Fox News is reporting that administration officials repeatedly denied pleas for help by American officials in Libya while they were being attacked by jihadis on Sept. 11.
“An urgent request from the CIA annex for military back-up during the attack… was denied by U.S. officials — who also told the CIA operators [in a Benghazi diplomatic compound] twice to ‘stand down’ rather than help the [nearby] ambassador’s team when shots were heard,” Fox reported Oct. 26.
During the seven-hour gunfight, top officials denied air support from nearby bases in Italy — 2 hours away — and also stopped two rescue teams from flying to Libya, the report said.
The result was that two CIA security officers — Glenn Doherty and Tyrone Woods — were eventually killed by a mortar that had already been identified and tagged by Woods with a laser for air-attack, according to Fox.
Ambassador Chris Stevens, as well a State Department communications expert, were killed in the diplomatic compound during the first stage of the attack.
The scandal that followed the assault has damaged Obama’s ability in the campaign season to claim foreign-policy success, which has been compounded by the administration’s confused and misleading response.
That response included a two-week effort to claim that that attack happened local Libyans were enraged by a little-known California-made Youtube video that sharply criticized Islam’s reputed founder, Mohammad.
Fox’s October surprise scoop is likely to increase pressure on the administration — and on the news media — to explain why the diplomatic compound in Benghazi was left with only five guards, even while there was a rapid growth in the number of nearby al Qaeda-lined jihadi groups.
White House officials have released very little about the attacks, or the actions of the CIA security detail, even though Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gave speeches when the dead were returned to the United States on Sept. 14.
White House officials have tried to avoid the subject.
Obama is at the White House Oct. 26, but his press secretary Jay Carney did not hold a press conference.
“Our military and our people out there deserve better,” retired Air Force Gen. Thomas McInerney, told Fox News. “If they had launched F-16 [fighter-bombers, it]would have made a significant difference and Glenn Doherty and Tyrone Woods would not have been killed,” he said.