The Benghazi mess and its consequences

UPDATE: There is now a report that General Ham is stating that they had forces ready but were never ordered to go to the assistance of the besieged US officers in Benghazi

UPDATE #2- From Captain’s Journal, another blog, comes this:

First of all, recall that General Rodriguez is the one whom I called out almost five years ago for spewing the silly propaganda that the Taliban were too weakened to launch a spring offensive, and also the one who wanted to micromanage a Marine Air Ground Task Force in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan. Less than six hours before Marines commenced a major helicopter-borne assault in the town of Marjah, Rodriguez’s headquarters issued an order requiring that his operations center clear any airstrike that was on a housing compound in the area but not sought in self-defense. This is rules of engagement of the flavor Rodriguez.

If General Rodriguez is in fact taking over the Africa command, I’m not impressed with Panetta’s decision. Then again, I think Panetta is a weasel and his excuse-making cowardly, so I’m not surprised by the decision.

I would advise anyone who is puzzled by the conflicting stories to read, Dakota Meyers book, “Into the Fire.”

General Ham appears to have broken with that story and is taking no responsibility for the decision not to bail out the consulate and the Navy SEALS. There have been rumors that General Ham has been fired or forced out. There is no way to confirm them at this point until they come from more reliable sources.

There are now strong indications he was fired. The deputy who “apprehended ” him is his successor. This suggests the path to command in Obama’s army.

More on General Ham. This might suggest why he was unwilling to leave the US contractors to their fate.

During his time in Iraq General Ham suffered Posttraumatic stress disorder, caused from attending the aftermath of a suicide bombing. He didn’t want another such scene on his conscience.

UPDATE #3-An explanation for the failure of more disclosure in the Benghazi scandal was presented today (10/29) in an article in the Washington Times.
Bloomberg News reported on October 17 that Attorney General Eric Holder “prosecuted more government officials for alleged leaks under the World War I-era Espionage Act than all his predecessors combined, including law-and-order Republicans John Mitchell, Edwin Meese and John Ashcroft.”

“There’s a problem with prosecutions that don’t distinguish between bad people — people who spy for other governments, people who sell secrets for money — and people who are accused of having conversations and discussions,” said Abbe Lowell, attorney for Stephen J. Kim, an intelligence analyst charged under the Act, to Bloomberg News.

The Espionage Act, bans unlawful disclosure of national security information to individuals not authorized to get it. The act was signed by President Woodrow Wilson in 1917 and has been used to prosecute double agents like Aldrich Ames and Robert Hanssen.

Bloomberg News cites the particular case of Stephen J. Kim, an intelligence analyst who was charged under the act. He worked as a contract analyst specializing in North Korea. Kim was questioned by law enforcement officials in September of 2009 after making contact with Fox News reporter Jim Rosen about North Korea’s nuclear weapon’s program. Eleven months later he was indicted by a grand jury for revealing classified information and making false statements

Obama is prosecuting intelligence people who leak to news organizations. Whistleblowers, in other words. Leftist outlets are already attacking Fox News as disclosing top secret information.

With all of this in mind, do not be surprised if a flood of individuals who have pertinent information begin to step up to the plate and talk about what happened on September 11, 2012 if Mitt Romney wins the presidency.

There is a growing body of information about what happened in Benghazi but it has not appeared in the major media thus far. The NY Times and Washington Post seem to be covering for Obama by completely ignoring this story. Most of those who follow current events on the internet rather than in big city newspapers or television “news” are aware of most of the details.

On September 11, 2012 the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya was attacked at approximately 9:40 PM local time by a large number of heavily armed terrorists. The US ambassador was present and had bid goodnight to the Turkish ambassador at about 8 PM local time. Washington DC is 6 hours west of Benghazi so the attack came at 3:40 PM Washington time.

Here is a timeline of the attack.

There was no demonstration in front of the consulate that night. In spite of this fact, quickly apparent to the State Department which was in contact with the personnel at the consulate and the CIA “annex” that night from the first shots fired, the Obama administration, including Hillary Clinton the Secretary of State, proposed a story about demonstrations in response to “an anti-Muslim video” that was in fact a You Tube video which was 14 minutes long. The creator of this video, an Egyptian Coptic Christian living in Los Angeles, was arrested on dubious grounds of a “probation violation” and the arrest was widely publicized by the administration. His initial court date is scheduled for AFTER the election.

