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Old 11-01-2012, 05:22 PM  
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CBSNews with possible Bombshell on Benghazi

CBS News has learned that during the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Mission in Benghazi, the Obama Administration did not convene its top interagency counterterrorism resource: the Counterterrorism Security Group, (CSG).


"The CSG is the one group that's supposed to know what resources every agency has. They know of multiple options and have the ability to coordinate counterterrorism assets across all the agencies," a high-ranking government official told CBS News. "They were not allowed to do their job. They were not called upon."


Information shared with CBS News from top counterterrorism sources in the government and military reveal keen frustration over the U.S. response on Sept. 11, the night ambassador Chris Stevens and 3 other Americans were killed in a coordinated attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya.


The circumstances of the attack, including the intelligence and security situation there, will be the subject of a Senate Intelligence Committee closed hearing on Nov. 15, with additional hearings to follow.


Counterterrorism sources and internal emails reviewed by CBS News express frustration that key responders were ready to deploy, but were not called upon to help in the attack.


CBS News has agreed not to quote directly from the emails, and to protect the identities of the sources who hold sensitive counterterrorism posts within the State Department, the US military and the Justice Department.


As to why the Counterterrorism Security Group was not convened, National Security Council Spokesman Tommy Vietor told CBS News "From the moment the President was briefed on the Benghazi attack, the response effort was handled by the most senior national security officials in governments. Members of the CSG were of course involved in these meetings and discussions to support their bosses."


Absent coordination from Counterterrorism Security Group, a senior US counterterrorism official says the response to the crisis became more confused. The official says the FBI received a call during the attack representing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and requesting agents be deployed. But he and his colleagues agreed the agents "would not make any difference without security and other enablers to get them in the country and synch their efforts with military and diplomatic efforts to maximize their success."


Another senior counter terrorism official says a hostage rescue team was alternately asked to get ready and then stand down throughout the night, as officials seemed unable to make up their minds.

A third potential responder from a counter-terror force stationed in Europe says components of AFICOM -- the military's Africa Command based in Stuttgart, Germany -- were working on course of action during the assault. But no plan was put to use.


"Forces were positioned after the fact but not much good to those that needed it," the military source told CBS News.


"The response process was isolated at the most senior level," says an official referring to top officials in the executive branch. "My fellow counterterrorism professionals and I (were) not consulted."

Libyan witnesses recount organized Benghazi attack
Admin. rejects new claim about Libya attack
Military response to Benghazi attack questioned

The official says a protocol set forth in a classified presidential directive calls for the Counterterrorism Security Group (CSG) to be convened in the event of a possible terrorist attack. According to a public military document, the directive was designed to "synchronize the efforts of all the government agencies that have a role to play in the Global War on Terrorism."




The Administration also didn't call on the only interagency, on-call, short notice team poised to respond to terrorist incidents worldwide: the Foreign Emergency Support Team (FEST). FEST's seasoned experts leave within four hours of notification and can provide "the fastest assistance possible."


FEST Teams deployed immediately after al Qaeda bombings of US embassies in East Africa in 1998, and the USS Cole in 2000, but were not used for Benghazi, to the chagrin of some insiders. It's likely that the CSG task force, if contacted, would have recommended FEST aid.


"First a tactical response was needed," says a senior U.S. counterterrorism official, "and while that was being implemented, the holistic response could have been developed and deployed within hours" which could have allowed the FBI investigate safely on site well ahead of the "24 days it took."


When asked why the FEST wasn't utilized, a State Department official said it was used previously in East Africa because of damage sustained to a US embassy "to help restore communications and other infrastructure support. In this case, that was unnecessary at Embassy Tripoli."


A White House official told us that at the start of the attack, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Martin Dempsey and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta "looked at available options, and the ones we exercised had our military forces arrive in less than 24 hours, well ahead of timelines laid out in established policies." He also said a "small group of reinforcements" was sent from Tripoli to Benghazi, but declined to say how many or what time they arrived. The Pentagon moved a team of special operators from central Europe to Sigonella, Italy but gave no other details.

Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans died in a protracted battle over the course of eight hours. It's believed two of the victims, Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, died in a mortar attack some six or seven hours after the US Mission was first overrun by a terrorist mob that burned buildings and used AK-47 rifles, bombs, and mortars.

