Patterico's Pontifications


L.A. Times Takes CIA and Pentagon Spin on Benghazi as Gospel

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 7:09 am

I just wanted to make sure nobody missed this. It’s by far the most comprehensive account of the alleged Obama failures at Benghazi that the L.A. Times has done — but, of course, presented in the context of a refutation:

Maryland insurance executive Christopher Moody believes much of the news media is missing a major scandal in how the Obama administration responded to the attack in eastern Libya that killed four Americans.

Based on reports he’s seen and heard on Fox News, talk radio and elsewhere, Moody is positive that officials watched a live video feed in the White House situation room from an overhead drone as the attack in Benghazi unfolded. He knows that a U.S. Special Operations team was available in Sicily to help rescue the besieged Americans, but wasn’t sent. He is sure that President Obama or his aides refused requests to dispatch an AC-130 Spectre gunship that could have mowed down the attackers with its fearsome rotating cannons.

“The bottom line,” emailed Moody, whose father was a Democratic U.S. senator from Michigan, “is that [Obama] had the ability to save those four Americans and didn’t do it.”

Officials in the Pentagon and the intelligence community contend that none of those assertions are true.

And government officials’ version is basically taken as gospel:

But in Washington, the pursuit of answers has been complicated by a fog of partisan-driven misinformation that is notable even by election-year standards. With just days to go before the presidential election, legitimate criticism over the incident has become entangled with conspiracy theories alleging that the president and his top national security advisors intentionally or recklessly allowed Americans to die.

. . . .

Last week, Fox News alleged that CIA managers told security officials at an agency facility known as the Annex — which was a mile from the State Department compound in Benghazi — not to go to the aid of their American counterparts when the diplomatic buildings first came under attack. Fox said the team was delayed an hour before going to help, in contravention of orders. Ambassador Stevens and computer technician Sean Smith were killed when attackers set fire to the compound.

The Fox report also alleged that, hours later, when the Annex itself was under attack, officials in the CIA chain of command refused to pass along requests for military assistance. And it said that one of the CIA security officers had laser sights pointed at some of the attackers that could have allowed them to be targeted by a precision bomb. Two CIA security officers, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, were killed when mortar rounds struck their position on the roof of the Annex.

In fact, CIA security officers responded to the attack on the State Department compound within 25 minutes, U.S. officials said, though it took them 50 minutes to arrive. CIA officers did not have laser targeting equipment, they said.

And Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta “ordered all appropriate forces to respond to the unfolding events in Benghazi, but the attack was over before those forces could be employed,” said Little, the Pentagon spokesman.

“There were no orders to anybody to stand down in providing support,” a senior intelligence official said.

You see the structure of the article. Fox News presents the partisan misinformation that x, but “in fact” government officials explain that not x is true.

And of course we had to wait (for days and days) for the refutation before readers could be told about any of the Fox News reports.

Par for the course; almost boring to point out; no surprise; I know, I know, I get it. Why do you think it took me two days to point it out? Still, it seems necessary to highlight, somehow.

Thanks to AZ Bob and others.

22 Responses to “L.A. Times Takes CIA and Pentagon Spin on Benghazi as Gospel”

  1. They stuck a guy in jail for mocking the “prophet” and then he went to the UN to declare that the future must not belong to those who mock the “prophet” of Islam.

    Did that really happen or did I dream that?

    j curtis (e2eb16)

  2. And Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta “ordered all appropriate forces to respond to the unfolding events in Benghazi, but the attack was over before those forces could be employed,” said Little, the Pentagon spokesman.

    This is objectively untrue.

    JD (8e5a8c)

  3. Also, from the LAT,

    WASHINGTON — U.S. military commanders decided against sending a rescue mission to Benghazi during the attack against the American diplomatic mission last month because they didn’t have enough clear intelligence to justify the risk to the troops, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said Thursday.

    Panetta, in his fullest comments yet on the attack that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans, said Pentagon officials were aware of the assault by armed militants soon after it began Sept. 11. But he said they never had more than fragmentary information during the course of the attack.

