Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta announced on Sunday that General Carter Ham Commander of GOC Africa Command (Africom), headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, will retire soon. (U.S. Africa Command is one of six unified geographic commands within the Department of Defense unified command structure.) for refusing to obey orders not to assist the US personnel in Benghazi on the night of September 11. Army General David Rodriguez has been appointed by President Obama to replace him.
Gen. Ham refused to take responsibility for the decision not to provide essential air coverage and other support for the beleaguered personnel at the Consulate. After the information was leaked last week that three urgent requests for support were denied to the Americans trapped in the Consulate and the Annex, President Barack Obama said on Sunday, “The minute I found out what was going on, I gave three very clear directives – Number 1, make sure that we are securing our personnel and doing whatever we need to.” According to the highly decorated, four-star General, Carter Ham, the President is lying.
The Ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, another official, and two CIA assets and former NAVY SEALS disregarded repeated orders to stand down, and rescued several people from the burning Consulate under heavy fire. They requested assistance at least three times and were summarily denied each time. They had AQ mortars painted with laser pointers and requested a C130 attack on the target or a missile strike with a F-22 or F-35. They had laid the groundwork for a military response that would create minimum collateral damage. In return for their heroism, their urgent requests were denied and they died defending America.
According to our sources, General Ham received copies of the e-mails that had been sent to the White House from Benghazi, requesting military support at the Consulate and the Annex after the attacks began. General Ham had a rapid response unit ready to deploy and communicated that to the Pentagon. He then received the order to stand down. His response to the Pentagon was essentially that he could not do that. Within a few minutes after sending that response, his second in command told General Ham that he was relieved of his command, effectively immediately.
On Saturday, October 27, Panetta confirmed that General Ham had been relieved of his assignment.