CNN’s Candy Crowley interviewed outgoing Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs Chairman General Martin Dempsey on “State of the Union” today, Sunday, February 3. Her questions were about the lack of military action to rescue Americans in the Benghazi attacks on 9/11. Four men were massacred by Islamists, Ambassador Chris Stevens, Information Operator, Sean Smith and ex-Navy Seals, Ty Woods and Greg Doherty.
She asked the obvious great questions. “What were the authorities doing for a reported seven hours, as Americans called for help? Why wasn’t a strike team mobilized sooner? And why does the administration keep citing bad intelligence, when they had people on the ground relaying information?
Panetta’s response was weak and incorrect, “…Frankly, intelligence did not provide any warning that this, in fact, was going to happen. I mean, we deployed. We knew there were problems there. We moved forces into place where we could deploy them quickly if we had to. They were ready to go…..But very frankly by the time we got the information as to what in fact was taking place there, just distance alone made it very difficult to respond quickly. That’s just the nature of dealing with the Middle East.”
That's not correct. It's not difficult at all to respond, but it must come from POTUS, and that is the core of the lie. He is blaming failure on the system. The fact is that Clinton, Obama, Panetta and Dempsey had the facts, but POTUS refused to respond.
I always hate to tell the Secretary of Defense how things work, but there is a definite protocol to the way international situations are handled by the U.S. Military, particularly when it involves an Ambassador who is, in effect, representing the President of the United States.
Crowley was right. People on the ground at the CIA compound in Benghazi were relaying ground information, but there was no response from POTUS. Here’s what really happened.
Shortly after the CIA Compound in Benghazi was attacked, a Flash Traffic was released from an agent in the CIA compound’s technical office through the Military Information Network which was received by the Army, CIA, State Department and Whitehouse.
Flash traffic or flash call is a digital point to point message, like an Instant Message. According to military protocol, a message from the CIA Compound would be sent directly to the Embassy in Tripoli, the State Department and the Whitehouse Situation Room. When received in the situation room of the Whitehouse, then someone immediately transmits it to an Obama aide who WALKS the information immediately to POTUS and verifies delivery. It doesn't matter where the POTUS is; he always has an aide with him. This wasn’t just an attack, there was a missing Ambassador who has a priority 4-stars rank and is representing the President in Libya. Obama knew about the attack immediately.
Charlene Lamb at the State department also received the call and was able to watch the attacks in real time.
It was approximately 4:05 pm EST, and President Obama was at Walter Reed Medical Center speaking before the troops in honor of the anniversary of the 9/11 attack on the World Trade Center.
The President, The Vice President, Panetta, Dempsey and Secretary of State have a pre-arranged meeting at the Whitehouse in 55 minutes.
Other immediate notifications went to General Carter Ham of Africom and Rear Admiral Charles Gaouette of Eurocom, both in Germany with commanders ready to deploy. There was no lack of intelligence as Panetta wants us to believe.
When an ambassador is in danger, or missing, the default procedure is an immediate rescue. Once the alarm was sent from Benghazi, dozens of headquarters were informed, and proceeded immediately to the rescue, without waiting for the White House. A rescue of this kind becomes TOP priority. Any delay can result in deaths of our military. Without waiting for specific orders from Washington, our military plan and execute rescue operations, including moving personnel, ships, and aircraft forward toward the location of the crisis.
However, there is one thing they can’t do without explicit orders from the President; that is to cross an international border on a hostile mission, also called CBA (cross border authority). For the Osama bin Laden mission, President Obama granted CBA for our forces to enter Pakistani airspace. If the POTUS does not give the OK, the entire rescue mission (already in progress) must stop in its tracks.
General Ham immediately had a rapid response unit ready and communicated to the Pentagon that he had a unit ready. It’s not clear why Panetta was unaware of this.
A Quick Reaction Force was dispatched from Tripoli to Benghazi because it had no international border to cross. Both cities are in Libya.
But the air armada commanded by General Ham of AFRICOM, with its C-17s or C-130s, its Special Operations Forces in MH-47 Chinooks or Pave Hawks, cannot cross the border to Libya without authorization to do so. No general, even 4-star, can grant this permission. Only the POTUS holds the scepter of that authority. Without this authorization to cross the border of a sovereign state, the helicopters, the gunships, the armed drones — the whole armada — had to land and “hold” at Sigonella, Italy, about an hour away, and ships had to stop in international waters. Two Special Forces units were at Sigonella that time, including Delta Force, who was training in Europe.
Two drones joined the theaters of operations. Actually controlled from Tripoli, these drones relayed video streams throughout the duration of the attack via their camera in real time, live. We are talking about two drones because at one point, the first drone was replaced by another, probably because the machine ran out of fuel. A second drone came to take the place of the first.
In Germany, head of African command, General Carter Ham, never received the go ahead from POTUS to rescue the men. His response was to screw it and decided to move forward with a plan to rescue the Ambassador. Within 30 seconds to a minute after making the move to respond, his second in command, General Rodriquez, apprehended General Ham and told him that he was now relieved of his command.
Another high ranking officer, Rear Admiral Charles Gaouette was also relieved of his duties on 9/11 and replaced by Chief of Staff William Minter.
So that is really the situation, not Panetta's fantasy world of a lack of intelligence.
More specific questions need to be asked of Panetta, Dempsey, Clinton and Obama, who seem to have left our men to die at the hands of Islamists. Why?