The Plot Thickens in Benghazi

Hmmm:

U.S. intelligence officials, speaking on a not-for-attribution basis, provided reporters Thursday with the most detailed explanation yet of the CIA’s presence in Benghazi, Libya, and the agency’s response to the Sept. 11, 2012, attack, while also identifying the two former Navy SEALs killed that night as being employed by the CIA.

But some news organizations, including the Associated Press, The New York Times and The Washington Post, already knew that the two former SEALs — Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty — were working for the CIA and had agreed not to publish the information at the government’s request.

While AP, the Times and the Post held back this detail following an official request, reporters at other news outlets may also have known or assumed the men were not security contractors given the nature of their work in Libya. ABC News, for example, reported that Doherty had been working to “round up dangerous weapons” in the country. One national security reporter told The Huffington Post that it was an “open secret” in national security circles that the former SEALs were working for the CIA.

Apparently, only 7 of the 30 consulate employees were actually working for the State Department. All the rest were CIA. What precisely they were doing in Benghazi, whether this screwed with the chain of command, what role this played in the confusion in those critical seven hours — that has yet to be determined.

The latest from David Ignatius also dispels a few rumors, claiming there was no “stand down” order, that the drone in question was an unarmed drone that was diverted to provide a view of events and also that fighting appeared to stop at 1 am. Then this:

5:15 a.m.: A new Libyan assault begins, this time with mortars. Two rounds miss and the next three hit the roof. The rooftop defenders never “laser the mortars,” as has been reported. They don’t know the weapons are in place until the indirect fire begins, nor are the mortars observed by the drone overhead. The defenders have focused their laser sights earlier on several Libyan attackers, as warnings not to fire. At 5:26 the attack is over. Woods and Doherty are dead and two others are wounded.

There are still some very big questions to answer, especially why security was not beefed up in the weeks before when it became clear the consulate was a danger point, why Stephens was put in a place that was mostly CIA with such a tiny State Department contingent and why military assets were not used to secure the area, even after the fighting stopped. (As far as I can tell, there is no current information on what our military assets were doing at the time.)

It’s also becoming clear that a lot of our response depended on local cooperation from the Libyan government. This cooperation happened but was often delayed, confused or incompetent. In fact, there are indications that this may have been an inside job by some of those Libyan resources.

So, yes, this dismisses some of the more egregious accusations. But we continue to circle back to the big question: why was a United States ambassador put in harm’s way without the kind of protection he would have in a peaceful country? And why were our military assets not deployed? Why did this remain a CIA op when it become obvious that they were in over their heads?

The cooperation of the media in keeping the CIA’s presence (and, presumably, continued involvement) is a bit concerning. It might have clarified things a lot earlier. But I really don’t have a problem with it. I prefer that the press be discrete about some things. There’s no evidence that the CIA was torturing people or disappearing dissidents. Revealing their presence prematurely could only endanger our operations there.

As I said on Twitter last night, we now have some answers to our questions. But we also have a lot more questions.

Update: More from the LAT:

Senior intelligence and Defense officials say there was some coverage by unarmed surveillance drones during part of the Sept. 11 Benghazi attack, but no feed was available for the president. The Special Operations team arrived on the Italian island of Sicily hours after the attack was over. And “no AC-130 was within a continent’s range of Benghazi,” Pentagon spokesman George Little said.

That begs the question, of course: why weren’t they there?

Comments are closed.

  1. Kimpost

    I’ve seen on other forums that the death of Stevens could have been the result of an ordered hit. The one giving the order? Obama. Why? Because Ambassador Stevens knew about his secret Libyan/Syrian gun-runner program and was about to talk.

