ROK Drop

Avatar of GI KoreaBy on August 5th, 2013 at 8:40 pm

What Was the CIA Doing In Benghazi?

Everyone has heard and has an opinion on the politics if the Benghazi attack, however Business Insider has a good round up of the articles written that try to explain why Ambassador Stevens and the CIA were in Benghazi in the first place:

The CIA annex in Benghazi, Libya
In eight months since an attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi left four Americans dead, a Republican-led investigation has focused on potential missteps by the White House — and come away with nothing significant.
There has been little attention given, however, to covert actions by the Central Intelligence Agency that were partially uncovered during the September 11, 2012 attack.
That may be changing.
CNN’s Jake Tapper argued this week that we should give more scrutiny to the CIA’s presence in the Libyan port city.
Congressman Frank Wolf (R-Va.) said the same, according to CNN: “There are questions that must be asked of the CIA and this must be done in a public way.”
Among the questions are whether CIA missteps contributed to the security failure in Benghazi and, more importantly, whether the Agency’s Benghazi operation had anything to do with reported heavy weapons shipments from the local port to Syrian rebels.
In short, the CIA operation is the most intriguing thing about Benghazi. [Business Insider]

You can read more at the link.

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  • Louis Dechert
    9:55 pm on August 5th, 2013 1

    Before the present gang took over the White House, DOD, State, and National Security Council, 2009, all covert operations were required to be conducted in a non-attributable manner, or having approval denied. This has been a policy since at least the Eisenhower years and may have been more unsuccessful than successful in operational terms—blown operations received great media coverage while successes were not admitted, until the present amateurs decided to take continuous and continuing “victory laps” over Bin Laden. There was an election coming on, you know!

    Non-attribution does not mean that the nations or factions involved do not know that something is going on—in most instances they know very well what is being done, by whom, and where! BUT, they cannot PROVE the operations are US operations: NONATTRIBUTABLE.

    Thus, nearly everyone knew that the USA was supplying arms to Syrian combatants and some of the operational details. So “the most intriguing thing about Benghazi” might be true for the BUSINESS INSIDER but for the Americans involved the most critical thing was covert status and associated tactics and techniques, AND the combat support, backup, and extraction contingency plan
    formerly required for all covert and clandestine force commitments.

    The refusal of the national authorities all up the chain of command to execute the combat support,backup, and extraction contingency plan surrendered the entire operation to the enemy once they were attacked.

    While the media has concentrated on the four men killed—and countless others wounded—
    the ENTIRE operation of 60 to 100 Americans was abandoned. Only the lack of firepower and training on the part of the attackers avoided a still more bloody debacle, including live American
    prisoners, to be put on display then suitably disposed of in atonement for the death of Bin Laden.

    INEXCUSABLE misfeasance at the very highest levels of US government and the JCS!


  • JoeC
    10:03 pm on August 5th, 2013 2

    CNN will air an Erin Burnet special today, tomorrow Korea time, on what they’ve learned so far about what happened in Benghazi. As far as what I can make out from the AFN satellite schedule, it won’t be shown live.

  • JoeC
    10:05 pm on August 5th, 2013 3


    Screwed up the link

  • Louis Dechert
    5:43 am on August 6th, 2013 4

    My earlier post was lengthy and I neglected to include the fact that many of the most famous covert and or clandestine failures took place in the East Asia area, some having direct relationships to KOREA. Like BENGHAZI, each was an instance in which the combat support, backup, and/or extraction plan failed and Americans died. In at least one case, and probably two, there was no plan to backup the units involved.
    The majority of these failures were so-called “ferret missions.”
    The USS Pueblo was such a mission (1 US KIA, 82 US POW)—January-December 1968—men and ship, and national intelligence abandoned by the US in battle. North Korea still parades the captured craft almost daily and is building a new permanent display for it. They captured the ship and crew in the face of the entire US Navy Pacific and US Air Force Pacific, then on war footing in Southeast Asia (VIETNAM).
    The shooting down of an unarmed EC-121M by the Korean Peoples Air Force on April 15, 1969 resulted in 31 US KIA, in the face of the entire US Navy Pacific and US Air Force Pacific
    Finally so far as public knowledge is concerned, the Chinese (PRC) intercepted and forced another US electronic warfare aircraft, USN EP-3E Aries II, to land on HAINAN ISLAND, April 1, 2001—21 Americans detained April 1-11, some national intelligence materials equipment copied by Chinese. In this case diplomatic and international protocols were both violated, then finally applied to end the matter bloodlessly and in a short period of time. The immediate forceful US diplomatic intervention was successful. It is to be noted that this was not a covert mission, per se, thus was totally attributable to the parties involved and hastily dealt with well-functioning DC interagency task groups by the “new sheriff in town” US administration.
    All three of the “failures” played roles in the evolution of the US special operations into becoming special military forces and covert/clandestine operations becoming military, when appropriate, rather than solely paramilitary in scope. Each military service subsequently developed dedicated special operations forces.
    During the COLD WAR and its aftermath, the US maintained a major large scale Strategic Air Command and intelligence base in TRIPOLI, LIBYA—WHEELUS AFB, May 1945-June 1970. The US had no excuse not being completely familiar with the area and theater of operations when the BENGHAZI attack went down.

