This has been going around the internet like wildfire today. We first saw it while scanning the Tigerdroppings.com message board this morning (Tigerdroppings is an LSU sports site with a pretty heavily-trafficked political message board as well), and thought it was interesting.
And then a Facebook friend from New York City posted it earlier this afternoon. Right after that it showed up in our e-mail from a reader from Arizona. So far as we can tell they’re all independent of each other – meaning it’s not just a bunch of people spreading around something they saw on a message board somewhere.
Either that or Tigerdroppings is doing better traffic on topics not involving LSU sports than anybody over there thought it would.
In any event, the substance of this potential bombshell is as follows…
I heard a story today from someone inside the military that I trust entirely. The story was in reference to General Ham that Panetta referenced in the quote below.
“(The) basic principle is that you don’t deploy forces into harm’s way without knowing what’s going on; without having some real-time information about what’s taking place,” Panetta told Pentagon reporters. “And as a result of not having that kind of information, the commander who was on the ground in that area, Gen. Ham, Gen. Dempsey and I felt very strongly that we could not put forces at risk in that situation.”
The information I heard today was that General Ham as head of Africom received the same e-mails the White House received requesting help/support as the attack was taking place. General Ham immediately had a rapid response unit ready and communicated to the Pentagon that he had a unit ready.
General Ham then received the order to stand down. His response was to screw it, he was going to help anyhow. Within 30 seconds to a minute after making the move to respond, his second in command apprehended General Ham and told him that he was now relieved of his command.
The story continues that now General Rodriguez would take General Ham’s place as the head of Africom.
There are lots of rumors out there, including another which has the admiral heading the USS Stennis carrier group being relieved of duty because of the Benghazi thing, though that one seems more half-true (he’s being relieved, but apparently not because of Benghazi).
We’re going to need to do a little research on how the relief of commanders is done, though, because Ham didn’t get put in the brig on September 11. In fact, two weeks later he was still running Africom – at least ceremonially. And at the end of September Ham was in Algeria talking about the prospect of American involvement in fighting the growing Al Qaeda presence in Mali, as the commander of Africom. But he’s not the Africom commander now – he was replaced by Gen. David Rodriguez on Oct. 18. It’s possible something got worked out so everybody could save face and Ham got to close out his time by doing a lot of rubber-chicken-circuit work; we’re not sure how realistic that is.
But there definitely appears to have been some indication of rapid-response capability not being used in Benghazi. This was John Bolton on Greta Van Susteren last night…
(Link, just in case)
Bolton referenced another interview Greta did last night; namely, the one with Reagan’s Assistant Secretary of Defense Bing West, who noted that if the president said he ordered all available assets into the fray to secure our people in Benghazi there has to be a paper trail…
The fact is, there are way too many rumors out there and nowhere near enough of a sensible explanation for what happened that night for some of these rumors not to be true. And as Bolton made note, Rep. Jason Chaffetz said on Hannity last night – and we’re still trying to find a video clip of it – that when he traveled to Libya two weeks ago he spoke to Ham and Ham said he didn’t deploy any resources to Benghazi because no one asked him to. Whether that equates to Ham wanting to deploy and trying to deploy against orders and costing himself his job in the process is a viable question; it might be a good idea for somebody in Congress to haul Ham into a hearing and get him on the record with an answer for whether he was attempting to deploy troops to our facility in Benghazi and was shut down before he could do so.
As a bonus, here’s a transcript of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s press conference in which he made the unfortunate “Monday Morning Quarterback” reference…
Q: Can I follow up on that? One of the reasons we’ve heard that there wasn’t a more robust response right away is that there wasn’t a clear intelligence picture over Benghazi, to give you the idea of where to put what forces.
But when there was, in fact, a drone over the CIA annex and there were intelligence officials fighting inside the annex, I guess the big question is, with those two combined assets, why there wasn’t a clear intelligence picture that would have given you what you needed to make some moves, for instance, flying, you know, F-16s over the area to disperse fighters or — or dropping more special forces in.
SEC. PANETTA: You know, let me — let me speak to that, because I’m sure there’s going to be — there’s a lot of Monday morning quarterbacking going on here.
We — we quickly responded, as General Dempsey said, in terms of deploying forces to the region. We had FAST platoons in the region. We had ships that we had deployed off of Libya. And we were prepared to respond to any contingency and certainly had forces in place to do that.
But — but the basic principle here — basic principle is that you don’t deploy forces into harm’s way without knowing what’s going on; without having some real-time information about what’s taking place. And as a result of not having that kind of information, the commander who was on the ground in that area, General Ham, General Dempsey and I felt very strongly that we could not put forces at risk in that situation.
Q: So the drone, then, and the forces inside the annex weren’t giving enough of a clear picture is what you’re saying.
SEC. PANETTA: This — this happened within a few hours and it was really over before, you know, we had the opportunity to really know what was happening.
Having discussed this material with a friend of ours who’s intimately familiar with matters such as these, we are told that blaming a lack of intelligence is a typical dodge by politicians for a failure to act.
As is the business of concern for collateral damage. Remember the Fox News report we referenced yesterday about how a CIA operator was “painting” the mortar crew who ultimately killed Glenn Doherty and Ty Woods at the “annex” facility on September 11; we’re also told that a Pentagon report on the 2011 downing of the Chinook helicopter which carried members of Navy SEAL Team Six in Afghanistan shows the shooters of the RPG which hit that helicopter were being “painted” by a laser as well, but no orders were given for the AC-130 gunship on station to attack because of concern for collateral damage (the shooters were standing atop a mud hut and it wasn’t known if civilians were inside).
Meanwhile, this morning the White House, through National Security spokesman Tommy Vietor, offered this denial of responsibility…
“Neither the president nor anyone in the White House denied any requests for assistance in Benghazi,” National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor told Yahoo News by email.
Frankly, that sounds like a load of crap.
But the good news is, we don’t have to argue about whether it’s a load of crap, because as West noted and Bolton concurred, there is a paper trail in situations like these and the communications traffic will be part of the record. Particularly since Obama and Biden had a scheduled meeting with Panetta one hour after the Benghazi attack began.
Someone needs to access that record and get it into the public domain before the election. This administration is attempting to keep the truth hidden from the American people until after the election and the legacy media is assisting in that effort by refusing to report on the current developments in the Benghazi case.
But given that the administration is leaking like a sieve on Benghazi in the past week – it’s clear there are whistleblowers who know how bad this is and are doing everything they can to get the truth out – Obama can’t hide this forever. And it’s a matter of time until the dam breaks on this just as it did on Watergate.