The Obama administration’s hastily constructed house of cards with respect to the Benghazi terrorist attack is starting to topple.
Days before David Petraeus was scheduled to testify at a closed door hearing before the House and Senate intelligence committees, he resigned as CIA director and cancelled his appearance.
Concurrent to the Petraeus resignation, the Pentagon released its own timeline of the Benghazi incident — but the Pentagon official would only be quoted anonymously and the timeline’s release took place off-camera.
We now have three official versions of the incident: the state department version, the CIA version and now the Pentagon version. So far, the White House doesn’t have a version. Apparently they’re “still investigating.”
According to a Fox News report, there are a number of disturbing time gaps and discrepancies among the reports worth noting:
At 10:32 p.m. (4:32 p.m. in Washington), 50 minutes after the incident began, the National Military Command Center, which is the operations center at the Pentagon where [AFRICOM commander Gen. Carter] Ham is overseeing the operation, notifies Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey.
That means for nearly an hour, no one told the defense secretary and Joint Chiefs chairman that a U.S. ambassador is in peril and his personal security officer has pressed his “personal distress button” which sends an SMS signal back to the command authority in the U.S. and a U.S. embassy has been overrun by attackers.
A CIA team left for the consulate at 10:04 p.m. — 28 minutes before the Pentagon says Panetta and Dempsey were told the attack had occurred.
Sources at the CIA annex in Benghazi told Fox News in an interview on Oct. 25 that they asked permission to leave for the consulate immediately and twice were told to wait. The CIA says the base chief was trying to arrange Libyan help.
The Pentagon report goes on to say that a half hour after they are notified of the attack, “Secretary Panetta and General Dempsey attend a previously scheduled meeting with the President at the White House.” Obviously the president had to have been informed of Benghazi during this meeting.
The White House meeting took place at 5 p.m. It apparently didn’t last long, because at six they were back at the Pentagon meeting with Gen. Ham, who had previously redirected an unarmed, unmanned drone to Benghazi.
As the three discuss response options, the survivors have made their way to the CIA annex and request outside support. The annex is taking fire from small arms and rocket-propelled grenades. According to the Pentagon official, “This was not one long continuous fight, but two separate incidents at two separate facilities with some separation of time.”
However, British sources who were near the consulate and annex that night tell a different story, saying there was almost continuous fire on the annex after the team fled from the consulate.
The Fox report continues:
Sometime over the next two hours, according to the official Pentagon timeline, Panetta gives the “go code” for two Marine FAST (Fleet Anti-terrorism Security) teams to prepare to leave Rota, Spain. A Special Operations force which is training in Central Europe is told to “prepare to deploy to an intermediate staging base in southern Europe (Sigonella, Sicily), and a Special Operations team in the U.S. is told to prepare to deploy to Sigonella as well.
It isn’t until 2:53 a.m. (about five hours after the incident began) that those orders are formalized by Panetta and the teams are told they can leave.
The Pentagon timeline indicates that the rescuers eventually land in Sigonella air base at 7:57 p.m. on Sept. 12. However, other military sources told Fox News that the rescue teams bypassed Sigonella and headed directly to Libya.
The Pentagon denies this. But in apparent confirmation,
Survivors of the attack at the annex say that they heard over the radio net that night that U.S. military assets were, “feet dry over Libya,” which would refer to assets crossing from sea to land and hovering. The Pentagon denies this.
Read more on Fox News:
In the following video, U.S. Rep. Peter King, R-NY, tells Fox News co-anchor Jamie Colby that Petraeus has to testify eventually to clear up some of the discrepancies and fill in the daps.