In the eight months (“a long time ago” according to White House spokesman Jay Carney), there are still many unanswered questions about how the Executive Branch reacted to the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya. The press may finally be getting out from under the thumb of the Democrat Party and actually digging into the Obama Administration’s curious handling of events during and after four Americans were murdered.
The standard “who knew what, when?” is still very relevant as the answers will not just reveal culpability, but competence. But there is a way to find out some of that.
Washington is replete with agencies and organizations that maintain 24-hour “watch centers.” The purpose of these centers is to monitor situations around the clock and maintain
information channels for government officials and, as needed, respond to circumstances as necessary. As one would expect, the primary operations are maintained by U.S. military and intelligence organizations as well as the White House, State Department, Homeland Security, etc.
To ensure our government is synchronized during crises, a special protocol exists; NOIWON. The National Operational Intelligence Watch Officer’s Network (NOIWON) “is a secure telephone conference-call system between major Washington national security watch centers. It is used for rapid evaluation of breaking crises.” (Wikipedia) Among the nodes in the NOIWON system are:
- National Military Command Center
- National Military Joint Intelligence Center
- State Department Operations Center
- State Department Bureau of Intelligence and Research
- CIA Operations Center
- NSA Operations Center
- The White House Situation Room
- U.S. Navy Multiple Threat Alert Center
When there is a crisis, and the Benghazi attack certainly should have qualified, NOIWON lights up. As each Op Center is notified, all related communications, advisories (internal and external) and actions are logged. That means the name and/or position of everyone who is told about the situation is documented. Every relevant station, subordinate organization and office of expertise within the agencies are notified and those notifications are logged.
Given the circumstances of the Benghazi attack, it is entirely possible (I believe likely) that a CRITIC was issued. A CRITIC is the highest level of warning/advisory issued and is designed to get initial notifications to the President’s desk within 10 minutes of the event.
So, was a NOIWON initiated by the State Department? Given the dialogue about whether or not a military or CIA response team was to be deployed, it would certainly seem there was. If not, this should be the first point of investigation by Congress and the media.
Had a NOIWON been issued, the list of cognizant government agencies and officials aware of the attack should be available. Who was contacted and when? Who could not be reached? If contacted, what did they do? What assets were applied to Benghazi? What was the result of those actions?
Congress should require the watch logs of all of the above agencies for the night of September 11, 2012. If there was no NOIWON issued, the State Department has even more to explain. If there was a notice, we just may find some “there, there.”