In the days after the assault, counterterrorism officials expressed dismay over what they interpreted as the Obama Administration's unwillingness to acknowledge that the attack was terrorism; and their opinion that resources which could have helped were excluded.



Counterterrorism officials from two agencies said they concluded almost immediately that the attack was by terrorists and was not spontaneous. "I came to this conclusion as soon as I heard the mortar rounds were impacting on top of the building our people were occupying," says one. "The position of the mortar must be plotted on a map, the target would have to be plotted, computations would be calculated that would result in the proper mortar tube elevation and the correct number of powder bags to be attached to the rounds."



A White House official says President Obama immediately acknowledged the assault was a terrorist attack. However, there was confusion as White House spokesman Jay Carney said three days later, "We have no information to suggest that it was a preplanned attack."

On Sept.16, US Ambassador Susan Rice told CBS' "Face the Nation" and other talk shows that the assault appeared to have grown from a spontaneous protest over an anti-Islam video.

CBS' Bob Schieffer asked Rice whether she thought "that this was something that had been plotted out several months ago?" Rice answered, "We do not have information at present that leads us to conclude that this was premeditated or preplanned."

In an interview last week, President Obama said "the minute" he became aware of the Benghazi attack, he directed his staff to "make sure that we are securing our personnel and doing whatever we need to do."

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-250_162-...Num=1&tag=page
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Old 11-02-2012, 01:26 PM   #121
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Originally Posted by cosmo20002 View Post
And what facet of the response to the attack or the result of the attack would be different if the attack was planned or if it grew from a protest--protests that were happening all over the Middle East.

Situation 1 - Consulate attacked because people angry about an offensive video became violent

Situation 2- Consulate attacked because people were angry about _____ (whatever it is they were pissed at the US for that week)

What the hell difference does it make? The people are just as dead, and the issues about the response are exactly the same.
Perhaps a huge difference. If Obama believed it was just a protest like in Egypt, that may have influenced his or others' decision-making. Like I said earlier, having a Reaper take out a bunch of loony protestors makes for really bad TV.
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Old 11-02-2012, 01:28 PM   #122
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Originally Posted by VAChief View Post
Factually, not subject to conjecture or partisan glasses here is what we know about that time:

On April 18, 1983 U.S. Embassy in Beirut suffered an attack where 17 Americans lost their lives.

Military response: none

Six months later on October 23, 1983 Marine barracks in Beirut attacked and 241 Marines killed, 100 more wounded.

Miltary repsonse: none (although supposedly the National Security Team was called together to make a planned response. They wanted to target the Iranian Revolutionary Guards they believed to be training Hezbollah fighters. The plan was scrapped because it was feared it may hurt relations with other Arab nations. Instead, Reagan ordered the battleship USS New Jersey, stationed in the region).

Less than a year later on September 20, 1984 Embassy in Beirut attacked again killing 24.

Military response: none

As I mentioned earlier, I don't think Reagan intentionally kept security from being what it should be to keep those men safe, and I don't think that was the case in Libya. If that turns out differently I would be outraged as well.
We also know that he didn't spend two weeks misleading the country and making excuses for Hezbollah. That's a fact.
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Old 11-02-2012, 01:28 PM   #123
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...and there's the spin. Don't blame the person who was in power for failing to act. Blame the other political party for being so crass as to ask questions about it.
Questions would be absolutely fine. What I hear are assertions based on bullshit.
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Old 11-02-2012, 01:29 PM   #124
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Originally Posted by cosmo20002 View Post
Questions would be absolutely fine. What I hear are assertions based on bullshit.
Well, since Obama isn't exactly being forthcoming on what he knew and when he knew it...
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Old 11-02-2012, 01:30 PM   #125
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I don't know what those requests entailed and I can't find anything on it. Even a single platoon stationed at the embassy would have made all the difference in the world though.
Oh, well...don't let that stop you from asserting it would have made all the difference. JFC...
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Old 11-02-2012, 01:37 PM   #126
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Perhaps a huge difference. If Obama believed it was just a protest like in Egypt, that may have influenced his or others' decision-making. Like I said earlier, having a Reaper take out a bunch of loony protestors makes for really bad TV.
Pretty sure everyone knew it wasn’t just some spontaneous protest when they started getting shelled by mortars and RPGs.
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Old 11-02-2012, 01:37 PM   #127
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So, head in the sand then?

