Perhaps the biggest scandal since Project Gunrunner is emerging as President Obama dodges questions about the denial of military assistance during the Benghazi terrorist attacks. The president has declined to answer directly whether a CIA annex was denied urgent requests for military assistance during the deadly attacks last month on U.S. outposts in Libya.
The president bobbed and weaved, refusing to give an answer Friday when asked pointedly whether the Americans under attack in Benghazi, Libya, were denied requests for help during the attack.
Fox News exposed a massive cover-up as sources on the ground in Libya indicated that some of the men who lost their life in the attacks had disobeyed orders to “stand down” and not help the people in the U.S. consulate in Benghazi and requests from the CIA annex for backup had been denied.
“The election has nothing to do with the four brave Americans getting killed and us wanting to find out exactly what happened,” the president said in TV interview with an NBC affiliate in Colorado.
When pressed for an answer Obama said, “The minute I found out what was going on, I gave three very clear directives: Number one, make sure that we are securing our personnel and doing whatever we need to.”
The first attack occurred at the American consulate in Benghazi, killing U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and U.S. diplomat Sean Smith.
Former Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods was part of a small team that was at the CIA annex about a mile from the consulate when it came under attack. Upon hearing shots fired, team members asked higher-ups at the annex if they could go the consulate but were told to “stand down,” according to sources familiar with the exchange.
Woods and at least two others disobeyed those orders and went to the consulate, evacuating survivors and Smith, who had been killed in the initial attack.
Woods and his team could not locate Ambassador Stevens and returned to the CIA annex around midnight. They again requested military support as they were taking fire at the CIA annex. This request was also denied. Woods and fellow former Navy SEAL Glen Doherty were killed at the annex by a mortar shell at 4 a.m.
The CIA and Defense Department have denied claims about requests for support being rejected.
CIA spokeswoman Jennifer Youngblood responded, “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.”
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said there was not a clear enough picture of what was occurring on the ground in Benghazi to send help.
“There’s a lot of Monday morning quarterbacking going on here,” Panetta said Thursday. “But the basic principle here is that you don’t deploy forces into harm’s way without knowing what’s going on.”
Obama reiterated in the interview that the administration is going to “investigate what happened to make sure it never happens again” and find out who was involved in the attack so they can be brought to justice.
“I guarantee you that everybody in the State Department, our military, CIA, you name it, have a number one priority of making sure that people are safe. These are our folks. And we’re going to find out exactly what happened, but what we’re also going to do is make sure that we are identify those who carried out these terrible attacks,” the president said.
It’s apparent the president doesn’t want to give a yes-or-no answer to any questions about the Benghazi attacks and will continue to dodge at least until after the election; when a single word could at least place some distance between the White House and the disastrous actions of the State Department and the CIA Mr. Obama remains mum which can only lead one to assume that when the truth comes out it won’t be in Mr. Obama’s favor.
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