Who made the Benghazi decision?

A fellow called a radio program and had rather a lot to say. It is unknown whether he knew what he was talking about, but if true, it’s very disturbing:

I wanted to speak to the question of when the president knew and why Secretary Panetta refused to support the CIA annex request either to move to the consulate or to reinforce. Within a few minutes of the consulate being under attack — I’m a retired lieutenant colonel special operations planner for 15 years — the personal security detail for the ambassador notified the communications room in Tripoli who then, on the top secret side, sent a message to the White House Situation Room that the ambassador was in peril, okay? And they did that by code word and it would have been within minutes of the attack commencing.

The White House Situation Room has a list of what’s called Essential Elements of Friendly Information. That’s the military’s acronym for it, but they would have a similar thing, a critical information list. Certain things go right to the person that’s standing next to the president, both military and civilian leadership. So he would have known within minutes or it’s supposed to be informed within minutes because an ambassador is a four-star equivalent, very high, very important person, you know, represents the president and essentially is the president’s — you know, is the surrogate of the president in that country. So the White House cannot deny that the president knew immediately…

The e-mails that have been released are unclassified e-mails. On the top secret side, a flash traffic message from the embassy Tripoli to the White House Situation Room, it’s like an IM. I mean, it’s immediately responded to. You have to acknowledge receipt of it. Okay? So it’s immediate. It gets to the person, the watch officer sitting there, boom, flashes on his screen, he has to acknowledge receipt. And then there’s a protocol for who he then sends it to. He physically turns to someone, the senior guy on watch, “This is a critical element of information. POTUS needs to hear this,” and that’s what would have happened.

So no one in the White House can deny that — well, they can deny it, but the fact is the protocol says someone marched their happy little ass up to the senior guy standing next to POTUS and said, “Sir, ambassador in Libya is in peril.” And if he was missing, that is even a higher precedence. And then the chain would have also gone out automatically to the geographic combatant commander, AFRICOM, and he would have then turned to his special operations commander and said, “I want the In-Extremis Force, you know, strip ready in five minutes.” And evidently they were strip ready in Sigonella and they would have the assets to penetrate the airspace, you know, an MC-130 papa, which is a C-130 specially equipped with electronic countermeasures. They didn’t need permission to enter Libyan airspace, okay?

I’m giving you a lot of Inside Baseball stuff, and maybe putting myself in a little peril by doing it, but the In-Extremis Force, they would have been chomping at the bit to do this. It was turned down, POTUS, at his five p.m. Eastern time meeting with the principals, that’s when he put the kibosh on everything. It was a conscious act. It has to be because, you know, the In-Extremis Force is required to be prepared to do In-Extremis non-combatant evacuation operations for its geographic responsibility, the entire continent of Africa. So there’s always somebody ready to go, and the aircraft are always prepared to go…

in the absence of permissions, okay, you have standing orders. And one of the standing orders to geographic combatant commander is to preserve life of American citizens…he’s a four-star, you know, he’s in Germany. AFRICOM headquarters is in Germany, and their op-center would have been monitoring this in real time, ’cause it’s part of their geographic responsibility. And they would have been going through the different permutations of courses of action of who can get there the quickest. Now, in their geographic area they have Combined Joint Task Force, Horn of Africa, which is in Djibouti. I served there when it was the Joint Special Operations Task Force Crisis Response Element, and we have responsibility for all of CENTCOM and AFRICOM in Africa because at the time there was no AFRICOM…

at the lieutenant colonel level, at the colonel level of the In-Extremis Force of all these different headquarters, State Department, everybody was saying, “Let’s go! Let’s get boots on the ground and kick these people’s asses and get our people.” But who makes those decisions? It’s POTUS, V POTUS, State, and Def. And they had a five o’clock Eastern time meeting, and they said no. You know, we’re willing to have the consulate overruled and the embassy overrun

A lot of well-prepared military assets were told to “stand down,” as was the CIA station a mile away from the Benghazi consulate. This fellow might know nothing at all, but he refers to a specific 5pm meeting on 9-11. At that point the State Department had been watching the attack in real-time for several hours. The caller alleges that the president would have been notified that an ambassador was at risk at about 3pm, if we have our time zones right. He further alleges that, in the absence of an affirmative order to “stand down” emerging from the meeting of the top 4 decision makers, standing orders would have been carried out to deploy some serious military assets to save the ambassador. These allegations are highly disturbing if true.

It is hard to believe that the phone call was anything other than planned in advance. It was the first call at the bottom of hour two, which is a lengthy segment. The show led with the Fox report about the CIA being told to “stand down” in Benghazi, so this was a one-two punch. The call was a highly knowledgable disquisition that named the president as the person who made the affirmative decision to scuttle SOP for this sort of situation. We imagine it’s pretty hard to get through to Mr. Limbaugh’s program, so the idea that this was a random caller seems absurd to us. If the caller has any resemblance to the person he said he was, there would appear to be some senior military or intelligence people seriously bent out of shape by this administration.

Oh yes, and completely coincidentally, the CIA has just spoken about Benghazi for possibly the first time: “No one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need; claims to the contrary are simply inaccurate.” So it would appear that David Petraeus has thrown the president under the bus.

3 Responses to “Who made the Benghazi decision?”

  1. reliapundit Says:

    OBAMA DESERVES TO BE TOSSED FROM OFFICE FOR THIS ALONE.

    REGARDLESS OF WHETHER HE DECIDED OR ABDICATED THE DECISION TO OTHERS IN HIS ADMINISTRATION.

    AND ALL HIS APPOINTEES.

    AND MAYBE SOME CAREER FOLKS AT STATE AND CIA AND THE PENTAGON.

    HEADS MUST ROLL FOR THIS.

    THERE MUST BE ACCOUNTABILITY.

  2. Roy Lofquist Says:

    The call was undoubtedly a setup. I have some acquaintance with the protocols cited by the caller and he was spot on. Some people leak to the New York Times – this is, I think, the first time anybody has leaked to “America’s Anchorman”. Tough to think of a better way to get some attention.

  3. Zachriel Says:

    No one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need; claims to the contrary are simply inaccurate.

    Sigh. Here’s a more complete quote from CIA spokeswoman Jennifer Youngblood:

    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. In fact, it is important to remember how many lives were saved by courageous Americans who put their own safety at risk that night-and that some of those selfless Americans gave their lives in the effort to rescue their comrades.

    When they have to quote-mine to support their point of view, it means you should be skeptical of what information you are being provided.

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