Prior to last week, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey, has managed to stay out of the spotlight with the Benghazi failure that resulted in the deaths of four Americans. But six Republicans on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence had harsh words for Dempsey, noting ‘leadership failure’ for not having an emergency plan in place in hot spot areas for terrorist activities like Benghazi, Libya.
The Washington Times reported, “The tenure of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, has been marked by what we view as significant deficiencies in command,” the six wrote in an addendum to the committee’s Jan. 15 report on Benghazi. “From Syria to Benghazi, there has been either a profound inability or clear unwillingness to identify and prevent problems before they arise. Given the known operating environment in Benghazi, much less North Africa, a strong military leader would have ensured there was a viable plan in place to rescue Americans should the need arise.”
“Gen. Dempsey and Leon E. Panetta, defense secretary at the time of the attack, have testified that time and distance prevented troops from arriving during the fighting. The six Republicans dismissed that reasoning.”
“General Dempsey’s attempts to excuse inaction by claiming that forces were not deployed because they would not have gotten there in time does not pass the common sense test,” they wrote. “No one knew when the attacks against our facilities in Benghazi would end, or how aggressive the attacks would be. That is the whole point of a pre-established emergency rescue plan — so that the length of the attack alone does not dictate the rescue or survival of Americans.”
“In addition to Mr. Chambliss, the criticism came from Sens. Richard Burr of North Carolina, James E. Risch of Idaho, Daniel Coats of Indiana, Marco Rubio of Florida and Tom Coburn of Oklahoma. The committee’s other Republican, Susan M. Collins of Maine, did not sign on.”
Gen. Dempsey and his staff defended his actions at the time noting that he has testified in front of Congress multiple times on the military’s response and that there was simply not enough time for U.S. forces to arrive in Benghazi to provide a rescue or security to those who were killed in the attack. Upon notification of the attack, military forces were ordered to respond.