A 'Fog' of Lying and Incompetence
A damning email regarding timely help that never came in Benghazi.
A damning email released by Judicial Watch (JW) puts another exclamation point on how far the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton have been willing to go to protect their respective reputations at the expense of the truth. At 7:19 p.m. ET, on Sept. 11, 2012 — only hours after the attack in Benghazi had begun — former Department of Defense Chief of Staff Jeremy Bash notified leadership at the State Department that “we have identified the forces that could move to Benghazi. They are spinning up as we speak.” Unfortunately, things were already “spinning up” at the White House.
The specific forces mentioned in the email were redacted by the Obama administration, which had the temerity to cite Exemption 5 of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), allowing it to withhold information based on the “Deliberative Process Privilege.”
The revelation stands in stark contrast to former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s testimony before lawmakers in 2013: “Time, distance, the lack of an adequate warning, events that moved very quickly on the ground prevented a more immediate response.”
Former Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey echoed that assertion, insisting he stood by the assessment of an independent review board that concluded “interagency response was timely and appropriate, but there simply was not enough time, given the speed of the attacks, for armed U.S. military assets to have made a difference.”
Yet in a testy exchange with Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), Dempsey insisted assets weren’t sent because the State Department didn’t request them. “So it’s the State Department’s fault,” McCain countered.
“I’m not blaming the State Department,” Dempsey responded. “I’m sure they had their own assessment.”
They did indeed. “State colleagues: I just tried you on the phone but you were all in with S,” Bash wrote, in an apparent reference to then-Secretary of State 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]. Jeremy.”
The email arrived after the first attack at the consulate, but before the second attack at the the CIA annex. It was during the second attack when Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty were killed by mortar fire while engaging the attackers. That was seven hours after the State Department informed the White House — in writing — that the mission in Benghazi was under attack.
The revelation of Bash’s email appears to vindicate Benghazi whistleblower Gregory Hicks, deputy chief of mission of the U.S. embassy in Tripoli at the time of the attack. During his own testimony in 2013, Hicks claimed he was rebuffed by Washington when he requested a stronger response to the attack, noting that “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.”
Hicks also testified that a special-ops team in Tripoli was ready to drive to a C-130 aircraft to help those in Benghazi when their commander was ordered not to proceed. “He got a phone call from SOCAFRICA (Special Operations Command Africa) which said, you can’t go now, you don’t have authority to go now,” Hicks said. “They were told not to board the flight, so they missed it.”
Instead, an after-the-fact team of six security officials from Tripoli and a Libyan military unit were deployed only to recover the dead and wounded, and to evacuate U.S. personnel from Libya. U.S. personnel who were wounded were taken to an airport and flown out of Benghazi.
JW President Tom Fitton aptly describes the despicable nature of what Barack Obama once asserted is the “most transparent administration in history.” “The Obama administration and Clinton officials hid this compelling Benghazi email for years,” Fitton stated. “The email makes readily apparent that the military was prepared to launch immediate assistance that could have made a difference, at least at the CIA Annex. The fact that the Obama Administration withheld this email for so long only worsens the scandal of Benghazi.”
Yet there is also the unmistakable odor of a bipartisan cover-up. According to Matt Wolking, spokesman for the House Select Committee on Benghazi, the Committee was fully aware of the email. “The Select Committee has obtained and reviewed tens of thousands of documents in the course of its thorough, fact-centered investigation into the Benghazi terrorist attacks, and this information will be detailed in the final report the Committee hopes to release within the next few months,” Wolking said. “While the Committee does not rush to release or comment on every document it uncovers, I can confirm that we obtained the unredacted version of this email last year, in addition to Jake Sullivan’s response.”
Really? Then why didn’t it come up during the eleven hours of Clinton’s testimony before the Committee? Wouldn’t it have been illuminating to hear Clinton’s version of why even Hicks’ modest request for a flyby was ignored? Wouldn’t it have been equally illuminating to know how Clinton, or any other State Department officials responsible for protecting Americans in harm’s way were able to determine that assets couldn’t get to the scene in time while the fighting was ongoing?
As recently as this past Sunday Clinton doubled-down on her infuriating mendacity, blaming the “fog of war” as the reason she blamed the attack on a film when she spoke to the families of the victims. At the same time, in an outburst of further brazenness, she insisted she never told family members a video was to blame for the attack. Hot Air’s Guy Benson notes the absurdity of such a claim: “This is a direct contradiction of very explicit memories shared on the record by multiple people who have far less incentive to lie than, say, a truth-challenged politician seeking power.”
A truth-challenged politician so used to fawning media coverage she apparently believes these sycophants will ignore corroborative accounts from several family members, and Clinton’s own assertion at Joint Base Andrews during the ceremonial return of the bodies of Sean Smith, Navy SEALS Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods and Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. That’s when she stated Americans have “seen rage and violence directed at American embassies over an awful Internet video that we had nothing to do with.”
As for Clinton’s fog of war assertion, it takes tremendous gall to compare her disorientation to that which, for example, afflicted Navy SEALs who took out Osama bin Laden. Fog of war is defined as a condition where an individual experiences a mental overload because the volume of the data received is greater than the speed at which the information can be processed.
In other words, Clinton is comparing sitting at a desk and speaking on the phone or sending emails with being in hostile territory and facing a potentially deadly conflict, while trying to take out the most wanted terrorist in the entire world. It doesn’t get more shameless than that.
Nonetheless, the mainstream media, other than Fox News, has no interest in reporting this story. No doubt the fog — or is that stench — of media bias makes such reporting “problematic.”
When Clinton ran against Barack Obama in 2008 she ran an ad contending Americans should want someone answering a 3 a.m. phone call who is “tested and ready to lead in a dangerous world.” They now know the woman who would answer that call is completely comfortable blaming the “fog of war” for her reflexive lying and her stunning incompetence.
Bet your life the American warrior class that takes great pains to never leave their dead and wounded behind is utterly contemptuous of the machinations designed to obscure the reasons why Americans were left to fend for themselves — even as assets to rescue them or aid them in battle were “spinning up as we speak.” With any luck they’ll be joined by a majority of equally disgusted Americans next November.