The Defense Drumbeat Blog

Nov 01 2012

Washington Post: Lingering Questions about Benghazi

"The Obama administration needs to level with the country,"

The Washington Post’s David Ignatius asks in a recent Op-Ed, “Lingering questions about Benghazi”:

...So what did happen on the night of Sept. 11, when Woods, Ambassador Christopher Stevens and two others were killed? The best way to establish the facts would be a detailed, unclassified timeline of events; officials say that they are preparing one and that it may be released this week. That’s a must, even in the campaign’s volatile final week. In the meantime, here’s a summary of some of the issues that need to be clarified. ...

…. Was it wise to depend on a Libyan militia that clearly wasn’t up to the job? Could it have made a difference for those under attack at the consulate if [Tyrone] Woods had moved out as soon as he was, in one official’s words, “saddled and ready”?

"Second, why didn’t the United States send armed drones or other air assistance to Benghazi immediately? …

What more could have been done? A Joint Special Operations Command team was moved that night to Sigonella air base in Sicily, for quick deployment to Benghazi or any of the other U.S. facilities in danger that night across North Africa. Armed drones could also have been sent. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta summarized last Thursday the administration’s decision to opt for caution: 'You don’t deploy forces into harm’s way without knowing what’s going on.'

…. The Obama administration needs to level with the country about why it made its decisions.