We can say with confidence that the Agency reacted quickly to aid our colleagues during that terrible evening in Benghazi. Moreover, no one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need; claims to the contrary are simply inaccurate. In fact, it is important to remember how many lives were saved by courageous Americans who put their own safety at risk that night—and that some of those selfless Americans gave their lives in the effort to rescue their comrades.
“[N]o one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need…” Yes, but were there requests for assistance? And if there were, what was the response? And if the CIA didn’t tell the operatives to “stand down,” who did?
Those words were carefully chosen to reveal as little as possible. Bill Kristol thinks this is CIA Director Petreaus throwing Obama under the bus.
So who in the government did tell “anybody” not to help those in need? Someone decided not to send in military assets to help those Agency operators. Would the secretary of defense make such a decision on his own? No.
It would have been a presidential decision. There was presumably a rationale for such a decision. What was it? When and why—and based on whose counsel obtained in what meetings or conversations—did President Obama decide against sending in military assets to help the Americans in need?
Could Secretary Panetta have refused assistance on his own, but needed presidential authorization to give the go code for military assistance? It is not likely, but also not impossible. After all, Hillary Clinton supposedly didn’t need Obama’s consent to turn down Ambassador Stevens’ requests for additional security.
Allah has another question for the president:
“We’re going to gather all the facts,” he says, echoing Hillary’s plea to let the investigation play out until, oh, say, mid-November at the earliest. Simple question: Why does he need “all the facts” about Benghazi to find out (a) whether anyone at the consulate called for help during the attack and (b) if so, who in the chain of command denied that request? He could find that out with 10 minutes of phoning around and then spend another 10 firing the people involved — assuming, of course, that it wasn’t The One himself who delivered the thumbs down on the calls for help. Problem is, there’s only one thing he really cares about, and that thing wouldn’t be well served by an admission 10 days out from election day that his administration screwed up badly enough in Benghazi to warrant canning people. So he’s playing the “all the facts” game. Estimated arrival of all the facts: 11 days from now.
We tend to forget that this was a 7 hour firefight that played out in two different locations — the 3 hour attack on the consulate that set the building on fire and killed the ambassador and another diplomat, followed by a 4 hour off-and-on firefight at the CIA annex.
The White House says it moved some pieces on the chessboard, ordering units to stand by in Italy and actually sent a Quick Reaction Force from Tripoli. But the Pentagon also insists “there were never any requests to deploy assets from outside the country.”
But what about inside the country? And wouldn’t a “request” to do so have to come from the president?
Both the Pentagon and the CIA are denying responsibility for turning down requests for military assistance. That leaves one very obvious center of authority — the White House of President Obama. We are left with either believing that the Fox Report is in error and that no requests for assistance came from those CIA operatives — two of whom gave their lives defending the annex. Or someone, somewhere in government isn’t telling the American people the whole truth.