Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta testified yesterday that he and Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey had a “pre-scheduled” meeting with Barack Obama on September 11, 2012. At 55 minutes before the meeting began, the White House received an EMAIL from the State Department saying the American Diplomatic “Mission” in Benghazi was under attack. By 4 minutes before the beginning of the meeting, a second email was sent (see recipients below) saying that “firing” had stopped at the Mission sheltering the Ambassador, and a “response team” was attempting to locate personnel (Ambassador Stevens, Sean Smith and others). The 5 pm EDT convened either on time or a few minutes late. By 5:30 pm the Pentagon knew that Stevens and Smith were dead. A CBS report says Obama wasn’t notified of the deaths until 4 am EDT the next day. Were all notifications by EMAIL only? On November 1st we were told that Obama’s Counterterrorism Security Group (CSG) was not convened at any time, even though protocol calls for it in the event of a terrorist attack (perhaps he was planning to claim “workplace violence.”) Also note below that Brennan yesterday had the gall to throw the “Rule of Law” in the face of Senator Marco Rubio. (I’ve rehashed a timeline toward the bottom of this article) See an UPDATE 2-11-13 at bottom of this article.
Panetta said the first thing “teed-up” was Benghazi but…the attack was only discussed for 15 minutes (note that this quote if on Rush Limbaugh’s site. It does appear as the words of Panetta but I haven.’t been able to find the video of this part of yesterday’s hearing:
We teed up that issue, uh, when we walked into the Oval Office. So I would say that the first 15 or 20 minutes was spent on the concern about that, uh, as well as Cairo, uh, and what might happen there.
By 5:30 pm, just 10 to 15 minutes after the Benghazi conversation stopped, the Pentagon knew Ambassador Stevens and IT specialist Sean Smith were dead, however, the location of Stevens’ body wasn’t known for 5 hours (11:30 pm EDT) and not recovered for 12 hours (6 am EDT September 12th). Neither Panetta or Dempsey talked to Obama after they left the conclusion of the 5 pm meeting with their orders to do “everything we needed to do to protect lives there.” Two were already dead and at least one gravely injured, but according to CBS, Obama had not been notified. The CIA annex was one mile away. Were there questions about the safety of that facility? The assault there didn’t begin until 11:15 pm EDT.
Can we believe the pre-scheduled meeting lasted less than 30 minutes? Did Panetta and Dempsey leave the White House without knowing our Ambassador was dead? The White House received notice that personnel were trying to locate Ambassador Stevens 4 minutes before the meeting began. It’s incomprehensible that Obama or his staff did not communicate about the missing Ambassador between 5 pm EDT and 4 am the next morning when he allegedly heard of the deaths – or it would be incomprehensible with any other President. Panetta and Dempsey also had no contact with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton during the entire 8 hour attack .
The CIA annex was one mile away from the “Mission.” Obama surely gave some thought to the trouble that annex could be in, but maybe not. He didn’t talk to Panetta or Dempsey.
By 10 pm EDT Clinton released a statement that “inflammatory material posted on the Internet” (the YouTube video) was responsible. The CIA facility had not yet come under attack.
By 11:15 pm EDT September 11th, the attack on the CIA annex one mile away from the “Mission” came under attack. Obama and/or Clinton had no conversation with Panetta and/or Dempsey about this second assault or the deaths of two Navy SEALs, Tyrone Woods (who has been to the “Mission” to evacuate those who survived back to the CIA facility) and Glen Doherty.
At 10:43 am EDT on September 12th from the White House Rose Garden, Obama surfaces and gives his first public statement, which also blamed the YouTube video
Note that Obama, Panetta and Dempsey have their stories straight. Two days after the attacks Obama was in front of cameras saying he had directed his administration to do “whatever is necessary to protect” Americans. Panetta and Dempsey had their talking points in line with this disengaged President.
THE WHITE HOUSE LEARNED OF THE ATTACKS BY EMAIL! The State Department issued the first report of the Benghazi attack to White House by EMAIL at 4:05 pm. The sender @state.gov is redacted. Sharyl Attkisson (CBS) said the email went to the Situation Room at the White House, which is apparently the address for the National Security Council – @nss.eop.gov address (two to that address). The Director of National Intelligence (John Brennan), the FBI, the Pentagon and some entity at @mail.mil were notified by email, which also included 32 State Department recipients.
