Intel agencies overheard Benghazi attackers calling terrorist leaders during assault?

posted at 10:01 am on June 12, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Big news if it can be substantiated, and more grist for the House Select Committee mill. Fox News’ Bret Baier and James Rosen report that US intelligence agencies knew for certain during the attack on the Benghazi consulate that it was a coordinated terrorist attack, in large part because they listened to phone conversations to terror network leaders from the attackers. That’s because those calls took place on State Department cell phones seized from the consulate, according to the pilot that flew the mission to get the survivors and bodies out of Benghazi the next day. Major Eric Stahl (USAF retired) told Baier the story, which Rosen confirmed with a second source:


The terrorists who attacked the U.S. consulate and CIA annex in Benghazi on September 11, 2012 used cell phones, seized from State Department personnel during the attacks, and U.S. spy agencies overheard them contacting more senior terrorist leaders to report on the success of the operation, multiple sources confirmed to Fox News.

The disclosure is important because it adds to the body of evidence establishing that senior U.S. officials in the Obama administration knew early on that Benghazi was a terrorist attack, and not a spontaneous protest over an anti-Islam video that had gone awry, as the administration claimed for several weeks after the attacks.

Eric Stahl, who recently retired as a major in the U.S. Air Force, served as commander and pilot of the C-17 aircraft that was used to transport the corpses of the four casualties from the Benghazi attacks – then-U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, information officer Sean Smith, and former Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods – as well as the assault’s survivors from Tripoli to the safety of an American military base in Ramstein, Germany.

In an exclusive interview on Fox News’ “Special Report,” Stahl said members of a CIA-trained Global Response Staff who raced to the scene of the attacks were “confused” by the administration’s repeated implication of the video as a trigger for the attacks, because “they knew during the attack…who was doing the attacking.” Asked how, Stahl told anchor Bret Baier: “Right after they left the consulate in Benghazi and went to the [CIA] safehouse, they were getting reports that cell phones, consulate cell phones, were being used to make calls to the attackers’ higher ups.”

That calls into question the explanation of the confusion that followed over the next two weeks, in which the White House insisted that the attack was a spontaneous riot over a YouTube video. Stahl expressed amazement at the story, both at the time and to this day, as the briefing he received while the attack was in progress. If this can be substantiated, then it implicates both State and Defense in the false narrative that emerged later.

But that’s not the biggest revelation Stahl delivers. He insists that had someone made the decision to relieve the Benghazi consulate early in the attack, US forces could have arrived within three hours to intervene. Furthermore, Stahl relates second-hand information that the US diplomatic corps in Libya requested a C-130 and personnel be kept on standby as early as a month before the attack in case they needed immediate evacuation, but that the request was denied.

Stahl expresses amazement again in the lack of operational readiness on the anniversary of 9/11, too:

Stahl also contended that given his crew’s alert status and location, they could have reached Benghazi in time to have played a role in rescuing the victims of the assault, and ferrying them to safety in Germany, had they been asked to do so. “We were on a 45-day deployment to Ramstein air base,” he told Fox News. “And we were there basically to pick up priority missions, last-minute missions that needed to be accomplished.”

“You would’ve thought that we would have had a little bit more of an alert posture on 9/11,” Stahl added. “A hurried-up timeline probably would take us [an] hour-and-a-half to get off the ground and three hours and fifteen minutes to get down there. So we could’ve gone down there and gotten them easily.”

Baier notes that the Accountability Review Board never interviewed Stahl for its probe into the Benghazi defeat. I’d assume Trey Gowdy will have a lot more interest in talking with Stahl — and perhaps some people in the intelligence communities who listened in on those phone calls, too. Perhaps Gowdy can start with a subpoena for the cell phone records.

Update: I wrote Baghdad once instead of Benghazi; I’ve fixed it above.


Related Posts:

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

I’ve been looking for any hint of this story in the real media, after seeing it on Faux News. /s

Still waiting but not holding my breath.

Drained Brain on June 12, 2014 at 10:03 AM

I firmly believe it.

rlwo2008 on June 12, 2014 at 10:06 AM

We all the know the real truth, even the scumbag, pathological lying leftists who created this criminal administration. They know if they just keep lying and denigrating anyone who questions the event that it will just fade away.

ClassicCon on June 12, 2014 at 10:07 AM

Somewhere else, this guy recounts that after he returned with the survivors and bodies, the first person to speak to all of them was a State department official rather than anyone from the military.

I hope every Obama administration official with hands in this comes to an exceedingly bad end.

Thanks, LIVs.

BuckeyeSam on June 12, 2014 at 10:07 AM

BTW: why don’t we have more information on the number and identities of the survivors?

BuckeyeSam on June 12, 2014 at 10:09 AM

BTW: why don’t we have more information on the number and identities of the survivors?

BuckeyeSam on June 12, 2014 at 10:09 AM

Unless Gowdy and his committee can get to the bottom of it, that will sadly and disgustingly remain a rhetorical question.

Drained Brain on June 12, 2014 at 10:11 AM

Just icing on the cake. The liars in the White House don’t give a damn about telling the truth. Never had, never will.

SC.Charlie on June 12, 2014 at 10:13 AM

If this can be substantiated, then it implicates both State and Defense in the false narrative that emerged later.

Don’t we pretty much know this already at this point? That document that Judicial Watch got their hands on pretty much confirmed there was a coverup.

But that’s not the biggest revelation Stahl delivers. He insists that had someone made the decision to relieve the Baghdad consulate early in the attack, US forces could have arrived within three hours to intervene.

That’s the real scandal. For a President who claims we leave no man behind, he sure didn’t seem too concerned about anyone in Benghazi that night.

Doughboy on June 12, 2014 at 10:14 AM

Now we know what Obama was doing. Taking his subordinates calls.

OT:

14:07: ISIS has published rules of conduct for residents of the Iraqi city of Mosul and its surrounding province. In a statement, it says all Muslim residents are ordered to attend the mosque for the five daily prayers, while alcohol and smoking are banned. Police and soldiers are told to repent or be killed, and women are ordered to dress decently and only go out if necessary.

kcewa on June 12, 2014 at 10:15 AM

Really, does anyone need any further substantiation that this administration lies??? Please, don’t insult my intelligence anymore. If anything was going to happen to this traitorous group, it would have already happened. Just more hearings and denials and nothing more to come.

Deano1952 on June 12, 2014 at 10:15 AM

He insists that had someone made the decision to relieve the Baghdad Benghazi consulate early in the attack…

FIFY, Ed.

I think we need a scorecard to track all the lies of commission and omission. Mike Morrell has some ‘splainin to do if the cell phone thing is true.

rcpjr on June 12, 2014 at 10:15 AM

But that’s not the biggest revelation Stahl delivers. He insists that had someone made the decision to relieve the Baghdad consulate early in the attack, US forces could have arrived within three hours to intervene.

No sh!t! Just like I have been saying all along.

Who on here has been saying that it wasn’t possible? Blink I believe. What do you say about this?

Patriot Vet on June 12, 2014 at 10:16 AM

So what. This just proves that Susan Rice lied.

We have known that from day 1.

faraway on June 12, 2014 at 10:19 AM

The Obama’s mid east doctrine is ‘anything to appease the muslim brotherhood.’ The false narrative (the big lie) to throw some poor guy in prison for yootube video and enlist sue rice as a windup puppet on Sunday accomplished two objectives: absolved his administration of responsibility for the murder of 4 Americans, and provided getaway cover for his M.B. cohorts in lybia to remain anonymous.

Can we impeach this guy yet?

locomotivebreath1901 on June 12, 2014 at 10:20 AM

According to a couple sources quoted in articles I read and one that stated it on the Howie Carr radio program, the mission in Benghazi like all other embassies and missions was set up with equipment that communicated directly to the white house and state department for use in the case of attack.

Are we supposed to think the mission had no communication gear or that it failed as the attack started?

subZero and the harridan knew immediately when they attack started. Instead of fighting back they started crafting excuses lies and propaganda to cover their sorry asses.

dogsoldier on June 12, 2014 at 10:21 AM

That’s the real scandal. For a President who claims we leave no man behind, he sure didn’t seem too concerned about anyone in Benghazi that night. – Doughboy on June 12, 2014 at 10:14 AM

He had to get to his fundraiser that night. Nothing else mattered except getting reelected.

