USAF general: “We should have tried” to respond to Benghazi attack

posted at 12:01 pm on May 1, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

What did the command structure of the military and intelligence communities know about the attack on our consulate in Benghazi, and when did they know it? And why, in any case, were neither prepared to respond to an attack on one of the most obviously vulnerable American diplomatic outposts — on the anniversary of 9/11? The House Oversight Committee heard testimony today from a man near the top of both command structures, retired Air Force Brigadier General Robert Lovell, who served as Deputy Director for Intelligence and Knowledge Development Directorate for AFRICOM at the time of the attack. Lovell insisted that intelligence knew full well that the attack on Benghazi had nothing to do with a YouTube video from the very beginning of the attack:

Lovell also sternly testified that the US should have provided some kind of response when the attack began. Katie Pavlich reports on his testimony:

“Many with firsthand knowledge have recounted the heroism displayed by the brave Americans in Benghazi that night. They fought the way they trained. That is in the record. Outside of Libya there were discussions that churned on about what we should do. These elements also fought the way they were trained. Specifically, the predisposition to interagency influence had the military structure—in the spirit of expeditionary government support—waiting for a request for assistance from the State Department. There are accounts of time, space and capability discussions of the question, could we have gotten there in time to make a difference. Well, the discussion is not in the “could or could not” in relation to time, space and capability—the point is we should have tried. As another saying goes: “Always move to the sound of the guns,” Lovell said. “It is with a sense of duty as a retired General officer that I respectfully submit these thoughts and perspectives.”

Lovell also confirmed again that the 9/11 Benghazi attack was not a result of a demonstration but instead was a well planned out assault and said the situation of holding back help made the military feel “desperate.”

“The military should have made a response of some sort,” he said.

Further, Lovell said people on the ground that night knew it was an attack from al Qaeda almost immediately.

“We didn’t know how long this would last when we became aware of the distress nor did we completely understand what we had in front of us, be it a kidnapping, rescue, recovery, protracted hostile engagement or any or all of the above,” Lovell said. “But what we did know quite early on was that this was a hostile action. This was no demonstration gone terribly awry.”

USA Today points out that Lovell’s testimony directly contradicts the story told by the Obama administration about the initial talking points used and the information provided to the White House:

Lovell’s testimony contradicts the story that the Obama administration gave in the early days following the Sept. 11, 2012, attacks on the U.S. Consulate that left four Americans dead, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens.

Back then the administration insisted that the best intelligence it had from CIA and other officials indicated that the attack was a protest against an anti-Islam video that turned violent.

Lovell’s testimony is the first from a member of the military who was at Africa Command at the time of the attack. Lovell was deputy director for intelligence at Africa Command.

Why didn’t AFRICOM provide an immediate response? Lovell says State never called them to ask for one:

Lovell did not question the Pentagon claim that it could not have scrambled forces in the region quickly enough to have prevented the deaths of the Americans. Lovell said no one at the time of the attack knew how long it would go, so could not have determined then that there was no use in trying.

“As the attack was ongoing, it was unclear whether it was an attempted kidnapping, rescue, recovery, protracted hostile engagement or any or all of the above,” Lovell said.

While people on the ground were fighting for their lives, discussions among U.S. leaders outside Libya “churned on about what we should do,” but the military waited for a request for assistance from the State Department, Lovell said.

In other words, no one at State answered the 3 AM phone call, or made one when it was needed.

Republicans have begun to press for a select committee investigation into Benghazi. The sudden discovery that the White House hid memos and this new testimony from Lovell should remove all obstacles to the broader, unified probe. Clearly some have not told the truth about what happened and why we had no response to the terrorist attack on our facilities despite months of warnings about it. The deaths of four Americans demand better accountability than what this administration has been willing to provide.