C'mon - the State Department has conceded that it was given information of a specific threat and nobody has even tried to argue that they acted on it. You're willing to start saying that there were evaluations made and conscious decisions to deny based on credible intel, but you've not given that same leeway to people that have tried to argue what the routine procedures would have been here and showed how they clearly weren't followed. You start blasting those folks for not knowing what happened while in the same breath trying to argue about what must have happened.

The man knew this wasn't a rogue insurgency. His administration knew. And he went on television and lied about it. He found a convenient scapegoat, had the guy arrested and lied about the cause.

Evidence of flight.

You can make arguments for him if you'd like. You can sit here and claim that he exercised all due diligence and followed all protocols, but you have no more to base that on then the military correspondents that have said that based on their knowledge of security protocols, this was botched at the highest levels. You're engaging in the same speculation to come to the conclusion you want to reach.

Again - what we know is that he was alerted of increased terrorist activity in the region and that additional security was requested. We know that it wasn't provided. We know that the claims were credible and the consulate was overrun within hours. We know that we had eyes on the scene that established that this was no mere riot and we know that the President got on television and said things completely contrary to the few facts that we had in hand when he said it.

And I know that's a pretty shitty set of facts for the President to have to answer for, especially when he seems so disinterested in speaking to them before next Tuesday.
People died when the consulate was attacked. Nothing more really needs to be said to determine that mistakes were made somewhere.

But your (and others') opinion seems to be that since this happened it means either--the president didn't give a shit or not having the precise right number of security measures at this particular place and this particular time is definitive proof of the ultimate incompetence, even rising to the level of criminal behavior and treason.
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Old 11-02-2012, 01:39 PM   #128
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Oh, well...don't let that stop you from asserting it would have made all the difference. JFC...
Just like it hasn’t stopped you from dismissing the request out of hand. “JFC”
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Old 11-02-2012, 01:40 PM   #129
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We also know that he didn't spend two weeks misleading the country and making excuses for Hezbollah. That's a fact.
The 'misleading' charge is BS (and as a practical matter, irrelevant), but what the hell are you taking about "making excuses?"
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Old 11-02-2012, 01:41 PM   #130
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Originally Posted by cosmo20002 View Post
Questions would be absolutely fine. What I hear are assertions based on bullshit.
We are asking questions. Some politicians are going to use this issue to make the POTUS look bad, as they always do. Democrat and Republican. You have to be able to see through the bullshit though.

This event went on for some seven hours. The only forces on scene were poorly equipped to deal with it. There were readily available assets in the area. Those assets weren't used.

There has been conflicting information, regarding the political nature of the attack and the decision making during the event, released by the POTUS, the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense.
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Old 11-02-2012, 01:42 PM   #131
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Well, since Obama isn't exactly being forthcoming on what he knew and when he knew it...
Then just make stuff up? Including that he isn't being forthcoming? Face it, you're not going to believe anything he says anyway, right?
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Old 11-02-2012, 01:46 PM   #132
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Oh, well...don't let that stop you from asserting it would have made all the difference. JFC...

When exactly did I do that?
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Old 11-02-2012, 01:46 PM   #133
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Pretty sure everyone knew it wasn’t just some spontaneous protest when they started getting shelled by mortars and RPGs.
Fact--there were protest about the video all over the region that day.
How spontaneous were any of the protests given that there were several of them?

Even if this particular event started as a similar protest, at some point, it turned into a violent attack. What the hell is the difference how it started--the end result and issues are exactly the same.
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Old 11-02-2012, 01:49 PM   #134
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When exactly did I do that?
When you spoke up in place of someone who was harping about refused requests for more security.
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Old 11-02-2012, 01:50 PM   #135
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Fact--there were protest about the video all over the region that day.
How spontaneous were any of the protests given that there were several of them?

Even if this particular event started as a similar protest, at some point, it turned into a violent attack. What the hell is the difference how it started--the end result and issues are exactly the same.
How many of those other protests started with mortar and RPG fire?
Fact: there was no protest at the embassy before the assault started.
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