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Posted: October 20, 2012 4:53 p.m.

Perugino: Info withheld on Benghazi attack

I am compelled to weigh in on the terrorist attack on the Benghazi Consulate and murder of Ambassador Chris Stevenson and three other Americans. I am in a unique position since I have lived and worked in many places in the Middle East under security protection and under risk management by the intelligence forces.

I find it appalling that this administration is not telling the truth about the intelligence information known at the time of the attack and immediately afterwards. I am also bewildered at the information being withheld and the total apathy of the media to question the administration on this hidden information.

First, you should know that at all our embassies and consulates, we have several levels of security. The facility itself has stationary security to protect the perimeter and outside of the compound, any points of entry and the open grounds of the facility.

These are security details strictly assigned to the physical facility. They do not leave or travel. Many times military forces from allied nations such as Thailand, the Philippines and Fiji are engaged for these security assignments. This is not just true for conflict areas but also for facilities in countries considered to be at peace.

Secondly, a Marine detachment is assigned to the embassy or consulate to provide security to the interior of the occupied buildings and to protect any ongoing operations at the government facility.

Lastly and most importantly to this situation, diplomatic personnel, especially high ranking officers such as ambassadors, are assigned mobile security details. These security details always travel with their client and always provide personal security in the area continuously. It is inconceivable that an Ambassador of the U.S. in a conflict region would travel outside the embassy without his security detail. I know of no instance when this would even be permitted.

You must remember that even in allied countries, any movement of personnel with any level of security risk must be planned and approved.

Ambassador Stevenson's security detail would have had to submit a security plan for travel to the controlling intelligence group for risk assessment and approval. An Ambassador is the highest ranking civilian officer outside the U.S. He does not travel in hostile regions without careful planning and high level security.

How did the ambassador travel from Tripoli to Benghazi? Ground travel would require additional security forces to his personal security detail. If he traveled by helicopter, again he would have his security detail along to secure areas before he entered and maintaining communication back to the intelligence command.

The administration would lead one to believe that the ambassador just went for a ride one day over 404 miles to an unsecured location with no security detail or plan for secure movement. This is totally outrageous and screams that the president is hiding the facts.

I also guarantee you that an Ambassador of the United States would have access to immediate communications with the Section Chief of Intelligence in that country while away from a secured facility. It is also inconceivable that the Section Chief in Libya was not aware of a terrorist attack and that a security alert was not real time communicated back to the CIA, Pentagon and the White House NSA office.

I lived and worked in these Middle Eastern countries in close association with the embassy diplomatic corps, the military and the intelligence community. So much of what has been reported and not reported is just not believable. It strongly indicates that there is an intentional and deliberate effort to keep any facts from being exposed to the public.

We have a highly developed intelligence organization with state of the art technology second to none. We have the ability to communicate from anywhere to any location in the world in real time. Reports of armed conflict, the murder of an ambassador and after action reports do not take hours or days to be delivered to the highest levels of government.

If it walks like a duck, quacks like a duck and looks like a duck then it is a duck. This situation can be nothing but a cover up for political protection of the president during an election. I would pray that this is not the case, but I am afraid that it is.

We must demand that the right questions are asked as I have proposed here, that the president complies with his oath of office and that the facts of this tragedy are given to the American people before the election. We have a right to know the truth and hold those responsible through our vote.


William Perugino is active in local and regional politics and can be reached at 3peruginos@bellsouth.net.

 

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