Report: Obama never convened counterterrorism task force during Benghazi attack

posted at 8:54 pm on November 1, 2012 by Allahpundit

This piece is as noteworthy for its sourcing as it is for its substance. The dam’s starting to break.

“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.”…

Counterterrorism sources and internal emails reviewed by CBS News express frustration that key responders were ready to deploy, but were not called upon to help in the attack

Another senior counter terrorism official says a hostage rescue team was alternately asked to get ready and then stand down throughout the night, as officials seemed unable to make up their minds.

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.”

Inexplicably, they also didn’t call on their rapid-reaction counterterrorism coordination squad, the Foreign Emergency Support Team, even though the consulate attack was, um, (a) foreign and (b) an emergency that (c) required support. So confused was the administration response, in fact, that CBS claims the FBI got a call from someone in Hillary’s office during the attack asking that agents be sent in, even though the compound hadn’t been secured yet and nothing by way of coordination with Defense and State had been arranged. And before you ask: No, I don’t know either why State would have thought to call the FBI while CSG and FEST were standing by waiting to be consulted. Logically, you’d ask for the FBI only after the attack was over, to go in and find out what happened. In a situation where the ambassador’s under fire and out of contact, your top priority should be rescue. Why wasn’t it? They couldn’t have known for sure until much later in the attack what had happened to Stevens and the other Americans at the consulate. Why weren’t troops deployed to retake the compound, search for survivors, and clear the way for FEST? Doherty and Woods, at least, might have been saved.

Read the rest of the CBS piece to find out how counterterror officials knew the attack was terrorism from the beginning, not some “spontaneous” assault put together by amateurs in a rage. Amateurs typically don’t know how to dial in with mortars and hit a target on the roof of a nearby building. Then go read David Ignatius on the new timeline that the AP released tonight of the attack and its aftermath. Says Ignatius, “While there were multiple errors that led to the final tragedy, there’s no evidence that the White House or CIA leadership deliberately delayed or impeded rescue efforts.” I have no idea how he knows that based on the limited details given; the CBS piece quoted above explicitly says that a hostage rescue team was asked to get ready and then stand down. And we already knew that the CIA deployed a small team to try to take back the compound; Doherty and Woods were part of it. The question raised by last week’s Fox News bombshell is whether the CIA team on the scene had requested military support during the second wave of the attack and whether it was denied. Here’s all Ignatius has to say about that:

●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 they 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.

Okay, got it — no lasering of the mortars. What about the request for a Spectre gunship? What about the Special Ops teams in Italy who were on stand by all night but were never told to go? Why did the CIA bother sending in a team as small as Doherty’s and Woods’s against 150 jihadis if the White House wasn’t prepared to send reinforcements to support them? Might have been nice to have input from the Counterterrorism Security Group through all of this, huh?

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Sherman1864 on November 2, 2012 at 4:54 AM

Silly… yet frighteningly close to our common reality.

CPT. Charles on November 2, 2012 at 5:47 AM

Looked very fishy to me the second it came out. Basically, blames everyone on the ground and states that at no time did Woods pain a target.

I call BS.

riddick on November 1, 2012 at 11:59 PM

I just read it and came to the same conclusion.

dogsoldier on November 2, 2012 at 5:48 AM

Waterboard Obama!

Bevan on November 2, 2012 at 5:51 AM

This country has been permanently and irreparably — and I believe quite possibly intentionally — damaged.

FlatFoot on November 2, 2012 at 3:57 AM

We’ll see on Tuesday, won’t we?

Grace_is_sufficient on November 2, 2012 at 5:56 AM

turfmann on November 1, 2012 at 9:05 PM

Donilon doesn’t know crap about national security.

matthew8787 on November 1, 2012 at 9:01 PM

Is he willing to be the fall-guy?

batterup on November 1, 2012 at 9:05 PM

Methinks that there can be no “fall guy” on this one. Question of cover-up, possible criminal charges,etc. are the reality here. The decisions were made at the highest “isolated” level.

Remember, should this nightmare change its complexion (no racism intended) Nov 6. that America’s enemies are legion, starting with the leftist anti-truth media-machine and needs to be attacked mercelessly for causing us to become a parody of constitutionally based freedom in its complicity with the left.

Governmentis not only the problem, methinks it is often the enemy of our constitution.

Don L on November 2, 2012 at 6:18 AM

Looks like a clusterfark of epic proportions was underway that was subsequently papered over by blaming a video.

