Posts tagged Chris Stevens
RELATED STORY: Read the NTEB Archives on the BENGHAZI COVERUP
The State Department has acknowledged that five Americans killed in Afghanistan, including 25-year-old diplomat Anne Smedinghoff, were on foot when they were caught in the blast of a suicide bomber, and not in an armored vehicle as officials told bereaved relatives earlier this week.
The deaths of U.S. diplomatic personnel — and the State Department’s changing account of how they died — raise echoes for some of the security failures in Benghazi, Libya, where Islamist extremists killed four Americans in assaults on the U.S. diplomatic compound Sept. 11.
“The question about Benghazi I always wanted an answer to was whether it was a one-off or whether there were systemic problems with the way the State Department was doing risk management for high-risk posts,” said James Carafano, a scholar at the Heritage Foundation think tank. “We never found that out.
“Obviously, in a war zone, you can’t have zero risk and you can’t have zero casualties. But now, is this [incident] a one-off as well?” Mr. Carafano said.
The five Americans killed Saturday were Ms. Smedinghoff of River Forest, Ill.; Army Staff Sgt. Christopher M. Ward, 24, of Oak Ridge, Tenn.; Army Spc. Wilbel A. Robles-Santa, 25, of Juncos, Puerto Rico; Army Spc. Delfin M. Santos Jr., 24, of San Jose, Calif.; and a civilian defense contractor who has not been named.
They were members of a provincial reconstruction team delivering U.S.-donated books to a school in Qalat. Such teams are civilian-military partnerships designed to get U.S. personnel into the field to administer aid projects.
The governor of Zabol province, Mohammad Ashraf Nasery, the apparent target of the attack, was in an armored car and was not hurt in the blast, although three of his bodyguards were injured, according to reports over the weekend.
“Part of the initial confusion came about because there were reports in the media about the local governor and his convoy,” Mr. Ventrell said of the changing State Department account of the attack. “Some of our initial reporting also indicated that, and that’s why we weren’t able to clarify right away. So our initial read on it was different.”
Questions about the incident are likely to multiply in coming days, as more details about the attack are revealed. A witness reported Thursday that the provincial reconstruction team was lost, which is why the personnel were caught in the blast.
Ahmad Zia Abed, a reporter for Shamshad TV, told McClatchy News that about a dozen people, including media and diplomatic workers, plus their military escorts, were on the team.
When they arrived to deliver the schoolbooks, a man at the gate said they had the wrong building. They retraced their steps to the American base and were caught in the blast as they reached it, according to McClatchy.
Mr. Ventrell declined to comment about reports that the team was lost before being caught in the blast.
Will she tell what she knows or what she’s told?
Hillary Clinton will testify in front of Congress about the terrorist attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya – despite receiving a concussion and being hospitalized for a blood clot, it was revealed on Thursday.
The Secretary of State cancelled appearances before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee after she fainted and hit her head on December 9.
She sent two aides to testify in her place. Some conservatives initially claimed she was using the health issue to dodge testifying on the contentious issue.
The Washington Post reports that Clinton ‘remains committed’ to appearing in front of the Congressional committees, though no date has been set.
The new House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman, Rep Edward Royce, said the government accountability report on the attack points to ‘an unacceptable failure of leadership’ leading up to the attack, according to the Post.
Some Senate Republicans have threatened to block the confirmation of Sen John Kerry, Clinton’s successor as Secretary of State, until Clinton testifies. Clinton has long said she planned to leave the job as the nation’s top diplomat after Obama’s first term.
Clinton, 65, was released from a New York City hospital on Wednesday, days after doctors discovered a blood clot between her skull and her brain. Her physicians say she suffered no stroke or neurological damage as a result of the clot. She is expected to make a full recovery.
They say it formed after she hit her head when she fainted following a bout with a stomach virus. Clinton’s illness led her to cancel an overseas trip and scheduled testimony before Congress about the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
When her absence was reported, several pundits and newspapers accused Clinton of making her illness seem worse than it was to dodge questions from lawmakers over the attack, which has been blamed on lax security installed by the State Department.
The New York Post called her concussion a ‘head fake.’ Florida Rep Allan West said Clinton had a case of the ‘Benghazi flu,’ while Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer dubbed it an ‘acute Benghazi allergy.’ source – Daily Mail UK
“…but this is your hour, and the power of darkness.” Luke 22:53
The US Consulate came under attack from Islamic terrorists on September 11, 2012. 4 Americans – Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods – were brutally murdered in that attack. The Obama administration holds no one responsible, no one accountable. There has been no military action against the Libyan Islamic terrorists, and none likely coming.
