Last night on Justice with Judge Jeanine Pirro was heartbreaking TV because former CIA operative Mike Baker and retired Army Lt. Col. David Hunt obliterated the administration’s litany of excuses about why they didn’t respond to Christopher Steven’s and Ty Woods’ calls for help. Here’s part of what Mike Baker and Col. Hunt told Judge Pirro:
COL. HUNT: You’ve got the Department of State Security Officer on the phone to the State Operations Center. That goes directly to the White House Situation Room. You had a drone overhead. You had CIA operation guys in Benghazi talking.
PIRRO: So you had audio, visual and calls in real time and satellite and drones. So who’s watching?
BAKER: This is unfolding in front of their very eyes, as the Col. said. As soon as this balloon goes up, you’ve got Langley for the CIA. You’ve got the State Department. You’ve got the White House Situation Room all screaming for information. So you’ve got the Chief of Base in Benghazi to the degree that he can. You’ve got the Chief of Station in Tripoli. You’ve got the Regional Security Officer (RSO) with the State Department stationed in Tripoli. They’re all sending this information back. You’ve eventually got a drone overhead to provide — and the clarity is quite good — to provide information on their terminals as this unfolds.
In short, minutes after the attack started, the White House Situation Room was getting information in real time through a variety of media types. More importantly, Mike Baker’s comment that the drone’s video clarity “is quite good.”
As sickening as that is, that isn’t the worst of it. When they started talking about military assets available to protect our ambassador and consulate staff, Mr. Baker said this:
There’s an important point to lead this off with, which is that, in very short order, the White House knew that they were not getting a counterassault support from the Libyans, our friends.
The National Security Council people in the White House should’ve known instantly that, or at least surmised, that terrorists had infiltrated the February 17th Brigade staff of the Libyans. As awful as that is, that still isn’t the worst of the news. This is close:
LT. COL. HUNT: We’ve been at war for 11 years. What the U.S. military and the intelligence community know how to do is react to a firefight in another country. We had jets, F-16s, very, very accurate, and ability on the ground with the CIA, to call them in and pinpoint their targets.
As infuriating as that information is, that isn’t even the worst thing we learned from this interview. This is:
BAKER: The important thing is, this attack is unfolding. The CIA has personnel on the ground in the Global Response Staff. These guys, including Ty, they are not there to provide long-term defense capability. They are there to hold off the hostiles until the cavalry shows up. And the covenant is that the cavalry will show up. And it didn’t.
Defense Secretary Panetta upset lots of people by saying that “there’s a lot of armchair quarterbacking” in response to the DoD’s lack of response to this terrorist attack. He also said that they didn’t want to send the military into harms way until they knew what they’d be encountering once they got there.
Lt. Col. Hunt said there was a glut of information available to mount a defense. Additionally, Lt. Col. Hunt said that “the U.S. military and the intelligence community” know how to “react to a firefight in another country.”
That likely means that the decision not to deploy military assets was a political decision, not a national security or military decision.
Finally, notice the special wording Mike Baker used in talking about “holding off the hostiles.” He said that the Global Response Staff was there to hold off the hostiles until the cavalry comes. “And the covenant is that the cavalry will show up.”
Unfortunately for these heroes, this administration either froze and didn’t send in the cavalry or they just decided to sacrifice these heroes.
That’s as low as it gets.