In yet another attempt to counter the mounting evidence against the Obama Administration in the handling of the September 11 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, the CIA last Friday leaked a timeline of events to foreign policy columnist David Ignatius.
The CIA version makes its actions seem appropriate if insufficient. It did not take long, however, for Fox News reporters to start shooting holes in it.
It should be noted that the CIA personnel on the ground in Benghazi performed heroically, coming to the rescue of State Department personnel who ought to have been protected by State Department security but were not. Three of those heroes lost their lives as they fought to protect others.
Specifically, the CIA statement says that at 9:40 p.m., the first call for assistance came from a senior State Department official at the U.S consulate in Benghazi. According to Fox, Blue Mountain Security, in charge of local forces to guard the consulate perimeter, made calls on two-way radios and cell phones to colleagues in Benghazi, warning them of problems an hour before the CIA claims. A source says that the Blue Mountain Security chief seemed “distraught,” saying “the situation here is very serious, we have a problem.” Security experts evaluating the Benghazi security arrangements noted that the security staff had seemed “complacent” and “didn’t seem to follow the normal American way of securing a facility”—specifically, not even fire-proofing the embassy’s safe room or providing proper ventilation, which appears to have been the immediate cause of death for Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
According to the CIA, at 11:11 p.m., an unarmed Predator drone arrived over the consulate compound, providing real-time video of the attack as it was unfolding. No armed aerial support was ever called in, yet Fox reports that both American and British sources say that there were other capabilities in the region that were not used: “There were not only armed drones that monitor Libyan chemical weapon sites in the area, but also F-18’s, AC-130 aircraft, and even helicopters that could have been dispatched in a timely fashion.”
The CIA states that at 1:00 a.m., a team of additional security personnel from Tripoli landed at the Benghazi airport and attempted to find a ride into town. The team from Tripoli finally arrived at the CIA annex at 5:04 a.m. At 5:15, the terrorists launched a second attack against the annex. A Fox source wonders, “Why would they put a ragtag team together in Tripoli as first responders? This is not even what they do for a living. We had a first responder air base in Italy almost the same distance away.” Additionally, British forces were on the ground in Benghazi, with more people than the Americans, frustrated on not being called on to help.
Eventually, the Libyan forces (who were supposed to have come to the aid of the embassy personnel) showed up and led the evacuation of the remaining staff. We now know that Ambassador Stevens cabled the State Department the morning of the attack, telling them of his belief that the Libyans had been infiltrated by the enemy.
At this point, the Obama Administration has lost credibility on Benghazi across the board, as misinformation and contradictions have piled up day after day. The CIA timeline fits into this pattern.