Both articles deal with the testimony of Michael Morell, who became acting Director of Central Intelligence following the surprise resignation of David Petraeus, who will be appearing before the Senate Intelligence Committee today. Director Morell is expected to testify that the CIA never requested military assistance during the attack on Benghazi.
The article at the Daily Beast reports:
The CIA, however, requested none of that assistance. Neither did the State Department. None of those teams ever arrived in Benghazi.
On the evening of the attack, the military provided two kinds of support to the CIA security officers who tried to fend off an attack at the U.S. diplomatic mission and then later stood guard at a CIA base less than a mile away, which was hit in a second wave at about 5 a.m. (A U.S. military team working for the CIA was sent that evening from Tripoli, but that team did not arrive at the CIA annex until after the U.S. diplomatic mission was overrun.)
The military support included an unarmed predator drone that recorded the dramatic rescue of U.S. personnel from the diplomatic mission to the CIA base at about midnight. (Timelines differ between the Pentagon and the CIA.) The U.S. military also provided medevac support to survivors of the attack that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens, State Department communications specialist Sean Smith, and two retired Navy SEALs, Tyrone Woods and Glenn Doherty.
Ed Morrissey points out:
But Morell’s explanation, as related by Lake, doesn’t make a lot of sense. If the consulate and the CIA annex was under heavy and deliberate attack by forces using mortars and RPGs, why wouldn’t they ask for the military assistance that they knew was on standby for just this sort of contingency? Why just ask for an unarmed surveillance drone rather than something that could potentially offer a diversion for the extraction of personnel from the consulate? It’s difficult to imagine that the intelligence unit under fire off an on for seven hours would never have requested military assistance to save the lives of the people in the compound — not impossible, perhaps, but certainly implausible.
My hope is that there will be enough public hearings to make sense of this mess. Right now, this seems to have become a partisan accusation match. When questioned about the statements of Susan Rice on the Sunday news shows after the attack, the reply was that Condoleezza Rice was wrong when she testified that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Answers like that will not help anyone get to the bottom of what happened in Benghazi. Answers like that will also prevent steps being taken to make sure the events of September 11, 2012, are never repeated.