It was revealed for the first time today that the body of murdered Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens was recovered by a secret two man Special “Ops” team that was not affiliated with any of the other security entities involved in the Benghazi attack.
This team, acting under their own initiative and armed with their own weapons, undertook this mission despite very little intelligence available for this exceedingly hostile and volatile environment. The information came to light this morning on WVOX’sVernuccio/Allison radio show.
The previously undisclosed information was provided by former Army Ranger Jack Murphy who is the co-author along with Brandon Webb of Benghazi: The Definitive Report.
Murphy described in vivid detail the events of the attack including the fact that the hired gate security unit who came from a local militia brigade were armed only with cricket bats and fled the scene when the first RPG hit the front gate of the Temporary Mission Facility (TMF) around 9:40 PM Benghazi time.
He went on to describe the rescue of the TMF personnel by members of the nearby CIA Annex led by former Navy Seal Tyrone Woods. The rescue unit operated under an informal security agreement with the State Department but the effort was initially resisted by the Chief of Base at the annex. Within ten minutes of their arrival at the TMF, Woods and his team secured the survivors of the attack and the body of Sean Smith, a State Department Communications specialist and returned to the annex without being able to locate and recover Ambassador Stevens due to the intensity of the fire in the building where he was last located and the presence of both attackers and looters who were swarming through the compound.
At approximately 1:00 AM on 09/12/2012 Benghazi time a seven man rescue unit arrived from Tripoli, led by former Navy Seal Glen Doherty, who was a friend and colleague of both Woods and the authors. They used $30,000 in cash to commandeer a private plane to fly them to Benghazi where they arrived at approximately 1:00 AM. They were detained by Libyan customs for a variety of reasons that demand further investigation and subsequently did not arrive at the annex until approximately 5:00 AM where a second intensive firefight began. Doherty linked up with Woods on the roof of one of the Annex buildings where both were killed by motor shells within ten minutes of Doherty’s arrival.
With the death of the team leader Doherty, the decision was made to evacuated everyone living, wounded and dead from the annex to the Benghazi airport for ex filtration to Tripoli. Murphy disclosed that one defender of the Annex was so severely wounded that he had to be carried on the back of one of his fellow survivors.
When asked by Allison & Vernuccio why military assistance was not more available and forth coming during this nine hour fire fight, Murphy stated that the military rescue forces were not well positioned and that there was no proper planning for this kind of military eventuality. He further criticized what he characterized an attitude about appropriate security in Libya as being incompetent with a “flippant attitude” and pointedly cited Patrick F. Kennedy, Under Secretary for Management at the State Department as a major obstacle to providing levels of security commensurate with the “high risk” and “high threat” designations that the same State Department and others had bestowed on both Benghazi and Tripoli.
The U.S. House of Representatives is continuing to investigate numerous facets of the Benghazi attack, including why the U.S. military was not instructed to intervene and provide assistance to the beleaguered Americans at the compound, and why survivors of the attack have not been allowed to testify before Congress or speak to the press.