Obama and Hillary. You two are misleading liars unworthy of your office. The 3am call came in the middle of the afternoon and the pooch got screwed. Because of that, you allowed people to die. This is where ideology meets reality. If you have no idea what you are doing, step away from the instruments of power and go back to talking about condoms and abortions.

ted c on November 2, 2012 at 6:34 AM

As for Hillary’s part…My take.

kingsjester on November 2, 2012 at 6:39 AM

In response to “You have the blood of an American hero on your hands” (Editorial, Oct, 31): THANK YOU for having the courage to make a stand and demand honesty from our current administration and anyone involved in the communications profession who is reporting on “what happened” in Benghazi on Sept. 11. I appreciate your willingness to break ranks with the mainstream media and demand answers to hard questions – now! Yes, this is “a story – a gigantic story,” as you rhetorically asked in your editorial [Wednesday]. Especially for us in San Diego County, who lost two of our own, this is a huge priority in our minds, particularly in light of a choice we will be making on Tuesday.

I also appreciate [Thursday’s] article on the four GOP senators who are demanding answers from Obama. – Max Newbold, El Cajon

The North County Times in San Diego county has published ~2-3 scathing letters critical of the administration over the last few days. This is the most recent. The damn may be breaking.

ted c on November 2, 2012 at 6:44 AM

Yet a few weeks ago, there was a different Obama, the Obama of Sept. 11, the Obama of Benghazi, when Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others were killed by terrorists. Almost as depressing as reports of their deaths was the fact that no military help arrived in a firefight that lasted more than six hours.

Was the president watching it all in the White House situation room? We don’t know. Jay Leno didn’t ask him. Neither did David Letterman, nor the ladies of The View or music journalists on MTV. These are the places he goes so as to get big hugs, not hard questions, as President Eye-Candy.

Despite the best efforts of some in the news media to keep the damage to a minimum, Benghazi hurt him. The idea of a commander in chief unable or unwilling to make decisions isn’t very presidential. And the fact that he left Washington after the attack for a Las Vegas fundraiser didn’t help.

ted c on November 2, 2012 at 6:46 AM

If Bronco Bamma manages a reelection, this needs to dog him right into an impeachment.

hawkdriver on November 2, 2012 at 6:50 AM

Another senior counter terrorism official says a hostage rescue team was alternately asked to get ready and then stand down throughout the night, as officials seemed unable to make up their minds.

This account is now directly contradicted by this ABC report:
“There were no orders to anybody to stand down in providing support,” said the official. The official’s comments appeared to be a direct rebuttal of a Fox News report that CIA teams on the ground had been told by superior officers to “stand down” from providing security support to the consulate.

So, CBS is saying that an HRT was alternately told to “get ready then stand down throughout the night” but ABC says that “no order to anybody to stand down” were given.

Which is it? Why the contradiction?

ted c on November 2, 2012 at 6:55 AM

This is the smoking gun that shows the State Department and Clinton knew the situation in Benghazi was approaching its critical limits. The militias were in ascendance and the consulate was exposed.
Nordstrom continued to warn about the danger, only to be ignored, as did Stevens. No one in Washington wanted to hear that the Arab Spring was falling apart around them.

ted c on November 2, 2012 at 6:58 AM

Amidst all the details of who said what when, let’s not forget what’s important here: After months of Washington failing to give adequate security to our diplomatic mission in Libya, the consulate in Benghazi was attacked by an al Qaeda-aligned force, resulting in the death of our ambassador and three other Americans, two of whom were former SEALs who fought like lions to defend their fellow Americans until help could come.

But that help never came, denied by someone for some reason never adequately explained. And the Ambassador, the mission staff member, and the two SEALs died.

And the ultimate responsibility for that lies with President Barack Obama, who has been blowing smoke in our eyes over this since the day it happened, hoping to get past the election.

Like the deaths in Operation Fast and Furious, the dead of Benghazi and respect for their survivors demands answers, accountability, and, if need be, punishment.

ted c on November 2, 2012 at 7:00 AM

As Bryan Preston points out at PJ Tatler, putting Lake’s story together with Jennifer Griffin’s and CBS’ reporting, and the failure clearly appears to be with President Obama. He was at the White House as the attack transpired on the afternoon and evening of 9-11 Washington time. The decisions not to convene the CSG and not to intervene rest with him. Lake notes that military help probably could not have arrived in time to save Ambassador Stevens, who probably died early in the battle. But it could have saved the CIA agents who came to Stevens’ rescue and then found themselves under fire:

[…] According to previous reporting, the former SEALs were painting that enemy mortar with a laser designator in expectation that it would be destroyed by US aircraft. But those aircraft never fired.