On Sunday September 16, 5 days after the attack, UN Ambassador Susan Rice appeared on five Sunday news programs to repeat the administration’s story.

by Dr. Joseph Sternberg, Scientific Advisor to the Supreme Allied Commander Europe, 1971-1974

Why was U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice sent around to the Sunday talk shows to tell a (false) story?

Susan Rice has no responsibility for the protection of embassies, nor for U.S. policy towards Libya. She was not directly involved in the development of intelligence of events in Libya. But how did the events in Libya affect what she was responsible for at the UN? Why would the White House think that she was the right person to promote the story they were trying to sell?

President Obama has had two foreign affairs priorities. One was to defeat Al Qaeda. The second was to improve relations with the Muslim world, which has taken the form of developing close ties with the Muslim Brotherhood. Susan Rice is directly involved in the second of these objectives in her role as UN Ambassador. She is also the second black UN ambassador that the US has had.

It may also be the case that the Secretary of State did not wish to associate herself with this story, in spite of the fact that she made a ridiculous TV ad in Pakistan pushing the story and apologizing for the video. She also made an ill-advised statement to the father of one of the murdered former SEALs as his body was returned to the US. “”She did not appear to be one bit sincere at all,” Woods said, recalling that Clinton told him they were going to have the person who made the anti-Islam YouTube video “arrested and prosecuted.””

The political left has has been strident in its defense of Ambassador Rice.

The CIA’s collective judgment on Saturday the 15th, when Rice taped her interviews, was that the protests earlier in the week in Cairo — which had been inspired by the video — had also inspired protests in Benghazi. Later, extremist elements hijacked those protests to storm the consulate. The CIA subsequently backed off its belief that there had been protests in Benghazi, but that only happened later. On Saturday, the CIA told Rice there had been protests, and that’s what she said on TV.
The evidence to this day suggests that, in fact, the YouTube video did play a role in the attacks. It’s simply not true that Rice invented or exaggerated about that.

The CIA and State Department knew that there had been no protest in Benghazi. A CIA spokesman said that there had been a demonstration that “evolved into an attack. “The briefing points, obtained by the AP, added: “There are indications that extremists participated in the violent demonstrations” but did not mention eyewitness accounts that blamed militants alone.”

The New York Times, to its credit, published a story with most of the facts on October 15 but has been silent since then.

The story has become more complex as more information appears about the firefight between the two ex-SEALs who were there as security contractors for the CIA station, not the ambassador, and the attackers.

The news is starting to creep into major newspapers.

Citing “sources who were on the ground” in Benghazi, Libya, Fox News is reporting that an urgent request for military help during last month’s terrorist attack on the US consulate there “was denied by the CIA chain of command.”

The attack, on the anniversary of 9/11, killed US Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three embassy personnel, including two former Navy SEALs working as security contractors.

Among other things reported in some detail, Fox asserts that a Special Operations team had been moved to US military facilities in Sigonella, Italy — approximately two hours away — but were never told to deploy.

“The fighting at the CIA annex [in Benghazi] went on for more than four hours — enough time for any planes based in Sigonella Air base, just 480 miles away, to arrive. Fox News has also learned that two separate Tier One Special operations forces were told to wait, among them Delta Force operators.”

There are allegations that armed drones were present and even that an AC130 gunship was overhead.

“Secretary of State Clinton has said the responsibility was hers. But there has been no assertion that the State Department overruled the Pentagon out of concern about the sovereignty of Libyan air space. Instead, it appears passive groupthink prevailed, with the assumption being that a spontaneous mob would quickly run out of steam.”

This from Bing West, a well known writer and former Marine. After attempts to blame the CIA for refusing to help the besieged, a statement widely attributed to CIA Director David Petraeus, was issued.

CIA spokeswoman Jennifer Youngblood denied to Fox the claims that requests for support were turned down.

“We can say with confidence that the Agency reacted quickly to aid our colleagues during that terrible evening in Benghazi,” she said. “Moreover, no one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need; claims to the contrary are simply inaccurate.

This statement is widely considered to be a shot across Obama’s bow by Petraeus, who has said nothing in public so far. As the facts emerge, in spite of the NY Times and others, it will be harder to cover up this story.

There may have been an AC 130 gunship overhead during the firefight. One of the ex-SEALs had illuminated the mortar team that was attacking the annex. An experienced combatant would not do that unless he assumed that the gunship was able to fire at the illuminated target. The attackers were capable of following the laser beam back to the SEALs who were killed by a mortar shell later.

