President Obama has claimed that “the minute” he became aware of the Benghazi attack, he directed his staff to “make sure that we are securing our personnel and doing whatever we need to do.” But CBS News reports that one thing Obama and his staff didn’t do was to convene its top interagency counterterrorism resource: the Counterterrorism Security Group, (CSG).
“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.”….
Absent coordination from Counterterrorism Security Group, a senior US counterterrorism official says the response to the crisis became more confused. The official says the FBI received a call during the attack representing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and requesting agents be deployed. But he and his colleagues agreed the agents “would not make any difference without security and other enablers to get them in the country and synch their efforts with military and diplomatic efforts to maximize their success.”
Obama’s failure to consult the CSG appears to violate established protocol which reportedly calls for the Counterterrorism Security Group (CSG) to be convened in the event of a possible terrorist attack. The attack in Benghazi was always a possible terrorist attack. According to a public military document, the reason for the protocol is to “synchronize the efforts of all the government agencies that have a role to play in the Global War on Terrorism.”
However, Obama opted, in the words of one official quoted by CBS “isolate the response process at the most senior level” and not to “consult counterterrorism professionals.” The outcome in Benghazi suggests that he should have followed protocol.
Perhaps Obama believes he’s a better counterterrorism expert than his counterterrorism professionals. Or maybe he just had his mind on Las Vegas.