If you don't get torches-and-pitchforks irate about this, you are not an American:
The security officer had a laser on the target that was firing and repeatedly requested back-up support from a Specter gunship, which is commonly used by U.S. Special Operations forces to provide support to Special Operations teams on the ground involved in intense firefights. The fighting at the CIA annex went on for more than four hours -- enough time for any planes based in Sigonella Air base, just 480 miles away, to arrive. Fox News has also learned that two separate Tier One Special operations forces were told to wait, among them Delta Force operators.
There were two AC-130Us deployed to Libya in March as part of Operation Unified Protector.
The AC-130U is a very effective third-generation fire-support aircraft, capable of continuous and extremely accurate fire onto multiple targets. It has been used numerous times in Iraq and Afghanistan to save pinned-down allied forces, and has even been credited with the surrender of the Taliban city of Kunduz
It was purpose-built for a select number of specific mission types, including point-defense against enemy attack. It was literally built for the kind of mission it could have engaged in over Benghazi, if the administration had let it fire. As the excerpt above clearly shows, we had assets on the ground "painting" the targets with the laser.
An AC-130U flies in a counter-clockwise "pivot turn" around the target, with the weapons all aimed out the left side of the aircraft.
There are two state-of-the-art fire-control systems (FCSs) in a AC-130U, using television sensors,infrared sensors, and synthetic aperture strike radar. These fire control systems can see through the dark of night, clouds, and smoke.
The two FCSs on the AC-130U control a 25mm Gatling gun for area suppression, a precision 40mm cannon, and a 105mm cannon which can engage hard targets.
What this means is that we have the forces in the air and on the ground to have stopped the attack at any point, eliminating the terrorists and saving American lives.
Update (Bryan): Here is an AC-130 engaging in a live fire exercise. The crackling sound you hear is its extreme rate of fire.
Update: BlackFive confirmed with a retired Delta operator: The fact that ground personnel were painting the target says there was a Spectre on station.
Having spent a good bit of time nursing a GLD (ground Laser Designator) in several garden spots around the world, something from the report jumped out at me.
One of the former SEALs was actively painting the target. That means that Specter WAS ON STATION! Probably an AC130U. A ground laser designator is not a briefing pointer laser. You do not "paint" a target until the weapons system/designator is synched; which means that the AC130 was on station.
Only two places could have called off the attack at that point; the WH situation command (based on POTUS direction) or AFRICOM commander based on information directly from the target area.
If the AC130 never left Sigonella (as Penetta [sic] says) that means that the Predator that was filming the whole thing was armed.
If that SEAL was actively "painting" a target; something was on station to engage! And the decision to stand down goes directly to POTUS!