Barack Obama turns out to be a hell of a comedian. He went on TV today vowing to, “leave no one behind” to face the menace of Sandy the Hurricane. Wasn’t that special. But when it came to Americans under terrorist attack in Benghazi on September 11, Barack left them on their own and took off to Las Vegas to raise funds for his fading Presidential campaign.
Since I last wrote I have learned some new things and want to update you.
First, what about the possibility that Iran was behind the hit? While Iran clearly had the motive and means to do this, there is another explanation. Another former CIA colleague contacted me and offered up an alternative explanation that pins the blame fully on Ansar Al Sharia. My friend was an accomplished ops officer and is very knowledgeable when it comes to Libya.
According to my friend, while the circumstantial evidence can be used to build a case that the CIA was arming jihadists, he insisted that the CIA base in Benghazi was focused on trying to help the Libyan Government get the upper hand on the Eastern tribes and jihadists. This includes trying to weaken Ansar Al Sharia. My friend is not some CIA puppet nor is he an Obama supporter. After hearing him out, I think he makes a plausible case that Ansar Al Sharia carried out the dual attacks without guidance or assistance from Iran.
So what about Turkey’s Ambassador showing up in Benghazi? Well, Turkey also has a stake in trying to promote a more mainstream Islamic solution in Libya and is working with the United States on this matter.
If journalists (Fox excepted) were interested in doing their job, they would be pressing the Turks to explain what their man was doing in Benghazi.
My point about why State did the minimal in security at Benghazi was dead on. Yes, Ambassador Stevens felt it important to have a U.S. presence in Benghazi, but since the focus of our activity revolved around the CIA mission the Department of State did not want to spend money there that it could divert to other areas where State was in charge. This is typical, normal bureaucratic bullshit that makes the U.S. Government so damn dysfunctional.
The response issue is where David Petraeus and Barack Obama are facing more trouble. There was a drone that eventually got to the scene. Unfortunately, that drone had no offensive capability. It provided real time video of the situation on the ground and gave the CIA personnel at the “Annex” the ability to see what was going on around their perimeter.
Embassy Tripoli did succeed in sending additional “security” personnel to reinforce the CIA Annex. But the force did not have the weapons sufficient to keep the attacking Ansar force at bay.
Here is the point where both Petraeus and Obama failed. The folks at Annex requested additional support. Because the only assets that could respond were under the control of U.S. Africom, Petraeus passed the buck. So his spokesperson is technically correct–the CIA did not refuse to deploy forces (although the CIA did order its personnel not to go to the aid of Ambassador Stevens). That decision was passed to DOD and the White House.
Obama, with the support of Panetta, turned down the request. An AC130 gunship could have been on station within an hour of an order from Washington. It apparently stayed on the ground. An Africom Speical Ops force also was within reach. They could have been on the ground within two hours.
Here is where Panetta is lying. He claimed, “we did not have sufficient intel” to allow an informed decision to put troops on the ground. That is complete horseshit. With a drone overhead providing live video, coupled with voice communication, including secure teleconferencing, the “Commanders” in Washington had more information then would have been available ten years ago. They could see with their own eyes what was going on.
A knowledgeable friend told me that this is going to get worse for Obama. It was a shameful failure of leadership. Obama left our people behind to fend for themselves and two died because of his dereliction.