From Matt Bracken:
Did Obama Withhold Cross-Border Authority?
Please help me.
I am trying as hard as I can to get out the word about cross-border authority (CBA).
I just can’t believe reporters don’t know enough to ask the right questions! It’s infuriating.
Libya, as far as standing down the rescue, is 100% Obama’s show, and nobody else’s. Only he can grant CBA, not Biden, not Panetta, not Dempsey, not Hillary, and certainly not Ham in Germany.
The entire episode is explained perfectly inside the context of not granting CBA. The CIA QRF in Tripoli? No problem, send them on the local Tripoli station chief’s say-so. He merely informs up COC that he has done so. CCs them so to speak. “This is what I am doing.” Ditto if Predators were in country, no problem using them.
But the big rescue air armada streaming toward Libya right away after the alarm got to Stuttgart and Africom? That has to stop. I believe at the 5pm meeting with Panetta and Biden in the Oval Office, he said, “No outside military intervention,” on the basis that the last report was the “lull” from the consulate, at about 1030 p.m. in Benghazi, when the attack appeared to be over and the situation stabilizing.
(As a soft exception, Obama may have authorized sending an unarmed Predator from outside of Libya, but I am thinking the two Predators were already in-country, and hence available to use within “no CBA granted” rules.)
“No outside military intervention” equals “no cross-border authority” and that constitutes “standing orders” until POTUS changes them. Nobody else can “un-decide” the POTUS decree. The rescue air-armada of C-17s, C-130s and SOF helos like MH-47 Chinooks and Pavehawks cannot proceed directly to Libya without CBA being granted, so instead they are all staged at Sigonella, Sicily.
USN ships are in position to “lilypad” helos for long over-water flights. Airborne tankers are coming into position. SOF forces in Sigonella are going over their gear for different contingencies. Fuming all night as officers keep checking in with operational commanders. “Hold in place, no rescue yet. We can’t find the President, it sounds like,” say the colonels to the majors and captains. 100s of military must know about this. I keep waiting for the conclusive whistle-blowers to come forward BEFORE the election. After won’t matter, it will be for the historians.
Panetta is falling on his sword for Obama with his absurd-on-its-face, “The military doesn’t do risky things” defense of no rescue. Panetta is destroying his future reputation entirely, to save Obama. The question is why? Loyalty?
Petreaus was probably “used” in some way early, about the supposed CIA intel link to the Mohammed video, and now he feels burned. So he conclusively said via his PAO, “The stand-down order did not come from CIA.”
Well, what is higher than CIA? Only White House. Obama, nobody else. Petreaus is naming Obama without naming him.
Now, as far as Obama / Huma Abedin / Valerie Jarrett etc actually wanting Ambassador Stevens dead, to terminate the end of the very dirty Libyan arms to Syrian AQ programs, I can’t speculate. Obama is not competent enough, I’m thinking.
But for sure, the ambassador going to unsecure Benghazi on 9-11 of all days stinks to me of a setup. You can bet Stevens would have told the Turks, “No, 9-11 is not a good day for us,” and stayed in Tripoli behind many high and thick walls. For him to go to dangerous Benghazi on 9-11 means the Turks totally insisted, but why would they care about the meeting date, unless they were in on a “hit” as the Judas goat?
Alternatively, ordering Stevens to meet the Turks in Benghazi on 9-11 may have come from down OUR chain of command. Stevens seems to have been wearing two hats as ambassador and CIA arms shipper. Moving between more-secure Tripoli, the Benghazi “consulate,” and the CIA “annex.” So orders to him might come down the State or the CIA commo channels, or both. I am unclear on his job title and true position, but either the CIA or State sends him final instructions. How this works with “dual-hatted” ambassadors, I haven’t a clue.
But Stevens meeting the Turks at the unsecure Benghazi “consulate” on 9-11 stinks to me of a deliberate setup. The Turks left the meeting and probably flashed their headlights to the attack team commanders lurking in shadows. A coded text, a word on a phone, meaning, “The ambassador is there, with minimal security: proceed with the attack plan.”
That is all pure speculation. What I know FOR SURE is that the big “stand down order” issue revolves around granting or withholding cross-border authority.
Every SOF officer and ops officer all the way up has this drummed into his head. We can make Obama respond to this question, even if reporters must shout it at him while he’s doing storm cleanup photo ops. If the reporters KNOW enough to ask the quesion.
That’s why I am shouting all over the internet about CBA.
I can’t believe cross-border authority permission is not one of the top discussion points about Benghazi.
That, and who “set him up” by sending him to Beghazi to meet the Turks on 9-11, with them leaving after dark.
And of course, down the road, was the military rescue-in-progress turned back because Obama actually wanted to make sure the consulate was wiped out? Is that why the spooks at the annex were refused permission to travel the under one mile to intervene? That would connect it all together, but for now, the best focus is on Obama either granting or withholding cross-border authority for the rescue.
Feel free to repost these musings of a long-ago SOF officer anywhere you please.