  • Glans
    6:19 am on August 6th, 2013 5

    Louis, the EP-3 wasn’t forced to land on Taiwan. The pilot, Lieutenant Shane Osborn, chose to go there without Chines approval. He could have told the crew to bail out, which would have risked lives but avoided the capture of the aircraft.

    To the best of my limited understanding, the incident was entirely China’s fault, but the Bush administration sent China a note saying we were very sorry about the death of the Chinese pilot and very sorry about entering China’s airspace. Osborn received the Distinguished Flying Cross. After he left the Air Force, he became a Republican politician.

  • Liz
    6:27 am on August 6th, 2013 6

    #5: I daresay it isn’t much of a stretch to say they were forced to land when the only other choice was to bail out in the freezing Pacific. It wasn’t Taiwan (typo, I assume?). Taiwan would have been much preferable!

  • Glans
    8:17 am on August 6th, 2013 7

    That is correct, Liz. Tainan as stated by Louis. Not Taiwan.

  • Liz
    10:21 am on August 6th, 2013 8


    I think we’re seeing an unstable time that doesn’t compare well, in many respects, with cold war era guidelines. Not long ago, it took a lifetime to transfer a few pages worth of “secret” material covertly (meticulously through drops, newspaper messages, code et al). Now, a low ranking intelligence peon can download 90,000 documents of security information while working in the JWICS intelligence information database, practically in the blink of an eye and expose it to everyone and anyone. It’s increasingly difficult to maintain secrecy necessary for covert operations.

    Add to that the increasing disorder throughout the Middle East. It’s the nature of covert ops to have a small footprint, and what makes a mission covert would logically follow also makes it difficult to secure…no more so than when we switch to an indirect strategy that operates through local partners and interagency teams (whose agendas that often conflict with ours).

    I kind of find it implausible that the CIA’s purpose in the area was transfer of weapons to Syria, though. There already seems to be a robust operational conveyor belt in the ME doing just that, without any help from us. I don’t doubt we’re probably funding and supporting the effort (we’ve admitted as much publicly), I just find it unlikely we’d need to park a covert operation in such an unstable place to do so. Whatever the purpose, it likely had much more to do with Libya than Syria.

