Fox News National Security Correspondent
Fox News National Homeland Security, DOJ
& Intelligence Community Correspondent
“…Um, so the most recent news that came out of Fox News report by Jennifer Griffin. I got it on a distribution list I’m on, and has some pretty insightful stuff in it, if you want to look for it.”
Broadwell, University of Denver Oct. 26, 2012
It was Jennifer Griffin's excellent reporting from October 26, 2012 that resulted with 10 FBI agents to pulling up in front of Paula Broadwell's home, leaving a few hours later with 5 hard drives and other items of FBI interest. What's most fascinating with this visit to chez Broadwell is that the American people were told the FBI had concluded it 6+ month investigation into Broadwell the week before, finding zero crimes committed. Now, one week later, they're at her house. This morning the NYPost tells us what the FBI search yielded:
The FBI found a substantial amount of classified information
improperly secured on the personal computer of disgraced CIA director
Gen. David Petraeus’ mistress, sources said yesterday.
Is a distribution list considered classified information? Fear not, Jennifer Griffin or Catherine Herridge shall soon inform us. Here's what Griffin reported on October 26 and it does sound similar to what Broadwell shared with her audience later that day - adding the intriguing (insider's?) caveat; it's still being vetted :
Fox News has learned from sources who were on the ground in Benghazi that an urgent request from the CIA annex for military back-up during the attack on the U.S. consulate and subsequent attack several hours later on the annex itself was denied by the CIA chain of command -- who also told the CIA operators twice to "stand down" rather than help the ambassador's team when shots were heard at approximately 9:40 p.m. in Benghazi on Sept. 11.
Former Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods was part of a small team who was at the CIA annex about a mile from the U.S. consulate where Ambassador Chris Stevens and his team came under attack. When he and others heard the shots fired, they informed their higher-ups at the annex to tell them what they were hearing and requested permission to go to the consulate and help out. They were told to "stand down," according to sources familiar with the exchange. Soon after, they were again told to "stand down."
Woods and at least two others ignored those orders and made their way to the consulate which at that point was on fire. Shots were exchanged. The rescue team from the CIA annex evacuated those who remained at the consulate and Sean Smith, who had been killed in the initial attack. They could not find the ambassador and returned to the CIA annex at about midnight.
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 Spectre 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.
CIA spokeswoman Jennifer Youngblood, though, denied the claims that requests for support were turned down.
"We can say with confidence that the Agency reacted quickly to aid our colleagues during that terrible evening in Benghazi," she said. "Moreover, no one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need; claims to the contrary are simply inaccurate. In fact, it is important to remember how many lives were saved by courageous Americans who put their own safety at risk that night-and that some of those selfless Americans gave their lives in the effort to rescue their comrades."
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.
A Special Operations team, or CIF which stands for Commanders in Extremis Force, operating in Central Europe had been moved to Sigonella, Italy, but they were never told to deploy. In fact, a Pentagon official says there were never any requests to deploy assets from outside the country. A second force that specializes in counterterrorism rescues was on hand at Sigonella, according to senior military and intelligence sources. According to those sources, they could have flown to Benghazi in less than two hours. They were the same distance to Benghazi as those that were sent from Tripoli. Spectre gunships are commonly used by the Special Operations community to provide close air support.
According to sources on the ground during the attack, the special operator on the roof of the CIA annex had visual contact and a laser pointing at the Libyan mortar team that was targeting the CIA annex. The operators were calling in coordinates of where the Libyan forces were firing from.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told reporters at the Pentagon on Thursday that there was not a clear enough picture of what was occurring on the ground in Benghazi to send help.
"There's a lot of Monday morning quarterbacking going on here," Panetta said Thursday. "But the basic principle here ... is that you don't deploy forces into harm's way without knowing what's going on."
U.S. officials argue that there was a period of several hours when the fighting stopped before the mortars were fired at the annex, leading officials to believe the attack was over.
Fox News has learned that there were two military surveillance drones redirected to Benghazi shortly after the attack on the consulate began. They were already in the vicinity. The second surveillance craft was sent to relieve the first drone, perhaps due to fuel issues. Both were capable of sending real time visuals back to U.S. officials in Washington, D.C. Any U.S. official or agency with the proper clearance, including the White House Situation Room, State Department, CIA, Pentagon and others, could call up that video in real time on their computers.
Tyrone Woods was later joined at the scene by fellow former Navy SEAL Glen Doherty, who was sent in from Tripoli as part of a Global Response Staff or GRS that provides security to CIA case officers and provides countersurveillance and surveillance protection. They were killed by a mortar shell at 4 a.m. Libyan time, nearly seven hours after the attack on the consulate began -- a window that represented more than enough time for the U.S. military to send back-up from nearby bases in Europe, according to sources familiar with Special Operations. Four mortars were fired at the annex. The first one struck outside the annex. Three more hit the annex.
