Monday, July 4, 2016

Benghazi: Lies, Misdirection, Silence and the 2016 Presidential Race

I write books. They are mostly mystery / thrillers with a healthy dose of political intrigue thrown in for good measure. I get a lot of enjoyment in spinning a tangled web of lies and deceit, but lately it seems that my fiction is taking a back seat to real life.

In the latest installment of: ‘What did I do to piss you off this time?’ I think it is time we re-visit the whole ‘Benghazi Thing.’ I say this, because there are some people who still just don’t get it.

I read a post on Benghazi that went something like this: “I would love a debate about policy. Or we could say just vote democratic because of the thirty embassy attacks when Bush was president and the hundreds that died.”

<Squinting> Huh? Are You F’ing serious?


You see, this is the bullshit they do. They, as in the poorly uninformed, have learned it from the politicians and pundits. Don’t argue the actual point, just change the narrative. As if the attack on Benghazi was just another terror attack, or the lives lost were somehow the same as the ones killed
in other attacks.

Here is a newsflash: The Benghazi attack was a completely different animal because, when the attack occurred, the government failed them and then lied to us.

I read a CNN article the other day which said: “House Republicans capped a partisan, two-year investigation of the Benghazi terror attacks Tuesday with a report that faults the Obama administration for security lapses that led to the deaths of four Americans, but contains no revelations likely to further damage Hillary Clinton.”

Let that sink in for a moment.

No revelations likely to further damage Hillary Clinton?

As opposed to all the other stuff that has damaged her, but yet we somehow still want to believe she is capable of being President.

Fine, whatever, here’s another glass of Kool-Aid, drink up.

And why exactly was this ever partisan to begin with?

Investigations, especially ones dealing with a terror attack in which an Ambassador and CIA contractors are killed, should never be partisan, they should always be a search for the truth. What is sad to me is that a large group of people are making partisan political comments without knowing any of the facts. The majority of Americans have no clue about what happened at Benghazi, either before, during or after the attack. They have relied on carefully crafted talking points instead of actually researching it for themselves. I’d venture to say that almost no one has actually read the 800+ page report.

In a way, it’s kind of like that whole Affordable Care Act debacle.

In case you’d like to take a walk down memory lane, here’s a piece I wrote right after the attack when they were pushing the video and spontaneous demonstration theory. You remember that lie, don’t you? Consider that the first of many to come.

As I mentioned before, most American’s have no clue as to what they are talking about. They couldn’t even begin to tell you how long Libya has been an independent state; let alone what the state of the country was leading up to the attack. Fortunately for you, I have written a Libya / Benghazi primer course for you, to bring you up to speed.

Bear in mind that these posts tend to be a bit long, but that’s the key. They are not your clich√© riddled talking points.

You know, I’ve lost count of the number of times I have heard people say: “It wouldn’t have mattered if they sent troops; they wouldn’t have gotten there in time.”

Really? And exactly how did you, or they, know just how long the attack was going to last for?

I guess using that analogy, the next time you’re the victim of a violent crime, don’t bother calling the police because chances are they won’t get there in time either.
13 Hours: Paramount Pictures

Making a cavalier statement like that is fine, in hindsight retrospection, but I can tell you that in the middle of an attack no one knew how long it was going to last…… 13 HOURS is a long time to wait for help. If you feel the need to make a flippant comment on this topic, I highly recommend watching the movie, 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, or read the book, 13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened in Benghazi,  by Mitchell Zuckoff, before you do.

The fact is that when word of the attacks reached the Embassy and the CIA Station in Tripoli, in less than an hour, they managed to assemble a response team and acquire an aircraft for transport. The team, dubbed Team Tripoli, consisted of four Tripoli Station GRS members, one of whom was Glen Doherty, two Defense Department special operators, and a CIA linguist. An hour after they got to the airport in Tripoli they were in Benghazi.

So much for not being able to get there in time.

Now, Hillary Clinton, the woman at the heart of the Benghazi attack, who is looking to be our next president, is telling the world that there is nothing more to see here and that we simply need to move on.

Really? Must be nice to be able to lie to the American people, including the families of those four dead Americas and then tell them to move on.

 Here is what we know:

The Ambassador, as well as the folks doing protection, requested additional manpower and resources which were routinely met with no response or were refused by senior officials in Washington.  I’m not talking 1-2 requests, but nearly 600 security requests / concerns from January through September 2012. While some were acted on, the majority, including the requests for additional manpower, were not. In fact, manpower was reduced leading up to the attack. Clearly there were issues going on!!