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  2. AlexInCT

    You don’t wonder why the CIA had to ask them not to report, Hal? Seriously? And why they actually went along with it considering they would not do the same for a guy with an (R) next to his name? And isn’t this the same CIA that helpd BushCimpyMcHitler lie about WMDs? That was me pointing out how hypocritical the people that now demand we take the CIA at its word are being. Besides, considering that the media is also in the pocket for Obama & the donkeys, and completely willing to outright lie on behalf of this administration – proven fact we have multiple other instances of – I suspect this is more of the same bullshit that still sees a movie maker that pointed out how barbaric and evil Islam is, in jail. Even when he had nothing to do with this attack.

    Unless there is truth to the rumors that what Steven’s was doing in Libya was using al Qaeda ops to funnel weapons to Syria in another Obama Admin. “Fast & Furious” style operation, same one Kimpost tries to make light off so the inattentive public in general might give up and not take a closer look at this mess, I can see no reason to try to hold back this information other than for political ones. After all, this administration has a history of holding grudges and wanting revenge. guess that could be a ligitimate motive for the CIA to want to cover up what went on.

    Anyway, if they were asked not to report the story, why the big bullshit lies from the WH, lies that went on for weeks, about the anti-Islam movie being responsible for the fake riot that was really a pre-planned hit they constantly harped about? What the hell was that supposed to accomplish? Sunds to me like they didn’t hold back anything, they propagandized for the WH. This seems pile of bullshit you seem to think makes what has been going on suddenly all better smells like a whole lot of damage control intended to give the LSM a pass for the next 3 days so the don’t have to do any serious work that might hurt the shithead in the WH they all believe they are beholden to.

    I am not surprised they could not do anything to help the people on the ground, though. I already discussed the fact that they had been denied any assistance and requests for beefed up security had all been ignored. No way they could have produced assets to do anything in under 24 hours and the pople in that compound didn’t have that time.

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  3. Mississippi Yankee

    The Special Operations team arrived on the Italian island of Sicily hours after the attack was over. And “no AC-130 was within a continent’s range of Benghazi,” Pentagon spokesman George Little said.

    This LA Times (fact) is a goddam lie! There has been a Spec Ops team at Sigonella Sicily long before I ever visited that base, and that was in early 1969. And the C-130 and AC-130’s have flown in and out of there since then too. It’s a Naval Air Station and they bitch every time a USAF plane lands.

    I understand it’s time for you to begin veering into Blame America First territory but you might try better sources.

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  4. Thrill

    It’s ALL crap, what we’re hearing now. State, the CIA, the Administration and the military are in full cover-your-ass mode. Until an independent investigation is completed, I don’t believe anything about this and am assuming the worst.

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  5. AlexInCT

    This LA Times (fact) is a goddam lie! There has been a Spec Ops team at Sigonella Sicily long before I ever visited that base, and that was in early 1969. And the C-130 and AC-130′s have flown in and out of there since then too. It’s a Naval Air Station and they bitch every time a USAF plane lands.

    The SEALs assigned to this area of operation stage out of Rota in Spain, but there has always been a Spec Ops presence at Sigonella, because it was the closest NATO site to Soviet satellite states and then to terror supporting states (L-Y-B-I-A). Lots of Spooky’s out that way. Still, they have to be on alert and ready to roll, with a plan for support and what to do, to get anywhere in under 24 hrs.

    And the fact that the assholes at the LA Times are repeating these lies, for whomever, is part and parcel of this damned story. The lies are left unquestioned and are not investigated and debunked because it hurts their asshole fellow travelers, and he has already pilked up enough hurt during the last 4 years that something like this coming out would destroy his chances. They remember hoe reporting Carter’s stupidty sunk his presidency.

    It’s ALL crap, what we’re hearing now. State, the CIA, the Administration and the military are in full cover-your-ass mode. Until an independent investigation is completed, I don’t believe anything about this and am assuming the worst.

    Remember when the members of the media would start lathering at the mouth at the possibilities such a revealing story, full of intrigue, cover-ups, and malfeasance, would do to their careers? Yeah, this now only happens when the guy they want to crucify has an (R) next to his name and there ins’t an election days away in which the lame, blind, and stupid horse they have bet all their cash on is already trailing badly. They sent armies to go through Palin’s trash, but in the case of a worlds shattering event like this one, they play possum. Fuck them all.

