The State Department’s report on the Libyan 9/11 attack and murder of US personnel has been released. In a typical fashion of this administration, we are left with omissions and lies, with truth interspersed just enough to almost be believable.
I don’t know why I take such a personal offense to this. The administration is lying to the world. I just hate people blowing smoke up my a**.
The report is inadequate in many ways, comprehensive in others. One of the biggest issues in this affair was the lack of immediate response and physical assistance to the people under attack at the annex. The report simply states that the response was adequate and timely. It was not.
When personnel are placed in potentially hostile environments, a plan must be put in place to reasonably attempt to assure the personnel’s safety.
After reading the report there are a few things which stand out…… jump out at me.
The report simply states there was no delay from the personnel in the annex moving to consulate. It doesn’t really go into any details. It does report “[t]he Annex response team departed its compound in two vehicles at approximately 2205 local.” (pg 23) If that’s true, then the response was timely. The initial attack is reported to have started at about 2142, local time.
Throughout the report, it states that US personnel requested assistance from several different entities, identifying several. Oddly, it makes no mention of asking a UK security team for assistance, who were at the compound 15 to 30 minutes prior to the attack. (pg20)
In the immediate, I doubt there was much to be done to save the lives of the ambassador or Mr. Smith. The report does detail many of the horribly inadequate preparations and security measures in place. However, the lives lost at the annex, it seems to me, could have been prevented, or at least a better effort to prevent them could have been executed.
The report states the response from the embassy in Tripoli was timely.
[T]he Tripoli response team which mobilized without hesitation; (pg 12)
Perhaps this is true. I certainly don’t doubt that the personnel there did everything they could to get to Benghazi to assist their comrades. Still, the timeline is troublesome. The attack began about 2142.
The seven-person response team from Embassy Tripoli arrived in Benghazi to lend support. It arrived at the Annex about 0500 local. (pg 27)
This is more than 7 hours after the initial attack. As noted by many discussions earlier, this is a 2 hours flight from Tripoli to Benghazi. The delay is probably explained by this excerpt.
Within hours, Embassy Tripoli chartered a private airplane and deployed a seven-person security team, which included two U.S. military personnel, to Benghazi. (pg 25)
That was the plan? Really? Okay, we can chalk this up to piss poor preparations, but, this is inexcusable. We have in place SOPs that designate a response team from Tripoli, but the plan entails chartering a private airplane which takes “hours” to procure??? WTF sort of response plan is that?!?!?!?!? That’s not a response plan.
The report explicitly states there simply wasn’t enough time to place military personnel in position in Benghazi.
The interagency response was timely and appropriate, but there simply was not enough time for armed U.S. military assets to have made a difference. (pg 7)
The report does state that a FAST team did arrive at Tripoli, Sept 12. (pg 37). It doesn’t specify when or from where they came. But, here is the smoke being blown. The report does specify flight time from Tripoli to Ramstein Air Force Base.
In coordination with the State Department and Embassy Tripoli, the Department of Defense sent two U.S. Air Force planes (a C-17 and a C-130) from Germany to Tripoli to provide medical evacuation support for the wounded. At 1915 local on September 12, Embassy Tripoli evacuees, Benghazi personnel, and those wounded in the attacks departed Tripoli on the C-17 aircraft, with military doctors and nurses aboard providing en route medical care to the injured. The aircraft arrived at Ramstein Air Force Base at approximately 2230 (Tripoli time) on September 12, just over 24 hours after the attacks in Benghazi had commenced. (pgs 27-28)
That’s a 3 hour 15 minute flight from Tripoli to Ramstein. Or, what would be less than a 5 hour flight to Benghazi. One could make the argument that there wasn’t enough time to dispatch personnel to Benghazi from Ramstein. However, there are numerous US military installations between Ramstein and Benghazi. This isn’t mentioned in the report. It is entirely ignored. As mentioned, there are numerous US military facilities closer than Ramstein. There a a couple noteworthy installations which should have the capacity to move quickly, have the proper personnel to move, and have the logistical support necessary to execute a response quick enough to have boots on the ground before the deaths of the people at the annex.
This first is Sigonella. It is 2 hour flight from Benghazi. The second is Caserma Ederle, serving as the headquarters of United States Army Africa and the 173d Airborne Brigade. Flight time from Vicenza would be no more than 3 hours from Benghazi.
The seven-person response team from Embassy Tripoli arrived in Benghazi to lend support. It arrived at the Annex about 0500 local. Less than fifteen minutes later, the Annex came under mortar and RPG attack, with five mortar rounds impacting close together in under 90 seconds. Three rounds hit the roof of an Annex building, killing security officers Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty. The attack also severely injured one ARSO and one Annex security team member. Annex, Tripoli, and ARSO security team members at other locations moved rapidly to provide combat first aid to the injured. (pg 27)
Woods and Doherty were killed 7 1/2 hours after the initial attack on the consulate. Even if there was no plan in place specifically for this situation, it stretches credulity beyond the breaking point to state we couldn’t have had either ground or air support in place by the time Woods and Doherty were killed and that their presence could not have prevented their deaths. It doesn’t take combat ready outfits, such as an airborne brigade 5 hours to up and moving towards the enemy. At least it didn’t when I was in.
If the best we could do for the people at the annex was 7 people from Tripoli 7 1/2 hours after an attack begins, we’ve got some very serious problems.