A motorcade of dozens of Libyan vehicles, some mounted with 50 caliber machine guns, belonging to the February 17th Brigades, a Libyan militia which is friendly to the U.S., finally showed up at the CIA annex at approximately 3 a.m. An American Quick Reaction Force sent from Tripoli had arrived at the Benghazi airport at 2 a.m. (four hours after the initial attack on the consulate) and was delayed for 45 minutes at the airport because they could not at first get transportation, allegedly due to confusion among Libyan militias who were supposed to escort them to the annex, according to Benghazi sources.
The American special operators, Woods, Doherty and at least two others were part of the Global Response Staff, a CIA element, based at the CIA annex and were protecting CIA operators who were part of a mission to track and repurchase arms in Benghazi that had proliferated in the wake of Muammar Qaddafi's fall. Part of their mission was to find the more than 20,000 missing MANPADS, or shoulder-held missiles capable of bringing down a commercial aircraft. According to a source on the ground at the time of the attack, the team inside the CIA annex had captured three Libyan attackers and was forced to hand them over to the Libyans. U.S. officials do not know what happened to those three attackers and whether they were released by the Libyan forces.
Fox News has also learned that Stevens was in Benghazi that day to be present at the opening of an English-language school being started by the Libyan farmer who helped save an American pilot who had been shot down by pro-Qaddafi forces during the initial war to overthrow the regime. That farmer saved the life of the American pilot and the ambassador wanted to be present to launch the Libyan rescuer's new school.
More of what Paula Broadwell said in Denver October 26, 2012:
"The fact that came out today is that the ground forces there at the CIA annex, which is different from the consulate, were requesting reinforcements."
They were requesting the – it's called the C-in-C's In Extremis Force – a group of Delta Force operators, our very, most talented guys we have in the military. They could have come and reinforced the consulate and the CIA annex. Now, I don't know if a lot of you have heard this but the CIA annex had actually taken a couple of Libyan militia members prisoner, and they think that the attack on the consulate was an attempt to get these prisoners back. It's still being vetted.
[According to a source on the ground at the time of the attack, the team inside the CIA annex had captured three Libyan attackers and was forced to hand them over to the Libyans. U.S. officials do not know what happened to those three attackers and whether they were released by the Libyan forces. - Jennifer Griffin]
[“…Um, so the most recent news that came out of Fox News report by Jennifer Griffin. I got it on a distribution list I’m on, and has some pretty insightful stuff in it, if you want to look for it.” - Paula Broadwell]
"The challenging thing for Gen. Petraeus is that in his new position, he's not allowed to communicate with the press. So he's known all of this – they had correspondence with the CIA station chief in Libya, within 24 hours they kind of knew what was happening."
On October 29 Catherine Herridge gets into the game:
Two days after the deadly Libya terror attack, representatives of the FBI and National Counterterrorism Center gave Capitol Hill briefings in which they said the evidence supported an Al Qaeda or Al Qaeda-affiliated attack, Fox News has learned.
The description of the attack by those in the Sept. 13 briefings stands in stark contrast to the now controversial briefing on Capitol Hill by CIA Director David Petraeus the following day -- and raises even more questions about why Petraeus described the attack as tied to a demonstration.
The Sept. 13 assessment was based on intercepts that included individuals, believed to have participated in the attack, who were celebratory -- as well as a claim of responsibility.
FBI and NCTC also briefed that there were a series of Al Qaeda training camps just outside of Benghazi, where the attack occurred and resulted in the deaths of four Americans. The area was described as a hotbed for the militant Ansar al-Sharia as well as Al Qaeda in North Africa.
Fox News is told there was no mention of a demonstration or any significant emphasis on the anti-Islam video that for days was cited by administration officials as a motivating factor.
Fox News is told that the Petraeus briefing on Sept. 14 conflicted with that of the FBI and NCTC.
On Capitol Hill, Petraeus characterized the attack as more consistent with a flash mob, where the militants showed up spontaneously with RPGs. Petraeus downplayed to lawmakers the skill needed to fire mortars, which also were used in the attack and to some were seen as evidence of significant pre-planning. As Fox News previously reported, four mortars were fired -- two missed the annex, but the mortar team re-calibrated and the next two mortars were direct hits.
Fox News is told that Petraeus seemed wedded to the narrative that the attack was linked to a demonstration and was spontaneous as opposed to pre-meditated.
On October 31, Catherine Herridge comes up with the smoking gun; a top secret cable addressed to Hillary Clinton, State Department, USA:
CATHERINE HERRIDGE: Well, the status of the cable is that I really believe, having read it, that it is the smoking gun warning here. You've got this emergency meeting in Benghazi less than a month before the attack. At that briefing, the people are told that there are 10 -- 10 -- Islamist militias and al Qaeda groups in Benghazi.
