What happened in Benghazi 12

This is from the US Department of State.

Extract from a briefing given on 10/9/12 by Senior State Department Official Number One on what happened in Benghazi on 9/11/12.

… At 9:40 p.m., the agent in the TOC [Tactical Operations Center] and the agents in Building C hear loud noises coming from the front gate. They also hear gunfire and an explosion. The agent in the TOC looks at his cameras – these are cameras that have pictures of the perimeter – and the camera on the main gate reveals a large number of people – a large number of men, armed men, flowing into the compound. One special agent immediately goes to get the Ambassador in his bedroom and gets Sean, and the three of them enter the safe haven inside the building.

And I should break for a second and describe what a safe haven is. A safe haven is a fortified area within a building. This particular safe haven has a very heavy metal grill on it with several locks on it. It essentially divides the one – the single floor of that building in half, and half the floor is the safe haven, the bedroom half. Also in the safe haven is a central sort of closet area where people can take refuge where there are no windows around. In that safe haven are medical supplies, water, and such things. All the windows to that area of the building have all been grilled. A couple of them have grills that can be open from the inside so people inside can get out, but they can’t be – obviously can’t be opened from the outside.

The agent with the Ambassador in the safe haven has – in addition to his side arm, has his long gun, or I should say – it’s an M4 submachine gun, standard issue. The other agents who have heard the noise in the – at the front gate run to Building B or the TOC – they run to both, two of them to Building B, one to the TOC – to get their long guns and other kit. By kit, I mean body armor, a helmet, additional munitions, that sort of thing.

They turn around immediately and head back – or the two of them, from Building B, turn around immediately with their kit and head back to Villa C, where the Ambassador and his colleagues are. They encounter a large group of armed men between them and Building C. I should say that the agent in Building C with the Ambassador has radioed that they are all in the safe haven and are fine. The agents that encounter the armed group make a tactical decision to turn around and go back to their Building B and barricade themselves in there. So we have people in three locations right now.

And I neglected to mention – I should have mentioned from the top that the attackers, when they came through the gate, immediately torched the barracks. It is aflame, the barracks that was occupied by the 17th February Brigade armed host country security team. I should also have mentioned that at the very first moment when the agent in the TOC seized the people flowing through the gate, he immediately hits an alarm, and so there is a loud alarm. He gets on the public address system as well, yelling, “Attack, attack.” Having said that, the agents – the other agents had heard the noise and were already reacting.

Okay. So we have agents in Building C – or an agent in Building C with the Ambassador and Sean, we have two agents in Building B, and we have two agents in the TOC. All – Building C is – attackers penetrate in Building C. They walk around inside the building into a living area, not the safe haven area. The building is dark. They look through the grill, they see nothing. They try the grill, the locks on the grill; they can’t get through. The agent is, in fact, watching them from the darkness. He has his long gun trained on them and he is ready to shoot if they come any further. They do not go any further.

They have jerry cans. They have jerry cans full of diesel fuel that they’ve picked up at the entrance when they torched the barracks. They have sprinkled the diesel fuel around. They light the furniture in the living room – this big, puffy, Middle Eastern furniture. They light it all on fire, and they have also lit part of the exterior of the building on fire. At the same time, there are other attackers that have penetrated Building B. The two agents in Building B are barricaded in an inner room there. The attackers circulate in Building B but do not get to the agents and eventually leave.

A third group of attackers tried to break into the TOC. They pound away at the door, they throw themselves at the door, they kick the door, they really treat it pretty rough; they are unable to get in, and they withdraw. Back in Building C, where the Ambassador is, the building is rapidly filling with smoke. The attackers have exited. The smoke is extremely thick. It’s diesel smoke, and also, obviously, smoke from – fumes from the furniture that’s burning. And the building inside is getting more and more black. The Ambassador and the two others make a decision that it’s getting – it’s starting to get tough to breathe in there, and so they move to another part of the safe haven, a bathroom that has a window. They open the window. The window is, of course, grilled. They open the window trying to get some air in. That doesn’t help. The building is still very thick in smoke.

And I am sitting about three feet away from Senior Official Number Two, and the agent I talked to said he could not see that far away in the smoke and the darkness. So they’re in the bathroom and they’re now on the floor of the bathroom because they’re starting to hurt for air. They are breathing in the bottom two feet or so of the room, and even that is becoming difficult.

So they make a decision that they’re going to have to leave the safe haven. They decide that they’re going to go out through an adjacent bedroom which has one of the window grills that will open. The agent leads the two others into a hallway in that bedroom. He opens the grill. He’s going first because that is standard procedure. There is firing going on outside. I should have mentioned that during all of this, all of these events that I’ve been describing, there is considerable firing going on outside. There are tracer bullets. There is smoke. There is – there are explosions. I can’t tell you that they were RPGs, but I think they were RPGs. So there’s a lot of action going on, and there’s dozens of armed men on the – there are dozens of armed men on the compound.

