Let’s Ask A Few Questions About That CIA Statement

There’s one other story about Benghazi circulating tonight and for a couple reasons I think it’s the most interesting by far. We’ll start with Jake Tapper’s tweet and ABC News report.

Earlier today, Fox News’ Jennifer Griffin reported that CIA agents in the second U.S. compound in Benghazi were denied requests for help.

In response, CIA spokesperson Jennifer Youngblood said, “We can say with confidence that the Agency reacted quickly to aid our colleagues during that terrible evening in Benghazi. 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.”

Three things stand out about that statement.

1) When Youngblood (speaking for David Petraeus, the CIA Director) says “no one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help” she leaves open the very real possibility that someone outside the CIA did. Ace laid down a trail of ginormous bread crumbs that might lead you in an interesting direction. The shame here is that we shouldn’t have to parse a public statement from the CIA that carefully. We should never have to wonder whether our government left fellow Americans to die pleading for help. Yet we do because the Obama administration, despite his promises to the contrary, has been arrogantly opaque nearly from its first day.

2) How quickly, exactly, did the CIA react? We know there are military and intelligence assets in the area that could have gotten to the scene to render some aid. If nothing else, soldiers could have recovered the dead in a timely fashion. They didn’t arrive, so what did the CIA do?

3) This is related to the second point, but distinct enough to deserve its own question. Fox reported that one of the security team had painted a mortar team with a targeting laser. Now I’m not a soldier, but I’m almost completely sure you don’t do that unless you know you have something on the way that can deliver some ordnance on the target you’ve painted. Either the report is wrong (but that’s an awfully specific detail to add if you don’t have a very good reason to add it) or the men at the annex believed help was on the way and they died wondering where their avenging angels were.