Conservatives always have the advantage in any story where there are missing details. Waiting for evidence, waiting for facts, waiting for further investigation is no hurdle for the radical Right. They’re all too happy to fill in any gaps of knowledge with their speculation, accusations that they just know are true because they feel they are true. I wish on these ethically challenged zealots a jury of people with similar mindsets should they ever find themselves facing a criminal trial. It would be more The Oxbow Incident than trial. Panetta Says Risk Impeded Deployment to Benghazi
Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said Thursday that he and top military commanders “felt very strongly” that deploying American forces to defend against the fatal attack last month on the United States diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, was too risky because they did not have a clear picture of what was happening on the ground.
“There’s a lot of Monday-morning quarterbacking going on here,” Mr. Panetta told reporters at the Pentagon, adding that “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.”
As a result, Mr. Panetta said, he and two top commanders “felt very strongly that we could not put forces at risk in that situation.” The commanders are Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Gen. Carter F. Ham of Africa Command, which oversees American military operations in Africa, including Libya.
We do know that Bush and Cheney did some micromanaging of troop activity – to the detriment of the American military and innocent Iraqis. While that can happen most day to day decisions about where to deploy regular troops or special forces is done by people like Gen. Carter F. Ham or the CIA. The Benghazi attack took place about 4 PM and lasted for about 2 hours. Not a lot of time to deploy much of a response. Every far Right conservative site seems to be covering this. Much of what has been written is incoherent garbage – with the commenters foaming at the mouth with crazy accusations and claims of knowledge that defy any attempt to make sense of. This is from The Weekly Standard, generally thought of as one of conservatism’s intellectual flagships, written by editor and publisher William Kristol, Petraeus Throws Obama Under the Bus
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. There was presumably a rationale for such a decision. What was it? When and why—and based on whose counsel obtained in what meetings or conversations—did President Obama decide against sending in military assets to help the Americans in need?
“presumably”? That links leads to a tweet by Jake Trapper at ABC and it is a blind quote from an unidentified spokesperson. Super reliable. Based on that start building the lynching platform. No it would not have automatically been an executive level only decision. Military commanders in the field have some leeway to respond to terrorism committed against Americans. By the time anyone could pin down exactly what was going on, American security personnel on site and Libyan security had already re-secured the compound. That is where the block buster Libya embassy e-mails were supposed to blow this story wide open, only they fizzled, The Shocking, World-Changing New Libya Emails
The next bend in the Libya story—sorry, Libya scandal—began last night, when CBS News and other organizations scooped a series of emails from the State Department on Sept. 11. At 4:05 p.m., State emails that the Benghazi consulate is “under attack.” At 4:54, the “firing has stopped.” At 6:07 p.m., “Ansar al-Sharia [has claimed] responsibility” for the attack.
Allahpundit explains why this is should be so disturbing.
The White House had plenty of reason to suspect more was going on than a protest that got out of hand, even from the very beginning. But that would meddle with one of O’s strongest reelection narratives, i.e. the president who demolished Al Qaeda (read this for a stark illustration of how certain key supporters are helping him out with that), so we didn’t hear about it until Eli Lake and CNN and Reuters all but dragged it out of him.
One problem. In the same story that breaks the news and gives readers the emails, CBS News prints an unaired answer that Obama gave Steve Kroft on Sept. 12. It was his first interview after the attacks.
You’re right that this is not a situation that was—exactly the same as what happened in Egypt and my suspicion is that there are folks involved in this who were looking to target Americans from the start.
The next day, Obama was in Colorado, where he addressed the killings in Libya.
A couple of days ago, for four Americans were killed in an attack on our diplomatic post in Libya. … So what I want all of you to know is that we are going to bring those who killed our fellow Americans to justice. I want people around the world to hear me: To all those who would do us harm, no act of terror will go unpunished.
Obama didn’t pretend that this was merely “a protest that got out of hand.” The trouble, when we look back at the timeline, is that reporters didn’t really glom onto the Libya story for a few days. When they did, by the Sunday shows and Sept. 19, you had administration representatives soft-peddling the “target Americans from the start” story.
Before that, though, if you followed the story, you knew that Ansar al-Sharia took credit for the attacks and that Obama was calling them “acts of terror.” This is the oddity of the story we now call “Benghazigate.” One “scandal,” that Obama pretended the attacks were only spontaneous results of a protest, is baseless. The next scandal, that the administration didn’t beef up security in Benghazi, is just harder to pin on a villain. So we hear more about the “shifting timeline,” even though the president had implied that the attacks were terrorism four times in the 48 hours afterward.
This is a tough situation. A father of one of the SEALs who died believes and has helped fuel some of the growing urban myths about Benghazi, Libya. It is obviously devastating to lose a child to a violent death. As much as we all sympathize, that does not mean that feelings should cloud the facts,
Woods also repeated a version of events that the White House says is not accurate, that “the White House Situation Room was watching our people die in real time, as this was happening.”
White House officials say there was no video stream available. So what kind of real-time information was coming in? State Department official Charlene Lamb testified before Congress that officials in the consulate “were making multiple phone calls and it was very important that they communicate with the annex in Tripoli because this is where additional resources were coming from. So they would hang up on us and then call back.” A Defense Department official confirms that there an unarmed ISR (“intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance”) drone overhead over part of the assault in Benghazi.
Woods also said, “apparently even the State Department had a live stream and was aware of their calls for help. My son wasn’t even there. He was at a safe house about a mile away. He got the distress call; he heard them crying for help; that’s why he and Glen risked their lives to go that extra mile just to take care of the situation. And I’m sure that wasn’t the only one received that distress call—you know, ‘Come save our lives.’”
There was no live fed to the White House. That drone is also part of the Right’s argument – that it was armed and could have been used to help, but Obama personally choose not to use it. That same ABC story quotes a Fox News “reporter” that said her sources on the ground ( again anonymous)” told her “that three urgent requests from the CIA annex for military back-up during the attack on the U.S. Consulate and subsequent attack nearly seven hours later were denied by officials in the CIA chain of command — who also told the CIA operators 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.” If that were true it would have been help after the attacks and subsequent deaths, and after the compound has already been secured. ” Late Friday afternoon, CIA spokesperson Jennifer Youngblood “no one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need; claims to the contrary are simply inaccurate. ” )
Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey said there are reviews under way and it wasn’t helpful to provide “partial answers.” However, he did say he was confident that ”our forces were alert and responsive to what was a very fluid situation.”
The rapid conspiracy theorists have to find a way to tell their version of events and leave out the Department of Defense, the chain of command and the CIA. Additionally these partisans have to explain how things would have been different or the response would have been different if they were in the White House. Would they have been where the buck stops with no accountability on the DoD or CIA. They can talk tough, but where is the substance. 9NEWS questions President Obama on Libya attack
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.
I linked above to one story that is now a conveniently forgotten shame of the conservative idea of how to carry out national security – Bush’s Bloody Flip-Flop. It is also important to remember two recent scandals that the Right tried to exploit for poltical points. They tried to make Solyndra a big scandal and spent millions to find nothing, Five Things You Should Know About Solyndra During The 2012 Campaign. They went on and on about Fast and Furious to bring down Attorney General Holder. The Inspector General found no link between Holder or the White House with Fast and Furious. Just as President Obama said there is an ongoing investigation and more facts are probably going to come out. That doesn’t mean that everyone the Right points a finger at is guilty until they decide otherwise.
And two helpful links. Much of the conservative noise doesn’t work if you know the timeline and who said what and when they said it, Fox News Rewrites Obama Timeline On Libya Terrorism Comments