Larouchepac — Dec 16, 2013
According to a story published by AP entitled “CIA Benghazi team clash led to `stand down’ report” in testimony before a House Intelligence subcommittee, chaired by Rep. Lynn Westmorland (R-Ga.), a team of CIA agents who were in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012, confirmed that they were indeed told to stand down twice when they tried to go to the US mission when it came under attack and that a CIA memo circulated in August 2011 had made it clear that they should not expect any air support if they came under attack. This testimony confirms earlier reports even though the article itself claims that it confirms the Obama administration’s denials that there was a stand down order.
The AP wire reports according to “a congressman and others who heard their congressional testimony or were briefed on it” that there was “a standing order for them to avoid violent encounters.”
According to AP the CIA leaders in Benghazi decided they and their security contractor team should wait before rushing from their annex to the mission about a mile away. They said they were trying to first gather intelligence and round up Libyan militia allies armed with heavy weapons. Some CIA security contractors disagreed with their bosses and wanted to move more quickly.
Rep. Westmoreland said, “The team leader knew he was on his own.” He explained that the lack of air support was clear to all CIA employees working in Libya because of a 2011 CIA memorandum sent to employees after NATO forces ended their mission in support of the Libyan revolution.
“It basically told people in Benghazi … if you are attacked, you get your ‘package’ (the personnel they are charged with protecting) and you get out.”
A senior intelligence official confirmed to AP that the CIA officers on the ground in Benghazi responded to the diplomats’ call for help by trying “to rally local support for the rescue effort and secure heavier weapons.” When it became “clear that this additional support could not be rapidly obtained,” the team moved toward the diplomatic compound.
One contractor testified that he shouted repeatedly over the agency’s radio system to his CIA security boss that they should request combat aircraft. But the security chief explained to lawmakers that he ignored his subordinate’s demands because he said he knew that no combat aircraft were available for such a mission, Westmoreland told AP.
Westmoreland said the CIA security contractors loaded into two vehicles, with weapons ready, the moment they heard the radio call for help from the diplomatic building. Some wanted to rush to the U.S. compound roughly a mile away, and their agitation grew as they heard increasing panic when the diplomats reported the militants were setting the compound on fire.
At least one of those security contractors, a former U.S. Army Ranger, was told to “wait” at least twice, and he argued with his security team leader, according to his testimony, related by Westmoreland.
According to previous accounts by U.S. officials, the attacks began at approximately 9:40 p.m., and the CIA team arrived roughly 25 minutes into the attack.
According to the AP report none of the CIA agents and contractors thought that if they had left right away they could have saved Chris Stevens or Shawn Smith. However, the annex was only one mile away from the mission and neither Stevens nor Smith died immediately. If they had left as soon as they had heard calls for help, it is possible they could have saved them. Both reportedly died due to smoke inhalation.
The existence of a CIA memo from a year earlier indicating that the U.S. operatives in Benghazi were there on their own and could not expect air support means that this was a predetermined policy of the Obama administration to hang U.S. forces out to dry.
The idea that the CIA would delay rescuing U.S. forces in order to seek military support from some al-Qaeda linked militia against other al-Qaeda linked militia shows just how absurd the Obama policy of allying with al-Qaeda to overthrow Qaddafi was.
The officers who testified behind closed doors are releasing a book in September 2014.