Does Matter: State Department never requested military backup the night of Benghazi attack

November 1, 2012

I want you to listen to me very carefully… Eli Lake’s intelligence and  military sources are iron clad and they’re usually deeper and closer to events than folks expect.

So when Eli  Lake reports that “two senior U.S. officials familiar with the details of military planning” spoke to him about the events surrounding the Benghazi attack and said that “the State Department never requested military backup that evening,” Americans would do well to listen very carefully. And if you can listen as carefully as Eli chooses his words (he has great skills at this), you’ll learn much more than the sum of his deftly chosen words.

It’s unlikely any outside military team could have arrived in Benghazi quickly enough to save Ambassador Chris Stevens or his colleague Sean Smith, both of whom died from smoke inhalation after a band of more than 100 men overran the U.S. mission at around 9:30 p.m. that evening and set the buildings inside ablaze.

But military backup may have made a difference at around five the following morning, when a second wave of attackers assaulted the CIA annex where embassy personnel had taken refuge. It was during this second wave of attacks that two ex-SEALs working for the CIA’s security teams—Glenn Doherty and Tyrone Woods—were killed in a mortar strike.

Normally it would be the job of the U.S. ambassador on location to request a military response. But Stevens likely died in the first two hours of the attack. The responsibility for requesting military backup would then have fallen to the deputy chief of mission at Benghazi or officials at the State Department in Washington.

“The State Department is responsible for assessing security at its diplomatic installations and for requesting support from other government agencies if they need it,” a senior U.S. Defense official said. “There was no request from the Department of State to intervene militarily on the night of the attack.”

The last paragraph is key. It is State’s responsibility to make the request. It’s their mission, their people, their winds of affairs. But no one did. Ambassador Stephens was likely dead very early. The deputy chief of mission at Benghazi clearly did not (perhaps could not) make the request for assistance. And now we’re back to Washington and a groupthink pandemic that paralyzes those who, as decision makers, simply can not become so. But fear of mistakes – or, if you prefer, fear of offending or ruffling a host nation’s representatives and leaders – can immobilize the minds of those who must be quick, agile thinkers and react decisively. Lives often depend on it.

So no one else in the State Department in Washington could make the call to send in forces to stop the bleeding in a situation that could – and did – get out of hand if left alone to fester.

Now, read the next paragraph. Again, carefully.

The president, however, would have the final say as to whether or not to send in the military. By 11 p.m. Benghazi time, 90 minutes after the assault began on the U.S. mission, Obama met with the National Security Council to discuss the attack. NSC spokesman Tommy Vietor said the president “ordered Secretary Panetta and Chairman Dempsey to begin moving assets into the region to prepare for a range of contingencies” at that meeting.
While no one at State made the request, Obama had the final say. And we now know that he was aware of events as they were unfolding, including live drone camera video. What did Obama do? Apparently, he gave orders to “begin moving assets into the region to prepare for a range of contingencies.”
Translation: Re-arrange the deck chairs, be busy, but don’t actually do anything. While I was referring to State directly in the debilitating “groupthink pandemic” in Washington, this is another sure sign – certainly so in hindsight. The groupthink pandemic cost the lives of 2 former Navy SEALs who were, on their own initiative and in defiance of orders to “stand down,” saving the lives of 30 American consulate staff. And they got no assistance. From anyone. No decisions in Washington did anything to save a life in Benghazi.
Again, when Eli Lake reports citing “senior U.S. Defense officials,” listen carefully.

For, as much as it doesn’t matter (in the elections)  about New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez and his unpaid Dominican hookers,  this does matter.



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  1. Ragspierre says:

    “Ambassador Stephens was likely dead very early.”

    That conflicts with the accounts on the ground that had him taken alive to the clinic where he later died, many hours after the initial attack.

    The autopsy would tell us with particularity.

  2. Rich K says:

    Just think, four more years of stunning intelligent statecraft like this in the waiting.China will have no problem claiming the oceans and the continents if this is what we have on call in their stead.

  3. russ diehl says:

    terrific piece!….well done

  4. Goonions says:

    Heckuva job there Hillary!!!!

  5. MarkJ says:

    Obama’s operational modus operandi is clearly “process = action.”

    Vote “present”.

    Pressing issue? No problem. Appoint a commission to study it to death.

    “Stand by to stand by”.

    I’ll wager when Obama is turned out of office next week, he’ll be so deep in denial that it’ll take him another week to realize what’s happened.

    • ali3nation says:

      I hope he isn’t given time to realize what’s happened. I would rather see him realize he is in leg irons and an orange jumpsuit awaiting court martial. It would become him far better than that brand spanking new AF1 crew jacket that he defiles.

  6. Daniel says:

    The SEAL on the roof definitely did make a request for help. Was he working for the State Department? If so someone at the State Department made a request for military support – he did. He was a someone. The response team in Sicily was ready to go; someone there was aware of the attack in Benghazi. It did not go because ordered by someone not to do so. Who made that decision?

