Among other things reported in some detail, Fox asserts that a Special Operations team had been moved to US military facilities in Sigonella, Italy – approximately two hours away – but were never told to deploy.If the Christian Science Monitor considers this question serious and important, then Obama had better hope that the hurricane is so big that no asks the questions about General Ham's replacement as head of African Command. The October 29, 2012 Seattle Times ran this AP news story denying that his replacement had anything to do with the Benghazi attack and his response to it. More importantly, that story claims that the decision to not respond was a joint decision:
“The fighting at the CIA annex [in Benghazi] 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.” ...
Writing last week in the conservative National Review online, former Marine Corps officer and Reagan administration senior Pentagon official Francis “Bing” West outlined much the same scenario as Fox News, including a timeline of events in Benghazi.
“Fighter jets could have been at Benghazi in an hour; the commandos inside three hours,” Mr. West wrote. “If the attackers were a mob, as intelligence reported, then an F-18 [Navy fighter jet] in afterburner, roaring like a lion, would unnerve them. This procedure was applied often in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Conversely, if the attackers were terrorists, then the U.S. commandos would eliminate them. But no forces were dispatched from Sigonella.”
Last week, Panetta said he, Dempsey and Ham all felt very strongly that it would have been a mistake to insert U.S. forces into Benghazi during the attack, which killed four Americans.Yet this account from October 28, 2012 Front Page Magazine tells a story that while not directly contradicting, suggests otherwise:
We’re not dealing with anonymous sources here. This comes from an interview with Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz who sits on two Homeland Security subcommittees relaying the responses from General Carter Ham heading up the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) who had direct responsibility for the situation.Those rumors? This seems to be the first appearance, and like all rumors, probably juicier than reality
General Ham told Chaffetz that the forces were available, but that no order to use them was given. Defense Secretary Panetta had claimed that the refusal to use force had come from him, General Dempsey and General Ham.
General Ham appears to have broken with that story and is taking no responsibility for the decision not to bail out the consulate and the Navy SEALS. There have been rumors that General Ham has been fired or forced out. There is no way to confirm them at this point until they come from more reliable sources.
The information I heard today was that General Ham as head of Africom received the same e-mails the White House received requesting help/support as the attack was taking place. General Ham immediately had a rapid response unit ready and communicated to the Pentagon that he had a unit ready.And sure enough: General Ham is being replaced as head of African Command by his second in command.
General Ham then received the order to stand down. His response was to screw it, he was going to help anyhow. Within 30 seconds to a minute after making the move to respond, his second in command apprehended General Ham and told him that he was now relieved of his command.
Of course, since Obama has a good chance of winning re-election, it may not matter what the truth is.