The "independent" Benghazi Report has concluded the White House remained in the dark.
The Benghazi Report is out and it's official: President Obama, SecState Hillary Clinton, CIA Director Petraeus all had nothing to do with the US government response to the attack on the US mission in Benghazi. Indeed, the names Obama, Clinton, Petraeus, Panetta, Rice do not appear anywhere in its 39 pages. DoD -- Panetta? -- however, is singled out for having deployed unarmed drones that, for example, "provided visual surveillance during the evacuation."
The red flags didn't go up over this so-called investigation for nothing. The White House isn't just whitewashed in the report, it's whited-out.
Here, for example, is how the report on Benghazi sums up the US government response.
Upon notification of the attack from the TDY RSO (temporary regional security officer in Benghazi) around 2145 local (9:45 pm) , Embassy Tripoli set up a command center and notified Washington.
What "Washington" said or did next we never find out.
About 2150 local (9:50 pm), the DCM (deputy chief of mission) was able to reach Ambassador Stevens, who briefly reported that the SMC (mission) was under attack before the call cut off. The Embassy notified Benina Airbase in Benghazi of a potential need for logistic support and aircraft for extraction and received full cooperation. The DCM (deputy chief of mission) contacted the Libyan Presidentand Prime Minister’s offices to urge them to mobilize a rescue effort, and kept Washington apprised of post’s efforts.
The Embassy also reached out to Libyan Air Force and Armed Forces contacts, February 17 leadership, and UN and third country embassies, among others.
Isn't it just too bad that "Washington" had no armed forces "contacts" of its own and thus had to rely on the Embassy "reaching out" to Libyan shadow-government forces and jihadists for assistance? Meanwhile, it would be helpful to know what, if anything, the Embassy asked of the UN and "third country embassies" in "reaching out" -- so, naturally, the report doesn't include that information, either. One tiny bit of news to chew on is that about a half an hour after the 19:40 departure of the Turkish diplomat (Ali Akin) -- which jibes with the Turkish timeline, if not the initial State Department timeline -- a British security team stopped by the US mission.
Between 2010 and 2030 local, a UK security team supporting a day visit by British diplomats dropped off vehicles and equipment at the SMC (per arrangements made after the UK diplomatic office in Benghazi suspended operations in June 2012).When the UK security team departed via the C1 gate at about 2030 local, there were no signs of anything unusual, including no roadblocks outside of the c ompound, and traffic flowed normally. ...
Another item previously unnoted is that on the afternoon of September 10, Ambassador Stevens went to the Annex -- never i.d.'d in the report as a CIA installation -- for a briefing.
Back to the US response to the attack under way. The report correctly defines this response as "Embassy Tripoli Response" since "Washington" had nothing to do with anything.
Within hours, Embassy Tripoli chartered a private airplane and deployed a seven-person security team, which included two U.S. military personnel, to Benghazi.
No mention of take-off time.
At the direction of the U.S. military’s Africa Command (AFRICOM), DoD moved a remotely piloted, unarmed surveillance aircraft which arrived over the SMC shortly before the DS (diplomatic security) team departed (for the Annex). A second remotely piloted, unarmed surveillance aircraft relieved the first, and monitored the eventual evacuation of personnel from the Annex to Benghazi airport later on the morning of September 12.
End of US government response to the attack itself. That's it. Nonetheless, it is Libya that the report finds fault with. In its findings section, the report says:
The Libyan response fell short in the face of a series of attacks that began with the sudden penetration of the Special Mission compound by dozens of armed attackers.The Board found the responses by both the BML (Blue Mountain contractors) guards and February 17 to be inadequate. The Board’s inquiry found little evidence that the armed February17 guards offered any meaningful defense of the SMC (mission), or succeeded in summoning a February 17 militia presence to assist expeditiously.
There is no discussion of why this could be -- the jihadist culture in which "February 17" and, indeed, all of Benghazi and eastern Libya more generally is steeped -- no comprehension such a culture could be at odds with U.S. interests.
The Board found the Libyan government’s response to be profoundly lackingon the night of the attacks ...
But not the US government's response.
The board also takes a whack at intelligence, an easy shot with the publicly disgraced Petraeus already past expendable.
The Board found that intelligence provided no immediate, specific warning of the September 11 attack.
That Zawaheri video on 9/9 and 9/10 calling on Libyans to avenge the US killing of a Libyan Al Qaeda leader was not on intelligence's radar. Why not? No answer. Come to think of it, no question, either.
Then this tortured apology for jihad-denial in intelligence and everywhere in the US government:
Known gaps existed in the intelligence community's understanding of extremist militias in Libya and the potential threat they posed to U.S. interests, although some threats were known to exist.