The battle came in waves, a few hours apart from one another. What did President Obama do after the first wave, in the hours prior to the second? Did he go to bed at that point? Did he assume that the battle was over even though the ambassador was already missing? Why did his administration settle on blaming a video, when all of the pieces of information that have come out since make it very clear that the consulate was under terrorist attack? Who made that decision, when, and why?

Lots of questions here, champ. Are we going to have to reelect you in order to find out the answers to them? I don’t think so.

ted c on November 2, 2012 at 7:04 AM

John Hinderaker at Powerline is skeptical that we’ll know anything before the election and calls for Hillary to go.

With every passing day, it becomes clearer that the Obama administration was almost unbelievably cavalier about the safety of America’s diplomats in Libya, and that four Americans paid with their lives for Barack Obama’s and Hillary Clinton’s carelessness–or, perhaps, their political agenda. It also could not be more plain that Barack Obama and his campaign team–the real powers in the administration–made a calculated decision to lie to the American people about Benghazi in hopes that the truth would not come out until November 6. Indeed, their effort has largely succeeded, as we still do not know what happened to Ambassador Stevens, and Americans who rely on news outlets like the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Associated Press, CBS, NBC and ABC have heard only the barest outlines of the scandal, if that.

As for the most explosive question of all–who decided not to try to aid the Americans who were fighting desperately for their lives in Benghazi, and why–it appears that no one will know the answer until after the election.

ted c on November 2, 2012 at 7:08 AM

The mainstream media, in my opinion, has done very little to raise the profile of this issue. Despite the obvious political motives of some news agencies, it is unthinkable that the media would ignore an event of this magnitude.

After all, the personal representative of the president was killed during the attack. How could the president have not been aware of the facts in this case? It seems that at the very least the president owed the nation an explanation. To have the details revealed because of whistleblowers in both the State Department and the CIA is not the way the nation should be informed of the events.

The national press and particularly those reporting from the White House and attend daily press conferences with Jay Carney should have pushed harder on the issue.

The appearance of a coverup, with the help of the press, can only be diffused by the White House and the national media. There needs to be a full accounting of the actions taken and what officials, including the White House, knew within hours of the attack.

ted c on November 2, 2012 at 7:11 AM

If Shrillary plans to leave after serving for the Won’s first term, what’s keeping her from leaving right now, a sense of duty and can’t leave the O in a lurch? If Woods didn’t paint the mortar as they are saying now, he would/could have if he was told to do so by an actual rescue/attack force if one had been ordered by the WH. It still comes back full circle to the CinC no matter how much defecting they do. Capt. Kirk could have used these defense shields, they’re better than what he had.

Kissmygrits on November 2, 2012 at 7:20 AM

Nevertheless, it is that fundamental dishonesty, that lying to the public, that is the missing ingredient from Tapper’s otherwise well wrought summation of the situation so far — The Benghazi Drip-Drip-Drip. Yes, there are myriad questions to answer about why the tragedy was allowed to happen in the first place (questions that should make Hillary Clinton cringe) and many questions about the timeline to be resolved and whether a rescue was possible. But no matter how that ultimately plays out, Obama clearly lied (let’s use that word instead of the more polite misled). High road and low, in front of the United Nations and on The View and on Spanish-language television, he told despicable untruths about what happened in Benghazi with the conscienceless calm of a Middle Eastern potentate at on OPEC meeting.

ted c on November 2, 2012 at 7:40 AM

Maybe he thought they were convening in Las Vegas.

curved space on November 2, 2012 at 8:06 AM

To live and die in Benghazi

ted c on November 2, 2012 at 7:58 AM

Obama lied. He gave no such order. HE WENT TO BED.

dogsoldier on November 2, 2012 at 8:13 AM

About half of the residents of this once great Republic simply don’t care about the brave souls that were killed in Benghazi. This country is seriously ill and the prognosis is poor.

rplat on November 2, 2012 at 8:25 AM

It’s above his pay grade.

