CIA: Sent reinforcements to Benghazi consulate

| November 2, 2012

According to the Washington Post, in the closing days of the campaign, the CIA is now claiming that they sent relief for the besieged employees at the Benghazi consulate;

The CIA rushed security operatives to an American diplomatic compound in Libya within 25 minutes of its coming under attack and played a more central role in the effort to fend off a night-long siege than has been acknowledged publicly, U.S. intelligence officials said Thursday.

The agency mobilized the evacuation effort, took control of an unarmed U.S. military drone to map possible escape routes, dispatched an emergency security team from Tripoli, the capital, and chartered aircraft that ultimately carried surviving American personnel to safety, U.S. officials said.

The Associated Press saw the same report;

The intelligence officials told reporters Thursday that when the CIA annex received a call about the assault, about half a dozen members of a CIA security team tried to get heavy weapons and other assistance from the Libyans. But when the Libyans failed to respond, the security team, which routinely carries small arms, went ahead with the rescue attempt. The officials said that at no point was the team told to wait.

Instead, they said the often outmanned and outgunned team members made all the key decisions on the ground, with no second-guessing from senior officials monitoring the situation from afar.

But they add this quixotic line;

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to provide intelligence information publicly.

I just think it’s strange that this information is coming out now, a week after Fox News reports that folks on the ground were ordered to stand down. The whole thing is more confusing than it was before. It wasn’t the CIA that Fox charged had been told to stand down, it was the two now-deceased former SEALs. It sounds like a whole misinformation campaighn designed to confuse the public.

Today, Fox News says that the State Department didn’t send in their rapid response team;

Top State Department officials decided not to send an interagency rapid response unit designed to respond to terrorist attacks known as a FEST team, a Foreign Emergency Support Team. This team from the State Department and CIA has a military Joint Special Operations Command element to it and has been routinely deployed to assist in investigations, for instance, after the USS Cole bombing and the bombings at the US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.

That team, these counterterrorism officials argue, could have helped the FBI gain access to the site in Benghazi faster than the 24 days that it eventually needed.

I guess everyone is going to believe what they want about this.

Category: Barack Obama/Joe Biden, Terror War

Comments (41)

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  1. Hondo says:

    Even accepting this report at face value, some questions occur to me:

    1. Unarmed drones were obviously available. Were no armed drones available?
    2. Doesn’t using drones (armed or unarmed) constitute “violating another country’s airspace”?
    3. Why wasn’t the FEST on “strip alert” or in the air?
    4. Why was the decision made not to use the FEST? Who made that decision?
    5. Why wasn’t an AC-130 and/or fast movers on-station a reasonable distance outside Libyan airspace?
    6. Did the CIA make any direct requests to DoD for assistance? If not, why not? If so, what were they told?
    7. And finally: concerning all of the above – “What did the President know, and when did he know it?”

  2. Ex-PH2 says:

    This story comes under the heading of “Oh, really? Prove it.”

    Does this also fit into the ‘day late and a dollar short’ category?

  3. Marine6 says:

    I suspect that this is all part of the MUSHROOM exercise being conducted out of the Oval Office.

    Keep them in the dark and feed them bulls**t until Wednesday of next week and everything will be just fine.

    As for me, I’m just hopin’ for change.

  4. 2-17 Air Cav says:

    Oh brother. How many times did the WH review this line of hokum before it okayed the leak?

  5. 2-17 Air Cav says:

    At least the BS story reflects that the WH is aware that not all of the country is disinterested in the Benghazi debacle and that many of us await the truth, whether it comes from a pentagonal, suit, or at an impeachment hearing!

  6. 2BlueStars says:

    The White House is playing Hot Potato with Benghazi. Keep passing the responsibility from agency to agency stalling and hoping we get too confused to care.

  7. Ex-PH2 says:

    If Romney wins, Bo can still be tried on criminal charges regarding security leaks.

    If Bo wins, he can be impeached. And I’m not sure about this, but I think Biden could be recalled and replaced with someone else, or a new election can be held.

    Either way, I believe that Bo will not be in business very much longer.

