Breaking: Fox News reports CIA command refused to help Benghazi consulate during attack

posted at 12:01 pm on October 26, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Yesterday, Leon Panetta told reporters that the US military didn’t intervene to assist our consulate in Benghazi during the attack because of a lack of real-time intelligence.  Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin now reports that the CIA got at least three requests for support from the annex in the city to help fend off the attack — and that the chain of command not only refused the requests, but ordered its personnel to “stand down.”  Two of the Americans killed in the terrorist attack disobeyed orders and attempted to rescue their fellow Americans:

Fox News has learned from sources who were on the ground in Benghazi that three urgent requests from the CIA annex for military back-up during the attack on the U.S. Consulate and subsequent attack nearly seven hours later were denied by officials in the CIA chain of command — who also told the CIA operators to “stand down” rather than help the ambassador’s team when shots were heard at approximately 9:40 p.m. in Benghazi on Sept. 11.

Former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty were part of a small team who were at the CIA annex about a mile from the U.S. Consulate where Ambassador Chris Stevens and his team came under attack. When they heard the shots fired, they radioed to inform their higher-ups to tell them what they were hearing. They were told to “stand down,” according to sources familiar with the exchange. An hour later, they called again to headquarters and were again told to “stand down.”

Woods, Doherty and at least two others ignored those orders and made their way to the Consulate which at that point was on fire. Shots were exchanged. The quick reaction force from the CIA annex evacuated those who remained at the Consulate and Sean Smith, who had been killed in the initial attack. They could not find the ambassador and returned to the CIA annex at about midnight.

At that point, they called again for military support and help because they were taking fire at the CIA safe house, or annex. The request was denied. There were no communications problems at the annex, according those present at the compound. The team was in constant radio contact with their headquarters. In fact, at least one member of the team was on the roof of the annex manning a heavy machine gun when mortars were fired at the CIA compound. The security officer had a laser on the target that was firing and repeatedly requested back-up support from a Specter gunship, which is commonly used by U.S. Special Operations forces to provide support to Special Operations teams on the ground involved in intense firefights. The fighting at the CIA annex went on for more than four hours — enough time for any planes based in Sigonella Air base, just 480 miles away, to arrive. Fox News has also learned that two separate Tier One Special operations forces were told to wait, among them Delta Force operators.

It’s not as if there was no resources to respond, either:

A Special Operations team, or CIF which stands for Commanders in Extremis Force, operating in Central Europe had been moved to Sigonella, Italy, but they too were told to stand down. A second force that specializes in counterterrorism rescues was on hand at Sigonella, according to senior military and intelligence sources. According to those sources, they could have flown to Benghazi in less than two hours. They were the same distance to Benghazi as those that were sent from Tripoli. Specter gunships are commonly used by the Special Operations community to provide close air support.

Griffin’s sources tell her that the annex had painted a laser target at a terrorist mortar position and had called for an air strike.  I’m not sure what that looks like in Panetta’s world, but it at least sounds like real-time intelligence on the attack, as well as a clear target, if this report is correct.

Saxby Chambliss is right — this gets uglier every day.

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 7 8 9

And for the latest updates from Blackfive

http://www.blackfive.net/main/2012/10/bigger-than-watergate-proof-that-the-president-is-lying-about-benghazi.html

The second worst feeling in the world has to be the platform crew being desperately asked for help, given a clear target and then having to stand down and watch your fellow Americans die.

The worst has to be the team on the ground knowing that the President just left you to die.

Update: Even with two Predators on station, one unarmed and filming and one armed, the call to stand down comes from the same sources. Earlier today, Bob Owens at PJ Media posts about the responsibility of the order to call off the mission as well as some good info about the AC130s on station.

Update 2: From Adam Baldwin and many of you, here is an audio interview between Rush Limbaugh and a caller identifying as a retired SF Lieutenant Colonel and Special Operations planner for 15 years.

Update 3:Jeff Emanuel thinks that we might be jumping to conclusions and that Jennifer Griffin at FoxNews might have misreported a statement about active laser on a target. I highly respect Jeff and Jennifer. And either could be correct right now. Hopefully, we’ll get some clarification.

