First it lays out the situation in Libya:
After the fall of Colonel Qaddafi, in 2011, Libya had become an al-Qaeda-inspired, if not al-Qaeda-led, training base and battleground. In the northeastern city of Benghazi, Libya’s second-largest city, men in blazers and dark glasses wandered about the narrow streets of the Medina, the old quarter, with briefcases full of cash and Browning Hi-Power 9-mm. semi-automatics—the classic killing tool of the European spy. Rent-a-guns, militiamen with AK-47s and no qualms about killing, stood outside the cafés and restaurants where men with cash and those with missiles exchanged business terms.
It was a le Carré urban landscape where loyalties changed sides with every sunset; there were murders, betrayals, and triple-crossing profits to be made in the post-revolution. The police were only as honest as their next bribe. Most governments were eager to abandon the danger and intrigue of Benghazi. By September 2012 much of the international community had pulled chocks and left. Following the kidnapping in Benghazi of seven members of its Red Crescent relief agency, even Iran, one of the leading state sponsors of global terror, had escaped the city.
But Libya was a target-rich environment for American political, economic, and military interests, and the United States was determined to retain its diplomatic and intelligence presence in the country—including an embassy in Tripoli and a mission in Benghazi, which was a linchpin of American concerns and opportunities in the summer of the Arab Spring.
The writers, Fred Burton and Samuel M. Katz, continued with the history of the Diplomatic Security Service and the protocols put in place to secure official American compounds across the world. None of which were followed at the Benghazi compound because Patrick Kennedy waived the requirement despite dozens of attacks on the compound as well. Ambassador Steven’s diary tells the story:
“Dicey conditions, including car bombs, attacks on consulate, British embassy, and our own people. Islamist ‘hit list’ in Benghazi. Me targeted on a pro-Q [Qaeda? Qaddafi?] website (no more off-compound jogging).”
“Never ending security threats”
The ARB never interviewed Kennedy, Hillary Clinton’s Undersecretary, and asked him why he waived the security requirements nor asked him if he consulted with Clinton.
The Vanity Fair article continued by identifying the five man security team assigned to protect the Ambassador using A, B, C, D and R to identify each:
The five men in Benghazi were a mixed bag of over-achievers: former street cops, U.S. Marines, a U.S. Army Iraq-war veteran, and academics. All had under 10 years on the job; some had less than 5.
They will be identified as R., the temporary-duty regional security officer (RSO) who was the senior man among the group; he was on a long-term posting in Libya, borrowed from the RSO’s office in Tripoli. A. and B. were junior agents assigned temporary duty in Benghazi. C. and D. were young agents who constituted Ambassador Stevens’s ad hoc protective detail, and who had flown with him from Tripoli.
The authors describe how local militias were hired to provide security on the compound as well as evidence that elements inside the new Libyan government were involved in the attack. They describe how approximately 35 well trained jihadists attacked the compound with well trained precision.
R sounded the alarm once he saw the attackers inside the compound via the security cameras. Agent A gathered up the Ambassador and Information Management Officer Sean Smith and led them to the “safe haven”, a small room inside the residence.
All that separated A., Stevens, and Smith from the terrorists was the steel-reinforced security gate, of the kind installed inside the apartments of diplomats serving in “normal” locations in order to prevent criminal intrusions. The metal gate wasn’t a State Department-spec forced-entry-and-blast-resistant door, like the ones used in Inman buildings.
That’s it. A metal gate to protect the Ambassador.
The Special Mission Compound in Benghazi on that night was not a textbook case. No classroom, no training officer, and certainly no armchair general could understand the nuances of those terrifying uncertain moments of the attack. The attackers had managed to cut off and isolate two two-man tandems of armed support, and the local militia, paid to stand and fight, had cut and run.
The authors detail how the attackers had difficulty in opening the residence door so they used RPG’s to open it. They tore up the residence looking for the ambassador and when they couldn’t find him, they set it on fire:
Burning down an embassy or a diplomatic post was so much easier than blowing it up, and historically, when a diplomatic post’s defenses had been breached, the end result was usually an inferno. As the frenzy of destruction began to simmer down, the roar of fire was loud and ominous. R. radioed A. with the news. “Smoke is seen from the villa’s windows, over.” The message was superfluous. The three men could hear the flames engulfing the building, and they could feel the oven-like heat growing hotter and more unbearable as each moment passed. The lights from behind the door began to flicker. The electricity began to falter, and then it died.
