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Osama Bin Laden Is Dead. So Are Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty.

2:41 PM, Oct 26, 2012 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
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A motorcade of dozens of Libyan vehicles, some mounted with 50 caliber machine guns, belonging to the February 17th Brigades, a Libyan militia which is friendly to the US, finally showed up at the CIA annex at approximately 3 a.m. An American Quick Reaction Force sent from Tripoli had arrived at the Benghazi airport at 2 a.m. (four hours after the initial attack on the Consulate) and was delayed for 45 minutes at the airport because they could not at first get transportation, allegedly due to confusion among Libyan militias who were supposed to escort them to the annex, according to Benghazi sources.

In light of this remarkable and disturbing account, the American people are owed more from Secretary of Defense Panetta than glib and, as it now turns out, misleading statements about lacking real-time information necessary to deploy forces. The American people are also owed an explanation of decisions that were made from CIA chief David Petraeus.

But the buck stops with the president. It is inconceivable that decisions to send or not to send military forces to rescue CIA personnel would not have been presented to the president. (If they were not, that would be a scandal of the first order.) So the question is not so much what Leon Panetta or David Petraeus thought, or what they recommended. The question is what the president did that evening of September 11. Whom did President Obama speak with? What meetings did he convene? What decisions did he make? Why?

I would add this: The president must have been personally involved on the evening of September 11 in deciding what could and could not be done to rescue American operatives under enemy fire. The next morning, he would have known that two of them, Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, died in the attack. Yet the president decided, after a brief statement in the Rose Garden, to fly off to Las Vegas and then Denver for a day and a half of political fundraisers and campaign events. What does this say about him?

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