1:15 a.m.: CIA reinforcements arrive on a 45-minute flight from Tripoli in a plane they've hastily chartered. The Tripoli team includes four GRS security officers, a CIA case officer and two U.S. military personnel who are on loan to the agency. They don't leave Benghazi airport until 4:30. The delay is caused by negotiations with Libyan authorities over permission to leave the airport, obtaining vehicles, and the need to frame a clear mission plan. The first idea is to go to a Benghazi hospital to recover Stevens, who they correctly suspect is already dead. But the hospital is surrounded by the Al Qaeda-linked Ansar al-Shariah militia that mounted the consulate attack.
So a whopping 4 officer team of "reinforcements" arrive in Benghazi at 1:15 AM. They are then delayed for over 3 hours while Libyan and American officials dither and bicker about "permission to leave the airport, obtaining vehicles, and... a clear mission plan." Fox focuses on the fact that they already knew the culprits were Ansar al-Shariah, an Al Qaida linked terror group. Based on the information chronicled on this blog, I'm much more furious about a three hour delay.
By that time, Ambassador Stevens was almost certainly already dead. Certainly he was believed to be dead. That three hour delay allowed Ansar al-Shariah to mount an attack on the CIA compound where former SEALs Woods and Doherty were eventually also killed. Now, recall, fighters from Signolla Air Base in Sicily could have arrived within one hour. Commandos could have been on the ground in three hours. That means, had the Administration not made the active choice not to respond militarily to an assault on our Ambassador, that while the Administration and Libyan officials were dickering about the fate of the CIA team at the Benghazi airport, US Military resources could have already dealt with the problem.
All of this because Barack Obama believed that treating this action as the terrorist attack it was would have been a political liability for him.