Since Benghazi was a diplomatic station it fell under the responsibility of the State Department. Next we will take a look at the State Department’s response under Hillary Clinton.
Hillary Clinton was formally notified of the attack by 10:00 PM Libyan time or 4:00 PM Washington time. She got a phone call and a cable from Greg Hix, the number two in command ant the embassy in Tripoli. 4:05 PM Washington time they put out an official alert over the State Department’s operation center so it went to entire national security operations apparatus. It went to the military, it went to the CIA, it went to the Defense Intelligence Agency, it went to the Joint Special Operations Command, it went to Africa Command, it went all across the government. This means that everyone knew within twenty minutes of the attack.
The scandal in this event is that there were automated procedures for this type of situation that should have kicked in. These procedures had been in place since the late 1980’s because of earlier attacks on US diplomatic facilities. We could have had jets there within 40 minutes and we could have special ops troupes there withing four hours. In other words we could have had our forces on the ground before the final attack on the annex.
Those orders were never given. General Hamm, who was in charge of Africa Command and who would have had to make that call, said that he did not have enough information about what was happening in Benghazi.
Let me just walk back a bit. They had a drone overhead by 11:00 PM local time so they were getting real time video feeds. They were getting cellphone calls. In the beginning they were getting secure communications from the ground in Benghazi and from the people in Tripoli. They also had satellites overhead. I’m not quite sure what more information they needed.
General Hamm also knew that his troupes would not be welcome in a State Department facility. One of his top operations officers said. ‘ Look, we understood that Hillary Clinton did not want the military coming to a US diplomatic facility. We knew that, we had been told that over and over again.” This explains why General Hamm was not in a big rush to get US troupes on the ground in Benghazi.
General Hamm had some special forces troupes in Tripoli and he begged them to keep them there for security. Ambassador Stevens said no because his Secretary (Hillary Clinton) did not want them there. In fact, when these soldiers left the compound at Tripoli, they not only had to take off their uniforms, they had to take off their boots. Hillary’s disdain for the military was well know, everybody got it.
Ambassador Steven’s life might have been save were it not for the contested stand down order. He might not have been saved had the military arrived, but it is probable that Glen Doherty and Ty Woods would not have died.
President Obama’s Response
The President was pretty much disengaged. He met General Dempsey and Secretary of Defense Panetta at 5:00 PM Washington time. This was a per-arranged meeting, it was not for Benghazi. He was briefed for about a half an hour and then said that he had a fund-raiser the next day and had to get up early. He told them to do what was necessary to take care of the situation, but not to bother him.
What About The Video
The only other thing we know is that he had a phone conversation with Hillary Clinton. Immediately after that phone call she issued a statement from the State Department blaming the attack on this obscure video.
Not only had nobody seen this video, we now have the emails through the State Department that she was reading. They were coming from Benghazi and from Tripoli. We have the phone records and transcripts coming from her State Department officials who were up the food chain. Not a single one of the emails or phone messages mentions a demonstration because of a video. Despite all of this Hillary insisted it was because of a YouTube Video.
We must ask why the video was presented as the cause of the attack. Before this attack the video only had about 16 hits on YouTube. There is some evidence that after the attack the video was promoted by a company that doe4s productions for the military.
Was the video promoted to cover up the gun running? We really don’t know. This will have to be answered by the select committee investigating the issue. All I can say is that, to me, this looks an awfully lot like criminal behavior.
We will work to keep you updated on this subject.