Big news day for followers of the Benghazi attack:
“The United States military, as I’ve said, is not and, frankly, should not be a 911 service capable of arriving on the scene within minutes to every possible contingency around the world. The U.S. military has neither the resources nor the responsibility to have a fire house next to every U.S. facility in the world,” Panetta said in his opening statement.
“We have some key bases, particularly in this region. We have some key platforms from which we can deploy. And we have forces on alert, and we’re prepared to move,” he continued. “But our ability to identify threats, to adjust posture, to prevent plots, and respond to attacks to our personnel at home and overseas depends on actionable intelligence — and it always will.”
Soon after the initial attack, Panetta said, he did dispatch various military teams to Benghazi, including Marines from Spain and a special operations force that was training in Central Europe.
He answered emerging questions about why the U.S. didn’t send more firepower, such as gunships or fixed-wing fighter jets. He said those were not in the vicinity and would have required at least nine to 12 hours to deploy. Even if aircraft could have arrived quickly, the chaos would have prevented them from getting the accurate information they needed to hit the right targets, he said.
“This was, pure and simple, a problem of distance and time,” Panetta said.
The Benghazi attack lasted 8 hours. There was real-time audio and video, former military personnel were on-scene and fighting, there were multiple real-time requests for assistance, there was a carrier strike force within 300 miles of Benghazi, there were numerous military assets in southern Italy…Mr. Panetta, are you insane, or merely stupid?
Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta on Thursday revealed he personally broke the news to President Obama that the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, was under attack last year — but he and the president didn’t speak the rest of the night as the assault on the compound unfolded.
Mr. Panetta said he and Mr. Obama, along with Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, discussed the attack for 15 minutes in the Oval Office the afternoon of Sept. 11, and also covered an anti-American protest that had broken out that day at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.
Testifying to the Senate Armed Services Committee, Mr. Panetta said the president told them to “do whatever you need to do to be able to protect our people there,” though when it came to specifics the president “left it up to us.”
“Did he ask you how long it would take to deploy assets, including armed aviation, to the area?” asked Sen. Kelly Ayotte, New Hampshire Republican.
“No,” answered Mr. Panetta.
“He didn’t ask you what ability you had in the area and what we could do?” Ms. Ayotte asked.
“No,” Mr. Panetta responded again. “I mean, he relied on both myself … and Gen. Dempsey’s capabilities. He knows generally what we have deployed to the region; we’ve presented that to him in other briefings.”
Gen. Dempsey, who was testifying with Mr. Panetta, interjected that the White House’s national security staff did follow up throughout the night.
During a later exchange, Mr. Panetta added that neither he nor Mr. Dempsey spoke with Mrs. Clinton on the night of the attack.
Exactly who is in charge? Where does the buck stop? Mr. President, you should be ashamed. Which, of course, is impossible for you.
Essentially, Panetta, Clinton and Obama all looked around for a grown-up intervene and failing that, they each walked in a different compass direction, so that no communication could take place between them; they stuck their heads in the sand, hoping the problem would go away. When it didn’t, they executed cover-up efforts.
Why isn’t this on the front page of every newspaper in the country? Why isn’t this being discussed on every TV news program?
Supported by the finest journalists in the world, we’re led by the finest the country has to offer.
Our Republic is doomed.