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Mark Caserta: Truth about Benghazi needed for healing

Dec. 12, 2012 @ 10:55 PM

It's been three months since the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, in which U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, former Navy Seals Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, and State Department officer Sean Smith were murdered.

The families of these brave Americans still have unanswered questions about the tragic events that transpired that 9/11 evening.

In a telephone interview from his Hawaii home, Charles Woods, father of Tyrone Woods, revealed he learned the details of his son's bravery not from the Obama administration, but in an email from an American whose life was saved by his son, according to the Washington Times.

Tyrone was found "slumped over his machine gun, which was caked with blood," Mr. Woods said. "He continued to fire until he had no blood left and was unable to fire anymore."

Tragically, the cloud of suspicion around Benghazi-gate continues to darken as slowly emerging details suggest horrific negligence by this administration in providing aid to Americans under attack and in anticipating potential terrorist activity on the anniversary of 9/11.

Here's some of what we know.

The first CIA analysis came the morning of Sept. 12 and concluded the attack was intentional and had possible connections with al Qaeda in the Islamic Mahgreb and Ansar al-Sharia, a local militant group.

On Sept. 16, Libya President Mohamed Magariaf stated on CBS News' "Face the Nation" the attack on the U.S. consulate was planned "months in advance." In an interview with NPR, Magariaf said, "The idea that this criminal and cowardly act was a spontaneous protest that just spun out of control is completely unfounded and preposterous."

Despite this available information, also on Sept. 16, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice proceeded to go on five Sunday talk shows and downplay any evidence of Islamic terrorism, most likely "posturing defensively" just before the presidential election.

President Obama would also advance the theory of a "spontaneous" protest to an obscure anti-Muslim video during appearances on shows like the "Late Show with David Letterman" and "The View" on Sept. 18 and 24, respectively.

Stunning reports now indicate just one hour into the seven-hour terrorist attack, our commander-in-chief, vice president, and his national security team gathered in the White House and watched real-time video of the attack from a drone circling overhead along with listening to phone calls from Americans desperately seeking help.

Sources on the ground in Benghazi report that urgent requests for military aid during the attack were denied and "stand down" orders were issued rather than help the ambassador's team.

Could the Obama administration be so naïve to the existing threat of terrorism they could have missed adding additional security at our diplomatic facility? And did they fear that admitting the Benghazi attack was indeed an act of terrorism would contradict a previous assertion that al Qaeda was on the run and possibly cost Obama a very close election?

Finally, who issued the orders to stand down?

For family members like Mr. Woods, the truth must be part of the healing process.

And it's time for the truth.

Mark Caserta, a Cabell County resident and a regular contributor to The Herald-Dispatch editorial page, has petitioned the White House to hire independent counsel to investigate the "stand down" orders issued in Benghazi on 9/11. The petition can be viewed at the website http://t.co/DIDnYW0t.

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