Like a Circle in a Spiral
More than a month ago I reasoned that the "mob attack" on the American consulate in Benghazi was really a counter-intel operation. That now looks to be a good guess. UPI reports that the consulate was really a CIA station in disguise.
WASHINGTON, Nov. 2 (UPI) -- The CIA was the real commanding agency at the attacked U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, not the State Department, senior U.S. intelligence officials said.
In addition, two of the four men who died in the Sept. 11 attack -- former Navy SEAL commandos Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty -- were actually CIA contractors killed defending the mission, not State Department contract security officers, as originally publicly identified, the officials told several news organizations on condition of anonymity.
The intelligence officials said that within 25 minutes of being alerted to the attack in a desperate phone call, the CIA rushed a half-dozen security operatives to the mission from a secret base about a mile away.
The operatives, who arrived at the mission about 25 minutes after that, joined State Department security agents in a futile search through heavy smoke and enemy fire for Stevens, the officials said in the most thorough account to date of the assault and of the CIA's authoritative role at the consulate.
The operatives evacuated mission personnel and took control of an unarmed U.S. military drone to map possible escape routes, the officials said. The MQ-1 Predator drone, used by the CIA for reconnaissance, began providing video surveillance.
In the midst of the assault, the operatives also dispatched an emergency reinforcement team from Tripoli, the capital, and chartered aircraft that ultimately carried surviving U.S. personnel to safety, the officials said.
The militant assault went quiet around 1 a.m., the officials said in a written account that said the pause lasted until almost daybreak and apparently led CIA and State Department officials to think the danger had passed.
But just before dawn -- and not long after the CIA-led reinforcement team, including two military commandos, arrived from Tripoli -- the militants launched a brief but deadly mortar attack that surprised the Americans, the officials said.
Two CIA security officers defending the base from a rooftop -- Woods and Doherty -- were killed in the attack, the officials said.
This constitutes an almost complete departure from the original 'official' narrative centered as it was on the State Department, Hillary Clinton and Ambassador Stevens. "He joined the Foreign Service, learned languages, won friends for America in distant places and made other people's hopes his own," Hillary Clinton said shortly afterward. That original narrative was essentially a cover story. And so too, in all probability, was the fairy tale about the 'Islamophobic' video.
The new narrative inescapably suggests that the attack was a counterintelligence operation of some sort which not only penetrated the State Department cover, but also divined the location of the safe house. It is also clear that the chain of command did not fully understand just how seriously they were compromised. Otherwise they would not have retreated to the "safe house" was that was not safe. They would not have thought the attack was "over" when in fact the deadliest phase was yet to come.
The events as they unfolded are strong indications that the threat was underestimated or misunderstood from the first to well into the action.
What was the entry point of the "video" story? One possibility was that it grew from a deception fed the CIA by poisoned sources to mask the nature of the real attack. In any case nobody appeared to know the true extent or nature of the attack and falsely assumed security where there was none -- with deadly results. When it finally dawned on them how bad things were the other possibility was that the administration seized on the "video" fable to extend their cover for just a little longer in order to scatter or conceal assets which might be blown.
But by the end of the mortar attack it must have been abundantly clear that a fiasco of unknown extent had taken place, and on the eve of the first Presidential debate to boot. It is likely that whatever program the CIA was handling was in shambles; and their total exposure was undetermined. That means that the attack on the consulate is just tip of a much, much larger story whose outlines are only now emerging.
The public typically assumes that while they may be in the dark the nation's leaders 'know the truth'. In this case there is strong evidence to suggest that the leadership is only now adding two and two together. One only hopes it makes four. The other impression I had immediately after the Cairo and Benghazi attacks was how much they resembled the attacks on the African embassies in the days leading up to 911/2001.
If that's the case the assault which began in Benghazi didn't end after the mortar attacks. It's only in a lull. Something else may be in train even now.
Article printed from Belmont Club: http://pjmedia.com/richardfernandez
URL to article: http://pjmedia.com/richardfernandez/2012/11/2/like-a-circle-in-a-spiral-2