Panetta: Dept of Defense Did Everything It Could On Benghazi
In a letter responding to Sen. John McCain's (R-AZ) inquiries and calls for a Senate Investigation into Benghazi, Sec. of Defense Leon Panetta claims the DOD did everything they could when the consulate came under attack.
According to Panetta: "[We] did everything [we] were in a position to do."
There are at least two problems with this explanation: 1. It's not the same explanation Panetta originally gave. 2. Facts do not bear out the claim that they did everything they could have done.
For starters, when Benghazi-gate first began to erupt in the days after the Sept. 11 attacks, it was Barack Obama who said (and maintained) he had done everything he could have done. Panetta, on the other hand, said and maintained the DOD didn't do more because it wasn't clear to them what was going on.
In other words, the DOD could have done more had Panetta had a clearer picture of the action on the ground.
However, as I wrote on Oct. 27, this is a not a viable position. Multiple reports had an AC-130 gun ship (which Panetta denies) and two U.S. drones in the vicinity of Benghazi: Panetta does not deny the drones. In fact, the drones were beaming real time footage of the Benghazi attack into the situation room at the White House where Panetta and the President could see it.
The drones are problematic for Panetta and others who claim any ignorance of what was happening. And the AC-130 gun ship, or any other air backup that could have been sent to Benghazi quickly, completely undercuts the claim that the DOD did everything that could have been done.
Ask yourself this question: What would former Navy SEALS Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty say if they were alive to be asked whether our DOD did everything it could do?
Both men spent the last minutes of their lives painting targets for military strikes with Ground Laser Designators (GLDs) because they believed backup was coming. Yet DOD never sent it. Sean Hannity has spoken to people who've heard the audio tapes of Woods and Doherty literally begging for backup--literally begging for their lives--and Hannity claims those who've heard the tapes say "they're pretty damning."
Perhaps Panetta could release those tapes, or talk Obama into releasing them? Then we'd have a much better feel for what the DOD did and didn't do.
By the way, in the same letter in which Panetta tells McCain the DOD did everything it could, he adds:
The department's senior leaders and I spared no effort to save the lives of our American colleagues, as we worked to bolster security in response to a series of other threats in the region occurring at the same time.
Raising the subject of security brings to light a completely different aspect of the Benghazi debacle. Without being facetious in the least, let me ask a simple question: Why weren't security concerns of enough importance to take center stage before the Sept. 11, 2012 attacks took place? Why are we supposed to be impressed with the fact that security measures were taken afterward?
Reading Panetta's emphasis on security post-facto in Benghazi brings to mind the words of former Sec. Donald Rumsfeld, who recently told Breitbart News in an interview:
It is heartbreaking that there were obvious warnings before this happened. There were warnings that the security was inadequate, and there were requests for better security that were not fulfilled. Our government knew it was September 11th, and the anniversary of the September 11th attacks of 2001, yet the warnings, apparently, were ignored.