One of the Obama administration mantras, repeated by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, is that a military rescue of our trapped Benghazi mission could not have been mounted in time to make a difference, a bizarre claim since at the beginning of the first of two attacks no one could have known when the terrorist attack would end or how long the survivors could hold on.
Now an email unearthed by the relentless watchdog group Judicial Watch and detailed in a December 8 press release exposes that claim to be as much a lie as the one Hilary Clinton told the parents of the dead in front of their sons’ caskets as they arrived at Joint Base Andrews. The Benghazi terrorist attack was not caused by a video offensive to Islam and, yes, a Benghazi rescue not only could have been attempted but in fact was ready to go:
Judicial Watch today released a new Benghazi email from then-Department of Defense Chief of Staff Jeremy Bash to State Department leadership immediately offering “forces that could move to Benghazi” during the terrorist attack on the U.S. Special Mission Compound in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012. In an email sent to top Department of State officials, at 7:19 p.m. ET, only hours after the attack had begun, Bash says, “we have identified the forces that could move to Benghazi. They are spinning up as we speak.” The Obama administration redacted the details of the military forces available, oddly citing a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) exemption that allows the withholding of “deliberative process” information.
Bash’s email seems to directly contradict testimony given by then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta before the Senate Armed Services Committee in February 2013. Defending the Obama administration’s lack of military response to the nearly six-hour-long attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Panetta claimed that “time, distance, the lack of an adequate warning, events that moved very quickly on the ground prevented a more immediate response.”
Among the recipients of this urgent communication was Jacob Sullivan, who was Deputy Chief of Staff to Secretary Clinton at the time of the terrorist attack, Wendy Sherman, who was Mrs. Clinton’s Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, the fourth ranking official in the State Department, and Thomas Nides, who was Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources.
It is worth noting that at least one survivor of the attack, David Ubben, waited 20 hours for a rescue. This latest smoking gun email, according to Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton, is the latest example of what is arguably criminal negligence on the part of Hillary Clinton and the Obama administration regarding Benghazi:
“The Obama administration and Clinton officials hid this compelling Benghazi email for years,” Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton said about the discovery. “The email makes readily apparent that the military was prepared to launch immediate assistance that could have made a difference, at least at the CIA Annex. The fact that the Obama Administration withheld this email for so long only worsens the scandal of Benghazi.”
Yes, a rescue could have been mounted and in fact was being readied as the atack was underway. This latest email is consistent with the story told by CIA contractors that a stand-down order was given to personnel within Libya preparing a rescue. As Investor’s Business Daily (IBD) related:
Kris Paronto, Mark Geist and John Tiegen, three CIA contractors who on the night of Sept. 11, 2012, battled with terrorists from the roof of the CIA’s Benghazi annex building, would beg to differ with the Obama administration, the CIA and several congressional committees. They say there was an order to stand down that delayed their response and possibly cost the lives of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.
In a bombshell interview with Fox News anchor Bret Baier aired last week, the three members of the annex security team, whose credibility was etched in blood on that rooftop that fateful night, say they had a team assembled and were ready to proceed to the besieged consulate within five minutes of notice of the attack. They were held back by the top CIA security officer in Benghazi, they say, an officer identified only as “Bob.”
“It had probably been 15 minutes, I think, and … I just said ‘Hey, you know, we gotta — we need to get over there, we’re losing the initiative,'” Tiegen told Baier in the interview. “And Bob just looks at me and said, ‘Stand down, you need to wait.'”
Gen. Carter Ham, then head of AFRICOM, was also reportedly ready to mount a rescue, according to IBD:
As we have reported, Ham, then head of U.S. Africa Command, was relieved of his post after only a year and a half on the job. According to James S. Robbins in the Washington Times, Ham got the same emails about the terrorist attack by the al-Qaida-linked Ansar al-Sharia and immediately began organizing a rescue attempt.
Ham is said to have told the Pentagon he had a rapid response team ready, but was told to stand down. Ham then reportedly said he was going to send help anyway and was promptly relieved of his command.
Unfortunately, the media brouhaha over the latest remarks from GOP frontrunner Donald Trump, is preventing a discussion of what we should really be talking about — that Hillary Rodham Clinton is unworthy of the presidency and that she was up to her eyeballs in the Benghazi disaster, the failure to mount a rescue, and the cover-up of the incompetence that resulted in the deaths of four Americans — Ambassador Christopher Stevens, Ty Woods, Glen Doherty and Sean Smith.
Daniel John Sobieski is a free lance writer whose pieces have appeared in Investor’s Business Daily, Human Events, Reason Magazine and the Chicago Sun-Times among other publications.