More Could Have Been Done at Benghazi
The investigation into the incident in Benghazi, Libya keeps getting worse as more details come out. Not only has Fox News reported that a fortified house made up of CIA personnel located 1 mile from the U.S. consulate and could have provided assistance were told twice to stand down but a NATO Naval Base that had members of the U.S. military present in Sigonella, Italy could have scrambled aircraft that would have been able to provide assistance to help fend off terrorists.
I have come to understand that each U.S. diplomatic facility is equipped with radio equipment that would give a distress message priority on U.S. radio channels. If consulate employees used radio transmission protocols correctly, a message for help would have been given priority and given personally to the President and heads of the U.S. military at the Pentagon within 10 minutes upon transmission.
One key and little reported fact is that the U.S. paid a local militia affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood for Benghazi embassy security. When the attacks occurred not only did the guards do nothing to repel the assault but some security employees told terrorists which building Ambassador Stevens was located in. Additionally, every area of the globe where U.S. facilities are located a regional military commander (who is a four star general) is given standing orders to immediately give military assistance to protect U.S. embassies and consulates at a moments notice. Special Forces personnel are at his or her disposal that can be used to extract/evacuate diplomatic employees as well.
I was floored by a statement made by Defense Secretary Leon Pannetta that the U.S. could not put forces at risk without knowing what is going on since he alleges there was a lack of intel. However, with the presence of a drone during the 9/11 attack and the fact that distress messages would have gone to the President himself, there should be no doubt in anyone’s minds (especially the media) that Obama not only had immediate knowledge of the embassy attacks but chose to do nothing.
I remember the attempt by the Carter Administration during 1980 electing to use U.S. military forces for a rescue operation after U.S. Embassy employees were taken hostage in Iran. The political fallout from the failure of that operation was such that not only did Jimmy Carter’s poll numbers suffer greatly but I am sure many military brass lost face and/or had their reputations disgraced. I would not be surprised if that disciplinary action was taken too. I cannot help but wonder if the results of the failure of Operation Eagle Claw have reverberated after all of these years that military commanders have been scared into no longer willing to take the risk of committing U.S. forces under their watch to engage in military operations involving embassy attacks since if anything went wrong, it would be detrimental to their career.