  8. Devtun says:

    If Obama fails to secure a 2nd term on 6 Nov…things might get dicey for BO as a suddenly lame duck President. The stench of failure could have his greatest protectors – the MSM, break out the long knives or just turn their backs on him. Also, the transition period discussions between POTUS Obama and President elect Romney could get really uncomfortable…more so than usual for the incoming and outgoing POTUSs from opposing parties.

  9. 2-17 Air Cav says:

    @7. Biden could be replaced due to mental incapacity.

  10. rb325th says:

    The White House screwed the pooch on this in a huge way. Their reactions to it have been entirely political in nature, trying to minimize any damage to the Obama Campaign.
    Cables found on the ground in the still unsecured US Consulate by a Magazine (WTF)show that 3.5 hours before they were attacked alarms were being raised about militias gathering, and Libyan Police on the security detail taking photos inside…

  11. Twist says:

    To quote the church lady from SNL “how conveeeeenient”

  12. Devtun says:


    25th amendment by majority vote of the Cabinet? He often doesn’t know what State he’s in at rallys and he sometimes thinks its the 20th century.

  13. Hondo says:

    Might want to recheck the text of the 25th Amendment, gents. It only seems to mention the VP in the context of serving as Acting President while the POTUS is temporarily disabled. Otherwise, the 25th Amendment seems to apply to the POTUS only.

    Further, the Presidential Succession Act of 1947, as amended (3 USC 19) only appears to cover the case where both the POTUS and VP are unable to serve. What happens if/when (1) the POTUS dies or becomes disabled while (2) the VP is either mentally or physically infirm to the point he/she cannot serve? How then do you invoke the 25th Amendment – when there is no VP to summon the cabinet for the requisite 2/3 vote and recommend the removal of the POTUS under the 25th Amendment? And how do you ever get a new VP under those conditions, since the POTUS must appoint one?

    I’m now more than a bit perplexed. Very obviously, there should be a mechanism to replace involuntarily a sitting VP who is physically or mentally incompetent to serve. However, other than by death or scheduled election, I’m not sure what mechanism exists that would allow the involuntary removal of a serving VP who’s actually mentally or physically unable to serve. Even impeachment would be a stretch, since that seems to require the commission of a “high crime or misdemeanor” first.

    In short: if there’s such a mechanism, I don’t know what it is.


  14. 2-17 Air Cav says:

    Without bothering to check either the Constitution or the US Code on this–let alone Law Review artlcles–I would say, “Hey, what are the chances?” If the pres is out the vp is in. If the vp is out AT THE SAME time as the pres, I would guess that the Supreme Court would likely apply the established succession protocol and it’s ‘scuse me Mr. Speaker but you’re wanted at 1600.

  15. Hondo says:

    2-17 Air Cav: I did check both the Constitution and the Code. I obviously didn’t check Law Review, though.

    It’s a low probability chance, yes. But it could happen. Here’s a plausible scenario: the POTUS dies or is permanently disabled in a plane rash. VP is notified and has a major stroke an hour later that severely reduces his mental capacity – say, to that of a 5 year old. Or he snaps mentally due to stress.

    Here’s a second scenario. A sitting VP has a major stroke or suffers a head injury that leaves him physically able to serve, but also leaves him with severely diminished mental faculties and judgement, as above. Or maybe he goes off the proverbial mental “deep end” and is obviously not mentally fit to serve as POTUS. But the individual also refuses to resign, and commits no crimes. If this were the POTUS, a mechanism for his involuntarily disqualification exists. What do you do if it’s the VP? And what happens if the POTUS dies before that can be sorted out? Does the incompetent VP still become POTUS? And if he does, how is he then removed?

    Frankly, I suspect you’re right and that the Speaker would become Acting President in such scenarios. But that’s not spelled out, and and it should be.

  16. Devtun says:


    Watch Hillary Clinton pull a GEN Alexander Haig in 1981 and declare “as of right now i’m in charge here!” 🙂

  17. Veritas Omnia Vincit says:

    “Congress may by Law provide for the Case of Removal, Death, Resignation or Inability, both of the President and Vice President, declaring what Officer shall then act as President, and such Officer shall act accordingly, until the Disability be removed, or a President shall be elected.”

