Did Obama refuse to grant CROSS-BORDER AUTHORITY to Secretary of Defense Panetta in the Oval Office at the 5h00 p.m. meeting on September the 11th 2012? If so, on what basis? It was about 10h30 p.m. in Benghazi, and the attack was far from being over.
We know for sure that there was a military rescue operation IN PROGRESS, triggered almost as soon as Ambassor Stevens was in danger. We do know, because when an Ambassador is in danger or missing, the default order is an IMMEDIATE rescue. Once the alarm is sent from Benghazi, dozens of Head Quarters are notified and are in the loop in real time WITHOUT WAITING FOR ORDERS. The very minute they see that the consulate is under attack — when critical incident ALARM messages start ringing — military steps happen on AUTOPILOT in real time, regulated by *standing* orders and *standard* operating procedures. And the rescue operation becomes TOP TOP TOP priority.
So why did they turned back?
The Quick Reaction Force in Tripoli, up to AFRICOM (the Africa Command) and EUCOM (the Europe Command) began planning and executing Rescue Operations, including getting AIR support over Benghazi as soon as possible.
Everybody in the Navy and the Air Force chain of command swang into a crisis contingency plan mode.
What destroyers are closest? Blackhawks? Marines? Delta Force happens to be training in Germany? Get them moving RIGHT NOW. Where is closest? The Sigonella Air base in Sicily, Italy, just 480 miles away. It’s NATO, no permission needed, JUST FLY.
At the lieutenant colonel level, and at the colonel level of all the different Head Quarters, at the State Department, everybody was saying something like, “Let’s GO GO GO! Let’s get boots on the ground, planes in air. Let’s kick these savages’ asses, and get our Ambassador and our people.”
Airborne tankers are coming into position. U.S. Navy ships are sailing in position to “lilypad” helicopters for long over-water flights. Special Operation Force forces in Sigonella are going over their gear for different contingencies, as officers keep checking in again and again with operational commanders.
THERE WAS a big rescue air armada flying toward Libya right away after the alarm got to the United-States Garrisan Stuttgart and AFRICOM. And yet it stopped. Yet it STOPPED. WHY?
The rescue air-armada of C-17s, C-130s and Special Operations Forces helicopters like MH-47 Chinooks and Pave Hawks cannot proceed DIRECTLY to Libya without CROSS-BORDER AUTHORITY being granted by the President, so they had to land at the Sigonella Air Base, in Sicily.
Crossing an international border with a military force, without permission of the nation invaded, is ONLY up to the President. Always, and every time.
“Hold in place, no rescue yet. We can’t find the President,” say the colonels to the majors and captains.
Every Special Operations Force officer and Operations officer all the way up to General Ham of AFRICOM is pondering this very question.
Some sort of authorization would have been sent from President Obama to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, to Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey, to General Ham at AFRICOM in Stuttgart, Germany, who was in charge of the forces staging in Sigonella.
All of this would have beed LOGGED. General Ham either has this authorization, or not. The authority would be given verbally to General Ham, but it would immediately be backed up in OFFICAL message traffic for the official record. And without it, General Ham would not be able to send the rescue air-armada into Libyan air space.
Obama needs to respond to this. Did he or did he not grant CROSS-BORDER AUTHORITY?
The real critical issue is the president says that he immediately ordered all available assets to help. The military would have put out an order from the president. There’s no question about that… What I’m asking is, “Show us the order!”
– former Assistant Secretary of Defense Bing West