Here, you are urged and encouraged to run your mouths about something important.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Tyrone Woods and David Petraeus: A tale of two future legacies

Former CIA Director David Petraeus has volunteered to testify to House and Senate Intelligence Committees in closed session on Friday, November 16th. The families of four dead Americans still have not been told the full truth about what happened in Benghazi. Now, the scandal-rocked Petraeus, who has had his legacy forever tarnished by an extra-marital affair, has an opportunity to reclaim much of his honor at great personal risk or place it in a circular basin and pull down on the lever.

When it comes to former Navy SEAL, Tyrone Woods, there are two aspects to his super-heroic story. One is that he gave his life to save fellow Americans. The other is that he allegedly disobeyed an immoral order to do it. If the latter is indeed true, it is the least that Petraeus could do to tell that truth to Congress, regardless of who gave it.

Fox News reported that Woods was ordered to "stand down" at least twice before he decided to put his career and his life in danger; he lost both. In that same report by Jennifer Griffin, the CIA chain of command was identified as having denied Woods the military back-up he requested:
Fox News has learned from sources who were on the ground in Benghazi that an urgent request from the CIA annex for military back-up during the attack on the U.S. consulate and subsequent attack several hours later on the annex itself was denied by the CIA chain of command -- who also told the CIA operators twice to "stand down" rather than help the ambassador's team when shots were heard at approximately 9:40 p.m. in Benghazi on Sept. 11.
That "CIA chain of command" is something that then CIA Director David Petraeus was ultimately responsible for but on the exact same day that Griffin's report was published, ABC's Jake Tapper tweeted an excerpt from a CIA statement:
"No one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need; claims to the contrary are simply inaccurate."
So, Petraeus essentially put himself on record as saying his agency did not tell Woods to stand down. If that's true, it meant that either someone else did or no one else did. If Woods was told to stand down and that truth is not told, it will be a slap in the face to his honor because it will have meant that he put so much on the line to do what was right, and future generations will never know it.

If the CIA statement is correct, the spotlight logically shifts to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, who basically accused anyone who questioned his judgment as being engaged in Monday morning Quarterbacking.

“(The) basic principle is that you don’t deploy forces into harm’s way without knowing what’s going on; without having some real-time information about what’s taking place.”
Aside from the fact that Tyrone Woods didn't know what was going on either, except that Americans were in harm's way and needed help. He risked and lost his life doing just that, despite not having all the facts about what was happening. Applying Panetta's standard, the Defense Secretary wasn't even willing to risk his own reputation to protect American lives. That quote from Panetta also comes across as a tacit admission that Woods would not have received back-up if he asked for it, which lends credence to the claims that he disobeyed orders to stand down.

Petraeus can clear that all up if he chooses honor over self-preservation. We all know what Woods chose when faced with the same decision.

In a November 2nd UPI report, the CIA was the entity identified as being responsible for the Benghazi Consulate:
The CIA was the real commanding agency at the attacked U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, not the State Department, senior U.S. intelligence officials said.

In addition, two of the four men who died in the Sept. 11 attack -- former Navy SEAL commandos Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty -- were actually CIA contractors killed defending the mission, not State Department contract security officers, as originally publicly identified, the officials told several news organizations on condition of anonymity.
Of course, this doesn't square with the multiple requests for additional security made to the State Department by Consulate personnel. In an October 31st report from Fox's Catherine Herridge, she revealed that an August 16th cable was sent from Ambassador Christopher Stevens directly to the office of Hillary Clinton, the Secretary of State, for additional security. That request was very detailed and very specific.

Via Fox News:
While the administration’s public statements have suggested that the attack came without warning, the Aug. 16 cable seems to undercut those claims. It was a direct warning to the State Department that the Benghazi consulate was vulnerable to attack, that it could not be defended and that the presence of anti-U.S. militias and Al Qaeda was well-known to the U.S. intelligence community.
A little later in the report...
Fox News asked the State Department to respond to a series of questions about the Aug. 16 cable, including who was specifically charged with reviewing it and whether action was taken by Washington or Tripoli. Fox News also asked, given the specific warnings and the detailed intelligence laid out in the cable, whether the State Department considered extra measures for the consulate in light of the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks – and if no action was taken, who made that call.

The State Department press office declined to answer specific questions, citing the classified nature of the cable.
Of course, this example is one of many that the Consulate reached out to the State Department - not the CIA - on issues of increased security. In testimony before the House Oversight Committee, State Department officials admitted both to being aware of additional requests for security as well as to watching the attack on the Consulate as it happened, in real time. Yet, the UPI report seems to attempt to absolve the State Department of culpability.

That poses a small problem. Hillary Clinton personally accepted responsibility for the security of her State Department officials, which necessarily includes Stevens.

There are at least four people who know far, far more than what we're being told. They include Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, Leon Panetta, and David Petraeus.

Again, the former CIA Director can clear that all up if he chooses honor over self-preservation. We all know what Woods chose when faced with the same decision.

True leadership means putting your men above yourself. As CIA Director, one of Petraeus' subordinates was Tyrone Woods, who is a national hero the likes of which we rarely see. If Petraeus is capable of putting his men above himself, he will tell the truth on November 16th, no matter what it is.

If he does not, he will only further tarnish his own legacy in the name of self-preservation while doing a gross disservice to a true American hero.

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