It was all a matter of time now:
The smoke spread fast as A. ordered Stevens and Smith to drop to their knees and led them in a crawl from the bedroom toward the bathroom, which had a small window. Towels were taken off their fancy racks and doused with water. A. rolled them loosely and forced them under the door to keep the smoke from entering the smaller space the three men had retreated to. Nevertheless, the acrid black vapor was eye-searing and blinded the men in the safe haven. The three, crawling around on the bathroom floor, gasped for clean air to fill their lungs. They couldn’t see a thing in the hazy darkness. The men began to vomit into the toilet. Getting some air was now more important than facing the wrath of the attackers.
The situation inside the safe haven was critical. A. attempted to pry open the window, but in seeking ventilation he exacerbated the situation; the opening created an air gust which fed the intensity of the flames and the smoke. The safe haven became a gas chamber. A. yelled and pleaded with Stevens and Smith to follow him to an adjacent room with an egress emergency window, but he couldn’t see the two through the smoke. He banged on the floor as he crawled, hoping they would hear him. A. found himself in the throes of absolute terror. He was, however, unwilling to surrender to the dire environment. He pushed through toward the window, barely able to breathe. With his voice raw from smoke, he mustered whatever energy he had left to yell and propel Stevens and Smith forward.
The egress window was grilled, and within the grille was a section that could be opened for emergency escape. It had a lock with the key located near the window but out of reach from someone outside. It did not open easily. Using all the strength of his arms and shoulders, A. managed to pry the window slightly ajar. He yelled for Stevens and Smith to follow him as he forced his body through the opening. The taste of fresh air pushed him ahead, and he was determined to get his ambassador and his IMO to safety, no matter what.
Coughing up soot, he reached inside to help Stevens and Smith out. There was no response, though; they had not followed him. A. heard the crackling of AK-47 gunfire in the distance, and he heard the whooshing sound of shots flying overhead. Some of the gunmen, who had by now begun to retreat from the blaze, began firing at him. A. didn’t care at this point. Showing enormous courage and dedication, he went back into the safe haven several times to search for both men. The heat and the intensity of the fire and smoke beat him back each time.
Later, A. could not remember the number of attempts he had made to search for Stevens and Smith, but they were numerous. His hands were severely burned, and the smoke inhalation had battered his body to the point where even minor movements caused excruciating pain. Still, he resolved to get the two men out of the inferno, dead or alive. But at approximately his sixth attempt to go back inside, A. found he couldn’t go back anymore.
Does any of this sound like a demonstration to you?
Hours after the attack the President of Libya called it a terrorist attack…no one believed it was anything but
But as we now know this Administration decided to blame it on the video, against the wished of the CIA.
The lack of security at the compound was shameful.
The cover-up of the attack was criminal.
if I were investigating Benghazi, I’d be homing in on that 10 p.m. phone call. That’s the one between President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton — the one that’s gotten close to zero attention.
Benghazi is not a scandal because of Ambassador Susan Rice, State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland, and “talking points.” The scandal is about Rice and Nuland’s principals, and about what the talking points were intended to accomplish. Benghazi is about derelictions of duty by President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton before and during the massacre of our ambassador and three other American officials, as well as Obama and Clinton’s fraud on the public afterward.
A good deal of media attention has quite appropriately been lavished on e-mail traffic between mid-level administration officials in the days leading up to Sunday, September 16. That is the day when Ms. Rice, a close Obama confidant, made her appalling appearances on the Sunday-morning political shows. Those performances were transparently designed to mislead the American people, during the presidential campaign stretch run, into believing that an anti-Islamic Internet video — rather than a coordinated terrorist attack orchestrated by al-Qaeda affiliates, coupled with the Obama administration’s gross failure to secure and defend American personnel in Benghazi — was responsible for the killings.
Fraud flows from the top down, not the mid-level up. Mid-level officials in the White House and the State Department do not call the shots — they carry out orders. They also were not running for reelection in 2012 or positioning themselves for a campaign in 2016. The people doing that were, respectively, President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton.