Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Obama administration's reluctance to capture Benghazi terrorist brings old questions to the fore

The Obama administration passed up an opportunity to capture an Al Qaeda terrorist facing charges in the Benghazi terror attack because the White House feared the raid to apprehend him would evoke a negative reaction from the Libyan people and possibly destabilize the fragile Libyan government, CNN reported on Tuesday, via anonymous U.S. officials - who undoubtedly work in the Obama administration.

Earlier this month, U.S. special operations forces seized another al Qaeda operative in Tripoli, and,  were just hours away from potentially launching an additional raid to capture Ahmed Abu Khattalah, the aforementioned terrorist involved in the Benghazi attacks, CNN reported.

However, U.S. officials [Obama administration cronies] told CNN that, "With the Libyan government dealing with public outcry about the U.S. incursion into Libya, the White House became worried any raid in Benghazi could destabilize, and potentially bring down the fragile Libyan government."

Mr. Khattalah had openly operated in Benghazi for months and was interviewed by CNN's Arwa Damon, CNN reported.

Of course, the Obama administration's anxiety about evoking a negative reaction from the Libyan people, and consequently its reluctance to send U.S. Special Ops to capture Ahmed Abu Khattalah, raises the old question of whether the White House' failure, last year, to rescue the four Americans killed in the Benghazi attacks, was also due to similar anxieties, including potential public outcry from the Libyan people, anger from the Libyan government, battling Al Qaeda terrorists in Benghazi in light of the President's promise that support of the Libyan rebellion would not entail sending boots on the ground - and a looming Presidential election.

Ultimately, the Obama administration's inaction during the 2012 Benghazi attacks raised a host of questions, which were never really answered.

Defense Department officials, the likes of former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Martin Dempsey, and U.S. Army Gen. Carter Ham, offered up contradictory statements - often contradicting their own statements - about the Benghazi debacle.

However, one of Panetta's contradictory statements is one of my all-time favorites from the Benghazi fiasco.

As I noted previously:
Former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta offered up two contradictory explanations as to why there was no military operation to rescue U.S. officials who were under attack in Benghazi on September 11, 2012.

During an October 2012 press briefing, Panetta claimed he was lacking real-time information at the time, and as a result of not having this information, he felt he couldn't send the FAST platoons, and other forces that were deployed in the region, into "harm's way" in "that situation". Hence, he made the decision not to send the forces to Benghazi.

However, during a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee in February of 2013, Panetta offered up a different excuse [prevarication]: There was no conscious decision, on his part, not to send forces to Benghazi, into "harm's way". But rather, the reason why U.S. forces did not head out to Benghazi was because the attack at the U.S. consulate had ended before they could get off the ground. And, Panetta added, there was no reason to assume that the CIA annex would later come under attack - despite the fact that there were two attacks on the annex, more than four hours apart.

Two different, contradictory, explanations from Panetta; par for the course, for this administration...