SC.Charlie on June 12, 2014 at 10:22 AM

Very good report

cmsinaz on June 12, 2014 at 10:22 AM

Just more proof of what we already knew: Hillary Clinton is a congenital liar.

AZCoyote on June 12, 2014 at 10:23 AM

Well it certainly looks like that you tube story is blowing up..:)

Dire Straits on June 12, 2014 at 10:24 AM

Nothing but telephone games…
and right wing conspiracy.

I am going to Google to find the truth……

Electrongod on June 12, 2014 at 10:25 AM

And the SOBs in Washington wonder why people have a distrust of the government.

GarandFan on June 12, 2014 at 10:25 AM

Hey, the select committee sounds great. Is it ever going to get off the ground?

BuckeyeSam on June 12, 2014 at 10:26 AM

Just more proof of what we already knew: Hillary Clinton is a congenital liar.

AZCoyote on June 12, 2014 at 10:23 AM

Yes..She developed that condition in Bosnia while dodging sniper fire..:):)

Dire Straits on June 12, 2014 at 10:26 AM

BTW: why don’t we have more information on the number and identities of the survivors?

BuckeyeSam on June 12, 2014 at 10:09 AM

Barky’s goons reportedly made them all sign non-disclosure agreements, and threatened them with serious repercussions if they talked.

Most transparent and accountable administration evah! strikes again.

AZCoyote on June 12, 2014 at 10:27 AM

Watching this disastrous chapter in American history unfold, otherwise known as the 0b00ba Administration, is like watching Pearl Harbor being attacked in slow motion by the US Army Air Force on orders of FDR.

Akzed on June 12, 2014 at 10:34 AM

He insists that had someone made the decision to relieve the Baghdad Benghazi consulate early in the attack…

FIFY, Ed.

I think we need a scorecard to track all the lies of commission and omission. Mike Morrell has some ‘splainin to do if the cell phone thing is true.

rcpjr on June 12, 2014 at 10:15 AM

Eh, that’s called foreshadowing. You know, based on current events…

climbnjump on June 12, 2014 at 10:34 AM

They were calling each other to note where exactly in the YT vid the offensive parts were.

Bishop on June 12, 2014 at 10:37 AM

What a disgrace. It won’t be surprising to find out that the Administration held back sending in help just to protect the President’s assertions that al qaeda was on the run.

rcv77 on June 12, 2014 at 10:41 AM

They were calling each other to note where exactly in the YT vid the offensive parts were.

Bishop on June 12, 2014 at 10:37 AM

rofl..That was hilarious..:)

Dire Straits on June 12, 2014 at 10:47 AM

…I love the msm!

KOOLAID2 on June 12, 2014 at 10:52 AM

??? for somebody..Is Hillary’s new book listed under fact or fiction??..:)

Dire Straits on June 12, 2014 at 10:57 AM

I watched that interview yesterday on FOX News. Maj. Eric Stahl was an extremely poised, articulate and entirely credible source of information. Information that we already suspected to be true. This interview should be the subject of intense media coverage, but as we all know, it will not. Not as long as Moochelle’s garden is being harvested today and Barack is glad handing the collegiate basketball champs…

On another note, I wish that Pres. Bush would end his silence and express his thoughts and feelings on the current situation in Iraq, and the incredible waste of 4500 lives and countless lost arms, legs, and minds of our faithful military men and women due to the Muslim in the White House. The man has to be intensely angry. I know that I am.

bimmcorp on June 12, 2014 at 11:02 AM

More and more military are going to come out on this and other issues, I think at some point Barry’s downfall will come from the lips of the people he is supposed to take care of.

Sven on June 12, 2014 at 11:13 AM

Perhaps Gowdy can start with a subpoena for the cell phone records.

Shouldn’t need a subpoena, it’s only meta-data.

slickwillie2001 on June 12, 2014 at 11:14 AM

Are you people insane?

Barry needed his beauty sleep if he was going to look awesome in Vegas.

