The much anticipated Benghazi report is out. And so is the minority Democratic rebuttal — ouch!
I’ve been closely following the Benghazi fallout along with a group called OPSEC, made up of former U.S. special operations and intelligence officers, ever since the Sept. 11, 2012, tragedy took place. (The OPSEC group was instrumental in the creation of the Select Committee on Benghazi.) And I have never been more disappointed in the leadership of this country.
Sept. 11, 2012 was less than two months before our national elections. President Obama was running strongly on the premise that everything was hunky-dory in the Middle East and nothing was going to change that narrative. This is the backdrop for everything else that happened in the wake of the tragedy.
So when Benghazi erupted in flames it wasn’t the administration’s fault: It wasn’t due to a misguided foreign policy; it wasn’t due to a misreading of events in the region; it wasn’t due to the erroneous overthrow of Moammar al-Gadhafi; and it was certainly not due to Obama’s enthusiastic backing of the Muslim Brotherhood and the Arab Spring.
No, none of these things; it was due to an anti-Muslim YouTube video, something way beyond the administration’s control, pure and simple.
And here we are almost four years later and the administration is still adamantly defending its actions leading up to and during that fateful night.
Well, mostly anyway. They finally did concede that maybe they should have listened to the advice of security experts who constantly called for beefed up security at the U.S. compound in Benghazi. And they have reluctantly admitted that the YouTube video probably didn’t spark a “spontaneous demonstration” which led to the organized attack on the facility.
But they fell short of admitting that they outright lied about it.
One thing new that came out of the Benghazi report was that both President Obama and former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta had issued vague orders to do everything possible to protect the Americans on the ground in Benghazi.
But then why weren’t the orders carried out? The truth is that no one lifted a finger to help those poor souls in Benghazi. Not one U.S. military asset left the ground. I firmly believe our military were chaffing at the bit to head toward the sound of gunfire. That’s their ethos. But I don’t for a moment believe any of the lame excuses given for not pulling the trigger.
And tell me again about those U.S. Marines attached to the Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team (FAST) who sat on a plane for three hours in Rota, Spain, changing in and out of their uniforms four times, and then returning to their barracks without deploying!
The administration and our State Department clearly placed offending the Libyans over saving the lives of Americans.
All of this indicates a thoroughly confused, incompetent, feckless chain of command from the president on down. Or perhaps it’s actually far worse than that; perhaps the administration simply lacked the will to respond to the emergency.
The entire administration from the top down has repeatedly engaged in denials, deflections, defamation and destruction of the truth about our Libyan policy, the actions leading up to the Benghazi attacks, the failure to rescue our people, and the cover-up after it was all over.
The message this sends to all those Americans we send overseas in harm’s way is chilling: You are on your own.
Fred Rustmann spent more than 24 years in the Central Intelligence Agency, serving as senior CIA officer (chief of station) in country for two assignments. Rustmann founded the CTC International Group, Inc. He is the author of three books: "CIA, Inc.: Espionage and the Craft of Business Intelligence," "The Case Officer," and "Plausible Denial." For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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