for all military affairs in the House. Since when did such statements of fact become "disgraceful"?
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
The disgrace is that he waited until after the hearings closed to voice is disapproval of the retired genera. The disgrace is that you never
insult a man or woman in public. He is guilty of both counts.
Perhaps Bucky is senile. Or simply a donkey in elephant diguise.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
orpone McKeon should be primaried and removed from office. He is protecting Boehner, who had been briefed on what CIA was trying to do in Libya with the arms stash, and doesn't want that information to get out. That is why Boehner is stonewalling the appointment of a Special Prosecutor on Benghazzi.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
Them DEM's lied, so Obama would be re-elected and Hillary would be clean as a whistle to run in 2016, Period.
20 weeks ago
20 weeks ago Link To Comment
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