With all of the political wrangling over events in
on Benghazi September 11, 2012,
attention in some conservative channels has focused on a well-hyped recently
released e-book. Benghazi:
The Definitive Report claims in its prologue to "cut through the
static and white noise generated by the media pundits, partisan politics, and
unfounded conspiracy theories" to be "the definitive account of the
attack for years to come." Unfortunately, the book fails to totally
live up to its claims. Benghazi
Written by Jack Murphy and Brandon Webb, two decorated Special Operations veterans who served in
and operate a website dedicated to
special forces personnel, the book relies on "consultations"
with experts and Special Ops military members privy to details of events
surrounding the Afghanistan attack.
Accounts of valor shown by those who fought that day in Benghazi,
especially Benghazi CIA agents and former Navy SEALs
Ty Woods and Glen Doherty (killed while protecting dozens of Americans), tell a
tale of action-packed drama.
If Woods, Doherty, and other Intelligence Support Activity (
agents provide the heroes of this book, the clear villain is John
Brennan, President Obama's top counterterrorism adviser at the time of the
massacre and now his nominee to become Benghazi CIA
director. The authors allege that Brennan received carte blanche from
Obama to run totally covert operations in North Africa
and the Middle East outside the traditional command
structure, "provided he didn't do anything that ended up becoming an
exposé in The New York Times and embarrassing the administration."
Closely associated with Brennan's clandestine war, the authors identify Admiral William McRaven, presently head of U.S. Special Operations Command and formerly of the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC). Brennan, the authors allege, hatches the plans, while McRaven mobilizes the JSOC assets like
ISA, Navy SEAL
Team Six, or Delta Force troops to execute lethal "off the books"
combat missions "not coordinated through the Pentagon or other
governmental agencies, including the CIA."
It is one or more of these missions in
in the summer of 2012 targeting high-level al-Qaeda operatives which the
authors say triggered the retaliatory September attack in Libya . Benghazi
If that were not enough, the authors further allege that Brennan, seemingly in his spare time, runs another "highly compartmentalized program out of the White House" to transfer weapons from Libya to the "rebel fighters in Syria" -- an interesting way to identify a force known to be heavily populated by many of the same anti-American jihadists whom American forces have been fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Undercutting the authors' theory of a focused retaliatory attack is an extensive dissertation describing
as a longstanding haven for Islamic jihadists, a major source of military
forces already fighting Americans in Libya
and Iraq ,
and an area riddled with caches of weapons. They suggest that the Afghanistan CIA
presence in Benghazi provided a headquarters to gather intelligence on local
militias, hunt down WMD (including suspected
stores of yellowcake uranium), and collect as much of Gaddafi's extensive
arsenal as could be found before it ended up in jihadist hands.
In spite of a clear and growing danger to Americans in the area and a poor diplomatic facility in which to transact business, this "definitive account" makes no effort to explain why Ambassador Stevens, Sean Smith (a State Departmentinformation technology specialist), and two security agents chose the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attack to travel to Benghazi, where only three other security personnel and four unarmed local militia guards awaited them.
The book speaks of a meeting between Stevens and a senior Turkish diplomat just before the attack. While others have speculated about this meeting because of
well-known efforts to supply munitions to anti-Assad forces in Turkey ,
the authors say nothing further. Syria
The book does provide a riveting account of the attack, which began at the State Department compound shortly after Within minutes, militia fighters spread through the compound, driving Stevens and Smith to a recently constructed safe room, which is soon set afire. At the nearby
Annex, Ty Woods, a 20-year Navy SEAL veteran and senior CIA
paramilitary agent, formulates a rescue plan in response to frantic radio calls
for help from the embattled compound.
Within 30 minutes of the start of hostilities and in direct defiance of orders to stand down, Smith and six other
agents in heavily armed vehicles proceed to the compound and engage the
attackers. In a two-hour firefight, Woods and his team find Smith's body,
search for Stevens without success, and rescue the State Department personnel.
With the element of surprise gone, ammunition running low, and the
attacking militia massing for another assault, Woods orders everyone back to
the annex with no combat casualties.
For the balance of the night, the fight shifts to the heavily fortified annex. We're told that, about , a cell phone call to the
reports that Ambassador Stevens's body can be found at the local hospital.