  7. John Pearson says:

    I hope Obama does what Al Gore did after his crushing loss in 2000- climb in a car, drive aimlessly around the country for weeks, while growing a scruffy beard and adding an extra fifty pounds of belly fat.
    Fat, scruffy, melancholy Obama, totally devoid of arrogance. The thought makes my leg tingle like a diabetic Chris Matthews at an all-you-can-eat buffet.

  8. jeanneb says:

    THe most heartbreaking part is to think those two brave men spent the last hours of their lives believing they had been abandoned by the country they loved and served so well. God bless them.

  9. E says:

    I just retired from State this year, and my job was doing the same work as Sean Smith. As soon as a mission is under attack, it was my job to send a flash message; it is a canned message and it goes to the white house, to state, to DOD, to the entire national security apparatus operations centers – and it is the major priority message anyone anywhere would see, period. When you have read that 400 people may have gotten emails, well that is probably true.

    Now for the important news. It appears that “everyone” knew the consulates situation – of course we know Obama and his former CIA now head DoD appointee was with him (exactly same room togetherness that killed Osama Bin Laden…).

    The US can dispatch immediately within seconds the appropriate response for any situation. Let me repeat that. Now, if a series of sat’s, drones, aircraft, electronic signal intercepts, on the ground assets, and other countries Information all pour into a command center. If a tank needs killed, there is a 0-6 to make final split second decisions but the computers identify the host of assets, e.g., cruise missiles, artillery, quick response teams, aircraft, drones, etc., and the appropriate selection is made.

    What we learned from Obama’s personal button on the Osama Bin Laden kill mission (if you believed that), is that this president was too present again in real time (and he went to be 45-minutes later?) is that this President was present and no help was ever sent, rather all help was told to stand down (now we have a one-star general and the commander of the Stennis carrier group relieved). Obama made that call just like with Bin Laden. Got this burned in your head yet picture? You should know this just like the DNC is sure they can tell their party faithful that OBL was personally dispatched by Obama, and we do know Obama was president as president again!!!

    As a state department weenie, it is normal for an IT guy to be one of the final few with the chief of mission (in this case the Ambassador) who remains until the end – due to communications and being located in a safe haven area of the mission) as was the case for Amb Stevens.

    I always had faith when I was doing my job that help would come. However, part of the reason I left state and retired was the prevalent liberal wishy-washy politics first Work Place Environment under Hillary.

    State would have not had to make any request nor would they be an approval authority, rather they would just meekly accept the judgment of professionals like the military and intel agencies. They are not a security or combat outfit. When making the point they are responsible for their own security, so is a bank, a shopping mall, etc., and each has a limited capability. State has as some missions abroad Marine Security Guards, Local National Guard Forces, Regional Security Officer (actually diplomatic security specialists), possibly contractors who used to be US vendors like the evil Blackwater (no US Dept of State personnel ever died under Blackwater’s security). Some countries like one of one the final shitholes I served had a Special Forces team located nearby for sereral purposes, one to secure an airport and the other to keep watchful eyes on, for the most part arrogant State Department mission). In some countries we have what used to be Delta Force operatives roaming around, as well as other agencies who never set foot nor have any contact with anyone stationed in that country – they are totally independent.

    If President Obama was president when this happened, he is responsible PERIOD. There is only one commander in chief of the armed forces. There is only one head of the civilian government. The president appoints every Sec State, CIA, SecDef (SecNav, SecArmy, Sec AF, etc) so if incompetence ruled the day it was all because of his due diligence or lack thereof. It was no more Hillary’s fault than the man in the moon (I hate Hillary by the way – lesbian politics-first in everything).

    But back to me. I left State just because I had lost confidence in the ability of the administration top to bottom and did not want to be part of what should have been for me or anyone the most prestigious institution in government to work – but Hillary and O made sure that transformative social engineering was the primary mission and diplomacy second. Liberals have failed to understand that diplomacy, national security, or even GM and banks need to be run by the professionals and not some CRAZ or appointee.

    • David H Dennis says:

      Great comment!

      Actually, I would trust my local shopping mall, which is very well managed, to have a better plan against a terrorist attack than our government had in Benghazi.


    • Fred says:

      Thank you for your service.
      Cross-posted you to Diplomad 2.0 and Belmont Club. Lots of insight from insiders there too.

    • Diplomad says:

      Amen, brother. I left State after 34 years for the same reason.

  10. Esau's Message says:

    The people at the annex were CIA, not State.

    • Concerned says:

      Don’t let the facts get in the way of a good effort to politicize the attack in an effort to harm Obama – whom the right hates far more than it loves the USA.

      • Ragspierre says:

        Here’s a fact, you lying Collectivist moron….

        ALLLLLLL of them work for, and under the MANAGEMENT of Obama.

        ALLLLLLL failures are his.

        ALLLLLLL the cover-up is his.

        ALLLLLLL the lies are his (until and unless he starts lopping off heads).

        So what about Obama do you support?