Fox News has learned from sources who were on the ground in Benghazi that an urgent request from the CIA annex for military back-up during the attack on the U.S. consulate and subsequent attack several hours later on the annex itself was denied by the CIA chain of command — who also told the CIA operators twice to “stand down” rather than help the ambassador’s team when shots were heard at approximately 9:40 p.m. in Benghazi on Sept. 11.

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.”

Woods and at least two others ignored those orders and made their way to the consulate which at that point was on fire. Shots were exchanged. The rescue team from the CIA annex evacuated those who remained at the consulate and Sean Smith, who had been killed in the initial attack. They could not find the ambassador and returned to the CIA annex at about midnight.

They got other Americans evacuated and returned to the annex.

At that point, they called again for military support and help because they were taking fire at the CIA safe house, or annex. The request was denied. There were no communications problems at the annex, according those present at the compound. The team was in constant radio contact with their headquarters. In fact, at least one member of the team was on the roof of the annex manning a heavy machine gun when mortars were fired at the CIA compound. The security officer had a laser on the target that was firing and repeatedly requested back-up support from a Spectre gunship, which is commonly used by U.S. Special Operations forces to provide support to Special Operations teams on the ground involved in intense firefights.

This information is creeping into the legacy media .

CBS News) On the night of the deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya, a team of American military commandos was sent from Europe to an airfield at Sigonella, in Sicily, Italy, putting them at least an hour’s flight away from Benghazi, CBS News has learned.

The team, known as the Commander’s In-extremis Force, was designed specifically for quick reaction to unforeseen emergencies. But U.S. officials say it did not arrive in Sicily until after the attack was over.

Even if the team had been ready in time, confusion about what was happening on the ground in Benghazi — and State Department concerns about violating Libyan sovereignty — made a military rescue mission impractical, the officials say.

Which officials ?

Who ordered them to “stand down”?

Who ordered the AC 130 nor to fire ?

Who ordered the CIF rescue team to stay put and not to respond ?

Was it Leon Panetta ?

The U.S. military did not quickly intervene during the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya last month because military leaders did not have adequate intelligence information and felt they should not put American forces at risk, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Thursday.

In his most extensive comments to date on the unfolding controversy surrounding the attack in Benghazi, Panetta said U.S. forces were on heightened alert because of the anniversary of 9/11 and prepared to respond. But, he said, the attack happened over a few hours and was over before the U.S. had the chance to know what was really happening.

Really ? With real time video feed from the security cameras at the consulate and real time communications with the two former SEALs who were fighting off an attack by hundreds ?

“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.

It’s interesting that Panetta brought up Carter Ham as as he was then relieved of his command, a year early and without explanation

On October 18, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta appeared unexpectedly at an otherwise unrelated briefing on “Efforts to Enhance the Financial Health of the Force.” News organizations and CSPAN were told beforehand there was no news value to the event and gave it scant coverage. In his brief remarks Mr. Panetta said, “Today I am very pleased to announce that President Obama will nominate General David Rodriguez to succeed General Carter Ham as commander of U.S. Africa Command.” This came as a surprise to many, since General Ham had only been in the position for a year and a half. The General is a very well regarded officer who made AFRICOM into a true Combatant Command after the ineffective leadership of his predecessor, General William E. “Kip” Ward.

Oh really ?

I heard a story today from someone inside the military that I trust entirely. The story was in reference to General Ham that Panetta referenced in the quote below.


“(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.”

The information I heard today was that General Ham as head of Africom received the same e-mails the White House received requesting help/support as the attack was taking place. General Ham immediately had a rapid response unit ready and communicated to the Pentagon that he had a unit ready.

General Ham then received the order to stand down. His response was to screw it, he was going to help anyhow. Within 30 seconds to a minute after making the move to respond, his second in command apprehended General Ham and told him that he was now relieved of his command.

I’m sure here is more to come. Remember the Watergate scandal did not really erupt until after the 1972 election, which Nixon won.

One last addition. When the murdered US contractors’ bodies were returned to the US, VP Joe Biden madean incredibly insensitive and crude remark to the father of one slain SEAL.

Joe Biden to Father of Former Navy SEAL Killed in Benghazi: ‘Did Your Son Always Have Balls the Size of Cue Balls?’

