Petraeus replacement to testify CIA never requested military assistance in Benghazi

posted at 8:51 am on November 15, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

So says Eli Lake of The Daily Beast, getting tips from his sources within the intelligence community.  Michael Morell, who became acting Director of Central Intelligence following the surprise resignation of David Petraeus, will appear before the Senate Intelligence Committee today to discuss the agency’s response to the attack on the Benghazi consulate.  Morell will testify that no one at the agency requested military assistance during the seven hours of the terrorist attack that killed four Americans, including two CIA operatives:

When the CIA’s acting director, Michael Morell, testifies Thursday before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, he is expected to say that the agency never requested Europe-based special operations teams, specialized Marine platoons, or armed drones on the night of the Sept. 11 attack in Benghazi, Libya, according to a senior U.S. intelligence official.

The disclosure may put an end to one line of inquiry into the Benghazi affair about why reinforcements from the region were not sent on the night of the attack. “Assistance from the U.S. military was critical, and we got what we requested,” the senior U.S. intelligence official said.

According to a Pentagon timeline made public last week, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta prepared multiple military responses from the region at around midnight Benghazi time, more than two hours after the initial assault began. Those orders included mobilizing two special Marine platoons known as Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team (FAST) from Rota, Spain, to deploy to Tripoli and Benghazi. Panetta also ordered a special operations force, training in central Europe, to deploy at the Signonella Airbase in Italy. Another special operations team based in the United States also prepared to deploy to Libya.

The CIA, however, requested none of that assistance. Neither did the State Department. None of those teams ever arrived in Benghazi.

That differs from what Fox News reported almost three weeks ago, and which has gone virtually unchallenged in the vacuum of official explanations about Benghazi since.  Jennifer Griffin reported on October 26th, citing sources that were actually “on the ground” in Benghazi during the attack, that the CIA contingent repeatedly requested assistance — but were told to “stand down” twice by officials in the CIA chain of command:

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.

Morell will testify that the CIA team received two forms of military assistance, apparently on the CIA’s request, although that’s not clear — an unarmed surveillance drone and a medevac team when the CIA squad on the ground was able to extract the remaining Americans to the airport.  It’s certainly possible that this is true, and that Griffin got it wrong, even though Griffin claimed multiple sources who were on the ground during the attack.

But Morell’s explanation, as related by Lake, doesn’t make a lot of sense.  If the consulate and the CIA annex was under heavy and deliberate attack by forces using mortars and RPGs, why wouldn’t they ask for the military assistance that they knew was on standby for just this sort of contingency?  Why just ask for an unarmed surveillance drone rather than something that could potentially offer a diversion for the extraction of personnel from the consulate?  It’s difficult to imagine that the intelligence unit under fire off an on for seven hours would never have requested military assistance to save the lives of the people in the compound — not impossible, perhaps, but certainly implausible.


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? Click through to the CNN article…confusing but he says that Susan Rice’s talking points came from somewhere else in the administration…who knows?

d1carter on November 15, 2012 at 7:17 PM

According to the source, reports attributing the attack to protests surrounding an anti-Islam video and protests in Cairo were not disproven until after Petraeus made his initial report to Congress.

And yet…Petraeus knew “almost immediately” that the attack on the U.S. Mission in Benghazi was perpetrated by terrorists.

Petraeus knew and lied.

He has never corrected that testimony.

Despite that, according to CNN, Petraeus had separate talking points from Rice’s

So Petraeus went with the Obama talking points rather than what he knew to be the truth.

sharrukin on November 15, 2012 at 7:35 PM

obama told him to say what Rice was gonna say….bo had the goods on Petraeus already and P knew it.

maybe P’s admission will come out in the closed door sesson tomorrow.

gracie on November 15, 2012 at 7:34 PM

So to protect his own posterior, he lied about what happened because clearly Petraeus and his reputation is more important than four dead Americans?

sharrukin on November 15, 2012 at 7:38 PM

So to protect his own posterior, he lied about what happened because clearly Petraeus and his reputation is more important than four dead Americans?

sharrukin on November 15, 2012 at 7:38 PM

yah…and now he’s going to bridge it…mea culpa..and say he knew it was terrorism but couldn’t prove it until he saw for himself so he weent along with the administration in the short term. if he had taken bo on it would have been certain cutains for him….and our men were already dead so he couldn’t reverse that. and he didn’t issue the stand down order either. bo plenty did that.

gracie on November 15, 2012 at 7:47 PM

Petraeus knew and lied.

