Perry Keidel: Hillary fails her midnight call


Published: Friday, June 14, 2013 at 3:02 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, June 14, 2013 at 3:02 p.m.

On a recent PBS “Washington Week in Review”, Gwen Ifill and her enlightened PBS colleagues chatted effusively about the Republican’s eager and inappropriate politicization of the 9/11/12 Benghazi tragedy. They warned Republicans at large of the political liabilities of overenthusiastic “Benghazi over-reach” in the same way “Republicans overreached” during the Monica Lewinsky scandal.

To quote Hillary Clinton’s heated comment on this subject, “What’s the difference?”

On the one hand, the Lewinsky scandal involved a Mr. Clinton and a soiled dress.

On the other hand, the Benghazi attack by an al-Qaeda affiliate, Ansar al-Sharia, led to the slow asphyxiation and death of U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and the murder of four American colleagues during a seven-and-a-half hour firebombing attack on the U.S. compound and separate CIA outpost in Benghazi -- well-known by the State Department and our enemies to be virtually undefended.

From the outset of the Benghazi security breach, it was clear to the since-deposed Deputy Chief of Mission in Tripoli Gregory Hicks that the event was a well-planned and concerted terrorist attack. He made this and many other inconvenient truths patently clear to then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton … once, very belatedly, he managed to get her to her famous “middle of the night phone call”. But she appallingly failed this test and campaign promise.

Contrary to Pentagon spokesman George Little’s assertions, several levels of military assets were prepared to deploy to Benghazi within minutes of the first desperate calls for help.

The inter-agency Foreign Emergency Support Team (FEST) is directed by the White House National Security Council and is in the direct chain of command of the State Department. FEST is a rapid response team of exceptionally well-trained professionals prepared to deploy to terrorist incidents worldwide in the fastest manner possible and at a moment’s notice. FEST is not, as argued by Hillary Clinton's assistant secretary Patrick Kennedy, only and exclusively limited to “reestablishing infrastructure and communications following a devastating attack.” FEST is one of myriad US military assets the Defense Department boasts “are essential to rapid global U.S. power projection in an unending war.”

In Tripoli Libyan military assets stood-by with ready C130 transport for a 600 mile hop Eastward to Benghazi. FEST likewise quickly readied. However, much to everyone’s outrage, at least twice State Department Patrick Kennedy was required to give orders to “stand down”. Libyan help and their C130 finally left Tripoli for Benghazi without this FEST.

Other U.S. military assets were also prohibited by the State Department from coming to the aid of our Ambassador. Within minutes of Benghazi’s first desperate calls for assistance General Ham, head of AFRICOM, and Rear Admiral Charles M. Gaouette, commander of the locally positioned Carrier Strike Group Three (CSG-3) also readied the requisite intelligence and extraction team.

Both received State Department orders to stand down at the outset of the crises.

Both then attempted to refuse the State Department’s orders to ignore Benghazi’s cries.

Both were subsequently relieved of their commands (Stars and Stripes Oct. 18 & Oct. 27, 2012) for “inappropriate leadership judgment.”

Sustained national outrage was finally and appropriately orchestrated by the national press against George Bush following Katrina. Now priceless assets are methodically murdered and destroyed in Benghazi. Those of us who remain upset are just “crying wolf”.

To suppress national outrage, President Obama’s comment that “there is no there there” reminds me of Bill Clinton’s evasive rejoinder “that depends on what the meaning of is is.”

Hillary Clinton no longer holds her office. She is therefore forever unimpeachable and without accountability? Her Husband’s sexual shenanigans is nothing compared to her knowingly and willingly abandoning American service personnel to terrorists. Where is any sense of protection for and loyalty to one's own?

Perry Keidel lives in Archer.

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