The consulate cannot sustain a coordinated attack and that they need extra help. And this information goes directly to the office of the secretary of state, Hillary Clinton. So again, you're got the culpability of the State Department. This is a very specific warning that they are in trouble, they need help and they see an attack on the horizon.
VAN SUSTEREN: All right, what's the date on this cable?
HERRIDGE: It's the 16th of August.
VAN SUSTEREN: Is there any response or any indication that there's been any direct response to that cable between the 16th of August and the 11th of September?
HERRIDGE: I don't know what the classified traffic was between the 16th and the 11th, but I asked the State Department today specifically, given the warnings and how detailed they were and the intelligence that al Qaeda and these militias were operating in Benghazi, was any extra security considered or put in place in light of the 9/11 anniversary? You're three weeks out. I think that's the critical question.
And the State Department said to me today they wouldn't comment because it's classified. And they are also waiting for the outcome of this investigation.
VAN SUSTEREN: Who was the signatory to the cable?
HERRIDGE: Ambassador Stevens.
VAN SUSTEREN: And you say that it was -- it went to the office of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Was there any indication that it actually went to her? I mean, I don't know what the office (INAUDIBLE) the office could be -- as far as I know, could be 60 people down a chain of command.
HERRIDGE: The copy to her, and then it routes (ph) out, in this case, probably, typically to diplomatic security, their Near East Asia desk and others. But it is specifically addressed to her office.
VAN SUSTEREN: How did you get to see it?
HERRIDGE: It came to me through confidential sources.
VAN SUSTEREN: And why -- I mean, it sounds to me that things are starting to break down because we're starting to get, you know, information from -- from different sources. Both you and Jennifer Griffin are getting it. Is there sort of a brewing dissatisfaction in how this administration is disseminating or not disseminating information?
HERRIDGE: I can't speak for why these sources come forward, but I believe, based on this cable, that the point that was being made that they wanted made publicly, not just in a classified setting, is that the warning that came from Benghazi was very specific.
It said, We cannot withstand an attack. The militias are everywhere. Al Qaeda is here. This was known to the U.S. intelligence community, as well, and that they really could not see a situation where the security was going to turn around. They said it was trending negatively.
This comes three weeks, three-and-a-half weeks before the attack. I can't think of anything that would be more specific than if these groups had emailed the State Department and said, Here's the time, here's the place and here's the method of the attack, because the cable names the two groups, al Qaeda and Ansar al Sharia, that we believe were responsible for this assault.
VAN SUSTEREN: How long is this cable? I mean, is it a page, two pages?
HERRIDGE: It's a little over a page.
VAN SUSTEREN: So it's quite detailed.
HERRIDGE: It's very detailed. There can be no doubt that this is really a cry for help from the people on the ground. They also talk at length that they think the 17th February Brigade -- this is the Libyan militia that's supposed to be friendly to the United States that's really tasked with being the police force in Benghazi, has been infiltrated by our enemies.
It says the 17th February Brigade is not sharing information with the Americans anymore. So that's us. And we had information right after the attack that this brigade just kind of melted away during the attack. They were nowhere to be found.
VAN SUSTEREN: What would be the reason or is there any reason supplied as to why that cable wasn't acted on? Is there any -- is there any sort of -- I mean, did the person you spoke to -- does anybody have any idea? Did it get lost in the shuffle or there was a diplomatic or political reason? Or is there any reason it wasn't acted on?
HERRIDGE: Well, someone has said to me, looking at this whole story, don't see a conspiracy when you can just see incompetency. I think we sometimes know that things move very slowly in Washington, D.C. So I think that's -- I think that's one element.
But if you couple this with the fact that we were coming up to the 9/11 anniversary and you couple this with the statements that a videotape was somehow responsible, what you see is that that is completely undercut. This cable says the militias and al Qaeda are here. We essentially think that we are next.
So to take this attack and to suggest for such a long period of time that it was a video, when you have this classified cable in the intelligence? It just doesn't match up!
VAN SUSTEREN: What is your -- why do you think that we're not getting much information out of the administration? Is it in part because it's the CIA or is it a situation where they're trying to cover mistakes?
HERRIDGE: I believe they're trying to have a real investigation. I believe that we are also in the middle of something called an election, in the final days. And what I see is a growing body of evidence that the State Department has culpability for the death of the ambassador and those three Americans.
The warnings were specific. They were direct. They named the enemy. And they said that this consulate needed more support. And it also indicated in the cable that the consulate should probably move long-term into the annex. We now know that's the CIA facility in Benghazi.
VAN SUSTEREN: Catherine, thank you. And obviously, very disturbing. And you know, working in Washington, we all know people who are at the State Department and how hard they work and they want to take such good care of their people. So you know, it's -- there's no...