Sticky Wicket on November 2, 2012 at 8:26 AM

This piece of sh*t administration is trying to run out the clock on this.

The pieces of sh*t across the mainstream network media and in the leading newsrooms of the country (with far too few exceptions) are willfully and intentionally helping him to do it.

If this were happening under a Republican administration, the flood-the-zone coverage would have been going on for weeks, and the President would have been forced to resign by now. They would be leading a lynch mob for his political scalp.

Good Lt on November 2, 2012 at 8:37 AM

ted c on November 2, 2012 at

Preach it, brother. Thank you.

bofh on November 2, 2012 at 8:41 AM

In case you haven’t seen it, here is a ‘split screen’ side-by-side timeline on what was happening when in Washington and Benghazi during this clusterf*ck.

Helluva job, Obama.

Good Lt on November 2, 2012 at 8:48 AM

The link probably would have helped.

Good Lt on November 2, 2012 at 8:49 AM

when the walls…..come crumbling down…..

ted c on November 2, 2012 at 8:52 AM

A corrupt media.
A spineless Congress.
A petulant president who just says “no”.

He has succeeded in fundamentally changing the country.

Win or lose, some POS needs a nice solo trip to Pock-ee-ston wearing an “I killed bin Laden” jacket.

justltl on November 2, 2012 at 8:59 AM

Sherman1864 on November 2, 2012 at 4:54 AM
Silly… yet frighteningly close to our common reality.
CPT. Charles on November 2, 2012 at 5:47 AM

Yes, more than a bit silly, but the spirit of what I describe is perhaps, as you note, all too real….

Sherman1864 on November 2, 2012 at 9:12 AM

Good LT. thank you for that link. VERY helpful.

ted c on November 2, 2012 at 9:13 AM

Great article by the great Thomas Sowell describing the “cooling out” process Obama is using in his role as “confidence man” to manage his Benghazi Problem:

Sherman1864 on November 2, 2012 at 9:33 AM

secure the baby milk and aspirin factories!

ted c on November 2, 2012 at 9:33 AM

Sen. John McCain Thursday called the Obama administration’s response to the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, “a classic scandal and cover-up” with Watergate overtones, saying it would likely have an impact on the election outcome by turning veterans and active-duty military personnel against the president.

“I think that this Libya fiasco and tragedy is turning some veterans’ votes and some active-duty military,” McCain told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren Thursday night.

“They are angered and disgusted. Our active duty military people believe they can’t trust the president of the United States,” McCain added, referring to the administration’s refusal so far to publicly lay out the facts surrounding the deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans killed in the attacks.

Read Latest Breaking News from

ted c on November 2, 2012 at 9:42 AM

But the truth is coming out, and an accounting is coming. For the character, competence and credibility of Obama’s entire national security team have been called into question.

Hillary Clinton said she takes full responsibility for any security failure by her department at the Benghazi compound. But what does that mean? Did she see the Aug. 16 secret cable sent to her by Stevens describing his perilous situation? Was she oblivious to the battle in her department over security in Benghazi?

This failure that occurred in her shop and on her watch, that Stevens warned about in his Aug. 16 cable, resulted in his death and the most successful terrorist attack on this country since 9/11.

Why has Hillary not explained her inaction — or stepped down?

The CIA has issued a terse statement saying it gave no order to anyone not to try to rescue the ambassador or not to move forces to aid Doherty and Woods, who died because no help came.

Who, then, did refuse to send help? Who did give the orders to “stand down”?

ted c on November 2, 2012 at 9:44 AM

Counterterrorism sources and internal emails reviewed by CBS News express frustration that key responders were ready to deploy, but were not called upon to help in the attack…

Another senior counter terrorism official says a hostage rescue team was alternately asked to get ready and then stand down throughout the night, as officials seemed unable to make up their minds.

There was never any indecision.
They(the regime) always thought that the terrorist on the ground were obma’s terrorists. The ones he had been dealing with,providing weapons allowing to smuggle drugs etc etc. for some time.Why would they target their own terrorists? Wouldn’t make sense.
Trouble is they(the regime) didn’t realize that the terrorists were tired of ozero using them for his election needs so they just took Stevens and did what they do to any gay infidel.

rodguy911 on November 2, 2012 at 10:06 AM

Barack “The Ego” Obama likes to remind anyone who’s still listening to him that HE got Osama bin Laden.