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“We should have tried to respond” is literally the only argument the GOP can use against Hillary in 2016, and you are forgetting that Americans are actually over “responding” to crap. They aren’t interested in new invasions or occupations, they aren’t persuaded by the need to “attack them there, before they come here” anymore. It’s not the 2004 election anymore, that was a decade ago. When will the right realize it…

libfreeordie on May 1, 2014 at 2:40 PM

cthemfly on May 1, 2014 at 3:29 PM

Is this the new, lobotomized version of libfree, he used to make an iota of sense, but lately all his posts are like the above…am guessing lobotomy is now covered under Obamacare and he rushed to get it done before they take it off the list as a too expensive procedure…

jimver on May 1, 2014 at 3:51 PM

For those who want any justice at all for those who were basically set up, then abandoned and left to die at Benghazi, and for their relatives, all guns should now be trained on John Boehner. He is the weak link to blowing all this wide open. Republicans in the house can’t right now do anything at all to Bloody Hands Obama, Clinton or Petraeus, but they can remove Guilty Knowledge and Cover Uper Boehner as speaker for helping to cover as much of this up as he has been able to. If they don’t they might just as well rename Nancy Pelosi as speaker.

VorDaj on May 1, 2014 at 4:01 PM

Right now, all guns must be trained on Boehner. He is the weak link to blowing all this wide open. Republicans in the house can’t right now do anything at all to Obama, Clinton or Petraeus, but they can remove Boehner.

VorDaj on May 1, 2014 at 3:50 PM

Yep. Also be nice to
have something resembling an objective investigation of the IRS scandal. But, Boehner should have a virtual bullseye on his chest.

butch on May 1, 2014 at 4:04 PM

“Stand down!” – B. Hussein’O

Pork-Chop on May 1, 2014 at 4:08 PM

I think this whole Benghazi thing is far more sinister….
I think Obama put the hit on Stevens because he was going to expose the fact that Obama was running weapons to the Islamic militants.
The other 3 guys that got killed were collateral damage.
Obama has changed sides and thus has committed treason.

Remember, the early Obama administration wanted to bring charges against the CIA for it’s enhanced interrogation.

Burn it all down…..

redguy on May 1, 2014 at 4:08 PM

I think this whole Benghazi thing is far more sinister….
I think Obama put the hit on Stevens because he was going to expose the fact that Obama was running weapons to the Islamic militants.

redguy on May 1, 2014 at 4:08 PM

This is a very likely scenario. It certainly appears that obama wanted Stevens eliminated.

Pork-Chop on May 1, 2014 at 4:11 PM

out…our. Typo.

thatsafactjack on May 1, 2014 at 4:14 PM

VorDaj on May 1, 2014 at 3:50 PM

Yep. Also be nice to have something resembling an objective investigation of the IRS scandal. But, Boehner…..

butch on May 1, 2014 at 4:04 PM

Nakked pictures.

avagreen on May 1, 2014 at 4:20 PM

Here’s another example of Obama’s First Responders in action:

Failure to stop on my command = death

BobMbx on May 1, 2014 at 4:21 PM

Maybe it’s time we also ‘tried to respond’ to the over 300 incursions, some including attacks on US citizens, by the Mexican Army along out border.

thatsafactjack
on May 1, 2014 at 4:14 PM

I’ve been wondering how long it would take for this to happen. Ob00ber has got to go b/f he succeeds in assisting in destroying the very fabric of this nation. (The question is “how”???)

President Treason in D.C. is what he is.

avagreen on May 1, 2014 at 4:24 PM

Here’s another example of Obama’s First Responders in action:

Failure to stop on my command = death

BobMbx on May 1, 2014 at 4:21 PM

In Obama’s America, every single interaction with police, no matter what the circumstances, might be the last time you enjoy autonomy, or even life.

Murphy9 on May 1, 2014 at 4:27 PM

I think this whole Benghazi thing is far more sinister….
I think Obama put the hit on Stevens because he was going to expose the fact that Obama was running weapons to the Islamic militants.

redguy on May 1, 2014 at 4:08 PM

This is a very likely scenario. It certainly appears that obama wanted Stevens eliminated.

