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October 27, 2012

Requests Denied

According to Fox News requests for military back-up during the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and later on a CIA annex a mile away were denied.  Four Americans were killed in the attacks, including the ambassador Christopher Stevens, Tyrone S. Woods and Glen A. Doherty, both former Navy SEALs, and, Sean Smith, an information management officer.

Former Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods was part of a small team who was at the CIA annex about a mile from the U.S. consulate where Ambassador Chris Stevens and his team came under attack. When he and others heard the shots fired, they informed their higher-ups at the annex to tell them what they were hearing and requested permission to go to the consulate and help out. They were told to "stand down," according to sources familiar with the exchange. Soon after, they were again told to "stand down." 

Could that be true?  9News, KUSA in Denver, twice asked President Barack Obama if Americans under attack in Libya were denied assistance during the September 11th terror attack and twice Obama deflected the question.

KYLE CLARK: Were the Americans under attack at the consulate in Benghazi Libya denied requests for help during that attack? And is it fair to tell Americans that what happened is under investigation and we'll all find out after the election?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, the election has nothing to do with four brave Americans getting killed and us wanting to find out exactly what happened. These are folks who served under me who I had sent to some very dangerous places. Nobody wants to find out more what happened than I do. But we want to make sure we get it right, particularly because I have made a commitment to the families impacted as well as to the American people, we're going to bring those folks to justice. So, we're going to gather all the facts, find out exactly what happened, and make sure that it doesn't happen again but we're also going to make sure that we bring to justice those who carried out these attacks.

KYLE CLARK: Were they denied requests for help during the attack?

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, we are finding out exactly what happened. I can tell you, as I've said over the last couple of months since this happened, the minute I found out what was happening, I gave three very clear directives. Number one, make sure that we are securing our personnel and doing whatever we need to. Number two, we're going to investigate exactly what happened so that it doesn't happen again. Number three, find out who did this so we can bring them to justice. And I guarantee you that everyone in the state department, our military, the CIA, you name it, had number one priority making sure that people were safe. These were our folks and we're going to find out exactly what happened, but what we're also going to do it make sure that we are identifying those who carried out these terrible attacks.

There's an investigation.  It won't be completed until long after the election.  No surprise there.  But somebody in the government gave the order.  CIA director David Petraeus said it wasn't anybody in the CIA

Breaking news on Benghazi: the CIA spokesman, presumably at the direction of CIA director David Petraeus, has put out this statement: "No one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need; claims to the contrary are simply inaccurate. ”

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.

But in a desperate bid to save the president's re-election, Secretary of Defense Lean Panetta stepped up to say the decision was his.  Panetta said they did not know enough about conditions on the ground to put troops in harm's way.

"(The) basic principle is that you don't deploy forces into harm's way without knowing what's going on; without having some real-time information about what's taking place," Panetta told Pentagon reporters. "And as a result of not having that kind of information, the commander who was on the ground in that area, Gen. Ham, Gen. Dempsey and I felt very strongly that we could not put forces at risk in that situation." 

Panetta was referring to Gen. Carter Ham, the head of U.S. Africa Command, and Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. 

How can Panetta say they had no "real-time information" about what was taking place?  They had drones overhead with cameras, and they were in communications with the people under attack. It doesn't wash.  Nor does it make sense that Panetta would be the one to make that decision.

With Barack Obama, anything bad that happens is somebody else's fault.  He considers it offensive, even unpatriotic, for anybody to say otherwise.  But as we get close to the election fewer and fewer are going to be able to take the fall for him.  Especially since the election is slipping away from the president. What would be the point?

Early on, Hillary accepted responsibility, but that was when the administration was determined to hang this debacle around the neck of an obscure film maker and a video that insulted the prophet Mohammed.  But that story didn't last, and as more damaging details of the attacks emerged, Hillary was reportedly advised to start looking out for herself.  It was really quite generous of his secretaries of State and Defense to say they'd take the fall for him, but ultimately, President Barack Obama will find that the buck really does stop at his desk.  I'm quite confident that voters will serve notice of that fact on November 6th, even if Obama never admits it himself.

Posted by Tom Bowler at 08:41 AM | Permalink

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