Tyrone Woods and Greg Doherty were authentic American heroes. Both former Navy Seals, they fought to the last in defense of the Benghazi consulate, manning a machine gun at the CIA annex. Despite three separate orders telling them not to do so, Woods and Doherty went to the consulate after the attack began, and saved the lives of 20 embassy personnel, bringing them to the CIA annex. They defended the CIA annex, holding it while the 20 people they rescued were evacuated. They were in constant contact with higher-ups at the CIA, requesting military aid. They fought heroically for six hours and twenty minutes against an estimated 200 heavily armed attackers from the time of the beginning of the attack on the consulate, killing an estimated sixty of their foes.
They were both killed by a mortar round at the six-hour and twenty-minute mark. General David Petraeus, head of the CIA, has denied that it was the CIA that vetoed an attempted military rescue of Woods and Doherty.
CIA spokesperson Jennifer Youngblood said, “We can say with confidence that the Agency reacted quickly to aid our colleagues during that terrible evening in Benghazi. Moreover, no one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need; claims to the contrary are simply inaccurate. In fact, it is important to remember how many lives were saved by courageous Americans who put their own safety at risk that night-and that some of those selfless Americans gave their lives in the effort to rescue their comrades.”
Investors Business Daily, in a blistering editorial asks the question: who was responsible?
More than six hours after terrorists attacked our consulate, former Navy SEALs manned a blood-soaked machine gun to defend U.S. territory. Meanwhile Apache helicopters sat on the ground in Italy.
At 4 a.m. local time on Sept. 11 — six hours and 20 minutes after the initial attack began — former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty were killed at the CIA annex not far from the consulate by a mortar shell. The machine gun they were firing was encrusted with blood, an indication they continued to fight after being wounded.
During that eternity, Woods and Doherty might have wondered between gunfire and explosions where the military, with bases strewn across Europe, was. U.S. forces were indeed being moved like chess pieces as the attack unfolded, but none came to their aid because no one gave the order.
President Obama, perhaps preoccupied with his upcoming Las Vegas fundraiser, met with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Vice President Joe Biden in the Oval Office at 5 p.m. ET, a little more than an hour after the onset of the attack.
He could have given the order but did not, even after an email, in which the al-Qaida-tied group Ansar al-Sharia claimed responsibility, arrived at 6:07 p.m. ET to a distribution list that included the White House Situation Room.
A Special Operations force went from central Europe to Naval Air Station Sigonella in southern Italy, just 480 miles from Benghazi. F-16s and Apache helicopters remained parked and unused at Aviano Air Base in northern Italy. Two Navy destroyers already in the Mediterranean Sea were moved off the coast of Libya on the day of the attack but were never used.