Pork-Chop on May 1, 2014 at 4:11 PM

I think this is the reason that Ob00ber and the BeastHillary did not come to the aid of these people (as the gun-running would come to light), but not that convinced they orchestrated the attack.

avagreen on May 1, 2014 at 4:30 PM

Pork-Chop on May 1, 2014 at 4:11 PM

Maybe what redguy speculates but Obama was already providing the rebels in Syria arms of some kind. He admitted to only supplying small arms like handguns so that means he was probably trying to get them anything he could. And there was a report earlier this week that all those ‘lead from behind’ Libyan arms went to territz fighting us. I think Stevens may have been facilitating the shipment given his schedule that night.

I recall the big news of the era was the demand to release the Blind Sheik. Wasn’t Morsi still in his element and openly demanding as much? There is speculation that this may have been an attempt to capture the 30-35 people that were in Benghazi for reasons we still haven’t been told and things got out of hand. Getting the release of those hostages a few weeks before the election could have been the motive.

DanMan on May 1, 2014 at 4:30 PM

‘A third country’

During a national border security expo in Phoenix last week, David Aguilar, acting deputy commissioner for Customs and Border Protection, said policy makers and the public need to understand that the border is not a fence or a line in the dirt but a broad and complex corridor.

“It is,” Aguilar explained, “a third country that joins Mexico and the United States. ~ May 2, 2010″

It’s time to re-establish our southern border and re-define our national sovereignty. Contrary to Mr. Aguilar’s statement, the border is a finite line and can and must be defended.

thatsafactjack on May 1, 2014 at 4:33 PM

…just as our consulate in Benghazi was officially American soil and should have been well secured and vigorously defended.

thatsafactjack on May 1, 2014 at 4:35 PM

1. I think Stevens may have been facilitating the shipment given his schedule that night……

2. There is speculation that this may have been an attempt to capture the 30-35 people that were in Benghazi for reasons we still haven’t been told and things got out of hand. Getting the release of those hostages a few weeks before the election could have been the motive.

DanMan on May 1, 2014 at 4:30 PM

1. There was much rumor going around right after the attack that this is what Stevens was doing (as he’d made a trip during the night w/o any protection to some location) and why the operation was so hush-hush.

2. I’d heard that in the same time frame as above that the CIA were “interrogating” some prisoners (from the other side than the side we were arming) for info and it was their buddies that attacked Benghazi to free them.

I’ve lost all of my links.

avagreen on May 1, 2014 at 4:37 PM

USAF general: “We should have tried” to respond to Benghazi attack

The last U.S. general that had any balls and wanted to do what was right for America ended up with a broken neck in a (very fishy) vehicle accident.

Dr. ZhivBlago on May 1, 2014 at 4:38 PM

Jack,
Wasn’t our consulate in Tripoli? Again that begs the question, why were they in Benghazi?

DanMan on May 1, 2014 at 4:39 PM

avagreen on May 1, 2014 at 4:37 PM

This is a link, but not the ones I’ve used in the past:
http://www.thenewamerican.com/usnews/foreign-policy/item/16219-mainstream-media-on-benghazi-it-was-about-gun-running

avagreen on May 1, 2014 at 4:42 PM

More on Stevens:

BENGHAZI – THE BIGGEST COVER-UP SCANDAL IN U.S. HISTORY? – WAS BENGHAZI A CIA GUN-RUNNING OPERATION FOR MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD & OTHER INSURGENTS FIGHTING IN SYRIA?