It was 3:40 pm in Washington, D.C. when the attacks began. The White House received EMAIL notice of the attacks at 4:05 pm EDT. If a phone call was made, no one is talking about it. Fifty-five minutes later the 5 pm pre-scheduled White House meeting began with Panetta, Obama Dempsey and Biden in attendance. By 4 minutes before the beginning of the meeting, another email was sent saying that firing had stopped at the Mission sheltering the Ambassador, and a “response team” was attempting to locate personnel (Ambassador Stevens, Sean Smith and others). The 5 pm meeting still hadn’t convened.
The Pentagon says by 5:30 pm EDT, (11:30 pm in Benghazi) all “surviving” Mission personnel were evacuated from the facility and they note that Ambassador Stevens and computer expert Sean Smith were killed. Note that at this time, they didn’t know where Ambassador Stevens’ body was. He was later located in a Benghazi hospital.
By 6:07 pm EDT an EMAIL to the White House and others had the subject line: Update 2: Ansar al-Sharia Claims Responsibility for Benghazi Attack” and says the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli reports the group was claiming an attack on that facility in Tripoli has been called for.
Within 20 minutes of the assault on the Benghazi mission, the Defense Department redirected a surveillance drone [unarmed] that was on another mission over Libya to monitor events. It arrived on scene in about an hour, said Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs. Source: Army Times
According to the Pentagon Benghazi timeline, the drone was over the Mission facility at 5:10 pm – 5 to 10 minutes before Obama, Panetta and Biden ended their 15 minuted Benghazi discussion, and Panetta and Dempsey, they were each told to do “everything we needed to do to protect lives there.”
At some point before the attack on the “Mission” was over, the CIA annex located about 1 mile away from the “Mission” was told to “stand down,”… they were told to “stand down” twice.
Former Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods was part of a small team who was at the CIA annex about a mile from the U.S. consulate where Ambassador Chris Stevens and his team came under attack. When he and others heard the shots fired, they informed their higher-ups at the annex to tell them what they were hearing and requested permission to go to the consulate and help out. They were told to “stand down,” according to sources familiar with the exchange. Soon after, they were again told to “stand down.”
Woods and at least two others ignored those orders and made their way to the consulate which at that point was on fire. Shots were exchanged. The rescue team from the CIA annex evacuated those who remained at the consulate and Sean Smith, who had been killed in the initial attack. They could not find the ambassador and returned to the CIA annex at about midnight.
At that point, they called again for military support and help because they were taking fire at the CIA safe house, or annex. The request was denied. There were no communications problems at the annex, according those present at the compound. The team was in constant radio contact with their headquarters. In fact, at least one member of the team was on the roof of the annex manning a heavy machine gun when mortars were fired at the CIA compound. The security officer had a laser on the target that was firing and repeatedly requested back-up support from a Spectre gunship, which is commonly used by U.S. Special Operations forces to provide support to Special Operations teams on the ground involved in intense firefights. Source: Fox News
A CIA spokeswoman has denied anyone was told to “stand down” that night. CIA Director General David Petraeus first said the attack was due to an anti-Islam video, then, when sitting in a Senate hearing, changed his story and said from the beginning it was clear that it was a terrorist attack. Note that the disgraced and lying general hasn’t been asked under oath whether the Benghazi CIA compound was told to “stand down” rather than go to the aid of the “Mission” compound. To repeat, I don’t think, and cannot find, where Petraeus was asked if directions were given to “stand down.” No where can I find the transcript of General Petraeus’ Senate testimony. Maybe it’s there. If you find it let me know, but I don’t see it, but I do see reference to the fact that there is no transcript.
At 2:05 pm EDT on September 12th, Air Force One wings Obama to Las Vegas for a campaign event – less than 24 hours after the deaths:
…less than 16 hours after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Twitter first reported that an unnamed State Department “officer” had been killed in Benghazi; and about six hours after Clinton tweeted confirmation that four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, were dead.
Sometime on Wednesday, September 12th, before boarding Air Force One, Obama joined Hillary at the State Department to do something with State Department employees…while both continued the lie that the attack was due to a YouTube video. He was Las Vegas bound, back to campaigning.
