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The latest revelations about Benghazi are disturbing to say the least. They start with the Benghazi Regional Security Officer saying in the hearings that for the post to be occupied it had to be approved by the Secretary of State herself, Hilliary Clinton. This overlooked statement, if true, makes Secretary Clinton personally responsible sending people to what all agreed was a death trap.
To put the post in perspective it is good to compare it to the British consulate that was abandoned because it was too dangerous to keep open. The Libya Harald newspaper describes the American mission as “a collection of buildings sitting amid bean fields…. The front wall has barbed wire above it, but the back wall has none and is low enough to clamber over with ease.” In contrast the British consulate, which was vacated shortly after a June attack on the Ambassador had “15 foot walls, a watchtower and blast walls made of sandbags stacked in steel cages.” The fact is Benghazi, arguably the most dangerous post in the State Department, had about as much security as consulate in an island paradise and in some ways less.
The staff both in Benghazi and Tripoli knew that the numerous attacks and warnings meant that a large scale attack on the facility was not a matter of if, but when. They also knew such an attack would be disastrous. Cable after cable begged for help but fell on deaf ears. Not just any cables, but ambassadorial cables addressed to undersecretaries and even above. Not only were these cables ignored but the number of security personnel was inexplicably cut! The Foreign Service personnel who had to a person volunteered to be their were being hung out to die. A better trap could not have been set even if it had been design from the beginning (which is not being suggested).
Posting people at Benghazi in such a substandard facility was a dereliction of duty to say the least. The leadership was warned by several sources about the dangers on the ground but acted as of it didn’t care. A situation akin to sending a soldier into battle but denying him a helmet or protective vest.
When the inevitable happened the response was as bad as it was leading up to the attack. As all hell broke loose the people the Department had put in harms way were left to fend for themselves. The reality is there were several chances to render aid to those under attack but it was denied.
- The AFRICOM command declined to send air support saying it was too far. A general on ABC’s This Week said it would of taken hours just to prepare to fly, a bold face lie. According to an Air Force pilot it takes 20 minutes to turn around a F-16, 30 minutes if you need to change an engine. The Aviano Airbase F-16 squadron’s mission is to provide air power on demand which means its planes are ready to go at a moments notice.The F-16 according to the Air Force has a range of over 2000 miles, Benghazi is about half that distance. Approval for overflight according to the Libya Charge’ could of been gotten in minutes while in route. There is also a NATO airbase in Sicily from which the F-16 could of been refueled on the way there. The Sigonella’s Air Base is less than 500 miles from Benghazi and is the same base that the supposedly unavailable tankers are stationed at.In other words the denial of air support looks to have nothing to do with tanker availability or range problems. They truth seems to be that they could of been there in three hours with a refuel but declined to even try.
- There were special forces personnel available to go assist. Four of the original sixteen special forces security team were still there and ready to render assistance but were told not to. Apparently the AFRICOM commanders thought their skills as hospital orderlies was more of a pressing need.
- The FEST special forces team at the State Department whose sole purpose is to “respond to terrorist incidents worldwide” was not activated even though the embassy in Tripoli requested it to be. Whether they could of been their in time has not been established but that they were not even activated says minions.
There is no excuse for any of this. During the attack the military and State Department were getting video in real time. They knew as well as anyone what was happening. The CIA knew terrorist were involved from the get go and even identified some of the participants as Al Qaeda linked individuals.
There seemed to be from the beginning a conscious decision to put up a front that things were going better than they were. A policy set by someone high up, there is no other logical explanation for so many illogical actions to have taken place. Until some other explanation comes to light the reaction to the attack can only be seen in one light, a political one.
It appears that when the inevitable attack finally came the policy of pretending things were going well came full circle. To send in assistance, whether military or the FEST team, would be an admission that Libya had a terrorist problem and undermine everything they had done and said. With the Arab video protest providing convenient cover, it appears the decision was made to go ahead and maintain the predetermined narrative, even if it meant people would die.
After the tragedy unfolded the Department of State in collusion with the White House (It was the President’s staff that ordered the CIA to accept the State Department’s rewrite of the talking points) decided to continue with the charade if for no other reason than it felt it had to.
Some of this could be called conjecture, the motivations are not entirely known but to the actors themselves. What is not conjecture is that innocent dedicated government personnel died. Deaths that are attributable not only to radical terrorist but also to those to whom the victims had entrusted their lives. There appears to be many villains in this story but only a few heroes. The only shinning stars of this fiasco are the brave souls who died and were injured as well as the purported CIA agents who came to their rescue. To answer Hilliary’s question, they are why it matters.
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