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#1 Well gentlemen, with a Predator or other collection platform flying overhead providing persistent surveillance and real-time situational awareness, just how much time is needed to insert a rescue or stabilization force, or execute an on-the-shelf NEO plan? Was a stay-behind plan in effect, or was every last clandestine intelligence respresentative extracted from Benghazi? Were local national recruited sources unable to provide any situational updates? Were contacts from other friendly, third party counties unavailable? Had towering Pin Oaks overgrown the emergency helicopter LZ's on the mission compounds? Would a helicopter tailboom have hit a compound wall and resulted in "mechanical problems" as in the Abbattabad takedown?
Please release the predator feeds if you will. They should have a digital clock with the DTG visibly ticking away at the margin. This should help you frame precisely, what you knew and when you knew it!
In other news: Israeli rescue mission flis 2500 miles and lands undetected 23hrs01, 3 July 1976. The operation which lasted 58 minutes results in one friendly KIA, 20 Uganda defense force KIA, and 7 terrorist hijacker KIA. All 100 hostges were successfully rescued.
The technology and willing shooters are available. I doubt there could be found a man on Fort Bragg who would not have instantly volunteered. The only thing lacking was.... well, we all know what it was don't we.
Posted by Besoeker 2012-10-26 02:59||
#2 There's a Hebrew saying that translates, roughly, "A fish [starts] stinking from head down".
Posted by g(r)omgoru 2012-10-26 03:28||
#3 But it was safe enough for State Department civilians? Pure politics. Obama was afraid of the second coming of Eagle Claw.
Posted by Elmineth Lumumba2351 2012-10-26 07:28||
#4 Just remember the two former SEALs who took the risk. Anyone who puts on the uniform knows that one day they may be asked to give that last full measure of devotion. If it means getting others out alive and you staying, you do it.
Panetta also indicated the seven-hour attack was over too quickly for the Pentagon to have enough information to respond effectively.
Classic management approach - give me more information so I can avoid making hard decisions. There is no leadership.
Nothing - nothing stops you from putting assets into a 'front leaning position' to be minutes away without any delay.
We need sackings, lots of sackings - pour encourager les autres!
Posted by Procopius2k 2012-10-26 08:36||
#5 Amen and amen P2k. There are more than a few here who know the process. You are one of them.
Posted by Besoeker 2012-10-26 08:39||
#6 "Speed is the essence of war. Take advantage of the enemy's unpreparedness; travel by unexpected routes and strike him where he has taken no precautions."
Posted by European Conservative 2012-10-26 08:43||
#7 I think we had an excellent read yesterday from a contributor about the REALTIME feeds of an emergency notification comms network.
So this is more crap.
I wonder who put a muzzle on that bulldog Petraeus?
Posted by Skidmark 2012-10-26 09:00||
#8 Petraeus has a chain of command boss, and the discipline to follow lawful orders.
On the other hand, just maybe there is a real reason to avoid revealing too much of the whole, true story. If there is, he would know, and we would/could/should not. While I suspect it is mainly bureaucratic inertia and butt-covering, in the greater scheme of things we have more important issues to face (though maybe not more important if you are Amb. Stevens' family or such.)
Posted by Glenmore 2012-10-26 09:08||
#9 Yes Glenmore, an admission of a F&F gun running and MANPAD training program collaborated with the Turkish Muslim Brotherhood (MB) and targeted against Bashar Assad would be certaily be something to.... avoid. Particulaly just prior to a presidential election.
Posted by Besoeker 2012-10-26 09:16||
#10 So not one senior military leader wanted to take a chance? Not one? And are these the same guys who thought it was an acceptable risk to put 20-plus Seal Team 6 operators on a single helicopter a few months ago? I'm not even close to buying this tale.
Posted by Matt 2012-10-26 09:28||
#11 I have yet another question. Was the Pred or other platform conducting persistent surveillance over the consulate launched specifically for that target area or ROZ (restricted operating zone)....or was it on-station locally elsewhere and dynamically re-tasked from another ROZ?
If dynamically re-tasked, what was the original ROZ and for what purpose?
Once again, the feeds and screen date time group (DTG) would be most helpful in removing the "fog of war". Just say'n.