    The “basic principle is that you don’t deploy forces into harm’s way without knowing what’s taking place,” Panetta told reporters at a Pentagon briefing. “This happened within a few hours, and it was really over before we had the opportunity to really know what was happening.”

    He said he, Army Gen. Carter Ham, head of U.S. Africa Command, and Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, all believed“very strongly that we could not put troops at risk in that situation.”

    Dana (292dcf)

  4. j curtis,

    You probably dreamed it.
    After all, everyone knows that Obama is fighting tooth and nail against American Exceptionalism, Israel, and Western Civ in general the Jihadists.

    That’s why he refused to bow to the Saudi King in 2009 ! In fact, just the other nite, Obama pleaded with supporters to get revenge against Republicans who dare oppose Obama’s policies the terrorists who attacked our Embassy and murdered our Ambassador.

    Elephant Stone (65d289)

  5. So interesting that the big MSM outlets are reporting on this – only in response to Fox’s investigative work. Had Fox not been on the ball and aggressively pursuing the story, I believe nothing would be mentioned in any other major media outlet.

    (CNN and WaPo only came on board after Fox paved the way…)

    Dana (292dcf)

  6. They stuck a guy in jail for mocking the “prophet” and then he went to the UN to declare that the future must not belong to those who mock the “prophet” of Islam.

    Did that really happen or did I dream that?

    Comment by j curtis — 11/5/2012

    That really happened.

    The US President can express religious policy like this, but a high school valedictorian can’t express Christianity in her speech because that establishes religion.

    I don’t understand how that works. I don’t understand how Obama’s UN statement doesn’t empower and embolden another generation of jihadist terrorism to keep digging. I would much rather they realize their attempt to force us into submission is impossible. I guess Obama feels that another month of delaying accountability is worth the price we’ll pay.

    Dustin (73fead)

  7. The guy is still in jail. His parole violation hearing takes place after the election.

    Davod (8bf616)

  8. From Victor Davis Hanson:

    …The strange thing about Libya is not so much who lied, but rather the question of whether anyone has yet told the whole truth…”
    -Work and Days

    AD-Restore the Republic/Obama Sucks! (b8ab92)

  9. That last bit about not enough intelligence, the presence of Ansar al Sharia, AQIM, AQSL’s contribution of Azzouz and other characters, all from the LOC report wasn’t enough, the military intel warnings three hours before the attack

    narciso (ee31f1)

  10. I’ll be surprised if we ever get to the truth.

    Mayor Marathon (721840)

  11. Just because the folks who flew from Tripoli to Benghazi decided against proceeding to the hospital where it was believed Amb. Stevens corpse was being held because it was surrounded by an Al Qaeda linked group which participated in the consulate attack and instead went to the annex does not mean the Administration knew it was a terrorist attack from the beginning. The investigation is continuing.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  12. You can be a GLG-20, with Fitzhume and the other guy, with that kind of reasoning, daley, snarc.

    narciso (ee31f1)

  13. Just because the intercepted phone call which referenced events in Egypt which provided the Administration the pretext to blame the video for events in Benghazi was between to terrorist groups does not mean the Administration knew the attack was a terrorist event from the start. The investigation is continuing.

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  14. Milbarge that was the other guy,

    narciso (ee31f1)

  15. narciso – I got a very high score on the civil service exam I took hungover on a lark at the end of college!

    daleyrocks (bf33e9)

  16. The problem is that several tiems it looked like the attack was over.

    Sammy Finkelman (d22d64)

  17. 2.And Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta “ordered all appropriate forces to respond to the unfolding events in Benghazi, but the attack was over before those forces could be employed,” said Little, the Pentagon spokesman.

    This is objectively untrue.

    Comment by JD — 11/5/2012 @ 7:23 am

    You have to parse the words. They rearranged the deck chairs on the Titanic. They moved forces arround Europe. That was the “responce” Panetta ordered.

    17.The problem is that several tiems it looked like the attack was over.

    Comment by Sammy Finkelman — 11/5/2012 @ 11:53 am

    Right, Sammy. After the first wave it sure looked like that Pearl Harbor attack was over. Then, 45 minutes later they found out they were wrong. But then, boy, they were sure it was over. Because of …WTF!!!