Say what you will, but when an Ambassador, the President’s personal representative to a foreign nation, requests additional security, that cannot be overlooked, nor should it be dismissed by underlings sitting in a cushy office in D.C.  When everything is said and done, the Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, dropped the ball. It was her agency and even the State Department ARB said security was ‘grossly inadequate.’  If you don’t believe that she was responsible, then you need to stop blaming Bush for everything because apparently the ‘buck’ really doesn’t stop anywhere in Washington.

The fact is that the State Department assessment of Benghazi in 2011 and 2012 noted rising crime and a high-risk of militia violence left by the toppling of Gaddafi. The precarious security situation was exacerbated by inadequate security at the Benghazi facility, which was plagued by equipment failures, a lack of manpower and relied too much on unreliable local militia for protection.  Ironically, one of those Washington State Department bureaucrats, Charlene Lamb, had the audacity to say: “It is very unfortunate and sad at this point that Ambassador Stevens was a victim, but that is where ultimate responsibility lies."

Wow, the State Department denied additional security, but it’s really the fault of that poor schmuck who died.  Oh, it should be noted that, while denying the requests for security, the State Department, through their spokeswoman, Victoria Nuland, emailed Stevens to ask how to describe the security incidents in 2012

Really, Vickie?

I would like to imagine that Steven’s reply was something like: “They just attempted to assassinate the British Ambassador with an RPG. I guess you could say all’s well. Wish you were here, darling.”

One of the things that has always troubled me about this attack was our response or lack thereof.  On the night of the attack did the President issue Cross Border Authority? If you don’t know what CBA is, then click the link. The Congressional report now presents a distinct dilemma that no one seems to be considering or even talking about. 

According to the report, the military did not carry out then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's order to deploy U.S. forces to help rescue Americans under fire in Benghazi. If this is correct, and the President gave CBA, then we have an act of gross dereliction of duty on the part of senior members of the military. Or, as is most likely the case, we are not being told the full story, yet again.

I’m sorry, but I simply do not believe anything that comes out of the mouths of those inhabiting that cesspool known as Washington, D.C. As someone who has served under a chain of command, I know that there are consequences to failing to take action as directed by a superior, especially when four Americans die in a terror attack.

Consider the following and ask if you think this is plausible:

The President directs the Secretary of Defense to take action.

The Secretary of Defense notifies the Pentagon which in turns notifies the Commanding General of AFRICOM, General Carter Ham. 

By all accounts, General Ham immediately began directing / assembling units for deployment, a deployment that never occurred.

Shortly after the dust settled, General Ham announced he was retiring, for personal reasons, after only serving ½ of his scheduled rotation as head of AFRICOM and only a few years shy of mandatory retirement.  When announcing Ham's replacement, his X.O. at AFRICOM, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta praised Ham's service. A report from the department said leaders remain "fully confident" in Ham's performance. Even Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said that Ham “has the full confidence of the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.” Little attributed the change to Ham's "decision to retire," which he described as "an entirely personal decision."

Now, Congressman Trey Gowdy, who led the Congressional investigation into the attacks, states that Carter Ham acknowledged that he altered President Obama and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's order to deploy to Benghazi to rescue American personnel, and redirected the deployment to Tripoli, Libya instead.

Wait, how does a commanding general, who acted in contradiction to the direction of the President and Secretary of Defense, still enjoy 'the full confidence of the Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff?'

I’m sorry, but I call bullshit. That would fall under Article 92 UCMJ: Failure to Obey Order or Regulation and is a Courts Martial offense.

In October 2012, General Ham told Rep. Jason Chaffetz that after the 9-11 Benghazi terror attack he was never given the order to secure the consulate in Benghazi.

Wait, he was NEVER given the order? Yet we are also being told that he was ordered, but that he  redirected the troops, from where they were being requested, to a city over 400 miles away.

Add that to the fact that Leon Panetta testified that: “The President made clear that we ought to use all of the resources at our disposal to try to make sure we did everything possible to try to save lives there.” He further testified that within an hour of his return to the Pentagon, he issued an order to deploy the identified assets. “My orders were to deploy those forces, period.…It was very clear: They are to deploy.” Yet it took nearly two more hours before the Secretary’s orders were relayed to those forces and then several more hours before any of those forces moved.