Posted by Besoeker 2012-10-26 09:39||
You need lots of sackings but at the Pentagaon, at the white House: the decision to go was clearly not one to be taken at General lvel but at President level.
Posted by JFM 2012-10-26 09:44||
#13 Skidmark -- where is that post you were referring to? Thanks...
Posted by Sherry 2012-10-26 09:56||
#14 What military options did the Pentagon present to POTUS?
Posted by Matt 2012-10-26 09:58||
#15 If you'd like to know what "senior Pentagon leaders" actually recommended, all one must do is look at the instruction given to them by the SECDEF a few days ago, to keep their mouths shut!
Posted by Besoeker 2012-10-26 10:00||
#16 unclear and risky? Unlike losing an Ambassador? you still get them in flight. There is a vast range of tactics that could have been used.
Posted by newc 2012-10-26 10:03||
#17 Again, nothing stops the Generals of moving into a position/posture to act.
One of the points of "Blackhawk Down" that was inferred but not hammered on, was the long delay from when the copter went down till the Task Force Ranger Commander sitting before the screens decided to get around to calling the UN for the QRF [Quick Relief Force]. We're talking hours. On that day the Paks were the QRF and yet the element of 10th Mtn Div from the time they were notified to the time they loaded up to get out the gate was faster than the Paks. That dawdle time killed too many people.
We keep seeing the same behavior, time and again, of managers in positions managing, not leading. Van Greveld in Command in War documents the inertia of the Israeli command in the war of 1973. Demand more information, group think, delaying actions. It's an common organizational behavior and dangerous if it straightjackets the ability to act.
Posted by Procopius2k 2012-10-26 10:10||
#18 So the "O" bunch didn't mind spiking the football when Bin Laden was killed. They seemed to be omnipotent about Islamabad but really dumb about Benghazi. They were eager to announce the killing of Bin Laden the same night but now the fog of war keeps them from knowing anything about Benghazi until after the election. "O" and Biden had little to do with the success of getting Bin Laden; it was the Navy Seals. They have a great deal to do with the failure of Benghazi and the negligence that allowed the murder of four Americans.
Posted by JohnQC 2012-10-26 10:20||
#19 In situations such as this, NO decision... becomes the default decision. In the Rose Garden the next day, it looked to me like the Hildebeast had been up all night. The Champ looked well rested. You decide.
Posted by Besoeker 2012-10-26 10:23||
#20 Islamabad Abbattabad
Posted by JohnQC 2012-10-26 10:28||
Posted by tipper 2012-10-26 10:44||
#22 I'll go with Hagmann's story.
The leaks are coming. Fox is now reporting JSOC was on station and waiting for the "GO" at Sigonella. Also reporting drone(s) were already on station near Benghazi and were re-tasked. Further reporting Doherty and Woods (former SEALS KIA) had phone CONUS, asked for permission to return to the consulte, but were told to "stand-down". They eventually disobeyed the stand-down order and engaged the terorists and conducted a limited rescue. Doherty and Woods were asking for air support/extraction, and were "positioned on the roof with a laser designator pointed at the terrorist mortar position".
This thing just gets uglier and uglier.
Posted by Besoeker 2012-10-26 11:02||
#23 Doherty and Woods were asking for air support/extraction, and were "positioned on the roof with a laser designator pointed at the terrorist mortar position".
No wonder the "Commander in Chief" was trying to place the blame on a flick. These two men were KIA while he was only "Present".
How many more bodies of Seals and Border Patrol agents is this nation going to allow to pile up before this cockroach is removed from the Oval Office?
