The extensive Senate report on the Sept. 11, 2012, Benghazi attack dropped a major, unreported bombshell: The commander of U.S. forces in Africa was not aware of the existence of the besieged CIA annex.
The staggering detail raises the question of what was transpiring at the fated annex and nearby U.S. special mission and why key members of the Defense Department, including those responsible for responding to emergency situations, were not aware of it.
Questions now must be also raised as to why, on the night of attack, command of an elite unit known as C-110, or the EUCOM CIF, was reportedly transferred from the military’s European command to AFRICOM, or the United States Africa Command.
Page 28 of the 85-page report states:
“With respect to the role of DoD and AFRICOM in emergency evacuations and rescue operations in Benghazi, the Committee received conflicting information on the extent of the awareness within DoD of the Benghazi Annex. According to U.S. AFRICOM, neither the command nor its Commander were aware of an annex in Benghazi, Libya.
“However, it is the Committee’s understanding that other DoD personnel were aware of the Benghazi Annex.”
Page 77 of the report further divulges that Gen. Carter Ham, then-commander of U.S. Africa Command, “was not even aware there was a CIA annex in Benghazi at the time of the attacks.”
Continued the Senate report: “We are puzzled as to how the military leadership expected to effectively respond and rescue Americans in the event of an emergency when it did not even know of the existence of one of the U.S. facilities.”
On the night of the attack, Ham was placed in charge of the C-110, a 40-man Special Ops force maintained for rapid response to emergencies. The force was trained for deployment for events like the Benghazi attack. Command was transferred from the military’s European command to Ham in the middle of the attack.
Ultimately, the C-110, which had reportedly been training in Croatia during the attack, was not deployed to respond in Benghazi. Instead it was ordered to return to its forward operating base in Italy.