Aside from its crude and offensive nature, this comment suggests that Biden knows more about the firefight than the administration is admitting. They all watched these men die while they blocked aid from going to their assistance. It must have been inconvenient to have these men fight for seven hours before they were finally killed. No doubt Obama wanted a quick end to the battle and the story.

The Alamo and Benghazi. Those who would stay were asked to step across the line. “And across the line stepped 179.” This time was only two but they took 60 enemies with them.

Eventually, these two courageous men were overwhelmed by the sheer numbers brought against them, an enemy force numbering between 100 to 200 attackers which came in two waves. But the stunning part of the story is that Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty killed 60 of the attacking force. Once the compound was overrun, the attackers were incensed to discover that just two men had inflicted so much death and destruction. emphasis mine

The names of these men should live in our history. If Romney is elected, they may.

25 thoughts on “The Benghazi mess and its consequences”

  1. I think we just got our October surprise. I’ve been following it as well, at The DiploMad, who is … predictably as a State Department retiree … mad as hell. The rumors swirling about General Ham being relieved are just incredible.
    The father of Tyrone Woods is infuriated as well, starting with what Joe Biden said to him when the bodies of the dead were recieved at Andrews. The major American news media may not want to touch this with a ten-foot pole, but it’s breaking out into the foreign papers, and in the blogs. It’s rather like the matter of the Swiftboat Veterans in 2004, whom everyone in the blogosphere knew about simply weeks before it broke out into the mainstream. This Benghazi matter is several times as big as the Swiftboat vets, I don’t think the mainstream media can stall for much longer.

  2. Memories of the Clinton’s under whom I served as a member of the military in the 90s. The same GO/HESITATE/CHOKE leadership. This time it got 4 Americans killed. That’s just so far, as the 2d/3rd order consequences of our Arab Spring Adventures are just beginning.

    Panetta = Clinton, if you forgot. Sadly they’re still adults next to Obama/Jarret/Axelrod/Pflouffe.

    It wasn’t just Ham that’s suddenly leaving early, the Commander of Air Group Stennis – Adm Gaoutte was suddenly relieved.

    We had the second term of Jimmy Carter. Now if BHO is re-elected we’re going to have the 3d term of Richard Nixon. Of course this is much worse than Watergate, but so is Fast and Furious.

    We will be involved in a major war or so many minor wars as to equal one in MENA within 2 years.

  3. Thanks for a very timely and thorough report.

    The massacre in Benghazi could have been avoided if Americans had elected a man who grew up in America and understood American ways and morality.

    Instead they chose a man who learned about America in a madrasa taught by Jihadis. A man who lives by Alinski’s Rules for Radicals.

    Perhaps Americans can do better in choosing a president.

  4. Has anyone seen 2nd Fox documentary? I haven’t. Just curious.

    How infuriating it must be to stand beside your son’s coffin and . . . well this sounds like Biden. Clinton’s consolation – promising to bring the film maker to justice – reminds us of the wag who said Obama’s response to the 3 a.m. call was to blame the Bill of Rights and go to bed. A different anger.

    1st Fox doc alternately evoked anger and sorrow. Fox wants ratings but here they seem to see duty: real anger at what was done (and what isn’t being done in other news centers). They know it is up to them.

    Of course, as extreme as this, we should be prepared. Sgt. Mom, your reference to “swift boating” comes from what seems the only sensible point of view, but occasionally a leftist refers to it as representative of unsubstantiated slurs. Those facts were laid out. And Palin is still described as an idiot who lied about death panels, despite Obamacare’s panels.

    In 2nd Amendment territory, with Corps members in every class, I get blank stares when alluding to Fast and Furious. (Many not registered – they aren’t bad kids, let them grow up; then their votes should count. Now not so much.)

  5. In a Republican administration this scandal or Fast and Furious would lead to impeachment of the President. As things stand half of the people in the country don’t even know what’s going on, because the partisan media are assisting the cover up. It is as though the Washington Post or NYT refused to cover the Watergate hearings or Alexander Butterfield’s revelation of the White House tape recordings.

  6. Jonathon. you are a lawyer so sort this out for me: Watergate was a burglary but the Benghazi, to my non-legal mind, is much worse. Can knowingly allowing people like the four dead in Benghazi to be killed for political expediency be considered a crime?If so, what crime and whose duty is it to prosecute? As to the MSM, they will continue their liberal bias and coverup until people go after the advertisers who keep them on the air. If the advertisers start suffering losses from viewers who won’t purchase their products then the media will either change its tune or colappse in a fit of ideological purity. [My blackened heart would prefer to see them colappse.]