Obama was accused of trying to “run out the clock” until after election day. Obama spokesman David Axelrod went on defense and blamed the Bush administration for politicizing the Yemen bombing of the U.S.S. Cole:
(A Nexis search finds that Bush’s “one voice” comments in October 2000 referred less to the Cole attack than to a flare-up of violence in the West Bank. The “second intifada” erupted at the end of September, and a Palestinian mob lynched two Israeli soldiers on the same day as the Cole was bombed. Bush’s first recorded use of the phrase around that time came two days before the terror attack in Yemen, during a debate with Al Gore, in reference to the Israeli-Palestinian clashes.) Source: CNS News
The Bush administration did not politicize the U.S.S. Cole, but why would Axelrod even bring it up at this sad time in our nation’s history.
There is also no information where Hillary Clinton was when the State Department received word of the attack. According to a schedule purported to be Hillary’s and published on a blog, she held a swearing-in for the Ambassador to Serbia at 4 pm EDT. There was no press coverage. Apparently her day was then over, until whatever happened regarding Benghazi and Mrs Clinton happened. There is no information about who briefed her, or where she was when she was briefed. There is no information of where she spent the night, with whom she spoke to or didn’t speak to, or any single action she took. Did she talk to Obama, or was the aforementioned EMAIL the only communication between the State Department and the White House?
Timeline in Washington, D.C. (a rehash of the above):
Later in the day, before the “Mission” comes under attack, Obama addresses the Emir of Qatar by video and promises to send Eric Holder to help retrieve the treasuries of “fallen Arab” dictators, with Egypt, Tunisia and Libya mentioned specifically.
3:40 pm EDT in Washington, D.C. gunfire and an explosion are heard at the “Mission.” The attack on Benghazi “Mission” begins.
3:43 pm EDT Ambassador Stevens cables the State Department about “growing frustration with police and security forces” too weak to keep “Libya secure.” (3 minutes into the attack)
4 pm EDT Security agents at the “Mission” leave the Ambassador’s residence to get “tactical gear” from Building B. One Agent stays with Ambassador Stevens and Sean Smith. The terrorists set fire to the 17th of February Brigade Barracks on the “Mission” site. Security Agent Scott Strickland moves Stevens and Smit to the “safe haven” in Building C. Building B and The Operation Center (TOC) comes under attack with Americans inside. Building C is entered (the residence) and set afire inside and outside. Strickland, Stevens and Smith lie on a bathroom floor to escape smoke, but are forced to leave.
Strickland gets a window open and gets outside. Stevens and Smith do not follow. Strickland reenters numerous times but cannot locate them. He climbs to the rooftop and radios for help.
Three agents return to Building C in an armored vehicle which was on the property. They search and can find Smith but not Stevens.
According to CBS News Hillary Clinton learned “shortly after it began at 4 pm.” No information on where Clinton was at that time.
4:05 pm EDT the first notice of the attacks (as far as has been stated) The White House received EMAIL notice of the attacks from the State Department.
4:25 pm EDT The 6-member team arrives from the CIA compound (annex) and with the help of 40-60 members of the 17th of February Brigade, they remove the body of Sean Smith.
4:54 pm EDT Notice that firing had stopped at the “Mission” and a “response team” was attempting to locate personnel
5:00 pm EDT (allegedly before the meeting with Panetta and Dempsey)National Security Advisor Tom Donilon tell Obama of the attacks and the fire at the Ambassador’s residence.
5:00 pm EDT meeting with Obama, Biden, Panetta and Dempsey begins
5:00 pm EDT About this time, the “response team” is leaving the “Mission”
5:15 pm EDT Benghazi attack conversation ends with Obama telling Panetta and Dempsey to do “everything we needed to do to protect lives there.”
5:30 pm EDT Pentagon knows that the fighting is over at the “Mission,” Stevens and Smith are dead and a “response team” is evacuating survivors.
6:00 pm EDT The response team arrives at the CIA compound (annex) which is under fire.
6:00 pm to 8:00 pm EDT: Panettais holding meetings and “issues several orders.”
