A military special ops member who watched as the deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi unfolded last September told Fox News the U.S. had highly trained forces just a few hours away, and said he and others feel the government betrayed the four men who died in the attack.
Speaking on condition of anonymity, and appearing in a Fox News Channel interview with his face and voice disguised, the special operator contradicted claims by the Obama administration and a State Department review that said there wasn’t enough time for U.S. military forces to have intervened in the Sept. 11 attack in which U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, an embassy employee and two former Navy SEALs working as private security contractors were killed.
“I know for a fact that C-110, the EUCOM CIF, was doing a training exercise in … not in the region of North Africa, but in Europe,” the operator told Fox News' Adam Housley. “And they had the ability to act and to respond.”
The C-110 is a 40-man Special Ops force capable of rapid response and deployment specifically trained for incidents like last year’s attack in Benghazi. During the night of the Sept. 11, 2012, attack in Libya, in which U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed in Libya, the C-110 were training in Croatia, just 3 ½ hours away.
“We had the ability to load out, get on birds and fly there, at a minimum stage,” the operator told Fox News. “C-110 had the ability to be there, in my opinion, in a matter of about four hours…four to six hours.”
Being so close, C-110s would have been able to respond had there been a second attack, the source added.
“They would have been there at a minimum to provide a quick reaction force that can facilitate their exfil out of the, out of the problem situation. Nobody knew how it was going to develop. And you hear people and a whole bunch of advisers say, 'We wouldn’t have sent them because the security was a unknown situation.'”
The source says the government could have at least sent the C-110s there as backup.
“If it’s an unknown situation, at a minimum, you send forces there to facilitate the exfil, or, or, um medical injuries,” he said. “We could have sent a C-30 to Benghazi to provide medical evacuation for the injured.”
The source says many people connected to the Benghazi bombing feel threatened and are afraid to talk.
“The problem is, you got guys in my position, you got guys in special operations community who are still active and still involved,” the source said. “And they would be decapitated if they came forward with information that would affect high level commanders,” he said.
Despite the concern, the source who spoke to Fox News says there’s a feeling of betrayal in the community that the government left people on the ground in Benghazi to fend for themselves.
“You know, it’s something that’s risky, especially in our line of profession, to say anything about, anything in the realm of politics, or that deals with policy,” the source said.
In December, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen told lawmakers the U.S. did not have personnel close enough to have responded to the siege at the consulate, even though the State Department had been repeatedly warned by embassy staffers concerned about security in Libya.
“It is not reasonable, nor feasible, to tether U.S. forces at the ready to respond to protect every high-risk post in the world,” Mullen said.
Adam Housley joined Fox News Channel (FNC) in 2001 and currently serves as a Los Angeles-based senior correspondent.