On December 8, 2015, Judicial Watch (JW) issued a press release about a long sought Pentagon email sent to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and aide, Jake Sullivan, from Chief of Staff Jeremy Bash to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta on the evening of September 11th, 2012. The Bash Pentagon email was sent just after the attack by Ansar al-Sharia and others at the Benghazi Special Missions Compound. The JW release noted:
Judicial Watch today released a new Benghazi email from then-Department of Defense Chief of Staff Jeremy Bash to State Department leadership immediately offering “forces that could move to Benghazi” during the terrorist attack on the U.S. Special Mission Compound in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012. In an email sent to top Department of State officials, at 7:19 p.m. ET, only hours after the attack had begun, Bash says, “we have identified the forces that could move to Benghazi. They are spinning up as we speak.” The Obama administration redacted the details of the military forces available, oddly citing a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) exemption that allows the withholding of “deliberative process” information.
Bash’s email seems to directly contradict testimony given by then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta before the Senate Armed Services Committee in February 2013. Defending the Obama administration’s lack of military response to the nearly six-hour-long attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi. Panetta claimed that “time, distance, the lack of an adequate warning, events that moved very quickly on the ground prevented a more immediate response.”
The first assault occurred at the main compound at about 9:40 pm local time – 3:40 p.m. ET in Washington, DC. The second attack on a CIA annex 1.2 miles away began three hours later, at about 12 am local time the following morning – 6 p.m. ET.
Thanks to Tom Fitton and Chris Farrell at Washington, DC-based JW, we now know that U.S. special operations assets were “spinning up” to go to the aid of beseiged U.S. personnel in Benghazi within hours of the attack on the evening of September 11, 2012. If launched that operation might also have spared the lives of former Navy Seals and CIA contractors Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods who were killed in a mortar attack of suspicious origins on the morning of September 12. Did Former Secretary of State Clinton, currently 2016 Democrat Presidential front runner deny release of those special operator assets?
Ken Timmerman, veteran investigative journalist discusses the background in a Daily Caller op-ed published today, “Benghazi “smoking gun” email unmasks Hillary Clinton”. Chris Farrell of JW will be speaking at the Tiger Bay Club in Pensacola, Florida on Friday, December 11, 2015. Doubtless we and others in attendance will ask questions about the Pentagon and other Clinton private server classified emails.
The House Special Benghazi Committee under Chairman, Trey Gowdy (R-SC) has acquired the alleged “smoking gun” email prior to Mrs. Clinton’s October 22, 2015 testimony, but was missing key evidence they needed to be able to question her effectively about it. Since the Committee member Rep. Lynn Westmoreland went to Africom headquarters in early December to interview top officials and line officials, hopefully they now have that evidence. The Pentagon email raises questions that need answers, if the American public is to assess the integrity and truthfulness of both Ms. Clinton and former Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta.
Watch this FoxNews Special Report segment on the Pentagon email obtained by JW.
Over the period July through October 2014, we ran a multiple part series called “Death in Benghazi” in the New English Review. Northwest Florida Talk Radio station, 1330amWEBY conducted two major interviews with Ken Timmerman, author of Dark Forces: The Truth about What Happened in Benghazi. In “Death in Benghazi: Part 1 The Attack,” NER July 2014 , we asked about whether resources could have been deployed in time to spare Ambassador Stevens and communications aide, Stan Smith and possibly prevent the mortar attack at the CIA annex on the morning of September 12, 2012 that took the lives of Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods.
Here is Timmerman’s assessment of why the Pentagon email released by JW is significant.
By Kenneth R. Timmerman
It shows Mrs. Clinton gave the “stand-down” order
Touted by FoxNews as a “possible smoking gun,” the email from Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta’s chief of staff shows that special operations teams within a few hours flight from Benghazi were preparing to deploy as early as 7 PM Washington time on the night of the attacks, well within the time needed to get to Benghazi before the deadly mortar strike that killed U.S. Navy Seals Glen Doherty and Ty Woods.
You would think such a key piece of evidence would have been the first thing the State Department turned over to Congressional investigators. After all, it establishes that help was “on the way” to our diplomats and special operators and intelligence officers under siege.
Panetta aide Jeremy Bash emailed Mrs. Clinton’s top aides at 7:09 PM, to let them know that quick reaction forces, then stationed in Europe, were “spinning up as we speak” to deploy to Benghazi.
“Assuming Principals agree to deploy these elements, we will ask State to secure the approval from host nation,” Bash wrote. Please advise how you wish to convey that approval to us.”
Bash said he had just tried to call them at State, but that they were all in a meeting with Secretary Clinton, hence the email.
We know from the timeline submitted to Congress by the Defense Department exactly which forces Bash was referring to. They included a Delta Force hostage rescue team based in Fort Bragg, North Carolina that was on call 24/7, two Fleet Antiterrorism Security Team (FAST) platoons based in Rota, Spain, and the Commander’s In Extremis Force (CIF) for European Command, also known as C-110.
C-110 was a fifty-man team of Special Operations troops with their own airlift, specially composed to be able to respond to precisely the type of emergency that was then occurring in Benghazi.
They were trained in hostage rescue operations and “hot” extractions. This was the Unit most suitable for Benghazi. When they got word to start “spinning up,” they were in Croatia on a training mission, just a two-to-three hour flight from Benghazi.
As Bash sent his email, General Carter Ham, commander of Africa Command (Africom), initiated the process to transfer them from Eucom to Africom, temporarily placing them under his direct orders. The Unit commander ordered his men to begin loading their gear into their C-130s. All they needed was the go-ahead from State.
And that’s where it died. Hillary Clinton did not want U.S. Special Operations forces coming into Libya with “guns ablazing.” Instead of flying directly to Benghazi, C-110 was told to “stage” in Sigonella, Italy. Meanwhile, Panetta counter-manded General Ham’s order, and returned C-110 to the authority of EUCOM.
This is the key piece of information Mrs. Clinton and her protectors have fought tooth and nail to keep from Congress and the U.S. public until now. Why? Because it contradicts all the earlier timelines presented by the State Department, the CIA, and the Department of Defense, and shows that U.S. forces could have rescued our men in Benghazi before the fateful 5 AM mortar strike, if only Mrs. Clinton had given the go-ahead. Only a lawsuit by Judicial Watch forced its release.
I investigated this timeline and Mrs. Clinton’s role in blocking military assets from reaching Benghazi in my book Dark Forces: the Truth About What Happened in Benghazi. I interviewed senior Africom commanders, unit commanders, spec-ops officers and others with direct knowledge of the U.S. Forces available for deployment that night.
In the redacted version of his testimony that was ultimately released by the House Armed Services Committee, General Ham said the main reason he didn’t go balls to the wall to get forces to Benghazi was simple. “We were never asked,” he said.
Pathetic, but true.
The Bash email shows that the Pentagon was asking – two hours earlier than previous timelines have revealed. So far, the State Department has not released the response that Mrs. Clinton’s minions sent back to Bash. But we know what it was: stand down.
Glen Doherty and Ty Woods soon found out what it was as well.
Timmerman’s accusation begs the question of was there a stand down order issued by Clinton?
EDITORS NOTE: This column originally appeared in the New English Review.