Written by Jack Kelly   
Wednesday, 31 October 2012

At the time he and Glen Doherty were killed by a mortar round some seven hours after the assault on the consulate began, Tyrone Woods was shining a ground laser designator on the mortar position.

The former Navy SEAL wouldn't have done that unless he were "painting" a target for an aircraft, because if the terrorists had cell phones with night vision capabilities, they could see the laser beam, and trace it back to his location.

Mr. Woods' repeated requests for military assistance were turned down, according to "sources who were on the ground in Benghazi," Fox News reported Friday (10/26).

A reporter for a Denver television station asked President Barack Hussein Obama twice if it were true those requests had been denied.  "Both times, he repeated his standard call for a thorough investigation," without answering his question, Kyle Clark reported.

But the president implied he'd ordered help be provided.

"I gave the directive, to make sure we are securing our personnel and doing whatever we need to do," he told Mr. Clark.

If such a directive had been issued, there'd be a paper trail.  The administration has stonewalled requests for documentation.

The day after Mr. Obama's evasions in Denver, an NSC spokesman said: "neither the president nor anyone else in the White House denied any requests for assistance in Benghazi."

So who did?

"No one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need," said a CIA spokeswoman.

Troops weren't sent because military commanders didn't have a clear picture of what was happening in Benghazi, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Thursday (10/25).

He, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the commander of Africa Command, "felt very strongly that we could not put forces at risk in that situation," Mr. Panetta said.

Hogwash. We deploy military forces all the time with much less information than we had about the situation in Benghazi.  Mr. Woods was in constant radio contact. Video was being fed "in near real time" to situation rooms in Washington from the consulate's security cameras.  For much of the fight, a surveillance drone was overhead.

Perhaps because vets know Mr. Panetta's "clear picture" excuse was preposterous, the story was changed.  Troops weren't sent because the Marines who comprise the Quick Reaction Force were in the midst of a rotation, and not immediately available.

What about the aircraft Mr. Woods evidently believed was on station?  F/A-18 fighter bombers could have arrived in less than an hour, AC-130U Spectre gunships in less than two.  A drone was circling overhead.  If it were armed with Hellfire missiles, it could have taken out the mortar.

"Somebody high up in the administration made the decision that no assistance would be provided, and let our people be killed," said retired Admiral James "Ace" Lyons, former commander of the Pacific Fleet.  "The person who made that callous decision needs to be brought to light and held accountable."

The suspect list is very small.  It could only have been the secretary of defense, AFRICOM commander Gen. Carter Ham, or someone at the White House - such as National Security Advisor Tom Donilon, Mr. Obama's Rasputin Valerie Jarrett, or Mr. Obama himself.

Gen. Ham has been relieved, Mr. Panetta announced Oct. 18.  The Pentagon denied a report Gen. Ham was fired because he tried to send help.

When he received an order to stand down, Gen. Ham's response "was to screw it, he was going anyhow," a Louisiana blogger said he was told by "someone inside the military that I trust entirely."

But "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," his military source told "Tiger Droppings."

The defense secretary never explicitly said it was he who ordered the military to stand down.  To the military ear, what he said Oct. 26 sounded like advice, not an order. 

Mr. Panetta was in the Oval Office an hour after the attack began, according to White House logs.  If he'd issued the order to stand down, he'd have done it in front of the president.

Harry Truman kept in the Oval Office a sign which said: "the buck stops here."  Barack Obama has spent his presidency passing the buck.  But he cannot evade responsibility for this unconscionable decision.  Roger Simon at PJ Media thinks Mr. Obama is guilty of treason.  It may be worse.  Mr. Obama may be an accomplice to murder.

Jack Kelly is a former Marine and Green Beret and a former deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force in the Reagan administration. He is national security writer for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.