They arrange for a trusted Libyan to confirm the report and transport the body
to the airport
A little after 5 a.m., a seven-man paramilitary team from the main
CIA base in Tripoli led by Doherty
arrive via a commandeered Libyan jet aircraft (reportedly paying $30,000 cash
to the crew) and break through to aid their comrades. During the intense
fight, both Woods and Doherty would die from a mortar attack about an hour
later, and the base would be evacuated shortly thereafter. Approximately
twelve hours elapsed from the first attack until over thirty
personnel, including the killed and wounded, evacuated U.S.
by aircraft for Benghazi . Tripoli
As the authors make clear, "[t]he
did an exemplary job with virtually no outside support." Except for
two unarmed Predator drones redirected to the scene by the DOD's AFRICOM
(Africa Command) at the request of an onsite JSOC operator, no other assistance
came. The book, in its detailed action timeline, fails to support claims
appearing in American
Thinker and other sources that Woods and Doherty died as they painted
laser targets on jihadist mortar nests expecting assistance from overhead
aircraft. Instead, the authors flatly reject rumors of any nearby AC-130
gunship or armed drone and tell how the attackers' "skilled mortar
team" used a common trial-and-error tactic of "bracketing" to
find their mark.
The authors also reject stories that General Carter Ham, AFRICOM commander at the time of the attack, had "gone rogue" and was attempting to provide help to
when he was relieved of command. "Great story, but completely
false," the authors say, citing a flat denial of the story by General Martin
Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Though the
the retirement of General Ham the following month, the official
explanation is accepted in the book. Still, confusion remains. Benghazi
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said that he, General Dempsey, and General Ham had agreed that night that any assistance would be too risky. However, Ham later told a congressmanthat no order came down to act and made no mention of any consensus discussion.
Authors Murphy and Webb deal sympathetically with collateral damage from the
involving the forced retirement of General David Petraeus from the Benghazi CIA.
The book details how Petraeus soon realized that he had not been informed of
Brennan's compartmentalized JSOC operations, which blindsided the CIA's
"[F]urious about being left in the lurch by the Obama
administration," Petraeus concluded that "he was a perpetual outsider
in the administration" and began preparations to resign after the
According to the Murphy-Webb account, Petraeus's well-laid plans were upset by high-ranking officers in the
who opposed his policies and leadership stylewithin the agency.
We're told that, aware of the poorly suppressed extramarital affair involving
the general and a female staffer, these officers initiated and kept alive an
FBI investigation which finally forced Petraeus's resignation on their terms,
not his -- an act which, the authors say, "seems purely vindictive, and
perhaps was meant to sabotage any future possibility of a presidential
The book drops little nuggets, such as claiming that "SEAL Team Six had to liquidate Osama Bin Laden in Abbotabad, Pakistan" lest his capture reveal an association with the
during the Mujahidin's war against the Soviets. Yet it ignores major
issues, such as reaction within the White House to the real-time Predator
sensor data available there and why special forces, which the authors must
at the ready within a couple hours' flight time from ,
were not activated to assist. Benghazi
The account states that "contrary to the many media myths about
, requests for
help were not denied by the Obama administration." This comes just
two sentences before we're told that Ty Woods's request to render assistance to
personnel under attack was denied by his Benghazi CIA
chief of base.
In fact, the authors seem to go out of their way to help President Obama and high-ranking DOD officials evade accountability. Calling Obama "an aloof and rather ineffectual leader," they claim that the
"really doesn't involve the President all that much one way or the
other." How odd is that? We've been repeatedly told that Obama
pores over kill lists to pick targets for assassination, was deeply engaged in
a Navy SEAL operation against Somali pirates, and led the effort to kill Osama
bin Laden. Yet this time, Obama chooses not to get involved when a
classic setback to American interests is occurring? Why do these special
forces veterans believe that the commander-in-chief gets to make that choice
without any hint at dereliction of duty? Benghazi
The book does address the infamous internet video, claiming that it was a fabricated cover story by the administration intended to distract attention, both nationally and internationally, from paramilitary attacks going on in Libya, secret weapons transfers from Libya to Syria, and other clandestine operations -- the "true motivations" behind the jihadist assault.
Murphy and Webb begin their narrative with a promise to "name names and hold accountable those who acted cowardly and those who erred by seeking to protect their political careers at the expense of human lives." However, we're left with little to chew on after that claim. Clearly, they have no love for John Brennan, calling him an "ambitious bureaucrat" and "world-class windbag" who must be "reined in or fired" if the post-Afghanistan war on terror is to be successful. If not, they say, "we'll see plenty more Benghazis happen." However, until better investigation of other players in this drama, from President Obama on down, reaches the Brennan scrutiny level, we must await a further definitive report.
