Written by Tom Snodgrass
by Col Tom Snodgrass, Right Side News
The Pentagon Blamed "Sketchy" Intelligence for the Failure in Benghazi
The alibiing and cover-up of the Benghazi blunder by the Obama administration swung into high gear on October 25th when, in response to a letter demanding explanation of the Benghazi failure from House Speaker John Boehner, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said that the U.S. didn’t send troops to defend the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi because the intelligence was too “sketchy.” In spite of having forces positioned to respond, Secretary Panetta claimed that the situation was too uncertain and that “you don’t deploy forces into harm’s way without knowing what’s going on.”
Panetta’s pathetic excuse is incompatible with the entire philosophy of the Combatant Commanders’ In-extremist Force (CIF) and repudiates its reason-for-being. One of the primary missions of the Special Operations CIF in the U.S. military force structure is to intervene as a rescue force in just the type of situation as was occurring in Benghazi! At least one such CIF was standing by on alert at Sigonella Air Base, Sicily, ready to deploy to Libya just 480 miles, or two hours flying time, away. Additionally, F-16 fighter and AC-130 Spectre gunship support were available in Italy and certainly could have arrived during the seven hour battle. Had timely air support been dispatched, even without a CIF, one of the CIA operators who was calling for the air firepower had a laser designator capable of targeting the enemy fire team shelling the CIA safe house and could have directed U.S. air-to-ground fire onto the al-Qaeda affiliated jihadists without even having a U.S. CIF soldier put his boots on the ground. As to Panetta’s alibi-contention that he lacked sufficient information to send U.S. commandos into the fray, during the assault the Defense Department, the State Department, the CIA, and the White House Situation Room all had access to video feeds from two overhead, orbiting drones as well as live video streaming from the U.S. Benghazi diplomatic mission building. Panetta’s feeble mendacity to cover for the Obama administration’s craven incompetence evaporates before these facts that contradict and unmask his effort at deceiving the American people.
It is noteworthy that Panetta deliberately ignored and did not mention any CIA requests for assistance during his attempt at political flimflam on Thursday, the 25th
The next day, Friday, October 26th, Fox News broke a blockbuster story that CIA operators were denied three requests for help during Benghazi attack. The same day CIA Director David Petraeus put out this statement: "No one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need; claims to the contrary are simply inaccurate.” And then to top off that Friday’s statements on Benghazi, President Obama also made a very significant pronouncement regarding his Benghazi fiasco during an interview with a local Denver TV reporter. Obama said,
“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.”
In following up on these sensational developments, Fox anchor Greta Van Susteren interviewed Bing West, author, former Marine infantry officer and Assistant Secretary of Defense. In this Fox interview West stated his informed speculation that President Obama’s actions during the jihadist onslaught on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, as Obama recounted on Denver TV, should have left a paper trail that the American people could examine. In particular, Mr. West was referring to the “Directive Number One” that President Obama claimed to have issued. With his extensive national security experience, West postulated that such a consequential order from the president should have been written down and transmitted to the Secretary of Defense for military commanders and to the Director of the CIA and to the Secretary of State to issue to their personnel in the field to implement, if such an order was, in fact, issued.
There are two possibilities. They are: 1) there was a presidential order to “secure” and make “safe” the U.S. personnel being attacked; consequently it was clearly Panetta who countermanded the presidential order to send a U.S. CIF with airpower to lift the siege; 2) or there was no presidential order to rescue the Americans under fire, and Panetta dishonestly carried out Obama’s true wish not to risk U.S. armed intervention by generating excuses like “the lack of intelligence about the situation precluded deploying forces.” Since, if there were a presidential order verifying Obama’s version of his decisive leadership, it would have already been officially provided to the media, or it would have been “unofficially leaked,” its existence is extremely doubtful. Much more probable is the second possibility that Panetta and General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and pathetic Obama toady, sought to rationalize Obama’s pusillanimity disguised as a military excuse like “lack of intelligence.”
In Panetta’s devious attempt to disguise the Obama administration’s cravenness, he enlisted the willing General Dempsey and the apparently not so willing General Carter Ham, Combatant Commander of the Africa Command (Africom), within whose area of responsibility (AOR) Benghazi is located. In reference his primary cover story that “you don't deploy forces into harm's way without knowing what's going on,” Panetta stated to Pentagon reporters,
"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."
But in his Africom AOR command position, General Ham was receiving the same e-mails as the White House requesting help. General Ham quickly had a CIF ready and notified the Pentagon that he had a unit ready to go, but he was told to stand down. When General Ham indicated that he intended to send the relief force anyway, he was immediately relieved of command and told that he would retire early. Obviously, General Ham’s replacement calls into question Panetta’s claim that he and General Ham were in agreement that “lack of intelligence” precluded sending a relief force to Benghazi. On the other hand, there is little doubt that Dempsey would agree to any story that exonerated the Obama administration from blame, even one that repudiates the basic mission of the Special Operations CIF.
Again, on October 28th, a Fox News interview(video) lifted the veil of secrecy on the “Obama Benghazi cover-up”. This time Lt. Col. Tony Schafer, Army intelligence officer and author, told Fox that, according to his sources, President Obama watched the Benghazi attack live in the White House Situation Room. So, the president was in position to be completely informed about the developing situation and to have issued his alleged “Directive Number One” that instructed U.S. Government agencies to “make sure that we are securing our personnel and doing whatever we need to” and that “that everyone in the state department, our military, the CIA, you name it, had number one priority making sure that people were safe.”
But the question remains, if Obama issued such a directive, why wasn’t it carried out?
Col. Thomas Snodgrass, USAF (retired), was stationed in Peshawar, Pakistan, where he worked daily with Pakistani military personnel for more than a year and had many subsequent dealings with Muslims as an intelligence officer during a thirty year military