Former Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Ridge believes the Obama administration's failure to react to the September 11th attack on the American consulate in Benghazi and the subsequent cover-up ought to impact voters this election.
He feels voters in Pennsylvania and elsewhere in the country should ask themselves: is Obama fit to be president?
In an op-ed on PennLive.com, Ridge highlights a number of issues that cause him to believe Obama cannot be trusted on matters of foreign policy and national security.
Particularly, Ridge finds it troubling that CIA operatives received orders to "stand down" while the Benghazi consulate was still under attack. The agents were at a CIA compound only one mile away from the site of the attack -- why did the president give or allow a "stand down" order to be given?
Moreover, when retired Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty disobeyed orders and ran to Ambassador Stevens' defense with other CIA operators, they were repeatedly denied the back-up they called for. After evacuating the consulate personnel and returning to the CIA annex after searching unsuccessfully for Stevens, they and other CIA operatives defended the building and the staff inside for hours while repeatedly calling for air strikes against targeted attackers. Those requests were denied or never acknowledged; Woods and Doherty were killed by a mortar strike at approximately 4 AM, almost seven hours after the initial attack began.
Gov. Ridge is also troubled by the excuse Leon Panetta, Obama's Secretary of Defense, used when explaining why the administration didn't do more during the course of the attack. Panetta claimed that they didn't have enough information at the time to react appropriately. Ridge points out that there were live video feeds from surveillance drones showing the attack in real time. Obama, Panetta, and anyone else in the situation room saw exactly what was happening, as it was happening.
Ridge ends his op-ed thus:
The president and his administration failed in their elementary duty to protect American officials overseas, [and] have attempted to avoid responsibility for [these] failures, [and have] intentionally downplayed an on-going global threat and forfeited the trust of the public on this vital issue.
Americans, regardless of political affiliation, need a complete and candid accounting, and only the president can provide it. Hopefully he will before election day.