Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Benghazi Files: Welcome to the party, WaPo.

Remember the beginning of Die Hard when Bruce Willis's character is trying to get help from the police, but they don't believe him?  Eventually they send one patrol car over, the cop gets out, asks if there's a problem- is told "no" by the bad guys, and starts to leave?

Then Bruce Willis shoots the patrol car with a sub-machine gun, causing said cop to realize there really is a problem?

This article from David Ignatius in the Washington Post is a cross between that cop and the clueless FBI agents who show up later.

David, this information has been around for weeks.  Some of it for just under one week, some for more than that, but please actually do some fact checking before you try to stick up for the Administration while appearing to praise Fox News.

Let's break this down.

Mr. Ignatius starts with the first line of defense that everyone used when questions first started being posed about what happened that 9/11, and what lead up to it.  It is, apparently, "a political football."  No, Mr. Ignatius, it's thoughtful questions raising serious doubts about the abilities of our current Commander-in-Chief to fulfill that role.  Insofar as it is a "political football," it is such because you, and those like you, refuse to actually act as journalists regarding the matter.

He then tries to say that Fox's "Stand Down" story was inaccurate, because the CIA said the order didn't come from them.  Here's his full quote:
The Fox “stand down” story prompted a strong rebuttal from the CIA: “We can say with confidence that the agency reacted quickly to aid our colleagues during that terrible evening in Benghazi. Moreover, no one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need; claims to the contrary are simply inaccurate.”

One little problem with that, we know that the Stand Down order came.  The only thing the CIA says is that they didn't order it.  Mr. Ignatius never gets around to asking, "Well, if the stand down order didn't come from CIA, who had authority to give it?"

Instead, he tries to write his own timeline.  Problem- we already know the timeline.  Bret Baier did an excellent job of assembling one.

He claims the delay in the local CIA response was due to trying to contact the February 17 Brigade  the local militia which was "in charge" of security in that part of Benghazi.  He then inserts the non sequiter "The United States depends on local security to protect U.S. diplomatic facilities everywhere..."

No, Mr. Ignatius, we don't.  We rely on local military forces to protect the exterior of our diplomatic compounds.  And Ambassador Stevens had made quite clear that he did not believe any security force native to Libya could provide adequate security.  Why weren't there Marines inside the compound?  And, even if you were correct, sir, why would we wait to get permission from a local militia to save our own personnel?  Are you really that credulous, or do you just want us to be?

Then, to cover himself, he says this:
Here’s my question: Was it wise to depend on a Libyan militia that clearly wasn't up to the job? Could it have made a difference for those under attack at the consulate if Woods had moved out as soon as he was, in one official’s words, “saddled and ready”?

Mr. Ignoramus Ignatius, we don't even depend on the English, French, or Germans for security in those nations.  They supply security for the exterior of the Embassies.  We supply our own security for the interior of the compound.  If we had done that, we wouldn't be talking about 4 dead Americans today.  So the question is "Why were the minimum security requirements for all diplomatic missions waived in the case of Benghazi?"

He then says this:
Second, why didn’t the United States send armed drones or other air assistance to Benghazi immediately? This one is harder to answer. The CIA did dispatch a quick-reaction force that night from Tripoli, with about eight people, but it had trouble at first reaching the compound. One of its members, Glen Doherty, died along with Woods when a mortar hit the roof of the annex about 4 a.m.
What more could have been done? A Joint Special Operations Command team was moved that night to Sigonella air base in Sicily, for quick deployment to Benghazi or any of the other U.S. facilities in danger that night across North Africa. Armed drones could also have been sent. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta summarized last Thursday the administration’s decision to opt for caution: “You don’t deploy forces into harm’s way without knowing what’s going on.”

Here, he accepts two known lies as truth.

First: "why didn't the United States send armed drones or other air assistance to Benghazi immediately."  Mr. Ignatius, perhaps you should actually have done some research.  If you had, you might have found that Mr. Woods was killed when the mortar he'd been illuminating with a laser guidance system finally managed to hit his position with ordinance.

Now, maybe you don't realize this, because you're an oik, but those who stop to think about it realize that a former SEAL and current CIA contractor would not be pointing what amounts to a glorified laser pointer at a mortar for several minutes if he did not believe that support was mere minutes away.

You might also have found out that the President, and others from his administration watched the whole event (we'll come back to this later, too) unfold live on a... drone.  Was that drone armed?  Maybe not, but we don't know, because you and your friends in the media have been helping the White House cover this up from the moment it happened.

Before we get to the next lie he accepts, I need to address a piece of misdirection he inserts himself.  "A Joint Special Operations Command team was moved that night to Sigonella air base in Sicily..."  Note "moved that night" which would imply it wasn't there on time.  Problem- it wasn't "moved that night."  It had been there for at least a little while.  Fighter support could have arrived at Benghazi in just about an hour, with ground support only a couple of hours behind.

Now, the second lie he accepts at face value was Leon Panetta's laughable statement "You don't deploy forces into harm's way without knowing what's going on."

Excuse me.  So now we don't send our forces out on patrols?  Isn't that the very definition of sending them "into harm's way without knowing what's going on?"  We'll never mount a rescue mission without having 100% reliable knowledge of every single fact on the ground?  Of course not.  That's stupid.  It deserves mocking, not credulous acceptance.

Further, we did know what was going on.  The White House was monitoring by drone video feed.  They were receiving frantic phone-calls for help.  Former SEAL Woods was in contact with his superiors telling them what was happening.  You don't get better in-situ intelligence than that.  The line is a bald-faced lie, and everyone knows it.

Then Mr. Ignatius gets to this stupid statement: "Looking back, it may indeed have been wise not to bomb targets in Libya that night.  Given the uproar in the Arab world, this might have been the equivalent of pouring gasoline on a burning fire."  Hmm... "uproar?"  Over what, Mr. Ignatius?  We wouldn't be falling back on the discredited "video" story-line are we?  That would simply be pathetic.

Of course, that would be in keeping with the whole piece, so maybe you are.

Then there's the little problem where no one was talking about bombing anyone.  The fighter support doesn't have to use bombs or missiles, they still have machine guns.  Strafing runs work.  Then there's the AC-130U which could have been deployed.  I don't think they even have bombs.  But they can rain hot lead on a relatively small area like almost no other war machine in anyone's inventory.  Or the special forces commandos who could have been sent?  Does Mr. Ignatius believe they'd all be Rambo, shooting indiscriminately at everything that moves?

In his final paragraph, Mr. Ignatius doubles-down on the stupid "we needed better intelligence."  Better intelligence, Mr. Ignatius?  We had prior warning that an attack was possible, even probable.  For nearly a year Ambassador Stevens had been begging for more security for both Tripoli and Benghazi.  There was no reason this attack should have taken us by surprise at all.  Once the attack began, we had a drone in the air watching it unfold.  We had resources involved in the action calling in with reports and pleas for help.  You can't ask for more intelligence than that.

All-in-all, it's nice that the media is finally being forced to cover the Benghazi story.  Unfortunately, they're more than a day late, and way more than a dollar short when it comes to their coverage.  There was a time when journalists were skeptical of anything the Government said, and sought concrete proof.  And Watergate didn't even have a body count.


  1. Good job on all of this Tenther.

  2. AllenG,

    One error in your analogy. In Die Hard, Bruce Willis throws the body of one of the dead terrorists onto the police car and through the windshield. Then the other terrorists open fire as the cop speeds away backwards. But otherwise, spot on.