An emerging aspect to the Benghazi attack story is the Obama Administration’s cover-up of the truth. From the beginning, President Obama and members of his administration have claimed that the attack was the spontaneous work of a mob protesting an anti-Islamic film. It is now apparent that the Administration knew even as the attacks were going on that it was a preplanned terrorist attack.
For over a week after the attack, President Obama and other government officials clung to the fiction that the attack was a reaction to “Innocence of the Muslims,” a film ridiculing Mohammed that had already been on Youtube for months. Charles Woods, the father of Ty Woods, one of the Americans killed in the attack, told radio host Lars Larson that Secretary of State Clinton vowed to have the filmmaker “arrested” and “prosecuted” in apparent disregard for the First Amendment.
In a timeline of the attacks and their aftermath posted on Oct. 26, Factcheck.org points out some of the flaws in the Administration’s claims. There was no mob at the Benghazi consulate in spite of President Obama’s claims to the contrary. State Department reports say that everything was calm until the attack started at approximately 3:40 p.m. At 6:07 p.m., while the attack was still in process, the State Department Operations Center emailed the White House and the Pentagon as well as several other agencies to tell them that Ansar al-Sharia had claimed responsibility for the attack. The attack continued until about 8:30 p.m. when Libyan security forces drove off the surviving attackers. The attack continued for approximately four to five hours.
Even though there were reports of al Qaeda involvement even while the attack was still in progress, President Obama, Secretary of State Clinton, Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, and other Administration officials persisted in blaming the film for over a week after the attack. There is no logical reason to deny al Qaeda’s involvement for national security reasons since the fact that there was no mob was common knowledge in Libya. The only logical reason to shift the blame to Youtube and away from al Qaeda is for President Obama’s political benefit.
Examiner previously described reports that the Obama Administration denied requests to increase security before the attack. Now there are reports that requests for assistance during the attack were denied as well. Fox News reports that CIA operators were denied permission to assist the Americans under attack inside the consulate. The unnamed sources “on the ground in Benghazi” said that a small team heard the shots from a safe house and requested permission to help. They were ordered to “stand down,” but several members of the team, including former Navy SEAL Ty Woods, ignored the order and were able to evacuate survivors from the consulate, possibly preventing even greater loss of life.
When they returned, the safe house itself came under attack. The CIA team again called for help and were again denied. The Fox News report indicates that a team member on the roof with a laser target designator asked for an airstrike by an AC-130 Spectre gunship. More than seven hours after the initial attack began, a mortar attack on the CIA safe house killed Ty Woods and Glen Doherty, another former SEAL.
The Fox report notes that the CIA denied the report. “We can say with confidence that the Agency reacted quickly to aid our colleagues during that terrible evening in Benghazi,” said spokeswoman Jennifer Youngblood. “Moreover, no one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need; claims to the contrary are simply inaccurate.”
The Fox report also states that two American surveillance drones were on the scene during the attack. In spite of the fact that these drones could send real time information and video to Washington, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told reporters that officials had no clear idea of what was going on and could not provide assistance.
As yet unconfirmed are reports that General Carter Ham, commanding officer of the U.S. Africa Command, was relieved of his command because he was about to ignore orders not to help the Americans in Benghazi. Over the past few days, rumors began swirling that the general had a rapid response unit ready to go when he was ordered to stand down. The general responded that he was going to aid the consulate anyway. Less than thirty seconds later, the general’s executive officer relieved him and assumed command. The rescue mission did not take place. Defense Secretary Panetta previously claimed that Ham advised against a rescue mission.
Coverage of the rumor in the Washington Times notes that the Pentagon claims that Ham’s removal was planned in advance. Nevertheless, the article also states that Ham was in his post for only a year and a half. The normal tour length for such a command post is three years.
The reports of the circumstances surrounding General Ham’s dismissal are unconfirmed at this point, but given the other untruths coming from President Obama and his Administration they are plausible. In contrast to Obama’s claims that a Libyan mob killed Ambassador Chris Stevens, it now appears that the only Libyan mob was the one that found Stevens, at that point still alive, in the ruins of the consulate and took him to the hospital according to the Associated Press. At that point, U.S. and Libyan relief forces were still not on the scene.
Mark Thiessen of the Washington Post reported on Sept. 13 that the president’s public schedule showed that the last “daily” intelligence briefing that the president received was on Sept.5, more than a week before the attack. A spokesman for the National Security Council did point out that a printed copy of the President’s Daily Briefing is delivered to the president every day.
Additionally, the Long War Journal reports that a former Guantanamo Bay detainee and al Qaeda member was involved in the attack. Sufyan ben Qumu was transferred to Libyan custody in 2007. He was released by Qaddafi’s government in 2010.
On Friday, in response to repeated questions about the allegations, the president answered as quoted by USA Today, “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.”
The FBI team dispatched to investigate the attack did not arrive in Libya until Oct. 4, three weeks after the attack. According to the New York Times, the Obama Administration blamed the delay on the Libyan government.
The investigation of the entire Benghazi matter is ongoing, but will not be complete until after the election. This is unacceptable. Voters deserve to know the truth about the attack in Benghazi and they should know before the election.