The is the “new” America – weak, pathetic, and grovelling before Islamic terrorists. Obama and his henchmen have hands literally dripping in blood, and no one calls them to account. When America falls as a world power, and it will, Obama’s filthy fingerprints will be all over it. But America, you allowed this, and all you who support this evil man are equally guilty.
From WashPost: The mandatory State Department internal inquiry into the deadly Sept. 11 terror attack on a U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, slams bureaucrats for “grossly inadequate” security but says that poor leadership could not be punished under department regulations.
The report blames inadequate security at the mission on “systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies at senior levels” of State Department headquarters, where officials turned down repeated requests from diplomats on the ground for more security, both at the embassy in Tripoli and in Benghazi.
The failures, at State’s Diplomatic Security and Near Eastern Affairs Bureaus in Washington, left the diplomatic post with security “that was inadequate for Benghazi and grossly inadequate to deal with the attack that took place,” the report states.
Because the diplomatic compound in Benghazi — a villa and three out-buildings set in a walled garden — was a temporary post which was not expected to be in use for much longer, getting funds and personnel to secure it was “difficult,” leaving responsibility for securing it “to the working-level [officials] in the field, with very limited resources.”
The report, produced by a panel led by retired career diplomat Thomas R. Pickering and known as an Accountability Review Board, also criticized State for relying too much on unreliable local militias for security in Libya; and for being lulled by the absence of specific warnings of an imminent attack, rather than responding to the general security environment, which had been deteriorating for some time in eastern Libya. source – Washington Times
Obama is no King David, but they do have one thing in common:
“And he wrote in the letter, saying, Set ye Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retire ye from him, that he may be smitten, and die. ” 2 Samuel 11:15
From The Blaze: Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Tuesday a U.S. senator told him that at least two news networks have emails from the White House ordering a counterterrorism team to stand down on a rescue mission at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
“There is a rumor — I want to be clear, it’s a rumor — that at least two networks have emails from the National Security Adviser’s office telling a counterterrorism group to stand down,” Gingrich told Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren. “They were a group in real-time trying to mobilize Marines and C-130s and the fighter aircraft, and they were told explicitly by the White House ‘stand down and do nothing. This is not a terrorist action.’”
He continued, “If that’s true, and I’ve been told this by a fairly reliable U.S. senator, if that’s true and that comes out in the next day or two, I think it raises enormous questions about the president’s role, Tom Donilon, the National Security Adviser’s role, the Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, who has taken it on his own shoulders, that he said don’t go. And I think that’s very dubious, given that the president said he had instructions they are supposed to do everything they could to secure American personnel.”
Gingrich said if accurate, it leaves two conclusions: that the the secretary of defense usurped the commander in chief or that Obama never gave the order.
“I think you are going to see this come back tomorrow and the next day,” he said.
Gingrich said he thinks Benghazi will be “enormous in terms of the election,” saying that he’s been to multiple places where voters want to know what happened. “[Benghazi] was suspended for two days by the storm coverage, which dominated everything, but I think tomorrow as the storm begins to recede, you’ll see Benghazi come back,” he said. source – The Blaze
The cowardly Obama administration left them to die
“And he wrote in the letter, saying, Set ye Uriah in the forefront of the hottest battle, and retire ye from him, that he may be smitten, and die.” 2 Samuel 11:15
Fox News has learned from sources who were on the ground in Benghazi that an urgent request from the CIA annex for military back-up during the attack on the U.S. Consulate and subsequent attack several hours later was denied by U.S. officials — who also told the CIA operators twice to “stand down” rather than help the ambassador’s team when shots were heard at approximately 9:40 p.m. in Benghazi on Sept. 11.
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 quick reaction force 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 Specter 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. The fighting at the CIA annex went on for more than four hours — enough time for any planes based in Sigonella Air base, just 480 miles away, to arrive. Fox News has also learned that two separate Tier One Special operations forces were told to wait, among them Delta Force operators.
A Special Operations team, or CIF which stands for Commanders in Extremis Force, operating in Central Europe had been moved to Sigonella, Italy, but they too were told to stand down. A second force that specializes in counterterrorism rescues was on hand at Sigonella, according to senior military and intelligence sources. According to those sources, they could have flown to Benghazi in less than two hours. They were the same distance to Benghazi as those that were sent from Tripoli. Specter gunships are commonly used by the Special Operations community to provide close air support.
According to sources on the ground during the attack, the special operator on the roof of the CIA annex had visual contact and a laser pointing at the Libyan mortar team that was targeting the CIA annex. The operators were calling in coordinates of where the Libyan forces were firing from.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told reporters at the Pentagon on Thursday that there was not a clear enough picture of what was occurring on the ground in Benghazi to send help.
