GOP panel blames military for Benghazi catastrophe
House Republicans’ released their final 800-page report on Benghazi and concluded bureaucratic red tape was the blame for military inaction after 13 hours of firefights in the streets of Benghazi left four Americans, US Ambassador Chris Stevens, Information Officer Sean Smith, ex-SEALs and CIA contractors, Tyrone Woods and Glenn Doherty, dead.
Here’s the lowdown on the $7 million report.
Republican, Trey Gowdy, who led the two-year investigation blamed bureaucrats and military inaction. He said, “Nothing could have reached Benghazi because nothing was ever headed to Benghazi. No US military asset was ever deployed to Benghazi despite the order of the secretary of defense (Leon Panetta) at 7:00 that night. Washington had access to real-time information yet; somehow, they thought the fighting had subsided. Washington had access to real-time information but somehow they thought these fighters were going to evacuate even without the remains of the ambassador.”
Former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta bluntly told Gowdy’s committee that “an intelligence failure” occurred with Benghazi. Confirming this observation was former CIA Deputy Director Michael Morrell, who acknowledged numerous times that an intelligence failure, did, in fact, occur prior to the Benghazi attacks that left four Americans dead.
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey (now retired) chose to host a dinner party at his home for foreign dignitaries than to assist the military’s plan to rescue dozens of Americans stranded in Benghazi, Libya.
Meanwhile, a US Marine Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team (FAST) sat on a plane in Rota, Spain, for three hours, and changed in and out of their uniforms four times, because someone (the report does not specify) was worried the Libyans would be upset that the American’s would swoop in and rescue its personnel.
The report determined that during the tragedy of errors, “none of the relevant military forces met their required deployment timelines.”
If that isn’t bad enough, the watchful eye of a “real-time” drone filmed the entire event. The drone transmitted live footage to the White House Situation Room. Hour after hour, the US government and military sat on their hands and watched a handful of brave special operators fight off hundreds of jihadis and eventually saved dozens of CIA analysts from a “secret” annex in Benghazi.
After the attack, Obama told a Denver reporter that he gave “three directives” immediately after the September 11, 2012, terrorist attack. “Number one, make sure we are securing our personnel and that we are doing whatever we need to. Number two, we are going to investigate exactly what happened and make sure it doesn’t happen again. Number three, find out who did this so we can bring them to justice.”
The GOP committee dutifully asked the president via letter, “What orders or direction, if any, did you give to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta upon learning of the initial attack? Did you or anyone at your direction ever modify, withdraw, alter, or amplify the initial orders or direction you gave to Secretary Panetta?”
Obama refused to answer, and no documentation of orders was ever provided to the committee for dissemination. As everyone knows, everything in the military is documented and corroborated because people are killed in military operations. The failure or refusal of the White House and Pentagon to provide all orders issued by the Commander-in-Chief or his deputies is a glaring gap in the report. How did Gowdy conclude the military failed when there was no analysis of the orders to understand the scope of the rescue operation, the forces designated to execute the operation, and the timeline for execution?
At dawn, after four Americans were killed, it was the Libyan forces of former dictator Qaddafi that evacuated Americans from the CIA Annex to the Benghazi airport. Keep in mind it was months earlier when then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made the cackling comment, “We came, we saw he (Qadhafi) died.” How ironic those former Qaddafi loyalists that the US ousted during Libya’s version of the Arab Spring risked their lives for Americans in Benghazi. The people Clinton worked so hard to remove from power were the one’s that saved CIA lives and possibly her presidential hopes. None of the militias the CIA and State Department hired for security stuck around for the fight or eventual rescue.
Another thing to keep in mind is the military always moves to the sound of gunfire. In 2005, the SEALs lost 19 warriors trying to rescue a lone SEAL survivor, Marcus Luttrell in Afghanistan. It is implausible to believe military embassy contingency rescue plans for Libya would not execute without somebody high up the food chain ordering the stand-down of the oplan.
A basic question never answered in the 800-page report is why were Americans in Benghazi? Other nations evacuated, the Red Cross left, but the US remained. The open secret—illegal weapons trafficking to Syria. The high cover for such an operation would require a Presidential Finding. That would provide a “get out of jail free card” for some in the intelligence community, but military would not fall under this program (Think Abu Grab, who went to jail? The military rank and file.). Where is the Presidential Finding to authorize the Benghazi weapons trafficking operation? CIA does not operate covert operations without a “finding” to protect them from prosecution in US courts and in some cases diplomatic cover. Did Gowdy demand a copy of the finding (as an example, here is a link to the Iran-Contra finding signed by President Reagan).
Did the scandal and cover up, find its blueprint from another shady weapons trafficking deal—The Iran/Contra scandal under President Ronald Reagan. Key government players knew if they could destroy evidence and stall for time, they were home free. They were right; most of the players went on to illustrious careers in politics and TV commentary.
Congressman Gowdy brushed off a question regarding illegal weapons trafficking by this reporter at a Washington Benghazi committee hearing a year ago. His response was, “We are not commenting on that.” Also, Catherine Herridge of Fox News asked Gowdy directly about weapons trafficking and he said, “White House council refused to address the question.” Interesting non-answer!
Back in Benghazi, special operator John “Tig” Tiegen said, “all we needed was air cover to stop the final mortar attack (note, the spec forces guys were using a laser designator on the roof of the CIA Annex to illuminate targets fired from attack aircraft they believed were inbound under doctrine and oplans). It never arrived.” Another special operator Kris ‘Tanto’ Paronto said, “When you’re in the fight, you fight. And with air power or air support, Stevens and Sean would be alive.”
In the end, President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Director of the CIA General David Petraeus lived to campaign another day, but the four dead Americans they abandoned never had a chance.
Benghazi is important, but Americans may never appreciate this fact due to the collusion of the government and the press to obfuscate and trivialize the events.
The following is a link to all 17 Benghazi articles published by this reporter beginning on September 14, 2012: https://thekdreport.me/