Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Report: CIA Operatives Denied Help During Attack on US Consulate in Benghazi

In the latest development regarding the September 11, 2012 attacks on the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, reports are circulating that multiple requests for military aid during the consulate attack were rejected by the chain of command.
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.
Particularly damning is a report that appeared on milblogger Blackfive's page indicating that CIA and Special Operations forces had a GLD (Ground Laser Designator) on site in Benghazi during the attack, a device used to 'paint' targets on the ground for air support. Only during the Benghazi attack, both the CIA and Special Operations operatives were given orders to stand down.

An unarmed surveillance drone over Benghazi had reportedly relayed real-time footage of the attack to the chain of command. The attack went on for hours, meaning there was more than enough time for commanders to dispatch AC130U Spectre gunships from Naval Air Station Sigonella in Sicily- some 480 miles away from Benghazi. The AC130U was designed for ground support and is capable of saturating a fairly compact are with precision fire from a 25mm gatling gun as well as precision 40mm and 105mm cannons. Such weapons systems also can operate with even greater precision with a GLD like what was reportedly on site at the CIA annex in Benghazi.

If true, this basically means that the chain of command in the CIA, State Department and White House left Ambassador Stevens, Information Management Officer Sean Smith and former Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods to die while the US Consulate was under a well planned and coordinated attack with heavy weaponry from Islamist militants- reportedly including Ansar al Sharia.

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has denied that any of the C-130s had even left Sigonella during the attack while a CIA spokeswoman denies that requests for military aid from Benghazi during the attack were turned down. However, since both the State Department and White House continued blaming a short anti-Islamic YouTube video for weeks after the September 11th attacks, the denials are significantly lacking in credibility.

Meanwhile, Turkish authorities detained a Tunisian man identified on surveillance video of the attack but so far, US interrogators have been denied the opportunity to interview him.

UPDATE 11/1- Foreign Policy magazine and Dubai's Al Aan television reported the discovery of more sensetive documents in the wreckage of the Benghazi consulate after the September 11th attacks, including a travel itinterary for Information Officer Sean Smith and e-mails from Ambassador Stevens to Libya's foreign minstry requesting additional security and reporting 'troubling surveillance' from a local police officer who was reportedly taking pictures inside the compound. Stevens even identified the car number the Libyan policeman arrived and departed in.

The Ambassador's report of the policeman taking pictures is consistent with Information Officer Smith's online message just hours before the attack that read "Assuming we don’t die tonight. We saw one of our ‘police’ that guard the compound taking pictures".

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