PS Is it treason now?

formwiz on June 12, 2014 at 11:19 AM

He insists that had someone made the decision to relieve the Baghdad consulate early in the attack, US forces could have arrived within three hours to intervene.

OK, just to put a bit of reality on this statement: what US forces? Is he talking about the crew of his C-17? That’s what he seems to say here. Sorry, he might be a very gung-ho guy, but he’s not going to help much against what was essentially a company-sized infantry attack. Also, there’s the small matter of the Benghazi airport being a bit of a ways from the consulate. Yes, he’s right that “US forces” could have gotten there – just not useful ones in his scenario.

Now, having said that, I think US forces *could* have gotten there from elsewhere. Of course, we know this since the two contractors who were killed were part of a team that was ordered not to respond. The mere presence of that team at this incident might have disrupted the attack. The same number of people might have died, but that’s beside the point. (You don’t forfeit a game just because you are likely to lose it by a point or two.)

There is also the possibility that you could have gotten some air assets (besides a friggin’ cargo plane) over the area before the battle’s end. Again, you don’t know how long the fight will last, so you should respond. (Mr President, this isn’t an episode of Hill Street Blues – you can’t know it will be all neatly tied up with a bow by 5 minutes before the hour.)

GWB on June 12, 2014 at 12:07 PM

GWB on June 12, 2014 at 12:07 PM

rapid deployment force (there was supposed to be one there) egressing from the C17.
they used to train in air drops like that when I was in.only difference is the 17 is a LOT better at it than a 141.

dmacleo on June 12, 2014 at 12:16 PM

A cargo plane on alert can either bring forces from Ramstien or pick up a quick reation team at another location and bring them in. And its not just that it is a cargo plane, he made the statement that it seemed odd they weren’t on a higher state of alert because of the anniversary. That used to be standard practice when I was on alert. At least they could have gotten down there earlier and gotten out as many people as they could.

Sven on June 12, 2014 at 12:22 PM

Watching this disastrous chapter in American history unfold, otherwise known as the 0b00ba Administration, is like watching Pearl Harbor being attacked in slow motion by the US Army Air Force on orders of FDR.

Akzed on June 12, 2014 at 10:34 AM

Spot on analogy.

IrishEyes on June 12, 2014 at 1:40 PM

The lie is crumbling. Of course the NSA has all the electronic Cooms that day. Even that within the WH.

jake49 on June 12, 2014 at 2:30 PM

Comms

jake49 on June 12, 2014 at 2:30 PM

This is a huge story. But it will be overwhelmed, at least temporarily, by current events.

Missy on June 12, 2014 at 2:48 PM

Again, you don’t know how long the fight will last, so you should respond. (Mr President, this isn’t an episode of Hill Street Blues – you can’t know it will be all neatly tied up with a bow by 5 minutes before the hour.)

GWB on June 12, 2014 at 12:07 PM

Unless they did know. Think of the implications of that.

Missy on June 12, 2014 at 2:49 PM

rapid deployment force (there was supposed to be one there) egressing from the C17.
they used to train in air drops like that when I was in.only difference is the 17 is a LOT better at it than a 141.

dmacleo on June 12, 2014 at 12:16 PM

I don’t believe there is one at Ramstein AFB. It’s a great idea, but I don’t think it is there. (I could be wrong.)

A cargo plane on alert can either bring forces from Ramstien or pick up a quick reation team at another location and bring them in.

Sven on June 12, 2014 at 12:22 PM

OK, true. But, there has to be a QRF on duty, and nearby. Stopping to pick them up somewhere else can significantly increase the time to get them there. (There is one at Sigonella, I believe.)

At least they could have gotten down there earlier and gotten out as many people as they could.

I’m not sure what you think they could have done more than they did without having combat forces onboard? They did get everyone out. To get them out before they did, they would need that QRF mentioned above.

I concur wholeheartedly with pointing out they had no plan in place for this. And I definitely concur with criticism that says they should have done *something*. But unless there was a QRF at Ramstein (and remember that we have almost no ground forces at all in Germany any more), this major’s view that *he* could have done something if only he had been unleashed is a little too much bravado, imho.