  7. A little fact check here…

    “There are now strong indications he was fired. The deputy who “apprehended ” him is his successor. This suggests the path to command in Obama’s army.”

    Gen Rodriguez is not Gen Ham’s deputy at AFRICOM. He heads up the Army’s forces command here in the States.

    Gen Ham is a good man and it is not clear why his relief was announced in September. While three years is the normal COCOM tour, note that Gen Ham (because he served as an enlisted man before going to college and coming back as an officer) is a little older that most four stars (early 60s).

    There are a lot of things wrong with the whole Bengazhi story but we need to be careful about stringing together theories of varying degrees of reliability.

  8. Never attribute to malice that which is sufficiently explained by stupidity. And, I would add, fear and cowardice. The bottom line of this will probably be that everyone was waiting for orders from above and Barry choked. Only Woods and Doherty showed individual initiative and it is unclear what this wrought beyond their own deaths. Any truth that comes out won’t be available until after the election. Unfortunately, most of the truth will be protected by a bodyguard of lies for a long time.

  9. There are different types of management, including

    -Good management

    -Bad management

    -Management by lawyers

    Aside from the corruption and cover up, the Benghazi incident reeks of management by lawyers. Obama is a lawyer and his management style is a hybrid of Chicago political thug and activist lawyer. His administration’s focus in this and other matters has been first on evading responsibility, second on finding someone to blame, and a very distant third on getting anything accomplished (and when he tries to accomplish things he doesn’t have the skills to succeed).

    I’m not so sure the truth won’t come out soon. Obama is blaming the military and CIA for what has to be ultimately his own failure. Not everyone who is being blamed will necessarily sit still for it, particularly if Obama loses the election.

  10. The administration’s handling of Benghazi is a disgraceful scandal, but General Ham has not been relieved of command.

    It’s a rumor. Subordinates do not relieve their superiors of command, except in the movies and AFRICOM is not yet an operational combatant command in the same sense EUCOM and CENTCOM are. Ham is basically the “father of AFRICOM” and his abrupt relief before his term was up would create much greater waves within the military and diplomatically.

  11. Management by lawyers

    Aside from the corruption and cover up, the Benghazi incident reeks of management by lawyers. Obama is a lawyer and his management style is a hybrid of Chicago political thug and activist lawyer.

    It’s worth re-reading the NYT piece on how Obama manages his kill list, which is basically sneaking up behind the bad guys.

  12. You understand I hope that he is not a Captain and it’s his military wannabe blog for gun nuts.

    On reflection I realize that is just the kind of information you love.

    Carry on. ;)

  13. “Gun nuts” is certainly indicative of your own biases.

    Gen Rodriguez is not Gen Ham’s deputy at AFRICOM. He heads up the Army’s forces command here in the States.

    I was unable to find the deputy’s name and you are correct about Rodriguez’s previous assignment. He did not distinguish himself in Afghanistan but sounds like a general after Obama’s heart. The web site may still list Ham until the change of command but Panetta also made the announcement on 10/18 at a surprise press appearance.

    We will find out the real story only if Romney wins the election. If Obama were a Republican, he would already have been hounded by the press. One issue is the intense focus by Holder on “Espionage Act” prosecutions. If only Nixon had thought of that.

  14. As gruesome as this whole situation is, there are a few positive developments that might come from it.

    First and foremost, it has demonstrated very clearly to anyone not blinded by ideology that the current regime is, at the very least, incompetent in major areas of foriegn policy, just as the economy has highlighted his failures in domestic policy.

    Secondly, it may very well have removed Hillary as a potential candidate for 2016, and spared us another round of Bill smarming his way around the country campaigning for her.

    Thirdly, and perhaps most important in the long run, this stuation may be a watergate in reverse for the msm. When the facts do come out in some coherent manner, possibly as a result of congressional hearings, the refusal of the msm to cover or investigate the story might finally remove the aura of ” heroic crusading journalist” from all the crackpots and political hacks who have been milking that image for decades now.

    It would be best for the country if we had a political class which was actually held to rigorous standards of performance and truthfulness by an reasonably competent media. There aren’t many elements of that desireable situation in the current system.