Okay. We’ve got the agent. He’s opening the – he is suffering severely from smoke inhalation at this point. He can barely breathe. He can barely see. He’s got the grill open and he flops out of the window onto a little patio that’s been enclosed by sandbags. He determines that he’s under fire, but he also looks back and sees he doesn’t have his two companions. He goes back in to get them. He can’t find them. He goes in and out several times before smoke overcomes him completely, and he has to stagger up a small ladder to the roof of the building and collapse. He collapses.

At that point, he radios the other agents. Again, the other agents are barricaded in Building C and – Building B, and the TOC. He radios the other agents that he’s got a problem. He is very difficult to understand. He can barely speak.

The other agents, at this time, can see that there is some smoke, or at least the agents in the TOC – this is the first they become aware that Building C is on fire. They don’t have direct line of sight. They’re seeing smoke and now they’ve heard from the agent. So they make a determination to go to Building C to try to find their colleagues.

The agent in the TOC, who is in full gear, opens the door, throws a smoke grenade, which lands between the two buildings, to obscure what he is doing, and he moves to Building B, enters Building B. He un-barricades the two agents that are in there, and the three of them emerge and head for Building C. There are, however, plenty of bad guys and plenty of firing still on the compound, and they decide that the safest way for them to move is to go into an armored vehicle, which is parked right there. They get into the armored vehicle and they drive to Building C.

They drive to the part of the building where the agent had emerged. He’s on the roof. They make contact with the agent. Two of them set up as best a perimeter as they can, and the third one, third agent, goes into the building. This goes on for many minutes. Goes into the building, into the choking smoke. When that agent can’t proceed, another agent goes in, and so on. And they take turns going into the building on their hands and knees, feeling their way through the building to try to find their two colleagues. They find Sean. They pull him out of the building. He is deceased. They are unable to find the Ambassador. …

Read the rest of it here.

  • KenMacMillan

    A +1 button would be great.

    • Jillian Becker

      There is one, Ken. And thanks for wanting to use it. It used to be more identifiable, but Disqus keep changing their format. Now it’s so small and neat one can hardly see it. It’s the little detached arrowhead pointing upwards next to the 0. If you click on it, it will turn the 0 to 1, meaning “one like”. Needless to say, the down-pointing arrowhead can indicate an “unlike”. I wonder how many others have missed this – I did myself at first.

      • KenMacMillan

        If you mean the 0 Stars button, the down arrow allows you to post to facebook & twitter but that’s it.

        • Jillian Becker

          My mistake, Ken. I was talking about “liking” a comment, when you were talking about awarding points to the article itself. It’s a good idea. I’ll look into it. Thank you!

  • liz

    Yes, it’s so comforting to know that although our people in service in the Middle East may not be worth adequate security, same sex couples in Bengahazi must feel so empowered! And besides, the money is so much better spent combatting global warming in every corner of the world. Never fear! Obama and Hillary will make sure that your money is well spent, fighting the good fight on behalf of polar bears and the gay community, and of course the cause of the Muslim Brotherhood. Got to have your priorities right.

    • … well…. um… I kinda like Polar Bears… but I agree we shouldn’t waste money on the “Bi” Polar ones;-)

  • I strongly warn everyone on this sight not to watch the presidential debate on tv tonight. When you witness the brilliant obfuscation they will have programmed O’bama with, it will anger you beyond all reason. They have already set it up for Hillary to take full responsibility… without really taking responsibility… of course she is ultimately responsible for the “mistakes of her subordinates”… both she and O’bama will not rest until those responsible for this unforgiveable act of brutality are brought to justice… there was much confusion in the days and weeks following this act of terror… they were being given conflicting information… Their car ran out of gas… the dog ate the intelligence report… this in no way represents the will of the vast majority of Libyans who thirst for democracy…. to attempt to politicize this trajedy is beyond the pale, and an insult to the memory of our fallen ambassador…

    You are going to want to kill the first Liberal who gives you a smug “I told you so” look tomorrow.

    Do not watch the debate…. no good can come of it.

    • Jillian Becker

      Yes, it is nerve-racking Steve. I’m sure your predictions about what Obama will say are bang-on right.

      However. Call me a masochist, but I cannot NOT watch it.

      So much depends on it. A moment when the saving of America hangs on a thread. Romney bears an awesome responsibility!

      • Yeah…. I know. … sigh.. . I’m gonna watch it too. I should probably have someone put me in restraints first… I really like my flat-screen;-)

        • ….{next morning} O’bama had to work hard last night. Both put their best foot forward. O’bama got last word…. but Romney took a way a huge trophy… He caught O’bama slipping and revealing that he knew it was “terror” in the rosegarden.
          ” …I beg your pardon…”

          • liz

            I noticed he NEVER answered the question about why they didn’t respond to requests for more security. He just went into the standard crap about how much he cares about our wonderful people who give their lives, blah blah blah, and dodged the question.
            And his “indignant” act made me gag. What a lying hypocrite! I don’t care who says he “won” – his crappy record and character already had him so far down he still can’t even touch Romney no matter how much he improves his lying skills.

            • Liz, you had precisely the same reactions I did… fortunately my television survived, if yours did also then we are in good shape. Romney will win.