    There was a paper written on this 40 plus years ago…and Congress still has not defined the situation regarding the Vice President becoming incapacitated. I always enjoy these discussions, it would seem Congress has created a problem by failing to address as instructed in the Constitution to “provide” the case law to define the very conditions you discuss.

    As a side note, many folks don’t know that the President can not fire the VP. If the VP chooses to stay against the President’s wishes nothing can be done about unless the VP commits a crime and is impeached…

  18. NSOM says:

    The two SEALs were both CIA guys. Woods was at the CIA annex and Doherty flew in from Tripoli in the CIA QRF.

  19. Hondo says:

    VOV: the Congress doesn’t appear to have the Constitutional authority to provide for the incapacitation of the either the POTUS or VP alone. Otherwise, the 25th Amendment would not have been necessary.

    The clause you cited (Article II, Section 1) provides for the case where both the VP and the POTUS are simultaneously incapable of serving. It does not address the case of either the POTUS or VP only being disabled and/or the POTUS’s or VP’s temporary or permanent involuntary removal due to disability. Further, it has been modified by both the 20th and 25th Amendments. Neither of those modifying amendments addresses the issue of VP disability and temporary/permanent replacement for that reason.

    Bottom line: it looks like the 25th Amendment is incomplete. It probably should specify a process for disqualification of the VP due to disability and also identify how to appoint/identify an Acting VP in such a case.

  20. A note from one of my deployments: we were told that if we got into any shit, we could call and a QRF (Quick Reaction Force) would respond and save the day.
    About 5 months into that deployement, I was asked to “help” on a job. I had to guide memebers of our QRF to our AO (Area of Operation) to show them how to get to a place…it was not a hidden place, but a public building. As I talked to the QRF guys, they said they had never been to our AO and had no idea where anything was.
    After that I learned to rely on nobody for help. I carried as much ammo as I could and figured we’d be on our own in any emergency.
    I hope that might help some Joes in the future.

  21. Ex-PH2 says:

    @16 – Devtun, bite your tongue!

  22. UpNorth says:

    “VP is notified and has a major stroke an hour later that severely reduces his mental capacity – say, to that of a 5 year old. Or he snaps mentally due to stress“. Hondo, perfect description of Bite-Me, in the here and now.

  23. Ex-PH2 says:

    When Nixon resigned from office, Gerald Ford became president. There was no one in place as vice president if he had been injured and/or incapacitated in one of the accidents that the media so gleefully got pictures of, like that nasty fall he took when he stumbled getting off the exit steps from Air Force One. The premise was that he would only be president for the remainder of Nixon’s term. He nominated Nelson Rockefeller, then the governor of New York, for the office of vice president, and Rockefeller was subsequently appointed to the office.

    Ford got the nomination for the 1976 election, but lost to Jimmy Carter.

  24. OWB says:

    Actually, PH, Spiro Agnew had already been replaced by Ford as Veep, right? So, the normal line of succession was back in place? (I really do not remember who replaced Ford as Speaker of the House.)

    I just don’t remember Rockie, N serving as Veep, or him even being on the ticket against Carter.

  25. Hondo says:

    OWB: Correct on the first part – Ford had been nominated by Nixon to fill the vacancy left by Agnew’s resignation on 10 Oct 1973 (his resignation as VP was a condition of acceptance of his no contest plea to charges of bribery). He was nominated to succeed Agnew as VP on 12 Oct 1973, but could not take office until confirmed by both Houses of Congress, as required by the 25th Amendment. He was sworn in after his nomination was confirmed by the House on 6 Dec 1973 (the Senate confirmed him on 27 Nov). The office of VP was vacant for nearly 2 months while Ford was awaiting confirmation.

    There’s a good reason you don’t remember Rockefeller running with Ford in 1976, OWB: he didn’t. Bob Dole was Ford’s running mate against Carter and Mondale. (smile)

  26. 2-17 Air Cav says:

    @15. Hondo: That wasn’t a crack when I mentioned Law Review articles. They are a great source of current statute and case law on a topic this side of a hornbook. Regarding your question–“Does the incompetent VP still become POTUS? And if he does, how is he then removed?”– he might not be installed IF HE CAN’T TAKE THE OATH of office. If he is installed, he has Senate duties and if he cannot perform them, the rules may provide for his removal. (Sergeant at Arms! Remove this blithering idiot!) I haven’t looked into this yet but that’s just a thought.

