On September 11, 2012, Islamic Terrorists from a group affiliated with Al Qaida attacked the US Mission in Benghazi, Libya. They attacked using automatic rifles (including AK-47s), bombs, and mortars.
Ambassador Chris Stevens was in Benghazi instead of Tripoli to meet with leaders from other nations, including a Turkish General. We do not know the purpose of those meetings. We do know that when shots were first fired, Ambassador Stevens called the Tripoli Embassy, who then attempted to call Washington, DC, but could not get through for some time.
Once Washington finally did pick up the phone, a host of things should have happened that didn't. Among those was the convening of the Counterterrorism Security Group, an interagency coordination and control group with knowledge of what assets would be available to assist any given area during a terrorist attack.
"The CSG is the one group that's supposed to know what resources every agency has. They know of multiple options and have the ability to coordinate counterterrorism assets across all the agencies," a high-ranking government official told CBS News. "They were not allowed to do their job. They were not called upon."
According to CBS, the CSG was not convened because more senior officials, with less direct knowledge, attempted to direct the response.
As to why the Counterterrorism Security Group was not convened, National Security Council Spokesman Tommy Vietor told CBS News "From the moment the President was briefed on the Benghazi attack, the response effort was handled by the most senior national security officials in governments. Members of the CSG were of course involved in these meetings and discussions to support their bosses."
Without that group, the response faltered early, and only got worse as the night continued.
"The response process was isolated at the most senior level," says an official referring to top officials in the executive branch. "My fellow counterterrorism professionals and I (were) not consulted."
This yet further paints a picture of active choices which were made to circumvent the normal military response of "leave no man behind." It just makes sense that you would rely on experts on terrorist attacks for coordination of the immediate response. Even if it didn't "just make sense," it also happens to be a Presidential Directive.
The official says a protocol set forth in a classified presidential directive calls for the Counterterrorism Security Group (CSG) to be convened in the event of a possible terrorist attack. According to a public military document, the directive was designed to "synchronize the efforts of all the government agencies that have a role to play in the Global War on Terrorism.
If it was a Presidential Directive, then the only person who could override it is the President. Only the President could have chosen to reject the very possibility ("event of a possible terrorist attack") of a terror attack and refuse to convene the CSG. Only the President could have made the order that the Senior Administration officials, and not the CSG, would attempt to coordinate the response.
This was not mere Negligence. This was a series of active choices made by the President and his team, sentencing four brave Americans to their needless and vain deaths.