…THE POSSIBLE CHRISTOPHER STEVENS CIA/GUN-RUNNING CONNECTION

The unclassified version of the ARB report provides some fascinating and under-reported details about Christopher Stevens. The September situation was in no way his first experience with Benghazi. In fact, Stevens had a presence at the CIA annex before the Special Mission Benghazi Compound was created. Stevens was at the CIA annex in the summer of 2011, shortly before the CIA created the Special Mission Benghazi Compound, the facility that eventually became the diplomatic front for the CIA’s operations in Benghazi. Stevens was not, at the time, Ambassador to Libya. At the time Stevens was the Special Representative to the Libyan Rebel-Alliance.

According to the New York Times, Stevens had even dealt with applications coming from U.S. weapons dealers requesting licenses to sell arms to Libyan insurgents….

http://www.libertynews.com/2013/05/benghazi-the-biggest-cover-up-scandal-in-u-s-history-was-benghazi-a-cia-gun-running-operation-for-muslim-brotherhood-other-insurgents-fighting-in-syria/

avagreen on May 1, 2014 at 4:49 PM

i just knew you guys were going to lie

CONNELLY: I want to read to you the conclusion of the chairman of the [Armed Services] Committee, the Republican chairman Buck McKeon, who conducted formal briefings and oversaw that report he said quote “I’m pretty well satisfied that given where the troops were, how quickly the thing all happened, and how quickly it dissipated we probably couldn’t have done much more than we did.” Do you take issue with the chairman of the Armed Services Committee? In that conclusion?

LOVELL: His conclusion that he couldn’t have done much more than they did with the capability and the way they executed it?

CONNELLY: Given the timeframe.

LOVELL: That’s a fact.

CONNELLY: Okay.

LOVELL: The way it is right now. The way he stated it.

CONNELLY: Alright, because I’m sure you can appreciate, general, there might be some who, for various and sundry reasons would like to distort your testimony and suggest that you’re testifying that we could have, should have done a lot more than we did because we had capabilities we simply didn’t utilize. That is not your testimony?

LOVELL: That is not my testimony.

CONNELLY: I thank you very much, general.

So you people want us to believe because the president hates America he let people die. LIARS LIARS LIARS

AmlissVess on May 1, 2014 at 5:04 PM

“In other words, no one at State answered the 3 AM phone call, or made one when it was needed.”

Nothing less than criminal negligence on the part of Hillary Clinton. And it is Hillary that is to blame, not Barry, because if Hillary wanted something you can be sure that Barry approved it.

Hillary let four men she was responsible for die without doing anything to save them.

Dusty on May 1, 2014 at 5:06 PM

And your suggestion is that we should just believe him because a _______ trying to avoid jail time is credible?
 
libfreeordie on June 28, 2013 at 1:59 PM

rogerb on May 1, 2014 at 5:38 PM

avagreen on May 1, 2014 at 4:49 PM

thanks

AmlissVess on May 1, 2014 at 5:04 PM

when was that testimony taken? The reason I ask is because it presumes nothing could be done ‘because of how quickly the thing all happened’. Today’s testimony counters what you posted but not the reality AFTER THE FACT and is buttressed by the “Given the timeframe” comment by Connelly in your link.

DanMan on May 1, 2014 at 5:48 PM

LIARS LIARS LIARS

Elijah Cummings on May 1, 2014 at 5:04 PM

FIFY

F-

Del Dolemonte on May 1, 2014 at 5:52 PM

Tom Vietor formerly in the admin, is on Brett Baier’s show STILL blaming the video!

esr1951 on May 1, 2014 at 6:11 PM

Tom Vietor looks like a college freshman, calls Brett Baier “dude”.

This is must see TV. Hope it is posted somewhere late. Surreal.

esr1951 on May 1, 2014 at 6:16 PM

The liberal idiot on foxnews right now is lying his arse off. It was 9/11 but he doesn’t know the motivation suggesting it might have been a video. Nonsense. He also said “we were” worried about the lives there in Benghazi. It seems not enough to do anything but lie about it and plan a political response. Bret Baier is taking him to task.

