Lieutenant Colonel Andrew Wood was the commander of the 16-man Special Forces security detail at the U.S. embassy in Tripoli, Libya, until the State Department ordered him and his men home on August 5, 2012 and never replaced them.
Despite repeated pleas from Ambassador Chris Stevens and his State Department security officers in Tripoli that they remain in Libya, Washington wouldn’t listen.
Colonel Wood remains perplexed at what happened on the night Ambassador Stevens was murdered, and in a recent conversation, recalled a similar event in June 2012 when the British ambassador came under RPG attack while visiting Benghazi.
“When I went to help the British ambassador, we got to the scene faster than the CIA team did on September 11. I went over to the CIA Annex, waited for the 18 Delta medic to grab his kit, then left immediately,” he told me.
“Why would they say ‘get over there as quick as you can’ when the British ambassador gets attacked, and say ‘wait’ when it’s our own ambassador?” he wondered.
And yet, that’s the behavior former deputy CIA Director Mike Morell told the House intelligence committee was “a very prudent decision.”
Their report was welcomed by the national media as the final nail in the coffin of Republican-led Congressional investigations.
Many conservatives have been pushing for Rep. Trey Gowdy (R, SC) to play his cards, even as his investigators continue to conduct their probe far from the media spotlight.
The Washington Post has already proclaimed Gowdy’s investigation “superfluous,” and last week blasted “unfounded conspiracy theories” propounded by Republicans for distracting from the “big mistake in Libya policy… [which] was President Obama’s refusal to support the new government’s attempt to build security after he helped topple the nation’s longtime dictator.”
In Gruberesque fashion, the Post failed to mention that Ambassador Stephens was still talking to Prime Minister candidates for the “new government” on the day he was brutally murdered, as his Diary shows.
But hey, what difference do the facts make when there’s a presidential campaign afoot? The Post and other members of the Hillary Clinton support society (aka the national media) have demonstrated they will spare no ink, tar, or feathers to besmirch anyone who gets close to the truth, and will pass up no opportunity to claim this investigation over before it’s even begun.
That’s why Gowdy must (and is) treading carefully as he navigates the labyrinthine minefield constructed by partisan hacks and entrenched bureaucrats to hide the truth.
One of the first things Gowdy did was to hire a three-star U.S. Army general as his chief counsel. Lieutenant General Dana Chipman had just stepped down as the Judge Advocate General (JAG) for the United States Army, where in his own words he had led “a legal enterprise consisting of 5,000 personnel in 600 offices in 20 countries.”
Prior to that, General Chipman was the chief lawyer for U.S. Central Command and U.S. Special Operations Command, stepping into that hot seat in June 2003 just as U.S. forces switched from liberators to occupiers in Iraq.
The three stars on Chipman’s shoulderboards give him the authority to candidly question anyone in the military chain of command that night without concerns more junior officers might have about disputing the wisdom of an order from on high.
Many in the military have been asking why reinforcements weren’t flown in from Croatia, where a fifty-man U.S. Army counter-terrorism/hostage-rescue unit known as C-110 was on a military training mission.
C-110 was the Commanders In-Extremis Force (CIF) for European Command, a rapid reaction force capable of getting men and equipment into their C-130s to respond to a crisis in somewhere between two to six hours.
Because C-110 was slated to become the Africom CIF on October 1, Africom commanders were intimately aware of its capabilities, and its current position – roughly two hours flight time from Benghazi. But instead of flying directly to Benghazi, C-110 was told to stage en route at Sigonella Naval Air Station in Sicily, Italy, where it stopped.
The diversion order was given from the Pentagon, not by Africom headquarters in Stuttgart. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen. Martin Dempsey, has claimed in Congressional testimony that the earliest C-110 could have left Croatia was 6 AM the morning of September 12th – a statement disputed by members of the unit who have spoken anonymously to the media.
Were the commanders of this powerful hostage-rescue unit champing at the bit but told to stand down? If so, by who? And why?
We know the official reasons why C-110 was not sent. Africom commander General Carter Ham and his subordinates have all testified that in the “fog of war” they believed they were facing a situation similar to the 1979 Tehran hostage crisis and needed more time to gather intelligence and plan a hostage rescue operation.
But General Ham also told Rep. Jason Chaffetz, who is slated to succeed Rep. Darrell Issa as chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform committee, that he never sent boots onto the ground in Benghazi because the State Department “never asked.”
That explanation was buttressed by testimony from Brigadier General Robert Lovell, the Africom deputy director for intelligence (J2), this past May, where he explained that in the spirit of “expeditionary” diplomacy – a favorite Hillary Clinton term – the military was “waiting for a request for assistance from the State Department” before moving reinforcements into Libya.
The answer to this question could help determine who bears the responsibility for leaving brave four men to die that night.
Did the desire to demonstrate that Obama was “not Bush” drive the administration to abandon any recourse to military action? We know that Hillary Clinton was so obsessed by not deploying boots on the ground in Libya that she ordered Colonel Wood and his 16-man Special Forces unit guarding Ambassador Stevens to never appear in public in uniform, not even their boots, until her underlings told them to leave Libya on August 5, 2012 altogether.
We also know that Mrs. Clinton issued two very specific stand-down orders on the night of September 11, 2012:
• She refused to convene the counterterrorism Security Group (CSG), the only structured, experienced interagency reaction team that could have decided which resources of the government were available for immediate deployment, despite pleas from a top counter-terrorism advisor, Mark Thompson.
• She refused to activate the State Department-led Foreign Emergency “Support Team (FEST), an extraordinary operational unit whose sole purpose was to rescue U.S. diplomats under attack.
Her entire effort that night and ever since has been to draw as little attention as possible to U.S. government activities in Benghazi. What was she trying to hide?
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