Benghazi – Who Issued the “Stand Down” Order?

Some of you may have already seen this piece. Written by an individual who has some credibility in the area, it was posted as a comment in response to the CBS News 60 Minutes report. It was also previously published by PJ Media on November 2, 2012. Please be aware that this is long, but worth the read.

By Matt_Bracken October 27, 2013 9:06 PM EDT

I was writing about this within days of the attack. This is the start of my piece published in PJ Media. The Benghazi debacle boils down to a single key factor — the granting or withholding of “cross-border authority.” This opinion is informed by my experience as a Navy SEAL officer who took a NavSpecWar Detachment to Beirut.

Once the alarm is sent–in this case, from the consulate in Benghazi; dozens of HQs are notified and are in the planning loop in real time, including AFRICOM and EUCOM, both located in Germany. Without waiting for specific orders from Washington, they begin planning and executing rescue operations, including moving personnel, ships, and aircraft forward toward the location of the crisis. However, there is one thing they can’t do without explicit orders from the president: cross an international border on a hostile mission. That is the clear “red line” in this type of a crisis situation.

No administration wants to stumble into a war because a jet jockey in hot pursuit (or a mixed-up SEAL squad in a rubber boat) strays into hostile territory. Because of this, only the president can give the order for our military to cross a nation’s border without that nation’s permission. For the Osama bin Laden mission, President Obama granted CBA for our forces to enter Pakistani airspace.

On the other side of the CBA coin: in order to prevent a military rescue in Benghazi, all the POTUS has to do is not grant cross-border authority. If he does not, the entire rescue mission (already in progress) must stop in its tracks.

Ships can loiter on station, but airplanes fall out of the sky, so they must be redirected to an air base (Sigonella, in Sicily) to await the POTUS decision on granting CBA. If the decision to grant CBA never comes, the besieged diplomatic outpost in Benghazi can rely only on assets already “in country” in Libya — such as the Tripoli quick reaction force and the Predator drones. These assets can be put into action on the independent authority of the acting ambassador or CIA station chief in Tripoli. They are already “in country,” so CBA rules do not apply to them.

How might this process have played out in the White House?

If, at the 5:00 p.m. Oval Office meeting with Defense Secretary Panetta and Vice President Biden, President Obama said about Benghazi: “I think we should not go the military action route,” meaning that no CBA will be granted, then that is it. Case closed. Another possibility is that the president might have said: “We should do what we can to help them … but no military intervention from outside of Libya.” Those words then constitute “standing orders” all the way down the chain of command, via Panetta and General Dempsey to General Ham and the subordinate commanders who are already gearing up to rescue the besieged outpost.

When that meeting took place, it may have seemed as if the consulate attack was over, so President Obama might have thought the situation would stabilize on its own from that point forward. If he then goes upstairs to the family quarters, or otherwise makes himself “unavailable,” then his last standing orders will continue to stand until he changes them, even if he goes to sleep until the morning of September 12.

Nobody in the chain of command below President Obama can countermand his “standing orders” not to send outside military forces into Libyan air space. Nobody. Not Leon Panetta, not Hillary Clinton, not General Dempsey, and not General Ham in Stuttgart, Germany, who is in charge of the forces staging in Sigonella.

Perhaps the president left “no outside military intervention, no cross-border authority” standing orders, and then made himself scarce to those below him seeking further guidance, clarification, or modified orders. Or perhaps he was in the Situation Room watching the Predator videos in live time for all seven hours. We don’t yet know where the president was hour by hour.

But this is 100 percent sure: Panetta and Dempsey would have executed a rescue mission order if the president had given those orders.

And like the former SEALs in Benghazi, General Ham and all of the troops under him would have been straining forward in their harnesses, ready to go into battle to save American lives.

The execute orders would be given verbally to General Ham at AFRICOM in Stuttgart, but they would immediately be backed up in official message traffic for the official record. That is why cross-border authority is the King Arthur’s Sword for understanding Benghazi. The POTUS and only the POTUS can pull out that sword.

We can be 100% certain that cross-border authority was never given. How do I know this? Because if CBA was granted and the rescue mission execute orders were handed down, irrefutable records exist today in at least a dozen involved component commands, and probably many more. No general or admiral will risk being hung out to dry for undertaking a mission-gone-wrong that the POTUS later disavows ordering, and instead blames on “loose cannons” or “rogue officers” exceeding their authority. No general or admiral will order U.S. armed forces to cross an international border on a hostile mission unless and until he is certain that the National Command Authority, in the person of the POTUS and his chain of command, has clearly and explicitly given that order: verbally at the outset, but thereafter in written orders and official messages. If they exist, they could be produced today.

When it comes to granting cross-border authority, there are no presidential mumblings or musings to paraphrase or decipher. If you hear confusion over parsed statements given as an excuse for Benghazi, then you are hearing lies. I am sure that hundreds of active-duty military officers know all about the Benghazi execute orders (or the lack thereof), and I am impatiently waiting for one of them to come forward to risk his career and pension as a whistleblower.