But, if we recall that operation, he was no more decisive then than in the case of Benghazi. He went to bed in both cases, to sleep on it. The difference in bin Laden’s case was that Osama was also probably going to bed. The President’s dithering didn’t, in the end, cost him the mission.

In this case, it might well have cost brave Americans their lives.

IndieDogg on November 1, 2012 at 10:42 PM

If you get deep into the weeds where I have been most sources will “suggest” that OBl died in 2001. Probably of a dialysis problem.Zero killed a body double and then tried to kill everyone who was involved in the operation. Or, at the very least scare them so bad they would never tell anyone.Remember the chopper full of seals that mysteriously was shot down by terrorists in Afghanistan?
What happened to obls body? Oh yeah, had to be buried at sea.

rodguy911 on November 2, 2012 at 10:11 AM

Walks like a duck, quacks like a duck… it’s a duck.

I have concluded that the reason we don’t have a cogent understanding of Obama’s foreign policy is because we would find it exceedingly repugnant if laid out clearly. Specifically, it appears to me that Obama’s policy is to trade oil for support of a caliphate.

Four years of obfuscation, lying, deceit. Shame, shame, shame on the treasonous lame stream media for backing this trojan horse.

shaken on November 2, 2012 at 10:22 AM

Gd Reuters for their alternate headlines/news.

Suffocate in Obama’s azz, fools.

Schadenfreude on November 2, 2012 at 11:33 AM

Okay…so now we know multiple experts and resources that are designated for exactly this type of situation were never called upon or utilized and these professionals who have the greatest capability to produce the best possible response to the attack were left frustrated.
“the response process was isolated at the most senior level”.

Now… we know for a fact…the proper and overly obvious precautions and resources that were needed at Benghazi before 9-11-12 were denied by the administration. Wrong course of action.

We also know for a fact that the administration has lied, delayed and continues to conceal information from the American people about this attack…after 9-11-12. Wrong course of action.

So now the limited info we have regarding what was going on during the attack… is starting to sound pretty screwy too… why Ignatious is claiming that “there is no evidence to suggest that the WH deliberately delayed or impeded rescue efforts” is curious.. I think I could make the same claim that there is no evidence to suggest that administration officials did not deliberately delay at a moment when time was not a luxury…if there was any evidence the WH could have offered to show their decisions during those most vital moments were precisely what we would expect…we would have seen that weeks ago…but as it stands….there is no reason to give anyone the benefit of the doubt.

It is a fact that the administration did not make prudent decisions before or after the events of that horrific night…so it now becomes completely reasonable to suspect that what was done during that critical time was just as improper…it’s not being hasty to completely suspect it more than likely was…the wrong course of action.

lynncgb on November 2, 2012 at 11:37 AM

According to Wolfowitz, no AC-130 was in-theater.

blink on November 1, 2012 at 9:32 PM

According to Wolfowitz, F-16s can’t make pinpoint bombing or strafing runs, either, MOBY.

What’s your point?

Solaratov on November 2, 2012 at 12:01 PM

why Ignatious is claiming that “there is no evidence to suggest that the WH deliberately delayed or impeded rescue efforts” is curious..

lynncgb on November 2, 2012 at 11:37 AM

Because, in the final analysis, Ignatius’ highest ‘duty’ is to provide cover for the coward in the white house.

Solaratov on November 2, 2012 at 12:05 PM

why Ignatious is claiming that “there is no evidence to suggest that the WH deliberately delayed or impeded rescue efforts” is curious..

lynncgb on November 2, 2012 at 11:37 AM

Because, in the final analysis, Ignatius’ highest ‘duty’ is to provide cover for the coward in the white house.

Solaratov on November 2, 2012 at 12:05 PM

Right. The most we can possibly hope for, from the old media is an admission that there might have been some mid-level management incompetence that has already been remedied.

slickwillie2001 on November 2, 2012 at 12:35 PM

When I walked through our break room, Obama was on (I can usually avoid hearing his voice) and he actually said during his rally today that Al Qaeda has been decimated (among his list of supposed foreign policy achievements). I was surprised and infuriated he had the nerve to say any such thing after Benghazi.

toby11 on November 2, 2012 at 2:04 PM

Hrm, didn’t format that right. Doesn’t matter–I think I made my point.

R. Waher on November 2, 2012 at 10:55 PM

I am ashamed that my country has a so-called president that is a coward.

sherrimae on November 3, 2012 at 5:41 PM