HERRIDGE: I think it's important that the people who lost their lives have themselves honored with the facts, and I think we're starting to get the facts.
VAN SUSTEREN: Without any doubt. I'm in agreement with you on that. It's -- you know, the facts need to -- as -- we need to get the facts. Catherine, thank you.
Drip, drip continues backing up Griffin's/Herridge's crack reporting:
Final point, though, he [Patraeus] may have been under pressure, as Charles says, to go along with the administration line on September 14th about the video, which he knew was not true. Someone else told me that General Petraeus, on the Hill that day, Director Petraeus I should say, said privately to one of the members of Congress, said, “This is what happened in Benghazi,” he said, “Do you want the official line or do you want the real truth?”
-- Bill Kristol, November 13, 2012
Herridge returns November 14 with what some in Congress are thinking:
Lawmakers have begun to openly question when David Petraeus first knew about the investigation that uncovered his affair -- and whether it impacted his statements to Congress on Sept. 14 about the Libya terror attack.
Petraeus briefed lawmakers that day that the attack was akin to a flash mob, and some top lawmakers noted to Fox News he seemed "wedded" to the administration's narrative that it was a demonstration spun out of control. The briefing appeared to conflict with one from the FBI and National Counterterrorism Center a day earlier in which officials said the intelligence supported an Al Qaeda or Al Qaeda-affiliated attack.
Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., told Fox News he now questions whether Petraeus' statements -- which were in conflict with both the FBI briefing and available raw intelligence -- were in any way impacted by the knowledge the FBI was investigating his affair with Broadwell.
King questioned whether the investigation "consciously or subconsciously" affected his statements to Congress.
More drip, drip only backing up Griffin/Herridge:
In David Petraeus’s final days at the helm of the Central Intelligence Agency, his relations with chiefs of other U.S. agencies, including his boss, National Intelligence Director James Clapper, took a contentious turn.
At issue was whether the CIA should break its silence about its role in Benghazi, Libya, to counter criticism that increasingly was being leveled at the agency and Mr. Petraeus, said senior officials involved in the discussions.
Mr. Petraeus wanted his aides to push back hard and release their own timeline of the Sept. 11 attacks on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi and a nearby CIA safe house, seeking to set the record straight and paint the CIA’s role in a more favorable light. Mr. Clapper and agencies including the Pentagon objected, but Mr. Petraeus told his aides to proceed, said the senior officials.
-- The Wall Street Journal, November 15, 2012
More drip, drip this morning - strange testimony from CIA in light of Griffin's and Herridge's reporting :
When the CIA’s acting director, Michael Morell, testifies Thursday before the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence, he is expected to say that the agency never requested Europe-based special operations teams, specialized Marine platoons, or armed drones on the night of the Sept. 11 attack in Benghazi, Libya, according to a senior U.S. intelligence official.
-- Eli Lake, The Daily Beast, November 15, 2012
Accurate testimony but not exactly true testimony. Griffen never reported "the agency" did not request help, she reported the CIA annex requested help. A difference big enough to fly a C-130 through. Broadwell corraborated this request. Because of Griffin's reporting or thanks to the distribution list she's on? Only the FBI knows right now. Griffin also reported the annex was in full communication with its headquarters. So, in CIA lingo are headquarters and the agency one in the same or are they different? She also reported the request to headquarters "was denied by the CIA chain of command." and that Headquarters also
told the CIA operators twice to "stand down" rather than help the
ambassador's team when shots were heard at approximately 9:40 p.m. in
Benghazi on Sept. 11." Here's where the entire Benghazi scandal might all depend upon what's the meaning of "CIA chain of command", "the agency" and "not help those in need".
Where was Patraeus during the attack?
In the aftermath of the assault, questions have been raised within the administration and on Capitol Hill about Mr. Petraeus's role in responding to the attack. On Oct. 10, lawmakers grilled senior State Department officials about the attack. At one point, lawmakers and officials alluded for the first time to the existence of the CIA facility. That set off alarms at the agency and at the State Department because that information was classified.
Some senior administration officials say they were surprised Mr. Petraeus went to that night's private Washington screening of the movie "Argo," about a covert CIA operation in 1979 in Tehran.
-- Wall Street Journal, November 1, 2012
By October 10, lawmakers knew of a CIA facility in Benghazi and that alarmed "the agency" and the State Department. On the night of the attack, Patraeus was not at the Pentagon, the White House or at State. Could someone else, higher up than him, have denied the request for help?
Yesterday, comments from one of the higher ups in the CIA chain of command:
" If Sen. McCain and Sen. Graham and others want to go after somebody they should go after me,”
One of "the others" has a few questions, no doubt she'll go after him...
The lesson of the 2012 Presidential election may be sluts voted while 2 women brought down a twice-elected president.