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Kudlow: Why Didn't Washington Send Help?

Friday, 26 Oct 2012 | 7:22 PM ET
A vehicle sits smoldering in flames after being set on fire inside the US consulate compound in Benghazi late on September 11, 2012
STR | AFP | Bloomberg
A vehicle sits smoldering in flames after being set on fire inside the US consulate compound in Benghazi late on September 11, 2012

Few people have been more critical of the White House response to the Libya attack than Bing West.

In a scathing editorial published by The National Review West charged that the President and his national security team knew about the attack as it was happening – yet did nothing.

"It is bewildering that no U.S. aircraft ever came to the aid of the defenders," he said.

On Friday the CIA responded to these and similar charges. In a statement the agency said, "We can say with confidence that the agency reacted quickly to aid our colleagues during that terrible evening in Benghazi…"

Bing West: White House Choked & Americans Died
Former Asst. Secretary of Defense Bing West talked with CNBC's Larry Kudlow about the Libya attacks. "There are tapes of everything that happened," he said, "and sooner or later it's going to come out."

The agency also said, "Moreover, no one at any level in the CIA told anybody not to help those in need; claims to the contrary are simply inaccurate."

West doesn't buy it.

"This CIA statement is extremely evasive," he said on The Kudlow Report. "They're basically saying we didn't tell them to stand down but they're not saying someone else didn't say stand down.

"I don't get it," exclaimed Larry Kuldow.

West as well as Larry Kudlow are baffled. They feel the White House had more than enough time to respond – the attack lasted for 7 hours.

CIA Denies Any Misstep in Libya
Reports that the CIA refused to help operatives on the ground during the Libya attacks sparked a swift and strongly worded response from the agency. CNBC's Eamon Javers has details.

According to Bing, "Fighter jets (stationed in Italy) could have been at Benghazi in an hour; the commandos inside three hours…."

Yet no action was taken.

"Why didn't we help our own people!" exclaimed Larry Kudlow.

"For our top leadership, with all the technological and military tools at their disposal, to have done nothing for seven hours was a joint civilian and military failure of initiative and nerve," Bing said.


Republicans have charged that the decision to do nothing was more politically motivated than anything else. They say that after killing Osama bin Laden the President didn't want the public to know about an al-Qaeda comeback in Libya. Read More: White House Benghazi Blunder Grows Even Worse.The White House has, in the past, denied any intentional cover-up and counters that it has been completely transparent – providing its best intelligence on the attack, and then refining it as more information came to light.

On September 11, 2012 Ambassador Christopher Stevens, and the other Americans were killed after Islamist gunmen attacked the U.S. consulate and a safe house refuge in Benghazi.

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"The Kudlow Report" airs weeknights at 7 p.m. ET.

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  • Lawrence Kudlow is a CNBC senior contributor. Previously, Kudlow was anchor of CNBC's prime-time program "The Kudlow Report"