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  6. CM

    Put another way: Obama can lose all the swing states he’s less than 2.8% ahead in, and still get 271. I.e. he can lose the 3 Romney has a lead in, and he can lose New Hampshire (only +1.5% lead), Iowa +2.5% lead), and Colorado (+0.6% lead). He can lose those 6 swing states that he’s doing the worst in, and still win.

    Not only is he not “already trailing badly”, there would now have to be some unheard-of-previously catastrophic failure in the polling industry for Romney to win. If Romney wins, this will be the end of the polling industry as we know it.

    Before you start in: I’m not saying there shouldn’t be hard questions asked about Benghazi, I’m saying it doesn’t fit your narrative that the media is only ignoring it because Obama is losing. As far as anyone knows, he’s not.

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  7. Mississippi Yankee

    As far as anyone knows, he’s not.

    You keep telling yourself that son. I’m sure Nate Silver is giving you the unvarnished truth.
    {pats CM on his pointed little head}

    In infantry combat, a close-in firefight is deadly dangerous from beginning to end. But, there are no words to describe the flood of emotions at the moment one sees the enemy quit the battle!

    This election is like that. But I don`t feel like my side is about to retreat……

    A retired USMC Colonel and Tea Party official told me that last night

    FWIW neither do the boys over at Trifecta
    Electoral College Predictions: What Will the Final Numbers Be?

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  8. ilovecress

    MY – Those are the exact things being said on the lefty sites. I think this is just the part of the election when each side pretends that it’s super confident, and that the other side is doing exactly what a loser would do.

    From the Guardian:

    Obama’s team claimed that Romney’s frantic campaign schedule reflected a sense of desperation, squeezing in a late visit to previously neglected Pennsylvania Sunday in the search for elusive electoral college votes elsewhere. The Obama team also cited visits Monday to Florida and Virginia, two states it said the Romney camp had claimed to have locked up.

    In an interview with ABC, David Plouffe, who organised Obama’s re-election bid, expressed confidence the president will win on Tuesday, and seized on a comment by Karl Rove that Obama had benefited from superstorm Sandy.

    Democrats are interpreting this as Rove, George W Bush’s former campaign strategist and co-founder of the Crossroads Super Pac that has poured millions of dollars into Romney’s campaign and those of other Republicans, beginning to get his excuses in early.

    “A few days ago he [Rove] predicted a big Romney win. My sense is Karl is going be at a crossroads himself on Tuesday when he tries to explain to the people who wrote him hundreds of millions of dollars why they fell up short,” Plouffe said.

    DailyKos : Now, all those Republicans who so certainly proclaimed a looming Romney landslide need to preserve some modicum of credibility. Maybe they’ll keep spinning nonsense about Sandy turning the tide, or maybe they’ll cut that out and zero in on Mitt Romney’s inadequacies as a candidate. They were legion, after all.

    What’s delicious is that this loser talk is happening days before the election. They’re beat, they know it, and after weeks of pretending otherwise, they’re too exhausted to keep up the pretenses.

    PS – that’s the first time I’ve been to Kos in years and years. For anyone who wonders why we hang around here rather than left wing sites, you should take a look and see why. Jeez.

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  9. Mississippi Yankee

    criss,
    the difference, to me, is that you and CM are a half a world away, quoting crumpet munchers (sorry Poosh) that aren’t here either. And imo The Guardian is a pretty staunch leftist media source.

    The Trifecta guys at least are here on the ground (L.A., Colorado and Ohio)

    /my guys are more bettah than your guys/

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  10. ilovecress

    MY – absolutely – my point wasn’t about who is right, more about that both sides are pushing the exact same story, but from the opposite perspective. We’re in the point in the campaign now when both campaigns stop talking policy and start crowing about how much they are going to kick butt, and how ‘desperate’ the other side is acting.

