The ousted head of US Forces in Africa, General Carter Ham was one of the speakers at last week's Aspen Security Forum and put another nail into the coffin of the administration claim that initial reports weren't sure what motivated the attack on the Benghazi mission. the quickly became clear the assault on the American consulate in Benghazi last year was a terrorist attack and not a spontaneous demonstration.
"It became apparent to all of us quickly that this was not a demonstration, this was a violent attack," Ham said.
When asked whether he specifically thought it was a terrorist attack, Ham said, "I don't know that that was my first reaction. But pretty quickly as we started to gain understanding within the hours after the initiation of the attack, yes. And at the command I don't think anyone thought differently."Allow me to repeat according to the General everyone at command knew it was terrorism within hours of the attack beginning. On 9/11/12:
Ham was in Washington for a meeting of all combat commanders when the attack was under way. Although a decision was made to send a drone from eastern Libya toward Benghazi, by the time it arrived above the facility, the attack on the mission was winding down.Adding General Ham's words to the testimony we have already heard---it has become very clear that Secretary of State Clinton, then UN Ambassador Rice, and most importantly President Obama spend the first weeks after the attack lying to the American people about Benghazi. Since then they have been lying about lying.
Ham knew Ambassador Chris Stevens was missing and believed he could have possibly been kidnapped. Stevens and three other Americans died in the attack.
"In my mind, at that point we were no longer in a response to an attack. We were in a recovery and frankly, I thought, we were in a potential a hostage rescue situation," Ham said.
Ham said although he had authority to scramble a jet to the scene, he decided there was "not necessity and there was not a clear purpose in doing so."
"To do what?" he asked. "It was a very, very uncertain situation."
Ham said although U.S. officials were looking for indicators about a possible attack on US interests during the 9/11 anniversary, there was no information that an attack on the U.S. facility in Benghazi was imminent.
"It was on it everyone's mind....we really were looking very hard," he said. "Did we miss something? Was there something in the intelligence that indicated that an attack on the U.S. special mission facility in Benghazi was being planned or was likely? If that intelligence exists, I don't know."