Leon Panetta is falling on his sword for President Obama with his absurd-on-its-face, “the U.S. military doesn’t do risky things”-defense of his shameful no-rescue policy. Panetta is utterly destroying his reputation. General Dempsey joins Panetta on the same sword with his tacit agreement by silence. But why? How far does loyalty extend when it comes to covering up gross dereliction of duty by the president?

General Petraeus, however, has indirectly blown the whistle. He was probably “used” in some way early in the cover-up with the purported CIA intel link to the Mohammed video, and now he feels burned. So he conclusively said via his public affairs officer that the stand-down order did not come from the CIA. Well — what outranks the CIA? Only the national security team at the White House. That means President Obama, and nobody else. Petraeus is naming Obama without naming him. If that is not quite as courageous as blowing a whistle, it is far better than the disgraceful behavior of Panetta and Dempsey.

We do not know the facts for certain, but we do know that the rescue mission stand-down issue revolves around the granting or withholding of cross-border authority, which belongs only to President Obama. More than one hundred gung-ho Force Recon Marines were waiting on the tarmac in Sigonella, just two hours away for the launch order that never came.


I read another individual’s comment that summed up my initial reaction, “I don’t know which is worse, the Islamists who killed our people in Benghazi or the people in the White House who tried to cover it up.”

But then, after digesting that statement, my gut tells me differently. The “cover up” is far worse.

We expect terrorists to do what they did, kill Americans, burn our flag, etc. They’re terrorists – it’s what they do.

We don’t expect our government’s leadership to prevent any chance of saving American lives, to lie about what happened and why, and to cover it up for political expediency.

I believe that the White House’s fingerprints are all over the Benghazi cover-up. I believe that purposely not granting cross-border authority had the effect of a “stand down” order without one actually being stated – thus providing the plausible deniability implicit in the statement that “no stand-down order was given by the White House.” While that may be true literally, the effect was that of issuing such an order.

And that kind of activity, my friends, is NOT what we expect from our “leadership” and is both despicable and, in my opinion, treasonous.


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25 Responses to Benghazi – Who Issued the “Stand Down” Order?

  1. Kathy says:

    Garnet, thank you so much for posting this – now I have a better understanding of the procedure that follows an alarm such as this was.

    “We don’t know where the president was hour by hour” We do know that during the authorized raid on OBL in Pakistan that he was playing spades, per his buddy Reggie, If he didn’t stay on the scene for a raid that was authorized, I seriously doubt he stayed to see what played out in Benghazi.

  2. Garnet92 says:

    Kathy, I think that Matt Bracken was right on target. And we can be assured that if Omammy was “on duty” in the Situation Room we would have had photographic evidence of it. He was nowhere that he should have been and he was not doing what he should have been doing or we’d have seen photo-op images of it. That’s evidence enough for me that he was derelict in his duties as C-in-C – that and the fact that no help was sent. He got the “3 AM call” and didn’t answer it.

  3. ” And that kind of activity, my friends, is NOT what we expect from our “leadership” and is both despicable and, in my opinion, treasonous.”

    Says it all, right there. Excellent summation, Garnet. But all things considered, it is par for the resident’s course.

    • Garnet92 says:

      It is a crying damn shame after all that this country has endured, that we are now under attack by a lying, narcissistic, egotistical enemy who is determined to remake us into HIS vision of what HE thinks we should be. After all, HE is so much smarter than the combined wisdom of our founders. If he wasn’t so destructive, he’d be a joke. Thanks GF.

  4. upaces88 says:

    Obama tried passing to buck…however, HE IS the only one with the authority to order a “Stand Down” to the Military!

    • Garnet92 says:

      You’re right upaces, but he believes that he is so much smarter than all of us that he can fool us with first, a video causing the attack, and when the attack comes and we send no help, he just clams shut and depends on the public forgetting all about the Benghazi terrorist attack.

      Sad to say, without a prod every so often, the public WILL forget about four Americans killed and our Consulate destroyed and forget that all bucks stop with the CIC, Obama.

    • upaces88 says:


  5. Clyde says:

    Excellent post,Garnet. No question who the REAL culprit is here. Now, only IF we had an “opposition” party with some stones……

    • Garnet92 says:

      Right Clyde, Issa keeps holding “hearings” where the only result is that no one is held to account. What has been the result of the mass of hearings on all of Obama’s screw-ups? Zero, zilch, nada. Fast & furious, FBI, IRS, Benghazi, etc. all have been publicized by hearings with NO ONE found guilty of anything. Grandstanding by a bunch of toothless old men, no more.

  6. BrianR says:

    I’ve written about this myself. We have to remember the context of the time. His re-election was looming, and his narrative as being a tough warrior hinged on the “I killed bin Laden” meme.

    Nothing could be allowed to develop that countered that theme.

    Also remember, this is a bunch of arrogant fools who don’t really understand how things work in the real world. The first attack created a lot of damage, but no one was killed, and things quieted down. So they probably assumed everything was finished. So, let things settle down, and when the sun comes up all will be well.

    THAT particular strategy literally blew up in their faces, of course, PLUS they’d lost the opportunity to exploit the lull by sending in reinforcements.

    Now what? Let the coverup begin! Find some excuse to blame this on that doesn’t paint Obozo in a bad light.