He has never corrected that testimony.

Despite that, according to CNN, Petraeus had separate talking points from Rice’s

So Petraeus went with the Obama talking points rather than what he knew to be the truth.

sharrukin on November 15, 2012 at 7:35 PM

Yes, and my bet is he did that just after a little tete a tete with Clapper, in which Clapper essentially blackmailed him.

petefrt on November 15, 2012 at 8:09 PM

Yep, something is up…sounds as if he had the sword over his head or he knew it but couldn’t prove it. Saxby Chambliss just said on Fox News that he did tell them on 9/14/12 that it was violence erupting from a protest at the consulate..???
Tomorrow he will be asked about the conflict here…it is time for DP to tell it all now matter what. I believe he is a patriot and he will do it.

Susan Rice is going to have to testify at some point. Where did she her talking points if they were different from the CIA?

d1carter on November 15, 2012 at 8:12 PM

Yes, and my bet is he did that just after a little tete a tete with Clapper, in which Clapper essentially blackmailed him.

petefrt on November 15, 2012 at 8:09 PM

That blackmail wouldn’t have worked with an honorable man. Petraeus decided that he was more important than telling the truth.

sharrukin on November 15, 2012 at 8:15 PM

That blackmail wouldn’t have worked with an honorable man.

sharrukin on November 15, 2012 at 8:15 PM

No argument from me on that one, sharrukin.

petefrt on November 15, 2012 at 8:18 PM

DP said that his resignation had nothing to do with Benghazi. I would like to know the date of the meeting with the FBI investigators when they told him the results…anybody know? Or did he already know what was going on, on 9/11/12?

d1carter on November 15, 2012 at 8:19 PM

Susan Rice is going to have to testify at some point. Where did she her talking points if they were different from the CIA?

d1carter on November 15, 2012 at 8:12 PM

To me it seems clear the talking points came from the WH. Trouble is, the WH is Rice’s ticket to the Sec of Sate job so, even if directly questioned, she’s not motivated to blow this whistle.

petefrt on November 15, 2012 at 8:21 PM

DP said that his resignation had nothing to do with Benghazi.

d1carter on November 15, 2012 at 8:19 PM

I’d attribute that to word parsing. It seems established now that Petraeus wanted to keep his job until Clapper put the screws to him over his Benghazi timeline, topped off with a generous scoop of Broadwell.

petefrt on November 15, 2012 at 8:26 PM

petefrt on November 15, 2012 at 8:21 PM

They have to get her on record as the names of the people who helped prep her for the “presentations” with this information…

d1carter on November 15, 2012 at 8:26 PM

petefrt on November 15, 2012 at 8:26 PM

Yup, that’s when everything flipped for DP…he realized that he had been had…I hope he does the right thing now.

d1carter on November 15, 2012 at 8:28 PM

d1carter on November 15, 2012 at 8:26 PM

Absolutely. I’m betting the talking points came from one or two people in the WH (guess who they might be), who were winging it in the final days of the re-election campaign, frantically contriving damage control and not thinking through anything seriously other than winning the upcoming election.

petefrt on November 15, 2012 at 8:31 PM

This Michael Morell character reminds me of Nathan Thurm as portrayed by Martin Short on Saturday Night Live back in the mid 80′s.

Miwagi on November 15, 2012 at 8:33 PM

If any of this is true, the corrupt legacy media should be driven out of business…

d1carter on November 15, 2012 at 8:35 PM

I hope he does the right thing now.

d1carter on November 15, 2012 at 8:28 PM

Me too.

Glenn and Rush predict he won’t. I was glum about it too, until I read that he pushed out his Benghazi timeline without WH approval. Gives me renewed hope that he intends to be heard.

petefrt on November 15, 2012 at 8:35 PM

According to a Pentagon timeline made public last week, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta prepared multiple military responses from the region at around midnight Benghazi time, more than two hours after the initial assault began.

Panetta has been granted a very, very convenient pass on this issue and I don’t like that.