Two Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team (FAST) platoons stationed in Rota, Spain prepare to deploy – one to Benghazi and the other to the Embassy in Tripoli; A special operations team in Europe is ordered to move to Sigonella, Sicily – less than one hour’s flight away from Benghazi; An additional special operations team based in the U.S. is ordered to deploy to Sigonella. Source: CBS
6:07 pm EDT State Department sends email saying “Ansar al-Sharia Claims Responsibility for Benghazi Attack”
6:30 pm EDT A 6-man security team, including two from the Department of Defense leave our Tripoli Embassy for Benghazi
7:30 pm EDT The 6-man security team arrives in Benghazi and learns that Ambassador Stevens is missing.
9:09 pm EDT Fox News and other major news sites have reported one American is dead in the Libya Embassy and I posted that report.
10:07 pm EDT Clinton issues statement that attacks were caused by an anti-Islam YouTube video, ignoring the 6:07 pm email report of Ansar al-Sharia and announces the death of one State Department officer
11:00 pm EDT Another drone arrives over Benghazi. The first drone leaves the area
11:15 pm EDT
“The U.S. Regional Security Office in Tripoli gets a phone call from an Arabic-speaking source who says a Westerner has been found in Benghazi and is perhaps at a hospital. It’s believed to be Ambassador Stevens. Transfer to airport is arranged.” Source CBS
At around the same time, the additional security team [from Tripoli] finds transportation from the airport under the escort of the Libyan Shield, another local militia, but decides to head to the [CIA] annex after learning that Stevens was almost certainly dead. Just after their arrival, the annex takes mortar fire, sustaining three direct hits. The precision of the attacks indicates a level of sophistication and coordination.
1:40 am EDT 9/12/12 The first planeload of Americans, including diplomats and civilians leaves Benghazi for Tripoli. Security staff and the bodies of Stevens and Smith are not on the flight.
2:05 pm EDT on 9/12/12 Obama boards Air Force One to Las Vegas for a campaign event
4:00 am EDT 9/12/12 The second flight leaves Benghazi for Tripoli with security members and the bodies of Stevens and Smith
President Obama is told of Stevens’ death. State Department tells all diplomatic posts around the world to review their security posture and to take all necessary steps to enhance it. Source CBS
1:00 pm EDT 9/12/12 All American survivors and the dead leave Tripoli for Ramstein, Germany
2:00 pm EDT 9/12/12 Almost 24 hours before the first attack…
U.S. special forces team arrives in Sigonella, Sicily, becoming the first military unit in the region.
3:00 pm EDT 9/12/12 “A FAST platoon arrives in Tripoli”
4:19 pm EDT 9/12/12 The body of Ambassador Stevens and Sean Smith arrives in Ramstein
Sometime on 9/12/12, Clinton reportedly held a video conference with EVERYONE who survived the Benghazi attacks. She also addressed the public making her claims of outrage and promises of justice:
“Make no mistake, we will work with the Libyan government to bring to justice the killers who attacked our people.
“Since our founding, the United States has been a nation that respects all faiths. We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. But there is absolutely no justification for this type of senseless violence. … No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for.”
The president spends time with State Department personnel in an impromptu visit that is closed to the press.
Obama gives a public address:
In an interview with President Obama the same day, “60 Minutes” correspondent Steve Kroft presses the president on early accounts that the attack stemmed from a spontaneous protest, saying it didn’t “sound like your normal demonstration.”
“We’re still investigating exactly what happened,” Mr. Obama said. “I don’t want to jump the gun on this. But you’re right that this is not a situation that was exactly the same as what happened in Egypt. And my suspicion is, is that there are folks involved in this, who were looking to target Americans from the start.”
While Obama is chatting with us, Clinton visits the bureau where Sean Smith was assigned.
Clinton later references the assault as an “attack by a small and savage group.”
The FBI officially opens an investigation into the deaths of Stevens and the three other Americans killed, as reported by CBS News’ Andres Triay and Bob Orr.
September 13, 2012 we are told that Clinton “remains in regular contact with top officials:
CBS News’ David Martin reports that a radical Islamic group called Ansar al Sharia is the lead suspect in the attack, according to U.S. officials. The name means “Supporters of Islamic law.”
Sec. Clinton remains in regular contact with other top officials such as Secretary Panetta and Gen. Dempsey, CBS News’ Margaret Brennan reports.