“There’s a lot of Monday morning quarterbacking going on here,” Panetta said Thursday. “But the basic principle here … is that you don’t deploy forces into harm’s way without knowing what’s going on.”
U.S. officials argue that there was a period of several hours when the fighting stopped before the mortars were fired at the annex, leading officials to believe the attack was over.
Fox News has learned that there were two military surveillance drones redirected to Benghazi shortly after the attack on the Consulate began. They were already in the vicinity. The second surveillance craft was sent to relieve the first drone, perhaps due to fuel issues. Both were capable of sending real time visuals back to U.S. officials in Washington, D.C. Any U.S. official or agency with the proper clearance, including the White House Situation Room, State Department, CIA, Pentagon and others, could call up that video in real time on their computers.
Tyrone Woods was later joined at the scene by fellow former Navy SEAL Glen Doherty, who was sent in from Tripoli as part of a Global Response Staff or GRS that provides security to CIA case officers and provides countersurveillance and surveillance protection. They were killed by a mortar shell at 4 a.m. Libyan time, nearly seven hours after the attack on the Consulate began — a window that represented more than enough time for the U.S. military to send back-up from nearby bases in Europe, according to sources familiar with Special Operations. Four mortars were fired at the annex. The first one struck outside the annex. Three more hit the annex.
A motorcade of dozens of Libyan vehicles, some mounted with 50 caliber machine guns, belonging to the February 17th Brigades, a Libyan militia which is friendly to the U.S., finally showed up at the CIA annex at approximately 3 a.m. An American Quick Reaction Force sent from Tripoli had arrived at the Benghazi airport at 2 a.m. (four hours after the initial attack on the Consulate) and was delayed for 45 minutes at the airport because they could not at first get transportation, allegedly due to confusion among Libyan militias who were supposed to escort them to the annex, according to Benghazi sources.
The American special operators, Woods, Doherty and at least two others were part of the Global Response Staff, a CIA element, based at the CIA annex and were protecting CIA operators who were part of a mission to track and repurchase arms in Benghazi that had proliferated in the wake of Muammar Qaddafi’s fall. Part of their mission was to find the more than 20,000 missing MANPADS, or shoulder-held missiles capable of bringing down a commercial aircraft. According to a source on the ground at the time of the attack, the team inside the CIA annex had captured three Libyan attackers and was forced to hand them over to the Libyans. U.S. officials do not know what happened to those three attackers and whether they were released by the Libyan forces.
Fox News has also learned that Stevens was in Benghazi that day to be present at the opening of an English-language school being started by the Libyan farmer who helped save an American pilot who had been shot down by pro-Qaddafi forces during the initial war to overthrow the regime. That farmer saved the life of the American pilot and the Ambassador wanted to be present to launch the Libyan rescuer’s new school. source – Fox News
Benghazi Cover-up Rocking The Obama White House
(CNSNews.com) – The White House is declining to say when President Barack Obama first learned of three e-mails that the State Department sent to the White House on Sept. 11, 2012, directly notifying the Executive Office of the President that the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi was under attack, that U.S. Amb. Chris Stevens was at the Benghazi mission at the time of the attack, and that the group Ansar al-Sharia had taken credit for the attack.
The White House also declined to say when the president first met with the National Security Council after the Benghazi attack.
“I have been asked by one of our spokespeople to relay ‘that we decline to comment,’” said White House National Security Staff aide Debbie Bird in a written response to CNSNews.com.
CNSNews.com had asked Bird: 1) “When did the President first meet with the National Security Council after the Benghazi attack on 9/11/12?” 2) “When did White House staff first discuss the substance of the e-mails that went to the White House with the President or with the National Security Advisor?”
Carney also took a question about the e-mails today during a press gaggle held aboard Air Force One at 9:34 a.m. A reporter asked: “Jay, there are some emails that have emerged, which suggest that the White House and other areas of the government were told within hours of the Benghazi attack that an extremist group had claimed responsibility. How is that compatible with the idea that it was a spontaneous attack?”
Carney downplayed the significance of the State Department emails.
“There were emails about all sorts of information that was becoming available in the aftermath of the attack,” Carney said. “The email you’re referring to was an open-source, unclassified email referring to an assertion made on a social media site that everyone in this room had access to and knew about instantaneously. There was a variety of information coming in.
“The whole point of an intelligence community and what they do is to assess strands of information and make judgments about what happened and who was responsible,” said Carney, “and I would refer you to what we’ve already said about, and what the DNI [Director of National Intelligence] has already said about, the initial assessments of the intelligence community, and the fact that throughout this process, I and others made very clear that our preliminary assessments were preliminary, that an investigation was underway, and that as more facts became available, we would make the American people aware of them.