Lourdes on November 15, 2012 at 8:41 PM

Doesn’t pass the laugh test

AZfederalist on November 15, 2012 at 8:42 PM

Wonder what the White House has on Michael Morell?

joecollins on November 15, 2012 at 8:49 PM

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta prepared multiple military responses from the region at around midnight Benghazi time, more than two hours after the initial assault began.

Panetta has been granted a very, very convenient pass on this issue and I don’t like that.

Lourdes on November 15, 2012 at 8:41 PM

Right, he offered the responses. So who decided not to deploy them?

petefrt on November 15, 2012 at 9:11 PM

Wonder what the White House has on Michael Morell?

joecollins on November 15, 2012 at 8:49 PM

And James Clapper.

Or maybe they’re both just vetted lapdogs.

petefrt on November 15, 2012 at 9:12 PM

And yet, He was re-elected.

Kenz on November 15, 2012 at 9:37 PM

So, how about we find out how many and from which Islamic country this no. 2 guy has been sleeping with before we let him on the stand.

Due Dilligance:

Grayson Wolfe, Bush appointee, who was married to the twin sister,
he was the gate keeper to hand out the Iraq goodie contracts.

My my what a blanket party they had going.

Best silk, best wine, best tax dollars we have all bundled up and these made members of the two party evil money cult doleing it out under the sheets.

STD’s was the clean part of what was going on at Central Command.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on November 15, 2012 at 10:09 PM

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta prepared multiple military responses from the region at around midnight Benghazi time, more than two hours after the initial assault began.

Panetta has been granted a very, very convenient pass on this issue and I don’t like that.

Lourdes on November 15, 2012 at 8:41 PM

Right, he offered the responses. So who decided not to deploy them?

petefrt on November 15, 2012 at 9:11 PM

People can offer a lot from the realm of their desks. It’s another thing altogether to deploy activity.

I think Panetta is a big failure but he gets a lot of mileage out of being a cool, fun Communist for Obama. I enjoy hearing about his fabulous offerings but we’ll never know just who he made the offerings to or when. Or if he just jotted them down somewhere for future reference. I wouldn’t trust Panetta any father than I would Hillary, Rice, Obama and Jarret and their players.

Lourdes on November 15, 2012 at 10:17 PM

Grayson Wolfe, Bush appointee, who was married to the twin sister,
he was the gate keeper to hand out the Iraq goodie contracts.

My my what a blanket party they had going.

Best silk, best wine, best tax dollars we have all bundled up and these made members of the two party evil money cult doleing it out under the sheets.

STD’s was the clean part of what was going on at Central Command.

APACHEWHOKNOWS on November 15, 2012 at 10:09 PM

Don’t forget the Democrats’ CLAMBAKE and fundraising for John Kerry.

Lourdes on November 15, 2012 at 10:20 PM

petefrt on November 15, 2012 at 8:21 PM

They have to get her on record as the names of the people who helped prep her for the “presentations” with this information…

d1carter on November 15, 2012 at 8:26 PM

Regarding S. Rice (“her” referenced above), that’ll NEVER HAPPEN. She will NEVER identify individuals by name in her testimony, if it happens, as to “the people who helped her prep her for her ‘presentations’…”

It’ll just never happen. She’ll swear in testimony with the same, worn, tiresome word-circling that Obama uses and she’ll never, ever identify specifics. Remember the Kagan hearings? Same thing will be enacted by Rice as to Benghazi testimony, if she even comes forth for it.

Lourdes on November 15, 2012 at 10:24 PM

Has anyone at Africom produced an email or cable with he subject line: cross border authority re Libya??

If not, then PBO’s got some explaining’ to do.

can_con on November 15, 2012 at 10:27 PM

It’s 1984

Kjeil on November 15, 2012 at 10:34 PM

…lies…lies…and more lies!
…the only place you can find truth…is in the dictionary

KOOLAID2 on November 15, 2012 at 10:46 PM

Obama makes contortionists weep with envy.

He spins better than a full-fledged spider convention.

And can tie a knot with his tongue that even his own uvula couldn’t swallow.

Lies, Damned Lies, Statistics, ~and Obama.

profitsbeard on November 16, 2012 at 2:20 AM

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