September 14, 2012 The bodies of Ambassador Stevens, Sean Smith and Navy SEALs Woods and Doherty arrive in the U.S. Television cameras are there and Clinton takes the opportunity to blame the YouTube video once again.
September 17, 2012 FBI says they will not travel to the Benghazi “Mission” until they are assured of adequate protection.
September 18, 2012 Hillary Clinton tries to claim that the “Mission” was adequately protected:
“Let me assure you that our security in Benghazi included a unit of host government security forces, as well as a local guard force of the kind that we rely on in many places around the world. In addition to the security outside the compound, we relied on a wall and a robust security presence inside the compound. And with all of our missions overseas, in advance of September 11, as is done every year, we did an evaluation on threat streams. And the Office of the Director of National Intelligence has said we had no actionable intelligence that an attack on our post in Benghazi was planned or imminent.”
The FBI team arrives in Libya but stays in Tripoli.
September 19, 2012:
Director of the National Counterterrorism Center Matthew Olsen tells Congress that the Benghazi assault was “a terrorist attack on our embassy. … We are looking at indications that individuals involved in the attack may have had connections to Al Qaeda or Al Qaeda’s affiliates; in particular, Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.”
September 20, 2012 The State Departmart spends $70,000 buying an ad on seven Pakistani TV stations showing Clinton and Obama blaming the YouTube video. We learn that “Special Agent David Ubben” is gravely injured and is hospitalized in Ramstein, after after trying multiple times to rescue “Mission” personne.l
September 21st, 2012 Clinton calls the attack a “terrorist attack” for the first time.
September 28, 2012 The office of John Brennan, the director of National Intelligence, releases a statement saying that the attack was a “terrorist attack,” and says he believes some of the attackers were linked to al-Qaeda.
October 1, 2012: Nineteen days later…
State Dept. security team reviews security camera footage of the attack in Benghazi for the first time (knowing that the footage had been solely in the hands of someone in the Libyan government)
October 3, 2012 Clinton denies that the State Department denied additional security requests from Stevens.
October 4, 2012 The FBI team arrives at the “Mission” facility. Sharyl Attkisson, CBS News, begins questioning adequate security and we learn security forces literally begged to remain in the area but were withdrawn in early August 2012.
October 10, 2012: The U.S. knows where the terrorist organization is but Libya says a drone strike would be a mistake:
Colonel Hamid Hassi, a senior Libyan army officer, tells CBS News’ Elizabeth Palmer that he believes American intelligence knows exactly where Ansar al Sharia, the group linked to the attack, are.
Hassi said a drone strike would be a mistake, and that any strike would have to have to come from “our side,” or there would be huge problems between the U.S. and Libya.
We did nothing then or later. In the end, Libya did nothing. In yesterday’s confirmation hearing for John Brennan’s nomination to CIA Director, Brennan said other countries work “within their Rule of Law, just as we do.” The only person detained, Ali Harzi was done so in Tunisia and released in Tunisia on January 8, 2013. Brennan said Harzi was still in Tunisia but clearly cannot know that with certitude.
October 24, 2012 CBS News reports that the video footage from the “Mission” was in the hands of the Libyan government for “weeks” before handed over to the U.S.
November 1, 2012 we learn that the Counterterrorism Security Group (CSG) was not convened at any time.
A protocol set forth in a classified presidential directive quoted by CBS calls for the CSG to be convened in the event of a possible terrorist attack. It is designed to “synchronize the efforts of all the government agencies that have a role to play in the Global War on Terrorism.” The CSG knows “of multiple options and [has] the ability to coordinate counterterrorism assets across all the agencies”…
Fox News’s Jennifer Griffin reported, “I’m told at the most senior level of the Administration and there’s a great deal of frustration in the counterterrorism community that some of those counter-terror assets weren’t used in the initial hours and days.” Source: Heritage
Today Panetta said their was an intelligence gap. There was certainly a lack of intelligence (of the gray matter kind). There was also an interest gap. No one called, no one asked. UPDATE 2-11-13: The Last Refuge has information what Obama and Biden were doing while deceased SEAL Tyrone Woods ignored the “standdown order” and was rescuing Chris Smith’s body. Read it here.