An email sent just hours after the terrorist attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya shows the Pentagon was not only willing to response with force, but had the wheels in motion to do exactly that. They just needed someone to make the call.
The email is from then-Department of Defense Chief of Staff Jeremy Bash to various State Department leaders. In it, he wrote, “We have identified the forces that could move to Benghazi. They are spinning up as we speak.”
Judicial Watch, who released the email, notes that it directly contradicts testimony by then Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, who said there wasn’t any way to respond to the attack in time.
Panetta said, “time, distance, the lack of an adequate warning, events that moved very quickly on the ground prevented a more immediate response.”
Here’s the email:
From: Bash, Jeremy CIV SD [REDACTED]
Sent: Tuesday, September 11, 2012 7:19 PM
To: Sullivan, Jacob J; Sherman, Wendy R; Nides, Thomas R
Cc: Miller, James HON OSD POLICY; Wienefeld, James A ADM JSC VCJCS; Kelly, John LtGen SD; martin, dempsey [REDACTED]
I just tried you on the phone but you were all in with S [apparent reference to then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton].
After consulting with General Dempsey, General Ham and the Joint Staff, we have identified the forces that could move to Benghazi. They are spinning up as we speak. They include a [REDACTED].
Assuming Principals agree to deploy these elements, we will ask State to procure the approval from host nation. Please advise how you wish to convey that approval to us [REDACTED].
According to Judicial Watch, “Jacob Sullivan was Deputy Chief of Staff to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the time of the terrorist attack at Benghazi. Wendy Sherman was Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, the fourth-ranking official in the U.S. Department of State. Thomas Nides was the Deputy Secretary of State for Management and Resources.”
Judicial Watch notes the time this email was sent is important considering testimony already presented to Congress:
The timing of the Bash email is particularly significant based upon testimony given to members of Congress by Gregory Hicks, Deputy Chief of Mission of the U.S. embassy in Tripoli at the time of the Benghazi terrorist attack. According to Hicks’ 2013 testimony, a show of force by the U.S. military during the siege could have prevented much of the carnage. Said Hicks, “if we had been able to scramble a fighter or aircraft or two over Benghazi as quickly as possible after the attack commenced, I believe there would not have been a mortar attack on the annex in the morning because I believe the Libyans would have split. They would have been scared to death that we would have gotten a laser on them and killed them.”
Soopermexican at The Right Scoop notes another interesting point about this email. It supports what the account from an ex Special Forces member said on an interview with Bryan Suits way back in 2012.
[The CIF is a] heretofore little known American option…You’ve probably never heard that before. It’s not secret per se, but it’s not publicized very much… the CIF, as it’s called is something that is available to every theater commander.
The CIF are US army special forces soldiers who are specifically dedicated to being prepared at all times for months on end to leave with no notice, with little or no information to move by air or whatever vehicle, to a situation, that they have been determined to be the best immediate solution to. They oftentimes get in the air with absolutely no idea where they’re going or what the mission is. Oftentimes they are briefed in the air.”
“The entire purpose of this [CIF]… in the extreme, there is no worse case than this. Something is happening right now, and we don’t have 24 hours to get Delta force in there. Something is happening right now, and that’s why these forces, the CIF are pre-positioned… to at the drop of a hat, to go anywhere and do anything.
It’s time to explain what is angering so many people in the special operations community, because they’re aware of the CIF.
He then explained why Panetta was lying about there not being enough time to send them:
The bottom line is this – did the president have an option? He did. What Leon Panetta said about “real-time information”, when Leon Panetta was saying that on Thursday, we know that’s a LIE. Because we’ve known for weeks that there was a predator drone orbiting the Benghazi consulate. Have US forces been sent places with less information? YES. I can personally vouch for being sent places where my initial mission was to find out what was going on.
There’s no such principle that you don’t deploy people without information.
This entire thing reeks of politics. Why weren’t those ready to deploy sent? Why did Panetta say what he did?
Why were those men left to die? And who made that call?
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