Emails show Canadian reaction to September attack on
By Laura Payton, CBC News
Newly released documents shed light on how the Canadian government responded following an attack on the
consulate in U.S. ,
last summer. Benghazi, Libya
The heavily redacted documents, obtained by
News under federal Access to Information laws, show officials in Ottawa reacted
within hours of confirmation of the
Sept. 11, 2012 attack on the American mission in Benghazi.
Attackers armed with rifles and rocket-propelled grenades had stormed the
consulate and set it on fire, killing two diplomats, including Christopher
Stevens, the U.S.
ambassador to U.S. .
Two more officials were killed in a related attack on a second Libya
facility in the city. U.S.
The attack on the mission in
started at local time on
Sept. 11, according to a timeline released by the Pentagon. That's . Benghazi
In an email sent just before on Sept. 12, the morning after the attack, a secret briefing note from the Department of Foreign Affairs' regional security abroad unit outlined safety measures for the Canadian embassy in
's capital. The
measures are blacked out in the version released publicly. Tripoli,
Another briefing note, marked secret and dated Sept. 12 at 12:30 p.m., says the department "disseminated a security message to inform all missions of the threat and request all missions review their security posture and ensure readiness," and that the regional security abroad unit had been in touch with the missions in Tripoli and Cairo, Egypt, and had produced briefing notes on events in Benghazi and Cairo.
A spokesman for Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird wouldn't say what time the first messages went out, citing security concerns, but allowed that they went out "early morning" on Sept. 12.
"By on the 12th, the two missions in question [
and Tripoli ] had updated
security instructions relevant
to the Canadian context at the time," Chris Day said in an email to Cairo CBC
The documents show the also department arranged by early afternoon on Sept. 12 a conference call for heads of mission in the Middle East and
'Reacted thoroughly and rapidly'
NDP international co-operation critic Hélène Laverdière, who served as a Canadian diplomat in
and Chile ,
says it sounds like officials "reacted thoroughly and rapidly." Senegal
"There was probably a quick reaction on the ground, because you have what happens in Ottawa, but the people on the ground, they're also aware of what's happening, and they're also talking with colleagues from other missions and sometimes exchanging experience about security measures and things like that," she said.
Laverdière says there was a minor earthquake when she was posted in
within 10 minutes, colleagues in Chile
were checking in on the Canadians in Ottawa . Santiago
"Quite sincerely, my impression … is that the department reacted rather quickly [to what happened in
and I can tell you from my experience, all along, it's always a priority:
security of the mission, security of the information, but above all, security
of the people." Benghazi
"We take the safety of our personnel and our missions overseas very seriously," Day said. "We are always monitoring events closely and taking appropriate security measures."
embassy in U.S. also saw a major
protest the day of the attack on the consulate in Cairo ,
with demonstrators climbing the walls of the mission and tearing down the
American flag. Benghazi
The attack in
is now thought by Benghazi
officials to have been a planned attack by militants linked to al-Qaeda. U.S.
'Attack on diplomacy'
The embassy in
is staffed by five Canadians. Libya
had no diplomats in Canada at the
time of the attack, Baird said in September. Benghazi
Children and spouses aren't allowed to follow officials on posting in
, one of the
post-attack memos says, and Canada-based staff must take a hostile environment
training course before being posted there. They receive "thorough"
security briefings on arrival and throughout their time in Tripoli ,
it says. Libya
Stevens was the first
diplomat killed in a violent assault since 1979. U.S.
"It's an attack on diplomacy, and obviously we continually look at the safety and security environments for Canadian personnel," Baird told reporters on Sept. 12. He was travelling in
at the time. India
"We're obviously not present in
But as you would expect, we'll re-evaluate the environment, as we regularly do,
for our personnel in Benghazi .
Obviously, we understood that [the country] wasn't going to go from Moammar
Gadhafi to Thomas Jefferson overnight, and we continue to put our hope in the
actions to bring civil society and pluralism and democracy to the people of Tripoli ." Libya
Baird also said the government was reviewing embassy security around the world.
"Obviously diplomats don't sign up to be soldiers, and their safety and security is a high priority. We've made major strides over the past 10 years of the department to meet these goals. There are areas where there is room for improvement and obviously we are seized with the importance of this."