State Dept Denied Foreign Emergency Support Team for Benghazi

State Dept Denied Foreign Emergency Support Team for Benghazi

Reports indicate a breakdown in communication within the Obama administration during the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi on September 11, 2012.

Top counter-terrorism officials say they received little to no communication from other agencies or members of the Obama administration as the attack was going on.

Military sources revealed the breakdown through emails which said, “top State Department officials decided not to send an interagency, rapid-response unit designed to respond to terrorist attacks.” The unit is known as a Foreign Emergency Support Team (FEST) and is a joint effort between the State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the Joint Special Operations Command. It has been deployed numerous times in the past to assist in investigations of foreign terrorist attacks, such as the USS Cole bombing and the bombings of U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. 

Counter-terrorism officials who were cut out of the communications loop on the night of September 11th argue that the FEST team could have helped the FBI gain access to the Benghazi consulate much sooner than the 24 days it ultimately took.

National Security Council Spokesman Tommy Vietor pushed back against these reports, claiming, “the most senior people in government worked on [the Benghazi attack] from the minute it happened.”

It appears, however, that reacting the moment it happened was hours too late. Personnel inside the consulate sent a cable at 6:43 a.m. on September 11th to express concern that Libyan security personnel were photographing the consulate, apparently to map the facility’s interior for the attack later that night.