    @22. Beat me to it!

  27. Ex-PH2 says:

    @24 OWB, yes, Spiro the Veep was so disliked (and had some criminal thing that someone dug up) that Nixon had to tell him to go away and replaced him with Ford, who was the House Minority Leader. Rockefeller didn’t do much of anything as VP. I don’t think he expected to have to.

  28. Ex-PH2 says:

    Here’s my question: considering the law; considering that there is a Rasputin in the woodwork at 1600 PA Avenue; and considering that impeachment is always a possibility: if that were to happen, and Joey got the seat, with a VP from probably) the House of Representatives, as happened with Ford, can any of you speculate on the possibility of calls for a new election?

    Would that be legal?

    Or would Joe the Soused be expected (or able) to finish (God help us) the term?

    And what do any of you think would happen to Rasputin?

  29. Ex-PH2 says:

    I forgot to include, what if Joey could not finish the term and there was no VP appointed or approved?

  30. malclave says:

    Okay, it’s a stretch, but it may be the kind of technicality lawyers love. Does this logic hold up?

    1. The V.P. becomes President, and then becomes disabled before nominating a V.P., as described above.
    2. 25th Amendment states that “the President shall nominate a Vice President”, but in this scenario is unable to do so.

    Could the House and Senate use this failure as a “Misdemeanor” in order to impeach and remove the President, thereby reactivating the line of succession?

  31. 2-17 Air Cav says:

    @30. No, that would never happen if for no other reason than for the defense of impossibility. That is, the president didn’t fail to nominate someone intentionally. He was rendered unable to do so.

  32. 2-17 Air Cav says:

    @28/29. First, the Ford veep job was not a succession item but Nixon’s choice. Ford was minority leader. If Joey took the presi–the presiden–THE PRES–I just can’t say it. If Joey took that office, he would nominate someone from his own party to fill his vacant slot. Second, there would be no special election. Joey and Nancy or Joey and Harry or Joey and Joey’s Son would sing a duet in the Oval Office (joey would want to reshape it, I’m sure) until obama’s term expired. If no VP was nominated and approved at the time Joey was rendered incapacitated, then the Speaker of the House would become president and he or she would then nominate a veep.

  33. 2-17 Air Cav says:

    @30. Scratch that impossibility defense, now that I think for a second. The result is the same, though: He wouldn’t be culpable if he was unable to nominate someone.

  34. Hondo says:

    2-17 Air Cav: didn’t take it as a crack/dig, amigo. If I’d had had access to a searchable electronic version I’d have taken a brief look there too.

    I also was thinking thoughts along the lines of “Being a dumbass isn’t what the 25th Amendment has in mind as a disability” much of the day myself. But there are a few comments I really shouldn’t post from work. (smile)

  35. Ex-PH2 says:

    I think Joey’s video posted elsewhere today shows that the VP is completely out.

  36. Anonymous says:

    Yikes. How’s the weather in crazytown? You folks are talking impeachment, that the president is sure to lose, and other various conspiracy theories. Have you folks even read Nate Silver’s blog? Even if true, and it’s not, Benghazi isn’t enough to impeach–only lying about sex worries conservatives enough for that. Bush and Cheney were safe after all of their missteps, so stop trying to whip up a mob without the merit of a reasonable stance other than you hate the president.

  37. Ex-PH2 says:

    Bush and Cheney were having sex? Really? Holy cow! And we all thought that was just their Thursday night poker game going on in the Oval Office.

    Holy cow. Who knew?

  38. malclave says:

    And do we know for sure that it was Cheney in there? After all, Biden is the one who says he has been “intimate” with multiple Presidents.

  39. Ex-PH2 says:

    Good point.

  40. Hondo says:

    Anon (36): So, what part of Portland do you plan to occupy today with your ideological brethren, Bennie-boy?

  41. Ex-PH2 says:

    @Malclave, I thought Beddin’ said he was ‘intimate with multiple personalities’. Or was that just slurring again?