Explosive new allegations surrounding the Benghazi attack emerged this morning, with FOX News’ Jennifer Griffin reporting that sources have confirmed that three urgent requests for military assistance sent from the CIA annex were all denied; CIA operators were apparently told to “stand down” rather than respond when shots were heard around 9:40 p.m. on September 11. Following the alleged developments, Charles Woods, father of ex-Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods who was killed in the attack, passionately responded to this new information on Glenn Beck’s radio program (see his comments at the end of the article).
Let’s begin by examining the new-found allegations: Glen Doherty and Woods, the two former Navy SEALS who were among the four Americans inevitably murdered, allegedly disobeyed orders from superiors to “stand down” in the wake of the attack. Despite being told by higher-ups not to respond, they purportedly decided to go to the main consulate building to help U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and others who were under siege.
While it was previously known that these men arrived on the scene to provide assistance, the alleged “stand down” orders and the repeatedly-denied requests for military assistance are new developments to a story that seems to be continuously unraveling.
When the attack first took form, Doherty and Woods were at a secure CIA annex only one mile away from the chaos unfolding at the compound. After the men heard shots fired, they promptly let the chain of command know about the situation on the ground. However, FOX’s sources claim that they were told to refrain from action. This same mandate was given to the men when they called a second time just one hour later to report that the dangerous situation was still unfolding at the consulate.
After being told twice to refrain from involvement, Woods, Doherty and two others ignored orders and made their way to the main compound, where violence was raging. At this point, the building was on fire and shots were exchanged, however they took action. FOX News has more:
Woods, Doherty and at least two others ignored those orders and made their way to the Consulate which at that point was on fire….The quick reaction force from the CIA annex evacuated those who remained at the Consulate and Sean Smith, who had been killed in the initial attack. They could not find the ambassador and returned to the CIA annex at about midnight.
At that point, they called again for military support and help because they were taking fire at the CIA safe house, or annex. The request was denied. There were no communications problems at the annex, according those present at the compound. The team was in constant radio contact with their headquarters. In fact, at least one member of the team was on the roof of the annex manning a heavy machine gun when mortars were fired at the CIA compound. The security officer had a laser on the target that was firing and repeatedly requested back-up support from a Specter gunship, which is commonly used by U.S. Special Operations forces to provide support to Special Operations teams on the ground involved in intense firefights. The fighting at the CIA annex went on for more than four hours — enough time for any planes based in Sigonella Air base, just 480 miles away, to arrive. Fox News has also learned that two separate Tier One Special operations forces were told to wait, among them Delta Force operators.
Earlier today, TheBlaze reported about the questions surrounding the lack of a military response to the situation on the ground. Sources appear to claim that there were potential options that could have been pursued, although these avenues were reportedly not taken during the September 11 attack. While the forces available at Sigonella could have been flown into Benghazi in less than two hours, they, too, were also allegedly told to “stand down.”
Around 3 a.m. that evening, a pro-U.S. Libyan militia finally showed up at the CIA annex. And an American Quick Reaction Force that was sent from Tripoli arrived at the Benghazi airport at 2 a.m., but was delayed for 45 minutes over transportation confusion. In both instances, though, thearrivals were hours after the initial attack took place.
FOX News has more regarding how Woods and Doherty were killed hours after the initial attack on the consulate commenced. Rather than perishing at the main compound, the ex-Navy SEALS were back at the CIA annex when the attach took place:
Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, were part of a Global Response Staff or GRS that provides security to CIA case officers and provides countersurveillance and surveillance protection. They were killed by a mortar shell at 4 a.m. Libyan time, nearly seven hours after the attack on the Consulate began — a window that represented more than enough time for the U.S. military to send back-up from nearby bases in Europe, according to sources familiar with Special Operations. Four mortars were fired at the annex. The first one struck outside the annex. Three more hit the annex.
Here’s additional information about the deadly attack that took Woods and Doherty’s lives, as reported by CNN back in September:
After arriving back at the annex, the incident was far from over for the security team, which included Woods and Doherty. An attack was launched on the annex — this one more intense than the initial assault on the main building.
Military officials in Benghazi told CNN that rocket-propelled grenades were among the heavy firepower used by the attackers at the annex, with one official saying mortars were also fired.
“It was during that (second attack) that two additional U.S. personnel were killed and two others were wounded,” a senior administration official said last week in providing details of the attack. Those two victims were later confirmed to be Doherty and Woods.
Earlier today, TheBlaze covered debate surrounding drones and whether or not U.S. officials had the ability to watch a portion of the Libyan attack in real time. Considering these latest allegations, this question seems increasingly important.
Some, like reporter Geraldo Rivera, have dismissed the notion that the battle was being viewed live by officials as it progressed. But an October 20 report from CBS News claims that a portion of the attack was potentially seen by officials. In fact, according to the network, “hours after the attack began, an unmanned Predator drone was sent over the U.S. mission in Benghazi, and that the drone and other reconnaissance aircraft apparently observed the final hours of the protracted battle.”
FOX, too, reported today that there were two military surveillance drones that were sent to Benghazi after the attack on the U.S. consulate began. Both of these drones had the capability to send images back to government officials (including the White House situation room), although it’s not immediately clear how, if at all, these images were used.
On Thursday, TheBlaze’s Madeleine Morgenstern covered Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s response to questions surrounding military reaction. He said that forces did not intervene because officials did not have enough “real-time information” about what was happening on the ground.
“The basic principle is that you don’t deploy forces into harm’s way without knowing what’s going on, without having some real-time information about what’s taking place,” Panetta said. “And as a result of not having that kind of information…[we] felt very strongly that we could not put forces at risk in that situation.”
On Friday morning, radio host Glenn Beck interviewed Charles Woods, father of ex-Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods. He reacted to the explosive, new allegations, deriding the “stand down” orders and calling for “moral strength.” Here is his complete on-air reaction:
“That is cowardice by the people that issued that order. And our country is not a country of cowards. Our country is the greatest nation on Earth. And what we need to do is we need to raise up a generation of American heroes just like Ty who is an American hero. But in order to do that, we need to raise up a generation that has not just physical strength but moral strength. We do not need another generation of liars who lack moral strength.”
During his reaction to the new allegations this morning, Beck was candid, sharing both awe and dismay. “Today officially is the day that I no longer recognize my country,” he said (read and see Beck’s entire reaction here).
These revelations come one day after TheBlaze reported that President Barack Obama first alluded to his belief that the Benghazi assault was pre-planned just hours after the assault unfolded. He made these claims in an obscure CBS News clip that was part of a larger interview (this portion of his September 12 “60 Minutes” appearance was not originally aired) which came to light over the past few days.
In the days following Obama’s interview, the administration’s claims about the Libya attack changed drastically, as officials reported that it was the result of an anti-Islam film called “Innocence of Muslims.” Considering Obama’s original views on the matter, the timeline of the administration’s rhetoric has come under scrutiny.