Fox News has learned from sources who were on the ground in Benghazi that an urgent request from the CIA annex for military back-up during the attack on the U.S. consulate and subsequent attack several hours later was denied by U.S. officials -- who also told the CIA operators twice to "stand down" rather than help the ambassador's team when shots were heard at approximately 9:40 p.m. in Benghazi on Sept. 11.
Former Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods was part of a small team who was at the CIA annex about a mile from the U.S. consulate where Ambassador Chris Stevens and his team came under attack. When he and others heard the shots fired, they informed their higher-ups at the annex to tell them what they were hearing and requested permission to go to the consulate and help out. They were told to "stand down," according to sources familiar with the exchange. Soon after, they were again told to "stand down."
Woods and at least two others ignored those orders and made their way to the consulate which at that point was on fire. Shots were exchanged. The rescue team from the CIA annex evacuated those who remained at the consulate and Sean Smith, who had been killed in the initial attack. They could not find the ambassador and returned to the CIA annex at about midnight.
At that point, they called again for military support and help because they were taking fire at the CIA safe house, or annex. The request was denied. There were no communications problems at the annex, according those present at the compound. The team was in constant radio contact with their headquarters. In fact, at least one member of the team was on the roof of the annex manning a heavy machine gun when mortars were fired at the CIA compound. The security officer had a laser on the target that was firing and repeatedly requested back-up support from a Spectre gunship, which is commonly used by U.S. Special Operations forces to provide support to Special Operations teams on the ground involved in intense firefights. The fighting at the CIA annex went on for more than four hours -- enough time for any planes based in Sigonella Air base, just 480 miles away, to arrive. Fox News has also learned that two separate Tier One Special operations forces were told to wait, among them Delta Force operators.
Premise: President Obama can't run on the economy so he needs to run on foreign policy. The argument that he has been a good foreign policy President goes something like this -- by decimating al Qaeda and helping to liberate Libya from Qaddafi, he has brought a new hope to the Middle East. But reality intruded on 9/11/12... al Qaeda is actually resurgent in Libya and attacking our embassy. If we engage the enemy in a full-scale firefight, the story of "new hope" in the Middle East that we are trying to push falls apart. So we order our men to stand down in Benghazi, hoping that the attack will somehow dissipate on its own. When it doesn't, we need a new story, and the Internet video meme is already available, so that's what we push. It was a desperation move, but they were desperate.
UPDATE: this story is going apeshit on the conservative blogs. Comments at Ace of Spades are apoplectic. This is going to be big.