    Ah! There’s some video out there on YouTube! Let’s blame THAT!

    We all know what happened from there.

    • Garnet92 says:

      Yes, the election was looming and the possibility of another Blackhawk Down incident could deny Ofugyou’s reelection so he was being overly cautious.

      He was, as you say, depending on getting credit for al Qaeda being on the run and Osama bin Laden being killed so he couldn’t admit that the attack was a terrorist attack, thereby implying that maybe all terrorists really weren’t “on the run.” He took what he thought was the “safe” way out – when asked what he wanted to do, he answered “present” and our guys died and U.S. prestige in the world took a hit.

  7. Mrs AL says:

    That clears some things up for me, Garnet. Thanx so much. I don’t give diddly squat about anything but the truth and the whole truth coming out. I have no idea who would be nuts enough to go to work now in the State Department after this. Oh wait — we have Kerry at the head of the line!

    • Garnet92 says:

      Tanks Mrs., by the way, did you know that John Kerry served in Viet Nam? Kerry is just polishing his “credentials” for another try at the Dem nomination for president. I’m sure that he believes himself to be qualified for the job – especially seeing how successful Ofugyou is at it – how tough can it be? Just play golf and vacation all the time and you never have to be responsible for anything – what a great job!

      • Mrs AL says:

        And he turned on his fellow servicemen after he “served” in Viet Nam. I can see that testimony like it was yesterday. Oh wait, I just saw a tape of it not that long ago …

        • Garnet92 says:

          I’m just pulling a “Rush Limbaugh” on you Mrs.! For years now, every time that Rush mentions John Kerry’s name, he always notes that he “served in Viet Nam” which is just making fun of how often that was brought up when Kerry ran for POTUS.

  8. Buck says:

    Brian, Arrogant, yes. But I’m not so sure they are the fools we tend to believe. They couldn’t be doing more to destroy this country, to turn it into a socialist nightmare if they went on any other course of day to day action.
    What do they care if we think them fools. Matter of fact they probably welcome our so thinking while they continue wrecking our way of life.

  9. WTXGunRunner says:

    Garnet, Excellent piece. I had ideas about some of the “timing” issues in this matter and you pretty much cleared them up for me. And the CBA requirements and ownership, that explains a LOT to me. Thanks so much for this most excellent information (and I don’t usually read lengthy stuff, BUT I surely did this one!) OooRah

    • Garnet92 says:

      Thanx WTX, I got schooled myself when I first read the information and thought that more exposure is just what the doctor ordered. I also felt like the writer had more credibility than most of the other folks who’ve offered their opinions. His information does account for a lot of what we haven’t been told.

  10. josephbc69 says:

    Dear ‘Nox & friends’ and all of you new folks here: I’ve been absent due to a tsunami of medical call-outs, but after my operation at noon, 30th October I should be back on track again. Or else called Home, “On Assignment”!

    As for this, yes, I agree it is an outstanding statement, articulate to the point of pain for me, as I knew Benghazi was yet one more treasonous cover-up from the current PoS on the Hill. I’m nearly 71, so I clearly recall LBJ’s 150% BS re the attack on the USS Liberty [], and the outrageous Big Lie re the Gulf of Ton-kin “incident”.

    As good citizens, we are supposed to accept the Realpolitik of executive privilege in lies and cover-ups. Well, that may be what TPTB would like to see be the case, but I’m positive there are at least 50 million people who don’t intend to roll over and play dead. The day is coming when FEMA and the rest of the New Fascist Order [NFO] will have to stand against their fellow citizens, and either kill them or be killed by them. Be sure you know which side you’re on LONG before that day arrives in the near future.

  11. Garnet92 says:

    Thanks for the comment josephbc and may your coming operation be problem-free and totally successful. Stop back by and let us know how everything turns out. We’ll hope to hear from you soon!

    I think that you know (or can guess) which side your friends at N&F will be on if the SHTF. We all hope and pray that we can overcome the direction that the current squatter in the WH has us on and bring sanity back to our beloved country.

    Be sure to take your medicines and be gentle when squeezing the nurses’ bottoms!

  12. josephbc69 says:

    Jeez, Garnet, how did you come to know me so well in so short a time? I copped a kiss from a gorgeous nurse when I was 12, and at about 40 got real up close and sweetly personal w/another nurse just as I was discharged… in a manner of speaking! It’s that irrepressible Italian goat-nature.

  13. Garnet92 says:

    That doesn’t surprise me joseph, I’ve heard stories about you wandering the hospital halls with your gown on backwards – showing off!

    • josephbc69 says:

      What until I tell you about my new surgeon, Dr Barbara MacNeely. As Dr Andre DuToit, my GP, told me, “You’re gonna love her: 5′-7″, stiletto heels, and tight black leather pants….”

      “Wait a minute,” I said, “next you’re gonna tell me if I pay her $600 an hour she gets out a whip!”

      He wasn’t kidding. To hear the rest of the details re my initial exam w/her AND a 25 yr student babe, write me for all the delicious details, The others will have to wonder; only one to a customer, and first come, first served… in a manner of speaking!