Revisiting Deciphering the Mystery of the Benghazi Attack

Awhile back I wrote a post, Deciphering the Mystery of the Benghazi Attack, because I got annoyed with Ambassador Rice’s explanation that the Benghazi Attack was the result of a  “spontaneous protest gone bad”. My bull shit detector had gone off so I decided to take a stab at deciphering the event using the currently available information in the news. Now that the State Department has released a more comprehensive account of the night in their Background Briefing on Libya, I can say that I got several things wrong. In that post I attempted to guess at the real events and motives and my guess at the location of the safe house(annex) was wrong. Unfortunately for the Obama Administration, the press and I are still puzzled by the attack and the odd reactions by the Executive Branch, State Department, and the Intelligence community. It seems as if the intelligence reforms instituted after the 9-11 terrorist attack have failed. The flopping around by these three groups with the facts of the Benghazi attack remind me of a fish out of water. It is still a better policy to say too little than to say too much and thought a fool.

Here is some of the information I gleaned from the background briefing and some new questions to ponder.

  1. There were no demonstrations preceding the attack so the initial intelligence report that night described a terrorist attack. So where did the “spontaneous protest gone bad” explanation come from? What foreign policy considerations are so important that our government fed the public false information?
  2. The attackers brought diesel to set fire to the consulate. Fire is a crime of passion.
  3. The safe haven in the villa, Building C, was not protected from fire and smoke. Huh?! Fire is one of the oldest and simplest forms of attack. I suspect the attackers wanted to burn the consulate and the killing of  the Ambassador and Sean Smith was collateral damage from the fire. Who would have thought we were so unprepared? I would have thought gas masks or SCBA’s would be part of a minimum security preparation. Obviously there was not a lot of attention spent on egress from the “safe haven” during a fire or a room with its own air supply. In this case the “safe haven” became a death trap. Gas masks, SCBA’s, and a little advanced preparation does not cost a lot of money. This was just plain stupid!
  4. The “safe house” or otherwise known as the annex, was about two kilometers from the consulate and it came under mortar attack. Either the attackers knew the location of the annex or they followed the car escaping from the consulate with another car containing people, guns, munitions, and a mortar. The attackers seem to be pretty well equipped and prepared to take the battle to the enemy.

Here is a marked up map of the consulate and my guesses of the location of the various buildings.