    You have just demonstrated you are fit to be King Ptt’s next national security adviser, Sammy.

    Anyhoo, it’s cheery to know our illustrious Preezy said, “Well, that’s it. It looks like it’s over. Let me know if we get any ransom demands for the ambassador since he’s still missing. Anyway, since it’s over, I’m going to bed.”

    Steve57 (320590)

  18. Lot’s of people called this.

    So what’s going on here? The national-security staff in the Obama White House has a standard operating procedure. If a military action, such as killing bin Laden, succeeds, then immediately leak selected details to shape the narrative to the political advantage of Mr. Obama. If the action is botched, as in Benghazi, then say nothing and tell the quiescent press that there is no story worth pursuing. If questions persist, the second line of defense is an investigation that wlll drag on for months. For instance, bureaucrats in the Justice Department are still investigating the leaks last spring about the U.S. cooperation with Israel in the software sabotage — cyber warfare — of Iranian centrifuges.

    If pesky Fox News persists in asking questions, then the third line of defense is to give the nod to the CIA to leak a diversionary story to favored news outlets and reporters.

    Steve57 (320590)

  19. Once more, for emphasis:

    The problem is that several tiems it looked like the attack was over.

    Ok, Sammy, your statement means that it had been proven several times that it wasn’t over.

    Which just underscores the criminal negligence of this administration for arbitrarily declaring it over and refusing to send relief forces.

    What you wrote isn’t a defense of the administration’s actions. It’s an indictment.

    Steve57 (320590)

  20. Let’s see who do I believe more:
    – Fox vs LAT? Fox
    – Fox vs MSM? Fox
    – Fox vs Obama? Fox
    – Fox vs Panetta? Fox
    – Fox vs Patraeus? Fox
    – Fox vs Dir. National Intelligence? Fox

    It is a sweep. Fox will be vindicated now or in the future. But Obama and his enablers will be revealed for what they really are.

    in_awe (7c859a)

  21. Pa. zoo: Wild dogs killed boy who fell in exhibit

    Baker struggled to maintain her composure during her Monday news conference and made clear she was careful to consider the family’s feelings before answering questions, including one about how the boy died.

    She paused several seconds before saying, “I’m trying to think of a family-sensitive way to address that. The child did not die from the fall. The child was mauled by the dogs.”

    …Baker said the Allegheny County medical examiner’s office determined the boy survived the plunge.

    I was reading this for entirely apolitical reasons. I’ve hunted Africa, I have a great interest in African wildlife. I’ve never heard of an account in which, in the wild, Lycaon Pictus ever attacked a human being.

    Then it struck me.

    What does this have to do with the topic of Benghazi? Just one thing.

    Has any Obama official announced how Ambassador Chris Stevens or Foreign Service Officer Sean Stevens died?

    This tragedy occurred apparently on Sunday the 4th. A zoo official has already announced as of the 5th they know the cause of death. It wasn’t the fall. If not, I hope a merciful God ensured the fall at least knocked him unconscious to ease his last few seconds.

    Lycaon Pictus when it runs in packs, as this group did, absolutely dismembers its prey. As it must; it doesn’t have claws like the big cats. Just its jaws. And they are brutally efficient. So I have no doubt that:

    Nearby staff responded “within seconds” on Sunday but quickly determined the dog attack was fatal and didn’t send handlers into the enclosure to intervene, Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium president Barbara Baker said.

    I’m glad I didn’t see what the nearby staff saw.

    But as I said, it struck me. I’ve seen Sean Smith’s mother on TV begging to find out how her son died. No matter what the details; she needs to know. And, she says, they don’t tell her much, but what they do is a pack of lies.

    And it’s been two months. The President of the Pittsburgh zoo holds a press conference, only just holding it together, to announce she knows how the child who was killed just two days ago was killed.

    Sean Smith’s grieving mom is still waiting to find out the same thing about her son after two months.

    The Obama admin doesn’t need an investigation to find out what happened, clearly. They need an investigation to make sure no one finds out what happens.

    The contrast between the sensitivity of the President of the United States and the president of the Pittsburgh zoo toward the feelings of the families was also striking. And in no way reflects positively upon Obama.

    Steve57 (320590)

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