But how does this even make sense, considering the statement in October 2012 by Panetta where he said: "The basic principle is that you don't deploy forces into harm's way without knowing what's going on; without having some real-time information about what's taking place. And as a result of not having that kind of information, the commander who was on the ground in that area, Gen. Ham, Gen. Dempsey and I felt very strongly that we could not put forces at risk in that situation."

So now the Secretary of Defense says they decided not to take action.

Not sure what he meant by not knowing what was going on, as I think it was pretty clear from the drone flying above, the calls from the Benghazi facility, and the reports at the CIA Annex as to what was going on.

If all of this seems confusing and convoluted to you, imagine how the folks on the ground felt.

Kris ‘Tanto’ Paronto, one of the CIA contractors who went to the aid of the Benghazi facility, said “I asked for the Spectre and ISR [an armed Predator drone]. At midnight, they told us they were still working on getting us that Spectre gunship. Not that it was not available, but that they were still working on it.”

According to Paronto there were two AC-130H Spectre gunships on call that night, both within range of Benghazi. One of them was a six-hour flight away, co-located with a U.S. special operations team in Djibouti, and the other was at Naval Air Station Sigonella, in Sicily. In addition, the European Command (EUCOM), Commander’s In-Extremis Force, was on a counter-terrorism training mission in Croatia. A three-hour flight from Benghazi.

Paronto says that he knew people in that unit and when he spoke with them, after he and his security team got back to the CIA Annex from the diplomatic compound, he was told that “they were loading their gear into their aircraft and ready to go.” Later, they informed him that they had been shut down sometime after midnight.

All evidence now points to a specific stand-down order issued by Secretary Clinton, since the Libyan facilities came under her direct authority. Without a specific request for assistance from the State Department, the Pentagon was powerless to act.

Why do I say this?

Because, in 2015, the State Department released an email that was sent at 7:09 p.m. EST (1:09 a.m. Benghazi time) from Jeremy Bash, an aide to the Secretary of Defense, directly to Hillary Clinton’s office, informing them of the various military assets that were “spinning up” to deploy to Benghazi. Among those assets were Special Forces operation specialists (C-1/10), the In-Extremis Force Paronto talked about, stationed in Croatia, along with two U.S. Marine Corps Fleet Anti-terrorism Security Team (FAST) platoons based in Rota, Spain, the Spectre gunships, armed Predator drones, and possibly elements of Marine Expeditionary Units in the Mediterranean and the Red Sea.

We know this is accurate because, in preparation for deploying the C-1/10 directly to Benghazi from Croatia, General Ham, issued orders transferring authority for C-1/10 to him from European Command (EUCOM). General Ham was actively beginning to stage units to rescue those in Benghazi.

The email further states, and this is VERY important: “Assuming Principals agree to deploy these elements, we will ask State to secure the approval from host nation. Please advise how you wish to convey that approval to us.”

To date, the State Department has not released any reply from Mrs. Clinton’s office to Bash’s email request. Why?

What we do know is that the top U.S. diplomat in Tripoli at the time, Gregory Hicks, testified that the State Department NEVER requested country clearance from Libya for any U.S. forces that night.

And whatever happened to the C-1/10 in Croatia?

When orders finally went out from Panetta’s office, an hour later, they included a re-transfer of C-1/10 from AFRICOM back to EUCOM, along with orders for the unit to deploy to Sigonella, Italy, the NEXT DAY, and hold in place

C-1/10, the Special Forces team that is actually trained to conduct hostage rescue and high-profile missions was activated to respond and then told to stand down.

Have you read that and let that really sink in?  Are you getting these flip-flops?

Are you seeing that there was never going to be a rescue?

So what exactly did the President authorize that night? Again I ask: was Cross Border Authority ever issued? But, like the former Secretary of State famously said: “What difference does it make?”

The presumptive democratic nominee,  along with the majority of democrats in Congress, are telling you to move along; that there is nothing to see. I don’t know about you, but the only thing I’m not seeing here are real answers, except from those who were on the ground in Benghazi, and those answers paint a sordid picture of lies, treachery, treason and deceit. Not exactly the qualifications I find particularly pleasing in a Presidential candidate.

We, as American’s, now have the government that we allowed. Our leaders no longer respect us nor do they believe they have to answer to us. That is sad and it is the primary reason we are in the state of division that we are. We have to wake up and take back our country one election at a time. We can have civil discourse and we might not always agree, but the time has come for us to educate ourselves and not rely on what we are being told.


The truth is that, from the very beginning, they lied to us about what happened in Benghazi. Now the question is how many more lies were told. To determine that it is up to us to research the facts and vote accordingly.

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