        • Concerned says:

          She SCREAMED in spit-strewn and impotent RAGE, while pounding the table and picking food out of her overgrown beard. Stay down in your hole, loser. When you can present one fact to support any of your blatherings, maybe then you wife will let you play with the adults.

          • Ragspierre says:

            I stated…emphatically…what are absolute facts that we DO know.

            This whole debacle belongs…along with the cover-up and lies…to Obama. “Presidents” preside. See, stupid?

            You respond with impotent, hate-twisted Collectivist ad homina.

            I asked what about Obama you find to support.

            We got nada.

    • SDN says:

      The original attack was a State Department consulate… and State works for Obama.

      Oh, and concern troll, the only fact is that we love the USA, we just don’t consider your kind to be part of it.

    • Diplomad says:

      Everyone in an embassy or consulate is under the authority of the Ambassador who reports to State and the President.

  11. Concerned says:

    Remember when Reich Wingers screamed at us that we weren’t allowed to ever question their hero, W, over 9/11?

    Peoples’ lives, national security, etc., are just political footballs to Reich Wingers. As they prove with their undying support for Willard Milhaus Romney. The extent of their patriotism is limited by the perceived political power they receive. That’s it.

  12. Concerned says:

    “Every word COULD be true.”

    Yeah. OR, the paranoid and deluded ravings of you and your confederates could be true. Hmm, who has more credibility.

    “How would you know? You imbue “administration officials” with your slavish Collectivist credence.

    Which is a hilarious charge, given that the “source” of the article cited in the original post is a similarly unnamed official.

    “I question. I think. You could try it.”

    Comedy gold. If by “thinking” you mean repeating like a brain-dead parrot every fact-free talking point you hear on FOX news.

    There’s no evidence of any wrongdoing/cover-up you stupid, lying twat. And you cannot point to any. Your fever dreams are not evidence.

    We arrive at what it always comes down to shit-stains like you: PROVE IT.

    • Ragspierre says:

      Who said I accepted every word of the root post as gospel?

      There is ample evidence…indeed, damning evidence…of a Obami cover-up, including their lil’ war on the First Amendment in aide of their lies.

      Nobody could possible prove anything to you. Your skull is packed with your Collectivist crap to near exploding.

      Your sole use here is to get material to show uninformed people of the madness and hate of your Collective.

      • Concerned says:

        “There is ample evidence…indeed, damning evidence…of a Obami cover-up, including their lil’ war on the First Amendment in aide of their lies.”

        Yawn. We’ve been over your opinion, dip shit. WHAT ARE THE FACTS SUPPORTING THIS POSITION?

        Once more of hilarity – when did Obama wage a “war on the first amendment”? Specifically.

        “Nobody could possible prove anything to you. Your skull is packed with your Collectivist crap to near exploding.

        Your sole use here is to get material to show uninformed people of the madness and hate of your Collective.”

        Yes, coming from a lying coward like you, this is impressive. We should just take your word for it I guess, right bottom-feeder.

  13. Concerned says:

    “I stated…emphatically…what are absolute facts that we DO know.”

    Nooo, you screamed absolute conjecture, speculation, hearsay, rumor, and opinion about what you BELIEVE to be true – simply because.

    “This whole debacle belongs…along with the cover-up and lies…to Obama. “Presidents” preside. See, stupid?”

    I see, a lying sack of shit who keeps screaming about cover-ups, but can’t present a single fact supporting said cover up. I see a preening loser who hates the president SO MUCH it makes him cry.

    “I asked what about Obama you find to support.”

    Ah, the misdirection you are so famous on the inernet for.

    Funny, coming from a lying bottom-feeder utterly in capable of making a fact-based argument.

    Go ahead, tell us you’re not obligated to because you’re a famous trial lawyer.

    “We got nada”

    Correct. You have nothing.

    Just for laughs, tell us just 3 specific policies of Willard Milhaus Romney that you support.

    We got nada.

    • Ragspierre says:

      Golly, the hate is really strong with you today!

      I support those policies.

      I also support following the law, so I am adamantly opposed to the outlaw gang that Obama heads.

      • Concerned says:

        Poor loser. You can’t prove your point. Again.

        And what SPECIFICALLY do you like about Willar’d “plan to create jobs”? Specifically, dip shit.

        • Ragspierre says:

          I can only imagine how frightened you must be, in the midst of your psychotic break over the looming loss your Collective sees before you.

          This must account for this level of loss of control, so I forgive you.

          But I’ll still print off your posts for education…!!!


  14. […] us tips! Bloggers: install a Larwyn’s Linx widget. Get real-time news, 24/7, at BadBlue.NationThe President, the State Department and Benghazi: RiehlBenghazi Timeline: More Lies Exposed: FeldmanMost Senior Marine in Congress Sends Letter to […]

  15. Ragspierre says:

    Oh! Dear!

    A certain moronic Collectivist troll should be protected from this information…

  16. Pablo says:

    Ambassador Stephens was likely dead very early.

    According to the friendly locals that pulled him out of the consulate and took him to the hospital, he was still alive at the time, which was hours after the start of the attack.

    We left him behind. To die.