What do we know and what don't we know about the attack on Benghazi on September 11, 2012.
SECDEF Leon Panetta told a news conference Thursday that four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, were left to die in Benghazi without a rescue attempt. We know that the two drones over the site of the battle lingered over the battle site and that it was viewed in real time at the Pentagon, the White House, the State Department and the CIA. It was likely piped directly to Air Force One as President Obama winged his way to Las Vegas to party with Beyonce and Jay Z. We do not know whether or not President Obama watched it up until the point where the party began.
SECDEF Panetta said that, "The basic principle is that you don't deploy forces into harm's way without knowing what's going on, without having some real-time information about what's taking place."
In addition to the video from the overhead assets, real-time emails and telephone calls poured into CIA/STATE/DEFENSE/WHITE HOUSE detailing an attack by at least 20 armed terrorists on the US Benghazi consulate. We knew that Ambassador Stevens was crouched in a safe room waiting for help as the al Qaida affiliate terrorist group Ansar al-Sharia boasted openly of their attack. The terrorists even used Facebook...
General Carter Ham (commanding AFRICOM) said that he received no orders to send aid to the battle, which would square with what SECDEF Panetta has told us. We know that neither the US Air Force or Navy were directed to send any available assets to support the valiant, but ultimately doomed CIA protective officers (former SEALs).
Both CIA Protective Officers (Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty), ignored orders to "stand down," and were not in the least bit confused about what was happening and what to do about it. As soon as they learned that Ambassador Stevens and nine other people at the consulate were under attack, they rushed to their defense. They died more than six hours after the attack began manning a bloody machine gun and waiting for help that never came.
As former Assistant Defense Secretary Bing West writes on the pages of National Review: "The U.S. military base in Sigonella, Sicily, was 480 miles away from Benghazi. Stationed at Sigonella were Special Operations Forces, transport aircraft and attack aircraft ... Fighter jets could have been at Benghazi in an hour; the commandos inside three hours." Your administration had seven hours, Mr. Secretary, seven hours. (IBD)
The Obama Administration spin doctors manufactured the blame and directed it not at their own behavior but at a YouTube video that is critical of Islam (that nobody had seen). UN Ambassador Susan Rice made the talk show circuit, proliferating the lie.
Where is President Obama in all of this? We don't know because he isn't going to tell us. It's embarrassing and he has an election to win.
The raid on the bin Laden compound was to be his crowning achievement in an otherwise dismal, insipid four year term. And it was eclipsed by both his signature cowardice and his unwillingness to be a genuine Commander-in-Chief.