The official line from the White House, the State Department, and the Pentagon about the US response to the attack on our consulate in Benghazi has been that we didn’t have time to send in troops to fight the terrorists that were killing Americans. A new report from Washington Times reporter Rowan Scarborough undermines that argument, and once again raises the question about the lack of response. Two American commandos have received medals for fighting in Benghazi after volunteering to accompany five security contractors from Tripoli, and Scarborough wonders why the US didn’t mobilize other forces at the same time:
Masked from public view, two of the U.S. military’s elite special operations commandos have been awarded medals for bravery for a mission that further undercuts the Obama administration’s original story about the Benghazi tragedy. …
But sources directly familiar with the attack tell The Washington Times that a unit of eight special operators — mostly Delta Force and Green Beret members — were in Tripoli the night of the attack, on a counterterrorism mission that involved capturing weapons and wanted terrorists from the streets and helping train Libyan forces.
When word of the Benghazi attack surfaced, two members of that military unit volunteered to be dispatched along with five private security contractors on a hastily arranged flight from Tripoli to rescue Americans in danger, the sources said, speaking only on the condition of anonymity because the special operations forces’ existence inside Libya was secret.
The two special operations forces arrived in time to engage in the final, ferocious firefight between the terrorists and Americans holed up in the CIA annex near the ill-fated diplomatic mission in Benghazi, the sources added.
In other words, the official story about a lack of personnel wasn’t true at all, and the White House and Pentagon at least had to know it from the start, unless the Pentagon is in the habit of losing track of its commandos. It’s yet another data point of the stream of dishonesty from the Obama administration about the terrorist attack on the Benghazi consulate and CIA annex.
Still, the bigger question is why we were there in the first place after watching every other Western diplomatic installation in Benghazi close shop, and after a series of increasingly desperate warnings from our own people in Benghazi to either find new and more effective security, or to abandon the post. Army Col. Ken Allard focuses on that larger point:
“On the one hand, it is an indictment of the lack of contingency planning by both CIA and DoD, especially given the rising threat profiles in Libya that were well understood — and appropriately reported back to D.C. by agency reps on the ground,” said retired Army Col. Ken Allard. “So why weren’t there more than just two Delta Force guys to send? Above all: Where were the air and naval resources that should have routinely been included in any contingency planning worthy of the name?”
The Benghazi region was controlled by radical Islamist extremists set loose by the NATO war against Moammar Qaddafi, and the dangers were well known. The local al-Qaeda affiliate had its flags flying all over the city, and had clearly stated its intention to attack the American installations in Benghazi. On the anniversary of 9/11, it was negligence to almost a criminal level not to have those forces on alert. Who made that decision, and why? Those are questions we’ve barely heard asked, let alone answered.