Herein lies a rich vein for investigation, of course, which makes it radioactive for any "independent" investigation. But keep in it mind on reading through the report's section called "Attack on the Annex."
Just before midnight, shortly after the DS and Annex security teams arrivedfrom the SMC (US mission), the Annex began to be targeted by gunfire and RPGs, which continued intermittently for an hour. Annex security personnel engaged from their defensive positions, which were reinforced by DS agents. Other personnel remained in contact with Embassy Tripoli from the Annex.
The seven-person response team from Embassy Tripoli arrived in Benghazi to lend support.
What time was that? The report doesn't say. We know from press reports that they were met at the airport by members of the Libya Shield militia, which is led by jihadist Wissam bin Hamid (not mentioned, of course). He is a poster boy for "known gaps" in the US government's understanding of threats to U.S. interests.
The response team then spent precious time (hours) wrangling with Libya Shield over their conduct into Benghazi. From the CIA timeline, we know that the ragtag team did not go to the hospital to recover Amb. Stevens' body specifically because "it was surrounded by the Al Qaeda linked Ansar-al Sharia militia that mounted the attack." That decision is pegged to 1:15 am.
Back to the report:
It (that seven-"person" response team) arrived at the Annex about 0500 local.
Almost 4 hours later. Not a word on what held them up for all that time.
Less than fifteen minutes later, the Annex came under mortar and RPG attack, with five mortar rounds impacting close together in under 90 seconds.
Could our Libya Shield "allies" have had anything to do with the timing or accuracy of the attack? Not considered (mentioned) in the report.
Three rounds hit the roof of an Annex building, killing security officers Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty.
The attack also severely injured one ARSO and one Annex security team member. Annex, Tripoli, and ARSO security team members at other locations moved rapidly to provide combat first aid to the injured.
At approximately 0630 local, all U.S. government personnel evacuated with support from a quasi-governmental Libyan militia.
All of a sudden, it's 6:30 am. Was fighting continuous?
They arrived at the airportwithout incident. The DoD unarmed surveillance aircraft provided visual oversight during the evacuation.
All hail the American drone.
Embassy Tripoli lost communication with the convoy atone point during transit, but quickly regained it. Evacuees, including all wounded personnel, departed Benghazi on thechartered jet at approximately 0730 local.
How many? And why can't Rep. Chaffetz (R-UT) talk to them?
Embassy Tripoli staff, including theEmbassy nurse, met the first evacuation flight at Tripoli International Airport.Wounded personnel were transferred to a local hospital, in exemplary coordination that helped save the lives of two severely injured Americans.
Embassy Tripoli worked with the Libyan government to have a Libyan AirForce C-130 take the remaining U.S. government personnel from Benghazi toTripoli. Two American citizen State Department contractors traveled to the airportand linked up with the remaining U.S. government personnel.
While awaiting transport, the TDY RSO and Annex personnel continued to reach out to Libyan contacts to coordinate the transport of the presumed remains of AmbassadorStevens to the airport. The body was brought to the airport in what appeared to be a local ambulance at 0825 local, and the TDY RSO verified Ambassador Stevens’identity.
So, Americans didn't retrieve Stevens' body, even on the morning after.
At 1130 local, September 12, 2012, the Libyan government-provided C-130evacuation flight landed in Tripoli with the last U.S. government personnel fromBenghazi and the remains of the four Americans killed, who were transported to a local hospital. In coordination with the State Department and Embassy Tripoli, theDepartment of Defense sent two U.S. Air Force planes (a C-17 and a C-130) from Germany to Tripoli to provide medical evacuation support for the wounded.
At 1915 local (7:15 pm) on September 12, Embassy Tripoli evacuees, Benghazi personnel, and those wounded in the attacks departed Tripoli on the C-17 aircraft, with military doctors and nurses aboard providing en route medical care to the injured.
Still no word on numbers of wounded.
The aircraft arrived at Ramstein Air Force Base at approximately 2230 (Tripoli time) (10:30 pm) on September 12, just over 24 hours after the attacks in Benghazi had commenced.
Is there just a tremor of triumphalism in that last "just over 24 hours" comment? If so, it is misplaced, to say the least, in a report so narrowly focused as to avert any notice of the real Benghazi scandal that took place that night in Washington.
Meanwhile, something else is missing from the report. The Youtube video. "Innocence of Muslims." The Benghazi "protest" over the video that the President harped on as a "natural" reaction for two weeks up to and including his anti-Islamic blasphemy UN address on September 25.
"The Board concluded that there was no protest prior to the attacks."
The unasked $64,000 question remains: Why did the Obama administration -- Obama, Hillary, Petraeus, Rice -- lie to the American people and the world (and, in Petraeus' case, to Congress) that it was free speech about Islam that led to "protests" that led to the attack?