GWB on June 12, 2014 at 3:16 PM

Unless they did know. Think of the implications of that.

Missy on June 12, 2014 at 2:49 PM

Very true.

GWB on June 12, 2014 at 3:18 PM

Patriot Vet on June 12, 2014 at 10:16 AM

And that’s just getting ground forces there. As a USAF vet, I always felt intellectually insulted by the statement we couldn’t get there. BS! We were capable of getting further inside the old USSR with fighter jets back in the 1970s-80s than the distance form the closest fighter bases to Benghazi. ONE frigging fighter would have shut down this garbage.

PJ Emeritus on June 12, 2014 at 3:30 PM

Digest this:

http://www.ausairpower.net/Eldorado-Canyon.html

The timeline for the F-111s Reagan sent to Tripoli was LESS than the time the Benghazi attack lasted and they had to fly STRICTLY over water from fewkin ENGLAND!

PJ Emeritus on June 12, 2014 at 3:34 PM

When I saw this interview this morning on my Roku I nearly fell out of my chair. I beg you, if you haven’t yet watched the entire 12 minute clip above, PLEASE DON’T MISS IT. It is filled with never-before-heard information.

ncinca on June 12, 2014 at 4:17 PM

I saw this last evening on Bret Baier and recorded it of course.

Much of what he said (but not all) about how quickly we could have responded was reported w/n a week or so of the attack by a retired female CIA officer and by a collection of retired military higherups who keep in touch via their own network. Also, reported was the reason for the attack: gun running between two terrorists groups. I cannot remember her name, but she hit the nail on the head and not one thing that she reported has been proven wrong. I just wish I could remember her name.

avagreen on June 12, 2014 at 4:27 PM

avagreen on June 12, 2014 at 4:27 PM

I think it was Clare Lopez:
http://www.standupamericaus.org/corruption-2/clare-lopez-benghazi-the-set-up-and-the-cover-up/

This was written in October 30, 2012, about 6 weeks after Benghazi attack.

avagreen on June 12, 2014 at 4:35 PM

This wasn’t the person who was writing on his blog speaking about the retired military network, but this is the same type of news they were putting out.

Admiral Lyons also says the White House claims that there was no time to mount a counter-assault on the Benghazi compound is patently false, as there was a multitude of forces in the area that could have responded.

‘I’m going to tell you that’s not true,’ he said. ‘We had a 130-man unit of forces at Sigonella [AFB in Italy]. They were ready to go.’

‘The flight time from Sigonella to Benghazi is roughly an hour.’

http://www.capitalisminstitute.org/obama-armed-al-qaeda/

avagreen on June 12, 2014 at 4:47 PM

More:

One former CIA agent, Clare Lopez was quoted as saying:

“The United States switched sides in the war on terror with what we did in Libya, knowingly facilitating the provision of weapons to known al-Qaeda militias and figures.”

http://www.patriotnetdaily.com/benghazi-bombshell-ex-military-and-cia-committee-obama-and-hillary-did-it/#sthash.wQfoRn6M.dpuf

avagreen on June 12, 2014 at 4:53 PM

subZero and the harridan knew immediately when they attack started. Instead of fighting back they started crafting excuses lies and propaganda to cover their sorry asses.

dogsoldier on June 12, 2014 at 10:21 AM

Well of course they knew. They’re in it up to their eyeballs. They knew before it happened. What we saw was an organized, paid hit on Stevens clumsily camouflaged as a spontaneous riot, as the whole weapons-running scheme had spun out of control. It was a set up. For instance, why was Stevens even IN Benghazi? What was said by Stevens at the house intel committee meeting with him shortly before he was assassinated (the one Mike Rogers wishes had remained secret)? Rogers, Boehner… they all have blood on their hands as well, because they are complicit in at least the cover-up, and quite possibly, the act.

bofh on June 12, 2014 at 6:34 PM

Update: I wrote Baghdad once instead of Benghazi; I’ve fixed it above.

Ed, an understandable mistake. Yes, we have reason to worry about our people in Baghdad right now.

virgo on June 13, 2014 at 2:21 AM