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  11. CM

    Who exactly are ‘my’ guys? Just take the totality of polling. We don’t need pundits, spinning their side. Well, the side that’s behind in the polling does I guess ;-)

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  12. Mississippi Yankee

    cress.
    I don’t see CNN,ABC,CBS crowing that Obama is going to be the hands down winner. But for the record I get 0% of my news from the TV.
    But I do visit their sites. CNN and Fox are the first two places I go just to see who’s doing what to who. I have nothing to do with NBC or it’s ‘little bitch’ PMS-NBC as I feel they have lost all objectivity.

    Fox News (.) com is more optimistic about Romney than the others are about Obama, at least online.

    BTW any moron that equates the hateful spewing of PMS-NBC to Foxnews is beneath my contempt.

    Who exactly are ‘my’ guys? Just take the totality of polling. We don’t need pundits,

    WE DON’T NEED NO STINKING PUNDITS

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  13. CM

    Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see.

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  14. balthazar

    Holy shit CM, how about watching it during the news hours not when they they have their announced opinion shows.

    Jesus Christ your a tool. Of course if you watch it after 8pm est you’ll get that as they have many opinion shows on AFTER THE NEWS. Unlike PMS-NBC that puts the assmunching race-baiter Al “Our News Anchor” Sharpton on at 6pm, the traditional news hour.

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  15. CM

    Ah yeah, I’m full aware they were “opinion shows”.
    That’s just what was on when I watched. In four hours I saw about 10 mins of news. I would have thought a ‘news’ channel would at least have a reasonable degree of balance between ‘news’ and ‘opinion shows’, in ANY four hour period. It’s not as though it was the middle of the night in the US or anything. I watched from about 9.00am to 1.00pm (NZ time), which is 3.00pm to 7.00pm EST.
    As I say, I don’t get other networks, other than CNN, which is usually really dull.

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  16. repmom

    CM –

    Shepard Smith should have been on during that time. His is a news program, not an opinion show. Did you consider him biased?

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  17. Kimpost

    I’d categorize the Fox News shows as follows.

    Biased daily programming:
    Fox & Friends 6 am – 9 am
    America Live 1 pm – 3 pm
    Your World (Cavuto) 3 pm – 4 pm
    The Five 5 pm – 6 pm
    The O’Reilly Factor 8 pm – 9 pm
    Hannity 9 pm – 10 pm
    On The Record (Greta) 10 pm – 11 pm
    Red Eye 3 am –

    Unbiased daily programming:
    Americas Newsroom 9 am – 11 am
    Happening Now 11 am – ??
    Special Report (Bret Bair) 6 pm – 7 pm
    Fox Report (Shep smith) 7 pm – 8 pm

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  18. Mississippi Yankee

    repmom,
    Shepard Smith is the epitome of the well bred Mississippi liberal. A little flag waving, a whole lot of fluff, a bit of news. And during Katrina bunches and bunches of screeds, moans, rants, raves and uncontrolled whines. In fact that he and Katrina is what finally turned me away from all TV “news”.

    Note to Shep; ‘Son, get thee to a bath house’

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  19. Poosh

    And imo The Guardian is a pretty staunch leftist media source.

    That’s not an opinion. That’s an understatement. The Guardian is more left wing than any of your news channels, trust. It’s a vile, leftist cesspool of liberalism.

    Also, chocolate spread + crumpets: HEAVEN

    Also Greta is NOT biased by any normal sense of the word, from what I’ve seen. She’s a news-anchors SHOULD be.

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  20. repmom

    Shepard Smith is the epitome of the well bred Mississippi liberal. A little flag waving, a whole lot of fluff, a bit of news.

    Yes. Absolutely agree.

    And during Katrina bunches and bunches of screeds, moans, rants, raves and uncontrolled whines.

    He was a mess during Katrina. Totally lost it on that bridge. Embarrassing. Not to mention unprofessional.

    Note to Shep; ‘Son, get thee to a bath house’

    Ha! I must confess – my daughter and I both had a crush on him several years ago.

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