  • Louis Dechert
    4:03 pm on August 6th, 2013 9

    Thanks for comments.
    Liz, Any operation at BENGHAZI probably had a priority to recover Libyan weapons before they could be exported to other al Qaeda movements. Shipping these weapons out, say to Syria, was preferable to local storage which creates a target–and such recovered weapons were themselves ideally not attributable to the USA. I have personally been in such deals so it is not that novel.
    The small footprint Liz mentions does create local (but not theater-wide) force security problems. And whereas we formerly could utilize only controlled American assets in certain operations, it is true that today with jointness, combined, and coalition being the buzz words we sacrifice a degree of security in no longer doing so. That debate will go on for several more wars, I am sure.
    However, the compression which electronics has made possible, in every matter and airframe makes it possible to move troops in minutes. There was no excuse for the absence of contingency forces \not being available at the former Wheeling AFB in TRIPOLI, a former SAC base with some of the world’s longest and widest runways. At one time B52’s based at Wheelus.
    So, yes techniques and tactics change as capabilities make possible. BUT, one thing is sure: only committed troops, suitably trained and equipped, make the difference between success and disaster in battle. Cover plans are only pieces of paper.
    Don’t forget that the PUEUBLO had the entire US Navy Pacific and US Air Force Pacific supposedly covering for it. They did not come, in minutes, from the US floating airbase, JAPAN.
    Closing, we should be aware of the possibility of repeats of the EP-3 incident. Two Chinese JP-8 jet fighters intercepted the EP-3 in international waters at about 22,000feet—the same waters still being disputed by China, Japan, PI, and others today—and maneuvered around the American aircraft perhaps in order to harass or intimidate it. Maybe they were just hot pilot Chinese showing off. The EP-3 was on a regular surveillance (and ferret) mission.
    One JP-8 tangled with a drag antenna on the aircraft which then somehow locked the control surfaces of the empennage and sent the EP-3 into barely controllable maneuvers. It immediately dropped over 6,000 feet as the pilot fought the controls. In the situation it was crash, land, or bail out.
    Expert skills by the naval aviator enabled them to make the Chinese airbase on Hainan (that was the island, the old spelling). He crash landed there after being denied landing by the Chinese radio some twelve or more times.
    The fighter jet which struck them in the air-to-air collision crashed at sea and was never recovered. That pilot was believed to have died in the original collision. Don’t believe anyone reported an ejection.
    Most national air defense aviation units in the world practice non-firing maneuver drills designed to interfere with penetrating aircraft to redirect their courses or herd them to a forced landing without having to open fire on the target until it fires at the interceptors.

  • Glans
    6:50 pm on August 6th, 2013 10

    Louis, we agree then, the Chinese didn’t force Osborn to land on Hainan. He went there against their will. But he thereby gave them access to the aircraft. A few years later, he was a Republican politician.

    I don’t know what you meant by “forceful US diplomatic intervention,” but the Bush Administration said it was sorry about the death of the Chinese pilot and sorry about entering Chinese air space.

    As to Wheelus Air Base: you must know it closed in 1970. The site is now Mitiga International Airport.

  • Ole Tanker
    7:17 pm on August 6th, 2013 11

    OMG!!! The Liz..Lou mutual admiration society again:)

  • Louis Dechert
    10:42 pm on August 6th, 2013 12

    Sorry OLE TANKER!
    GLANS: Yes, I know what Wheelus was–SAC, spooks, ASA and all–when it closed, and its name today. The physical facilities did not change–it still is a first class base, with superior runways, which could have based a contingency force–the point that I was making–to bail out the mission when it hit the fan.
    As to the pilot of the EP-3 whom you evidently dislike because he, in your words became a “republican politician” (I have no knowledge of that), he was still one heck of a pilot over HAINAN on 04.01.2001, and 20 other Americans owe their lives to his skills.
    I remember the youngest naval aviator after Pearl Harbor being shot down, tried to save his crew, accomplishing his mission, surviving at sea, who became a “Republican politician, Congressman, Director of CIA, “Ambassador, and President #41.
    I remember another navy officer, a PT skipper who risked his neck against the Japanese, accomplished his mission against great odds, saved his men, wrecked his back for life, survived a sinking, who became a “Democrat politician,” Senator, and President#35.
    Men who serve their country are not barred from becoming politicians—or at least that used to be the case.
    As the plane was crashing on Hainan Island the emergency teams in all Executive Departments in Washington, DC, were working–rather than alibiing and covering up their collective _ _ _ _ _. No film clips disrespecting the Chinese were sought as alibies at the UN by the President. Diplomats were on the way to the scene even as the aircraft sat on the Hainan runway for 15 minutes before going into detention (they destroyed documents and some equipment during that time).
    As I noted when bringing up that example, it was not a true overt/clandestine operations since no attempt was ever made to prevent knowledge of the flights or the national origins.
    BUT a standby force should have been on strip alert during the entire duration planned for the original mission.
    In BENGHAZI the Ambassador asked for such forces well before the enemy attack. He was denied. The Deputy Chief of Mission asked for them while the mission was under attack and was denied. The guys under attack asked repeatedly for them and then their commo ceased.

  • Glans
    3:44 am on August 7th, 2013 13

    Kennedy and the elder Bush didn’t give their boat and aircraft to the Japanese. Here’s the Wikipedia account of Osborn’s political career. He’s now running for US Senate.

  • Liz
    7:58 am on August 7th, 2013 14

    #13: No, but the Doolittle raiders did. Essential suicide mission though it was, they still weren’t expected to bail out into the freezing Pacific and did their best to land wherever they could. Are you serious about this argument? You think they should have crashed the plane and bailed out in the Pacific?