You know what would be great? The audio recordings/transcripts if any exist of the comms between the folks at the consulate fighting for thier lives, those requesting to support their colleagues, and the military/gov’t on the other end in DC, Europe etc.

ahander on May 1, 2014 at 6:17 PM

Didn’t def sec panetta say he didn’t want to send troops into harms’ way to attempt a rescue at Benghazi?

Lee Jan on May 1, 2014 at 6:23 PM

I hope that interview Baier just did with Tommy Vietor gets some attention, especially the parts where Vietor claimed, despite massive evidence to the contrary, that the attack on Benghazi was spurred by reaction to a video, and when he couldn’t remember if he personally altered any talking points.

Tommy Vietor, paraphrased ( but pretty close, I think):

Dude! That was like two years ago, man! Like, why would I remember if I lied to the whole country that long ago, man?

novaculus on May 1, 2014 at 6:31 PM

Dude! Did anyone see Tommy Vietor on Fox News…? Wow! They got the video idea from newspapers around the world. Anybody but the WH…LOL.

d1carter on May 1, 2014 at 6:32 PM

Dude! #teenagersrunningthegovernment #truebelievers

d1carter on May 1, 2014 at 6:33 PM

Dude, I saw him too. Unreal.

esr1951 on May 1, 2014 at 6:39 PM

state dept apologized for the video days before the trouble in Cairo…days/weeks before Benghazi and Hillary issues a statement about the video Bengazi nite as the attack was unfolding ?
so who does it look like was holding the video banner…Hillary ?

by the way, Tommy V’s a boy and a fool

gracie on May 1, 2014 at 6:40 PM

Gateway pundit now has the tape of tommy Vietor posted.

esr1951 on May 1, 2014 at 6:47 PM

Does anyone think Obama will throw Hillary under the bus, if this gets too hot? Or Will Hills throw Obama under the bus?

esr1951 on May 1, 2014 at 6:49 PM

Expect Carney’s departure date to be moved up.

forest on May 1, 2014 at 12:23 PM

Nope, they will never replace him. A failing lame-duck president is always going to have a hell of a time filling tough slots like that.

slickwillie2001 on May 1, 2014 at 6:53 PM

Krauthammer says that interview with Vietor reopens the question of where was the president that night, dude.

esr1951 on May 1, 2014 at 6:55 PM

In a broader context I am pretty sick of Democrats like Norton and others claiming needless war, war for oil, bush lied, people died, worst admin evah! etc. There was principle (agree with it or not) involved when Bush put our forces in harms way and yes people died and I think the american populace gets at least that even with the obfuscation by the media and most politicians about it. (To be blunt, the ‘no WMD’ gets me the most since we know Saddam had them and used them, and even then we ignore the fact that he was a brutal dictator who deserved to be removed on moral grounds in any case, but I digress.)

With this absolute scandal…what do we have? Lies, Lies and Lies. And I think the American people can smell the difference between Bush’s decision and Obama’s cover-up.

And notice that the intelligence community is being blamed again? The current admin is saying the reason we thought it was a video is because that was the latest from the intel guys? Really? Those intel guys either can’t catch a break, are really stupid, or are really good scapegoats. Maybe we should defund them then since the average joe can figure it out without the billions spent.

Eh, what difference, at this point, does it make.

ahander on May 1, 2014 at 7:01 PM

King Barack had other priorities………

GarandFan on May 1, 2014 at 7:51 PM

The reason why no help was sent has been answered by Leon Panetta and General Dempsey. They said that they couldn’t get help there in time. Well, the only way that you can know that there isn’t enough time, is if you know how long you have. Someone on our side knew about this all along and let it happen.

If your house is on fire, and every truck is in town out on other call, someone comes to your house. Even if it burned to the ground before help arrived, someone is sent to help.

HueMoss on May 1, 2014 at 7:55 PM

The reason why no help was sent has been answered by Leon Panetta and General Dempsey. They said that they couldn’t get help there in time. Well, the only way that you can know that there isn’t enough time, is if you know how long you have. Someone on our side knew about this all along and let it happen.