Posted by Injun Spaish4521 2012-10-26 11:15||
Posted by tipper 2012-10-26 11:23||
#25 Before we start calling the commanders who made the call cowards and all that stuff, lets take a few points into consideration. First, despite of our feelings on Obama and excluding him, the QRF and the military leaders in charge do know what they are doing, lets not let our disgust for Obama cloud this point. Second, it is clear they had a UAV of some type keeping eyes on the events. Now lets look at what we don't know. We do not know if the UAV was armed and with what type of weapons. But we do know they could see the attack in detail. With the constant movement of the SEALs between the home, warehouse and annex, It seems clear they were in communication and getting help in movement oversight. With the UAV they would be able to see and understand the enemy array of forces, this was coordinated, planned and executed buy a competent military force, my guess QUD. Meaning they understood our capabilities and procedures for a NEO or extraction and how to defeat it. If they had SA7 systems in the fight, and some open source report are that they were there, it would be a fools move to send in a lone blackhawk and try a rescue. From the perspective on the ground, the retired seals would have refused airlift support if they knew SA7s were present. They would never put their lives in front of the QRFs safety. The leadership decision must be made on the ability of the QRF to reach the target and this was not a textbook NEO, was it a Navy crew, Army, TF160? Did they have the ability to defeat or avoid the AAA/SAM threat, did they have eyes on the threat? Were there forces in place to help if they got shot down? We learned from Somalia these questions must be dealt with prior to sending in the QRF. They were prepared to perform a NEO, Not a hot extraction, two different fights.
Now on the politics of it all, Leon Panetta is in a bad position. Say they had the SA7s. Say it was a coordinated attack with competent advisors on the ground and the forces were arrayed in a manner where we would not be successful with our forces at hand. And lets say we could see it all from the UAV. Would you go out in public afterward and tell the world we were gamed confirming to the enemy we were gamed? Our would you use some term like "unclear and risky", blaming it on the fog of war.
Lastly, the QRF will go if ordered, no matter the threat. It is incumbent on the forces on the ground to realize the position they are in and understand the cost to others for their rescue and the leadership to protect those that will fly blindly into battle on honor alone. As someone who has sat in both seats, it is discussed and both sides, the commanders and those being extracted do get a vote.
The Ambo and his PSD were dead long before the attack ever happened. The enemy mission planner won the fight the day the Ambo was denied enhanced security. The PSD were retired SEALs, they had to have known it as well. The responsibility lands clearly on the shoulders of whoever denied the military and Ambo the security they asked for. As we look through history, Mogadishu being another shining example of military requests hobbled for political optics with tragic results, we must pick our political leader more carefully and not allow them to spin hawks like us into blaming the military leaders who were hobbled into vulnerable operational states.
When political leaders deny the military planners the required forces events like this will happen over and over.
Posted by 49 Pan 2012-10-26 11:53||
#26 This whole thing is just going to get uglier and uglier. JSOC was there? With what kind of force? WOW!
Posted by 49 Pan 2012-10-26 12:01||
Posted by tipper 2012-10-26 12:07||
#28 From Fox report:
At that point, they called again for military support and help because they were taking fire at the CIA safe house, or annex. The request was denied.
There were no communications problems at the annex, according those present at the compound. The team was in constant radio contact with their headquarters. In fact, at least one member of the team was on the roof of the annex manning a heavy machine gun when mortars were fired at the CIA compound. The security officer had a laser on the target that was firing and repeatedly requested back-up support from a Specter gunship, which is commonly used by U.S. Special Operations forces to provide support to
Special Operations teams on the ground involved in intense firefights. The fighting at the CIA annex went on for more than four hours -- enough time for any planes based in Sigonella Air base, just 480 miles away, to arrive. Fox News has also learned that two separate Tier One Special operations forces were told to wait, among them Delta Force operators.
Posted by Sherry 2012-10-26 12:28||
#29 49 Pan, thanks for the detailed perspective. What about sending in some air assets to provide cover? Would the threat of SA-7's be so great as to render any air support too dangerous? That doesn't make much sense to me, but I don't have your experience.
Posted by remoteman 2012-10-26 13:43||
#30 shouldn't have laid the blame at the feet of the intel community. should be an interesting and informative 12 days.
Posted by Nimble Spemble 2012-10-26 14:09||
#31 Good discussion. Let's talk about MANPAD's (SA-7, SA-14, or SA-16) Remember, this tragedy took place AT NIGHT! Slow moving aircraft such as helicopters or aircraft taking off or landing are most susceptable. Our aircraft have onboard systems (flares) which detect and defeat these threats. MANPAD's require training in proper emplacement, target identification, and tracking. There are other flight techniques such as evasive manoeuvring, NOE (Nap of the Earth) flight approaches which also mitigate, but do not eliminate these threats. Flying above the operational altitude of such weapons also limits their ineffective. There have been no (zero) reporting of MANPAD use VIC Benghazi. There was a recent (last week I believe) report of rebels in Syrian using a MANPAD to down a fighter.