  • Louis Dechert
    9:10 am on August 7th, 2013 15

    @13: The PUEBLO crew did not give their ship to the NK. Washington, DC, gave it to them when they sent the craft out on a covert/clandestine intelligence mission with NO PLAN AND FORCE ready to assist it. Just like Obama surrendered the entire (not just 4 men, and not just BENGHAZI) Libyan mission when he started a war to overthrow allies all over the Middle East—and seeks to get ISRAEL as well.
    This link of comments initially started about BENGHAZI and what dumb-assed US policies were going on, CIA (non- attributable) presence? You are the one who drug politics into it (“republican politician”—evidently named Osborn per another of your posts) and now it is going down that rat hole. Stay on subject: BENGHAZI, Americans thrown to the wolves and killed, the war there started by Obama “leading from the rear” turning into another al Qaeda success.
    BUT! TIME TO CHANGE THE SUBJECT! News overnight has overtaken everything we might have to say about BENGHAZI! Charges have been filed! in a US Court! against some Libyans charged with attacking the US Mission (and property) in Libya and (maybe) about killing, wounding, maiming Americans. MAN! I am sure that will comfort the bereaved and wounded and instill confidence in Americans!! WE ARE REACTING after all—the peons just didn’t know about or appreciate it!—WE ARE sending lawyers instead of military forces, shysters rather than grunts, SEALS, SF, whatever.
    No wonder Hagel is comfortable destroying the armed forces. We don’t need them anymore! Yale Law School taking care of it all. I can see the next step, creation of Legal Aid Society Public Defenders for terrorists being harassed by would-be Holders, Janet, Clintons , of Washington, DC, the White House Chapter!!
    Cammies and combat pay (per diem, that is) for lawyers! This GREAT LEAP FORWARD will actually give us (US) a trained force of the capable and willing (maybe, if the per diem is good) of even going to DETROIT and getting court filings there too—another problem solved. SHAZAM!!!
    The inmates are in charge of the asylum for sure!

  • Glans
    2:47 pm on August 7th, 2013 16

    Liz, the Doolittle raid wasn’t a suicide mission. The planes went to China, our ally at the time, because that was the plan. The Chinese people and government helped our airmen. One plane, which couldn’t reach China, went to the Soviet Union, which was neutral in the Pacific but our ally in Europe. The Sovietskies seized the plane and interned the crew. They treated the men well and eventually let them escape to Iran. One plane crashed in the sea; some men survived, and some didn’t.

    The target of the Doolittle raid was Japan, and no pilot gave his plane to Japan. The target of the EP-3 mission was China. The pilot, Shane Osborn, gave his plane to China. Big difference, yes?

    If you like Shane, here’s his website. He hopes to replace Senator Mike Johanns, who isn’t seeking reelection.

  • Liz
    3:10 pm on August 7th, 2013 17

    #16: I have no opinion on Shane.
    I do find your assertion that he should have purposely crashed his plane into the Pacific ocean one of the most removed from reality comments I had read in a long time. Maybe they should have carried cyanide tablets too, to make the process quicker rather than dying of exposure. Do you know anyone who has bailed out over the ocean before? I know two, one didn’t make it, and that wasn’t the Pacific.

  • Glans
    3:33 pm on August 7th, 2013 18

    George H W Bush bailed out.

  • Liz
    3:45 pm on August 7th, 2013 19

    LOTS of people bail out because they have to. Many don’t make it.
    He didn’t elect to bail out into the great wide freezing ocean INSTEAD of landing the plane.

  • Liz
    3:47 pm on August 7th, 2013 20

    Case in point, just to overstate the obvious, the Chinese pilot ejected too. He didn’t make it.

  • Louis Dechert
    6:03 pm on August 7th, 2013 21


  • Louis Dechert
    6:06 pm on August 7th, 2013 22

    Sorry! That slipped out before spellcheck: touché

  • Ole Tanker
    7:01 pm on August 7th, 2013 23

    #16 Just a point to make. the Doolittle Mission was never intended to be a suicide mission. The Task Force was spotted early by a Japanese fishing boat, so the Commander made the decision to launch the mission early, at extreme range.

    Also there was no “Top Secret” equipment to keep if captured. Even the Norden Bombsights removed prior to the mission.


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