Report- No Benghazi “Stand Down” Order

Report- No Benghazi “Stand Down” Order

avatarThe Benghazi “stand down” myth dispelled.

The House Armed Services Committee this week released a “Majority Interim Report: Benghazi Investigation Update.”  The 30-page report sheds some light on many aspects of the Benghazi attack on September 11, 2012.  The report dispels the purported Benghazi “stand down” order:

[A]fter the diplomatic staff had been moved to what Lieutenant Colonel Gibson considered a “secure” location in Tripoli, he informed AFRICOM that he was about to take his three special operators to Benghazi on a Libyan transport plane.  At that time, Rear Admiral Brian L. Losey, SOCAFRICA’s commander, conveyed an order to Lieutenant Colonel Gibson to remain in Tripoli to defend Americans there.  Rear Admiral Losey said he was concerned about the possibility of follow-on attacks in Tripoli or a potential for attempts at hostage taking.  Preferring to move, however, Lieutenant Colonel Gibson told the committee he was “visibly upset” at the time.

Mr. Hicks, the DCM, described Lieutenant Colonels Gibson’s distress to the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in May 2013 and he did not object during the hearing when the soldier’s instructions were categorized as orders to “stand down.”  This led some to conclude erroneously that inaction rather than an alternative warfighting posture was ordered for Lieutenant Colonel Gibson’s four men.  But, Lieutenant Colonel Gibson’s instructions were precisely clarified in a colloquy before the Armed Services Committee:

Mrs. Roby: … Do you agree that you and your team were ordered to… “stand down?”

Colonel Gibson:  Madam Chairman, I was not ordered to stand down.  I was ordered to remain in place.  “Stand down” implies that we cease all operations, cease all activities.  We continued to support the team that was in Tripoli. (report at page 24/ emphasis added/ footnotes omitted)

The Benghazi “stand down” myth is dispelled.  Now the public can focus on legitimate inquiry into the attack and its aftermath.  One issue: why did the Obama Administration, two months before the Presidential election, paint the event as a spontaneous protest gone awry rather than a planned operation by Islamic Jihadists? – Grizzly Joe

AFRICOM- U.S. Africa Command

SOCAFRICA- U.S. Special Operations Command Africa

DCM- Deputy Chief of Mission (US Embassy in Tripoli)

See Also

After Benghazi, Still Cutting the Military Budget OBS 2/11/14

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