Bottom line, there was no credible evidence of a MANPAD threat at Benghazi.
Posted by Besoeker 2012-10-26 14:12||
#32 Bottom line, there was no credible evidence of a MANPAD threat at Benghazi.
Unless we supplied them. Double promise you'll only take them to Syria?
Then we know they have them.
Then they have a tool to checkmate your own security.
Anyone going to admit they've been had by the baddies?
Iran-Contra+Blackhawk Down+Desert One cluster.
Posted by Procopius2k 2012-10-26 14:21||
#33 49 Pan, thanks for that perspective. Food for thought.
Yes, the original mistake(s) were --
1) putting the ambassador into Benghazi in the first place, when both the Red Cross and the Brit consulate personnel had pulled out
2) not providing a robust security presence to the ambassador (screw what it 'looks like' to the locals; what it's SUPPOSED to look like is, "don't fuck with us, we're serious").
3) presuming that the security situation in Benghazi had to be getting better because, after all, 'the civil war is over'.
4) not being willing and able to make correct decisions when rapid correct decisions were required.
It may be also that there were plenty of mistakes made during the firefight, in Benghazi, in Italy and Europe, and at the White House. But your point about the outcome of the fight being (mostly) decided before the first round was fired is a good one, and I appreciate that insight.
Posted by Steve White 2012-10-26 14:25||
Additionally, I don't recall any discussions about Pakistani MANPAD's as a threat to the Abbattabad mission.
Posted by Besoeker 2012-10-26 14:34||
#35 49 Pan, thanks for the mil perspective. The military commanders ultimately answer to the CIC. We have a CIC that is unqualified to be in the position. He has been AWOL for sometime now. He would rather hustle bucks from the pretty people in Hollywood so he can get re-elected. God help us if he gets re-elected. Should he get re-elected I see dire consequences for this country--none of them good.
Posted by JohnQC 2012-10-26 14:43||
#36 While we are making assumptions about SA-7s in Benghazi:
The Iraqi insurgents fired a surprisingly large number of SA missiles during the conflict. The statistics were:
a) 1 hit on a helicopter per 100 missiles fired b) 1 hit on an airplane per several hundred missiles fired.
Even the hit on an airplane tended to only damage it. The risks were not zero, but they were manageable.
I agree with that it probably would have been too "hot" to try a helicopter extract, but they could have landed at Benghazi airport and driven to the compound. This would have required the SF operators be provided with motor transport, ammo and fuel; but the CT and QRF train for this constantly and the Air Commandos can combat load a C-130 in their sleep.
The big problem was that BHO received his 3:00 AM phone call and he voted "present" and went back to sleep.
Posted by Frozen Al 2012-10-26 16:13||
#37 I hope, in time, the military involve let out what happened. This whole event is disturbing and angers me to no end...
Posted by 49 pan 2012-10-26 16:53||
#38 "I hope, in time"..
There's only one and a half weeks left.
Posted by Bright Pebbles 2012-10-26 17:13||
#39 I hope, in time, the military involve let out what happened. This whole event is disturbing and angers me to no end...
Posted by 49 pan
Could have been anybody. There were dozens info-copied on the e-mails. No telling how many PLA's were on the initial CRITIC and follow-ons.
Posted by Besoeker 2012-10-26 17:22||
#40 What I don't get about the "too risky" stuff is that at some point in the course of events eight Marines seem to have flown in from Tripoli and taken part in the fighting. Why wasn't it too risky to send those guys in?
Posted by Matt 2012-10-26 19:25||
#41 That's exactly my point. The Benghazi airport was safe to fly into. There was still the issue of how to get from the airport to the compound.
But this is a solvable problem.
Posted by Frozen Al 2012-10-26 20:00||
#42 The Libyan 'government' would not grant permission for US military intervention. And the US government was not willing to violate Libyan sovereignty. That's my read.
Posted by Glenmore 2012-10-26 21:52||