Benghazi Update: There Were Special Forces in Libya

2013-10-31 Benghazi

I have mostly left the Benghazi issue alone. It’s become a bit of a joke, unfortunately. The combination of right wing partisanship and the Administration’s ability to withhold embarrassing information made me think we probably wouldn’t know the real story until someone writes an obscure book about it around 2070 or so, the way that we’re still learning facts about Cold War nastiness this day that most folks don’t seem to care about very much anymore. (Example: the Verona project.)

But this story from the Washington Times seems to present some new facts. It turns out that the closest special forces troops were not stationed across the Mediterranean in Italy. There was a team of 8 (Delta and Seal Team 6) already inside Libya, but they were held back to defend the main embassy in the case of another attack instead of being sent to Benghazi. Two of the eight did actually volunteer to travel with the security team responding and got there in time to assist in the end of the battle, however.

What does this mean? The decision to hold back the forces to defend the main embassy is a tough call I’m not inclined to second-guess without more knowledge, and it’s doubtful they could have arrived in time to have saved Ambassador Stevens. So the right wing dream of proof that Obama let those men die remains unfounded. But this is further evidence that the Administration has lied from day one to save face. From the edited talking points to the false claims that no special ops were in-country, there seems to be clear and consistent evidence that the Obama Administration misled the American people, and probably did so for political gain.

It’s frustrating and disappointing, but I doubt much will come of it.

3 thoughts on “Benghazi Update: There Were Special Forces in Libya”

  1. Hmm. Lying to save face by not publicly disclosing the ***secret*** that SOF were in Libya conducting ***secret*** missions, and that some of the SOF were deployed and responded to the Benghazi attack (but not in time to prevent the whole thing),

    Alternate explanation: the operational damage of disclosing unrelated (and possibly ongoing) ***secret*** Libya missions outweighed the political gains of parrying Mitt Romney’s election-year flogging of a CIA mission gone awry.

  2. Aside from the irony of the Left’s new tolerance for state secrecy, I do of course realize that some state secrecy is essential. But that doesn’t mean the public shouldn’t be suspicious and wary for abuse of that necessity.

    In this case, the problem for me arises from the original obfuscation linking the 9/11 attack on a CIA compound and the death of an American ambassador to some random video posted on YouTube months before. Keeping things hidden is one matter. Deliberately laying down a false trail for political cover is another. From that initial bad act, the Administration loses a lot of their legitimacy. When protecting secrets of state and protecting your own power become synonymous, there are deep problems.

  3. I must have missed all those times The Left pulled something like this:

    In response to any of these post-2002 events:

    Perhaps tolerance for state secrets on the part of The Left isn’t what’s new here?

    The general problem here is disinterest in entertaining the possibility of or attempting to distinguish differences between “laying down a false trail for political cover”, and “laying down a false trail” to cover disclosure of national security-imperiling covert CIA operations conducted from a diplomatic compound. Or, you know, the third option of bad initial intel and a fumbled walk back. Which happens!

    The entire exercise of scandalzing the attack hinges on (by design) the uncovering some unknowable/unprovable intent. Maybe if there are enough hearings over the deaths of four people, we’ll uncover communications wherein Obama tells everyone to stand down and be slaughtered, and then orders his underlings to (clumsily) lie about it and then contradict themselves a few hours later. Because that makes sense.

    Or maybe it’s simply politically advantageous for Republicans to histrionically rut through classified operations in public, knowing full well that the there’s an asymmetry in what the Administration can divulge and how? Think about it this way: if the Benghazi “cover up” was really about pulling some election-stealing trick wherein voters are bamboozled that terrorism no longer exists, then what’s the incentive to not come clean on November 5th? Some silly fever dream about a four-year multi-hundred person conspiracy to “save” Hillary?

    It’s good for fundraising off the base (, and a cheap and easy way to bloody the President, but it really is lamentable that so much of the right has ceded so much of their post-election time and attention to such a non-issue that people don’t *really* care about.

Comments are closed.