If your house is on fire, and every truck is in town out on other call, someone comes to your house. Even if it burned to the ground before help arrived, someone is sent to help.

HueMoss on May 1, 2014 at 7:55 PM

They view defending yourself to be violence first, not a moral right first, and since it was in another country, an invasion of sorts in their minds. That is their moral and political construct in a nutshell in dealing with aggression. I agree they were/are hiding something more sinister and unpalatable than that. Otherwise they wouldn’t have done NOTHING BUT LIE.

ahander on May 1, 2014 at 8:29 PM

Johnnyreb on May 1, 2014 at 3:32 PM

No one is saying he’s an angel but in the USA we don’t jail people for making videos on Youtube. No matter how bad they are.

Cindy Munford on May 1, 2014 at 8:56 PM

AmlissVess on May 1, 2014 at 5:04 PM

I don’t think the question is whether he sent those four gentlemen to die but why he stated that they died in a mob action brought on by a video. Please note, this was a location that not only had been denied any security upgrade by the State Dept but had had it reduced. Amb. Stevens was sent there for some reason with little to no security to support him. And, oh by the way, this was the anniversary of 9/11.

Cindy Munford on May 1, 2014 at 9:03 PM

“She was the first to publicly utter the lie and repeated it to the faces of the families when the coffins arrived.”

Mrs. Clinton,
Why did you lie to the American people and the families of the slain about the nature of the attacks in Benghazi, when documents and testimony show that you and nearly everyone else who repeated that lie knew it to be otherwise?
-Jane Doe Voter

If she actually decides to run in 2016 questions like that should be asked and haunt her non-stop, they certainly would if she had an (R) after her name. To that tune there would probably be a some bus full of people that would haunt her at most campaign stops with ‘Hillary lied People died!’ signs, or planted members to ask questions, or making scenes (think code pink). Watch the msm cover any such criticism as war on women, sexist, or swiftghazi’ing her, old news, or some new BS de jour false outrage, assuming they give coverage to the question at all.

What she said publicly and then also in private to the families is very telling, and once again confirms that even in private she’s an utter scumbag (‘don’t worry, we will get the man who made the video’) and will go to great lengths (see recent releases re:90′s vrwc ops) to stick to her fabricated stories or fabrications of others for that matter if it fits her purposes.

Knighthawk on May 1, 2014 at 9:45 PM

And where is our leader John McCain on this? You’d think he’d jump on this latter day Watergate.

J.B. Say on May 1, 2014 at 10:11 PM

“You’d think he’d jump on this latter day Watergate.”

I’m no fan of the Senator but I believe he was one of the first to make that comparison.
http://hotair.com/archives/2012/10/29/mccain-benghazi-worse-than-watergate/

Knighthawk on May 1, 2014 at 10:32 PM

On running toward the sounds of a gun fight:

1. Today an “U.S. Goverment” employment report. 288,000 new jobs.
800,000 no longer in the work force. 62% working.

2. Today the sounds of a battle from the U.S. / Mexican borderlands.
The trains, 5 to 8 a day, with 350 to 500 per train leave southern Mexico. 60,000 to 90,000 per month every month.

2. Foot traffic of the train people, the car people, the foot people the plane people who over stay visas = 2,000,000 to 3,000,000.

3. An invasion going on now for 10 years.

WHO RUNS TO THE SOUND OF THESE GUNS?

The number of illegals now is much higer than the number of unemployed American citizens.

It is more than the sound of a few guns.

Who goes toward this crime, this illegal invasion, this planned attack on U.S.?

APACHEWHOKNOWS on May 2, 2014 at 9:16 AM

It’s pretty clear at this point that the liars who have power in this country are doing their dead level best to start a war somewhere, anywhere. It’s what the useless authority hungry dopes do when they want to distract from their failure and thievery at home.

Another Libertarian on May 2, 2014 at 1:39 PM

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