Libyan Revelations: Gross Incompetence or Worse
Each day we learn a bit more about what happened at Benghazi and each day it looks worse for the Obama administration. Jennifer Griffin at Fox News has done yeoman work on this story:
Fox News national security correspondent Jennifer Griffin had breaking news tonight regarding the attack on the United States consulate in Libya. She reported that top administration officials decided on the night of September 11th, 2012 after the attack had already begun, not to call together the Counterterrorism Security Group (CSG).
CSG is an interagency group that specializes in both hostage situations and any terror attack on U.S. interests. That decision, according to senior military and intelligence officials, may have stymied some of the response to the attack.
According to senior military officials, the administration also did not deploy the interagency team made up of Department of Defense, FBI, CIA and State Department: the Foreign Emergency Support Team (FEST). It was decided that FEST was not to be sent to coordinate an on-the-ground response and help facilitate the FBI’s interests into Benghazi. It took 24 days for the FBI team in Libya to gain access to the compound.
The administration also received a direct report from the ambassador in Libya on August 15 which detailed his fears that the Benghazi consulate was vulnerable to attack:
The U.S. Mission in Benghazi convened an “emergency meeting” less than a month before the assault that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans, because Al Qaeda had training camps in Benghazi and the consulate could not defend against a “coordinated attack,” according to a classified cable reviewed by Fox News.
Summarizing an Aug. 15 emergency meeting convened by the U.S. Mission in Benghazi, the Aug. 16 cable marked “SECRET” said that the State Department’s senior security officer, also known as the RSO, did not believe the consulate could be protected.
“RSO (Regional Security Officer) expressed concerns with the ability to defend Post in the event of a coordinated attack due to limited manpower, security measures, weapons capabilities, host nation support, and the overall size of the compound,” the cable said.
According to a review of the cable addressed to the Office of the Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Emergency Action Committee was also briefed “on the location of approximately ten Islamist militias and AQ training camps within Benghazi … these groups ran the spectrum from Islamist militias, such as the QRF Brigade and Ansar al-Sharia, to ‘Takfirist thugs.’” Each U.S. mission has a so-called Emergency Action Committee that is responsible for security measures and emergency planning.
What is emerging piece by piece is an administration that ignored the threat to the consulate in Benghazi prior to the attack, and, inexplicably and incredibly, refused to send military assistance on the evening of the attack, and left American heroes Tyrone Woods and Greg Doherty to fight on unaided and to die. This is gross incompetence verging on the criminal. We cannot allow them to get away with this.
Update: Hattip to Allahpundit at Hot Air. To their credit, CBS News has some damning new revelations:
“The [Counterterrorism Security Group] is the one group that’s supposed to know what resources every agency has. They know of multiple options and have the ability to coordinate counterterrorism assets across all the agencies,” a high-ranking government official told CBS News. “They were not allowed to do their job. They were not called upon.”…
A third potential responder from a counter-terror force stationed in Europe says components of AFICOM — the military’s Africa Command based in Stuttgart, Germany — were working on course of action during the assault. But no plan was put to use…
“The response process was isolated at the most senior level,” says an official referring to top officials in the executive branch. “My fellow counterterrorism professionals and I (were) not consulted.”