    It is difficult to find anything good in this fiasco, but, just maybe, if some real reforms in both politics and the msm resulted from these deaths, the fine people who were sacrificed there might not have died entirely in vain.

    As it is, it is hard to avoid the feelings of bitterness and anger that many people are experiencing as the truth of these attacks comes out.

  15. ‘“Gun nuts” is certainly indicative of your own biases.’

    I have been following the Captain for years and know him pretty well.

    I am amused by stupidity you understand. I have this theory that humans and the amazingly dumb things they do are really comic relief for a violent and austere universe.

  16. “I am amused by stupidity you understand.”

    I suppose that is why you have espoused the political philosophy you have. A laugh a minute.

    The information is leaking out so we won’t have to rely on less reliable alternate sources much longer. Senator McCain has gotten the attention of CBS News while NBC and David Gregory are holding the fort still. He shut up Carly Fiorina with a promise to “come back to Libya” later on MTP. Never happened.

    Without the internet we would be in the situation of 1972 and Watergate. Nixon was hated by the press, in contrast to Obama, but the coverup still worked until after the election. Watergate was a far less important scandal.

  17. Curious, that.


    TRR: General at center of Benghazi-gate controversy retiring
    General Carter F. Ham, the Combatant Commander of Africa Command (AFRICOM) and a key figure in the Benghazi-gate controversy, is leaving the Army. On October 18, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta had announced that General Ham would be succeeded at AFRICOM by General David Rodriguez. Later speculation tied this decision to the fallout from the September 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi that killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens. However on Monday October 29 a defense official told The Washington Times that “the decision [to leave AFRICOM] was made by General Ham. He ably served the nation for nearly forty years and retires after a distinguished career.” Previously all that was known was that General Ham would be rotating out of AFRICOM at some future date, but not that he was leaving the service. General Ham is a few years short of the mandatory retirement age of 64, but it is not unusual for someone of that rank to retire after serving in such a significant command.

    The questions concerning General Ham’s role in the September 11 events continue to percolate. Congressman Jason Chaffetz, Utah Republican, said that General Ham told him during a visit to Libya that he had never been asked to provide military support for the Americans under attack in Benghazi. Former United States Ambassador to the U.N. John R, Bolton also mentioned Mr. Chaffetz’s account, and contrasted it with Mr. Panetta’s statement that General Ham had been part of the team that made the decision not to send in forces. “General Ham has now been characterized in two obviously conflicting ways,” Mr. Bolton concluded. “Somebody ought to find out what he actually was saying on September the eleventh.”

    No word yet on when General Ham’s rotation or retirement take effect.

  18. The wall around the Benghazi story is toppling. David Ignatius in the WaPo today.

    Fox’s Jennifer Griffin reported Friday that CIA officers in Benghazi had been told to “stand down” when they wanted to deploy from their base at the annex to repel the attack on the consulate, about a mile away. Fox also reported that the CIA officers requested military support when the annex came under fire later that night but that their request had been denied.

    The Benghazi tragedy was amplified by Charles Woods, the father of slain CIA contractor Tyrone Woods. He told Fox’s Sean Hannity that White House officials who didn’t authorize military strikes to save the embattled CIA annex were “cowards” and “are guilty of murdering my son.”

    The Fox “stand down” story prompted a strong rebuttal from the CIA: “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.”

    Note the parsing of that statement.

    So what did happen in Benghazi on the night of Sept. 11, when Woods, Ambassador Christopher Stevens and two others Americans were killed? The best way to establish the facts would be a detailed, unclassified timeline of events; officials say they are preparing one, and that it may be released later this week. That’s a must, even in the volatile final week of the campaign. In the meantime, here’s a summary of some of the basic issues that need to be clarified.

    The summary follows much of what I posted in the original entry.

    Looking back, it may indeed have been wise not to bomb targets in Libya that night. Given the uproar in the Arab world, this might have been the equivalent of pouring gasoline on a burning fire. But the anguish of Woods’s father is understandable: His son’s life might have been saved by a more aggressive response. The Obama administration needs to level with the country about why it made its decisions.

    This is the usual WaPo CYA addition to support Obama but that support is wavering and may collapse before election day if the administration continues to stonewall.

    The version of the story that is emerging is the use of the “demonstration” meme to excuse failure to approve the rescue mission. There is more, much more coming later this week. The public is catching on.

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