Update 4: From quoted retired Delta operator, “Jeff is correct (about lasing without air asset) but the only reason you would do that is to determine a specific grid for indirect fire which the SEAL did not have available. You are in an active firefight against mortars and MGs; there is only one reason to cease returning fire and paint a target and it ain’t because you thought it was a good time to pull a PMCS on your fucking GLD.”

Update 5: The only way I buy that the former SEAL was lasing the target without an active asset to synch to and destroy the target…maybe, just maybe, it was a last stand move. Maybe he did that to give the inbounds a target if he didn’t make it…

Update 6 (updated twice): Another (very very trusted) source is saying that the AC130 Marine resources were in the middle of a rotation and that the new Marine resources weren’t ready yet so no help would come from Sigonella. So that confirms Panetta’s statement.

PolAgnostic on October 27, 2012 at 4:55 PM

Blink,
It’s possible they were in com (snic) with the UAV op. perhaps it was armed or not I don’t know. My point was that they were probably busy as hell considering the numbers they were facing. So why would they tke time to desigmate a target? I only bring it up as a question. Obviously help never came. That’s what chaps me to no end.. There will be a paper trail for who did or didn’t do what was needed
Sadly the election will be over by them and the MfM doesn’t seem to care. (Shocking I know)
I think Bob made the best point. These guys are dead. The cover up stinks. I told my liberal brother in law that at least nobody died during watergate.

Minnfidel on October 27, 2012 at 4:56 PM

… and for the latest updates from Blackfive

http://www.blackfive.net/main/2012/10/bigger-than-watergate-proof-that-the-president-is-lying-about-benghazi.html

The second worst feeling in the world has to be the platform crew being desperately asked for help, given a clear target and then having to stand down and watch your fellow Americans die.

The worst has to be the team on the ground knowing that the President just left you to die.

Update: Even with two Predators on station, one unarmed and filming and one armed, the call to stand down comes from the same sources. Earlier today, Bob Owens at PJ Media posts about the responsibility of the order to call off the mission as well as some good info about the AC130s on station.

Update 2: From Adam Baldwin and many of you, here is an audio interview between Rush Limbaugh and a caller identifying as a retired SF Lieutenant Colonel and Special Operations planner for 15 years.

Update 3:Jeff Emanuel thinks that we might be jumping to conclusions and that Jennifer Griffin at FoxNews might have misreported a statement about active laser on a target. I highly respect Jeff and Jennifer. And either could be correct right now. Hopefully, we’ll get some clarification.

Update 4: From quoted retired Delta operator, “Jeff is correct (about lasing without air asset) but the only reason you would do that is to determine a specific grid for indirect fire which the SEAL did not have available. You are in an active firefight against mortars and MGs; there is only one reason to cease returning fire and paint a target and it ain’t because you thought it was a good time to pull a PMCS on your flukiing GLD.”

Update 5: The only way I buy that the former SEAL was lasing the target without an active asset to synch to and destroy the target…maybe, just maybe, it was a last stand move. Maybe he did that to give the inbounds a target if he didn’t make it…

Update 6 (updated twice): Another (very very trusted) source is saying that the AC130 Marine resources were in the middle of a rotation and that the new Marine resources weren’t ready yet so no help would come from Sigonella. So that confirms Panetta’s statement.

PolAgnostic on October 27, 2012 at 4:58 PM

Sadly the election will be over by them and the MfM doesn’t seem to care. (Shocking I know)
I think Bob made the best point. These guys are dead. The cover up stinks. I told my liberal brother in law that at least nobody died during watergate.

Minnfidel on October 27, 2012 at 4:56 PM

This is as well stated as the comment from Bob. Regardless of the other speculations, the coverup of whatever it is that went wrong, but sucks to high heaven.

hawkdriver on October 27, 2012 at 5:01 PM

“just” sucks to high heaven.

hawkdriver on October 27, 2012 at 5:03 PM

Given that Obama took 16 hours to make the decision to get bin Laden, is anyone surprised he couldn’t order resources to act in a timely fashion?

If looked at objectively, his performance in the bin Laden attack was a sign of Obama’s incompetence, not achievement.

talkingpoints on October 28, 2012 at 11:01 AM

Comment pages: 1 7 8 9