The Benghazi Select Committee released its report this morning and despite what the left is saying and will say, it is an damning indictment of the seething mass of indecision and panty wetting that was the State Department under Hillary Clinton’s grifting.
The attack on the Benghazi embassy started at 9:42 pm, local, 3:42 pm Washington time.
Just minutes after word of the attack reached the Secretary [note: Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta], he and General Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, departed the Pentagon to attend a previously scheduled 5:00 p.m. meeting at the White House with President Obama and National Security Advisor Thomas E. Donilon. The Secretary recalled two details about the attack on the U.S. facility in Benghazi: a building was on fire and Stevens was missing. As the Secretary and Dempsey briefed the President on the evolving situation in Benghazi, Libya, the Secretary recalls the following guidance:
The President made clear that we ought to use all of the resources at our disposal to try to make sure we did everything possible to try to save lives there.
This is new information. To his credit, Obama gave timely instructions to the Defense Department to do whatever they could to save lives.
Immediately following the meeting with the President, at roughly 6:00 p.m., the Secretary and Dempsey returned to the Pentagon and convened a meeting that included Ham who was in Washington D.C. at the time, and relevant members of the Secretary’s staff and the Joint Staff.
During the meeting, three distinct capabilities were identified to deploy in response to the attacks in Benghazi: two FAST platoons, the CIF, and the U.S. SOF, capable of response to crises worldwide. Again, the Secretary
was not aware, and was not told, of any assets in Tripoli.
As it turned out there were some DoD personnel deployed in Libya unbeknownst to Panetta, but that isn’t relevant to our tale. By the time this meeting takes place it is pretty late in the day, Ambassador Chris Stevens was pronounced dead at 2am local, 8pm Washington time. Still, this is a pretty credible performance and indicates that Panetta and his staff were doing whatever they could to relieve the consulate.
By 7:00 p.m. in Washington [1:00 a.m. in Benghazi], nearly three hours after the attacks began, the Secretary issued what he believed, then and now, to be the only order needed to move the FAST platoons, the CIF, and the U.S. SOF.
Then the mid-level political appointees got involved.
While Team Tripoli was urgently seeking transportation from the Benghazi airport to either the hospital or the Annex, Denis McDonough, the Deputy Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs convened
a secure video teleconference meeting at 7:30 p.m. in Washington with the State Department and the Department of Defense. The State Department attendees included Cheryl D. Mills, Chief of Staff, Jacob J. Sullivan,
Deputy Chief of Staff for Policy and Planning, Stephen D. Mull, Executive Secretary, Wendy R. Sherman, Under Secretary for Political Affairs, and Kennedy and the Secretary [amd who would “the Secretary” be?]. The Defense Department was represented by Jeremy B. Bash, Chief of Staff to the Secretary of Defense and Tidd.
The two representatives who normally would have participated in the meeting—the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy—did not do so that night.
This cast of assclowns should be familiar if you’ve followed Hillary’s email scandal. Cheryl Mills is a Hillary crony who was actively involved in shopping the bogus video narrative after the attack. Sullivan is another crony. Wendy Sherman is an imbecile. Patrick Kennedy is an Undersecretary at State and is responsible for protecting Hillary Clinton from scrutiny as she slung US intelligence information about using her personal server. This is not the crew to have on hand if your life is in danger.
According to Panetta:
Even though the Secretary [Panetta] had already issued the order to deploy the identified forces and testified he fully expected his order was being carried out at the time, the plan was to “work through this issue” during the White House meeting. As the Secretary reinforced: “I had the authority to deploy those forces. And I didn’t have to ask anyone’s permission to get those forces into place.” The Secretary further said his approach was “we need to move them and move them as fast as we can in order to respond. So I wanted no interference with those orders to get them deployed.” In fact, the Secretary added that during the meeting at the Pentagon, his orders were simultaneously being conveyed to those forces. He noted: “these are elite units, and the purpose of these units is to move when I give the order to move, and that’s what I expected.”
You don’t always get what you want, as the song goes. And never was this more obvious than when Hillary Clinton got involved.
Despite the Secretary of Defense’s clear directive and his intention that forces would move and move quickly, no forces had yet moved. Over 13 hours after the attack began, the first force—the farthest away—
deployed. It would take nearly 18 hours for the FAST team to move, and over 20 hours from the beginning of the attack before the CIF moved.
One of the issues that Clinton brain trust dealt with was incredible, given the urgency of the situation:
A request for the FAST Platoon to wear civilian attire appears to have generated from Kennedy during the White House meeting.
Yep. As we have a consulate under attack and Americans dying, Hillary Clinton’s little claque was debating the merits of having the USMC FAST platoon arrive in civilian clothes or uniform. A cursory look at the Hague and Geneva Conventions should have cleared that up. If the Marines arrived in civilian clothes and any of them were captured they would lose any pretense at being covered under international law which sets wearing an identifiable uniform as one of the critical elements in defining a legally protected combatant. But no. That’s not how Clinton rolls. And while the meeting attendees pass off this as an en passant discussion, they are lying through their teeth.
In fact, the FAST Platoon commander testified that during the course of three hours, he and his Marines changed in and out of their uniforms four times.
In a nutshell, Benghazi is a metaphor for anything else Hillary Clinton has touched.
She interjected herself into a situation where she had no legal right to intervene. Under statute, military command authority is exercised by the commander in chief through the secretary of defense. Panetta is right. Once he gave the order to deploy, there was no one else alive on the planet that had the authority to change that order. Yet Hillary Clinton did. When she did get involved she created chaos and she focused on trivialities. So while Americans were dying she was concerned about the clothing that the USMC FAST platoons should wear.