“Again,” said Carney, “this was an open-source, unclassified email about a posting on a Facebook site. I would also note I think that within a few hours, that organization itself claimed that it had not been responsible. Neither should be taken as fact. That’s why there’s an investigation underway.”
The NSC is chaired by the president, and includes Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Martin Dempsey, Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. A NSC meeting would allow the leader of the intelligence community to communicate directly with the leader of the State Department in the presence of the president and for all of them to weigh any conflicting information.
The three emails in question, which were obtained by CBS News, were sent by the State Department to various government officials, including two officials in the Executive Office of the President, on Sept. 11, 2012, while the attack on the Benghazi was taking place and immediately after it had taken place. source – CNS News
“There is no more serious issue in a presidential campaign than trust,” Obama told a rally of 11,000 people in Florida on October 23, 2012 – read quote
(Reuters) – Officials at the White House and State Department were advised two hours after attackers assaulted the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11 that an Islamic militant group had claimed credit for the attack, official emails show.
The emails, obtained by Reuters from government sources not connected with U.S. spy agencies or the State Department and who requested anonymity, specifically mention that the Libyan group called Ansar al-Sharia had asserted responsibility for the attacks.
The brief emails also show how U.S. diplomats described the attack, even as it was still under way, to Washington.
U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed in the Benghazi assault, which President Barack Obama and other U.S. officials ultimately acknowledged was a “terrorist” attack carried out by militants with suspected links to al Qaeda affiliates or sympathizers.
Administration spokesmen, including White House spokesman Jay Carney, citing an unclassified assessment prepared by the CIA, maintained for days that the attacks likely were a spontaneous protest against an anti-Muslim film.
While officials did mention the possible involvement of “extremists,” they did not lay blame on any specific militant groups or possible links to al Qaeda or its affiliates until intelligence officials publicly alleged that on September 28.
There were indications that extremists with possible al Qaeda connections were involved, but also evidence that the attacks could have erupted spontaneously, they said, adding that government experts wanted to be cautious about pointing fingers prematurely.
U.S. intelligence officials have emphasized since shortly after the attack that early intelligence reporting about the attack was mixed.
Spokesmen for the White House and State Department had no immediate response to requests for comments on the emails.
MISSIVES FROM LIBYA
The records obtained by Reuters consist of three emails dispatched by the State Department’s Operations Center to multiple government offices, including addresses at the White House, Pentagon, intelligence community and FBI, on the afternoon of September 11.
The first email, timed at 4:05 p.m. Washington time – or 10:05 p.m. Benghazi time, 20-30 minutes after the attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission allegedly began – carried the subject line “U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi Under Attack” and the notation “SBU”, meaning “Sensitive But Unclassified.”
The text said the State Department’s regional security office had reported that the diplomatic mission in Benghazi was “under attack. Embassy in Tripoli reports approximately 20 armed people fired shots; explosions have been heard as well.”
The message continued: “Ambassador Stevens, who is currently in Benghazi, and four … personnel are in the compound safe haven. The 17th of February militia is providing security support.”
A second email, headed “Update 1: U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi” and timed 4:54 p.m. Washington time, said that the Embassy in Tripoli had reported that “the firing at the U.S. Diplomatic Mission in Benghazi had stopped and the compound had been cleared.” It said a “response team” was at the site attempting to locate missing personnel.
A third email, also marked SBU and sent at 6:07 p.m. Washington time, carried the subject line: “Update 2: Ansar al-Sharia Claims Responsibility for Benghazi Attack.”
The message reported: “Embassy Tripoli reports the group claimed responsibility on Facebook and Twitter and has called for an attack on Embassy Tripoli.”
While some information identifying recipients of this message was redacted from copies of the messages obtained by Reuters, a government source said that one of the addresses to which the message was sent was the White House Situation Room, the president’s secure command post.
Other addressees included intelligence and military units as well as one used by the FBI command center, the source said.
It was not known what other messages were received by agencies in Washington from Libya that day about who might have been behind the attacks.
Intelligence experts caution that initial reports from the scene of any attack or disaster are often inaccurate.
By the morning of September 12, the day after the Benghazi attack, Reuters reported that there were indications that members of both Ansar al-Sharia, a militia based in the Benghazi area, and al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, the North African affiliate of al Qaeda’s faltering central command, may have been involved in organizing the attacks.
One U.S. intelligence official said that during the first classified briefing about Benghazi given to members of Congress, officials “carefully laid out the full range of sparsely available information, relying on the best analysis available at the time.”
The official added, however, that the initial analysis of the attack that was presented to legislators was mixed.
“Briefers said extremists were involved in attacks that appeared spontaneous, there may have been a variety of motivating factors, and possible links to groups such as (al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and Ansar al-Sharia) were being looked at closely,” the official said. source – Reuters