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October 30, 2012

The Obama/Panetta Doctrine: Delay, Deny, CYA

“(The) basic principle is that you don’t deploy forces into harm’s way without knowing what’s going on; without having some real-time information about what’s taking place,” Panetta told Pentagon reporters. “And as a result of not having that kind of information, the commander who was on the ground in that area, Gen. Ham, Gen. Dempsey and I felt very strongly that we could not put forces at risk in that situation.”

- SecDef Leon Panetta

For days, the Blog Princess has been trying to find words to describe what she thinks of the preceding excuse for a policy statement. But after some reflection, someone else has said it better:

If you need a reminder to buy bottled water and tape the widows before a hurricane, Obama is your man. If you’re running a machine gun, soon to be covered in your own blood, on the roof of a building under fire in Libya at 3 a.m., if you’ve called three times over a period of almost seven hours for air cover that is within a couple of hours away (or, as we might learn, in the armed drone directly above) — well, you’re on your own. The president will get back to you.

Nearly two months after this attack, the CIA, White House, and Pentagon have all denied refusing to send help to beseiged Americans in Benghazi. It's enough to make one wonder who was in charge?

The CIA is denying. The Pentagon is denying. And now the White House is denying that anyone refused to send help to our embattled CIA and State Department personnel engaged in a seven hour running firefight with more than 150 jihadists.

It just doesn’t get any lamer than this:

The White House on Saturday flatly denied that President Barack Obama withheld requests for help from the besieged American compound in Benghazi, Libya, as it came under on attack by suspected terrorists on September 11th.

“Neither the president nor anyone in the White House denied any requests for assistance in Benghazi,” National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor told Yahoo News by email.

What is the administration saying here? On the one hand we have Secretary Panetta saying he won't send troops in without real time information on the ground and on the other, they seem to be calling those on the scene liars:

Former Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods was part of a small team who was at the CIA annex about a mile from the U.S. consulate where Ambassador Chris Stevens and his team came under attack. When he and others heard the shots fired, they informed their higher-ups at the annex to tell them what they were hearing and requested permission to go to the consulate and help out. They were told to "stand down," according to sources familiar with the exchange. Soon after, they were again told to "stand down."

Stop and think for a moment about Panetta's statement. If having surveillance drones on the scene and cables and emails coming out of the area isn't "real time information", what is?

Incredibly, the NY Times describes warnings of impending violence in Benghazi "plentiful but unspecific". But it doesn't get more specific than this:

There was no doubt, however, that there were many in Benghazi who knew the compound’s location. On June 6, a bomb was planted near the American Mission’s outer wall, blowing out a 12-foot-wide hole. No one was injured.

On June 11, the lead vehicle of the British ambassador’s convoy was hit by an armor-piercing rocket-propelled grenade, wounding a British medic and driver. The British envoy left Benghazi the next day, and the British post in the city was closed on June 17.

About the same time, the Red Cross in the city pulled out after it was attacked a second time. “When that occurred, it was apparent to me that we were the last flag flying in Benghazi; we were the last thing on their target list to remove,” said Lt. Col. Andrew Wood, the head of the military security team in Tripoli.

Two prior attacks in the past five months on the compound, the British and the Red Cross leaving after being attacked. What more was the White House looking for?

An engraved invitation with the date and time of the next attack?

Posted by Cassandra at October 30, 2012 07:56 AM

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So the drones and the cell phones were not sending back real time information.

Yep. I know who will get my vote.

Posted by: Carolyn at October 30, 2012 10:17 AM

What more was the White House looking for?
An engraved invitation with the date and time of the next attack?

Well, yeah, actually. It's how this administration does business with our nation's...opponents. See, for instance, Obama's announcement of a date certain for our withdrawal from Afghanistan in his announcement of his surge-let there.

It doesn't get any more engraved and filigreed than that.

Eric Hines

Posted by: E Hines at October 30, 2012 10:25 AM

The inimitable Thomas Sowell has an interesting article about this today.

Posted by: DL Sly at October 30, 2012 10:48 AM

The thick line that separates political expediency, i.e., plausible deniability, from misprision has been breached. But for the psychophant collaborators in the media, department heads up and down the line of this administration would be lawyering up. If, as would be fitting, one threw in the shenanigans at the DOJ, the cronyism, and the general subornation as normal operating procedure, this administration would be hands up the most corrupt in the history of democratic governance. It pains me to say it but in a democracy one deserves what one votes for.

Posted by: George Pal at October 30, 2012 12:11 PM

CIA: We didn't say "No".
DoD: We didn't say "No".
WH: We didn't say "No".

Why the hell weren't all three of them saying "Hell Yes!"

Who's f*^$%^@ in charge over there?

Posted by: Yu-Ain Gonnano at October 30, 2012 12:21 PM

What would Patton have to say about the original Panetta quote?
Right after he slapped him....

William sends.

Posted by: William at November 1, 2012 05:39 PM

William, I'd love to hear what Gunny Ermey would say....buuut then, I've been known to be somewhat partial to Marines.

Posted by: DL Sly at November 2, 2012 12:39 AM

Then think about what Gen Puller or GySgt Daily might have to say. Shoot, for that matter Gen Gray...

William sends.

Posted by: William at November 2, 2012 05:26 PM

I could tell you what the MasterGuns hubby says, but even the Marine wife running this joint would feel the need to censor me.
Suffice it to say, I'd submit that we are both on the same page wrt Panetta's statement and the whole Libya debacle. Now we're just quibbling over who we think would do more *damage*.

Posted by: DL Sly at November 3, 2012 01:16 PM