Skip to comments.The Damning Dozen: Twelve Revelations from the Benghazi Hearings ( Good Intro )
Posted on 05/09/2013 12:49:47 PM PDT by Ernest_at_the_Beach
(2) When Hicks began to voice strenuous objections to the administration's inaccurate talking points with State Department higher-ups, the administration turned hostile. After being lavishly praised by the president and the Secretary of State for his performance under fire, Assistant Secretary of State Beth Jones instantly reversed course and launched into a "blistering critique" of Hicks' leadership. He was subsequently "effectively demoted." Hicks called Rice's talking points "stunning" and "embarrassing."
(3) Secretaries Clinton and Rice (the president's hand-selected messenger on Benghazi to the American people) repeatedly stated that the attack arose from "spontaneous protests" over an obscure YouTube video. This was never true. Hicks called the YouTube a "non-event" in Libya. He and others on the ground -- including Amb. Stevens -- recognized the raid as a coordinated terrorist attack from the very beginning. Hicks testified that he personally told Sec. Clinton as much at 2 am on the night of the attack, along with her senior staff. [UPDATE - Rep. Trey Gowdy also revealed an email sent on 9/12 in which Assistant Sec. Jones confirmed to a Libyan official that the attack had been carried out by terrorist organization Ansar al-Sharia]. Days later, Rice recited bogus talking points on five American television networks, and Clinton denounced the video while standing next to the flag-draped coffins of the fallen. Hicks said there he never mentioned any "spontaneous demonstrations" related to a video in his phone call with Clinton:
Questions: How, why, and by whom did the administration's talking points get scrubbed and re-written? Why did the president refuse to identify the attack as terrorism in an interview with CBS News on September 12, and why did he allow Sec. Rice to disseminate patently false information on his behalf?
(4) A small, armed US force in Tripoli was told it did not have the authority to deploy to Benghazi in the midst of the attack. Twice. Flight time between the two cities is less than an hour. Members of the would-be rescue contingent were "furious" over this obstruction. The witnesses said they did not know who ultimately gave the "stand down" orders, or why. If it was not the Commander-in-Chief calling the shots, why not, and where was he? Whistle-blower Mark Thompson, a career counter-terrorism official at State, said he called the White House to request the immediate deployment of a Foreign Emergency Support Team (FEST) to Benghazi. He was told it was "not the right time" to do so, then was cut out of the communications loop.
(5) The US' security chief in Libya, Eric Nordstrom, averred that Sec. Clinton "absolutely" would have been briefed on his (and Stevens') repeated requests for an increased security presence in Libya. This claim undercut committee Democrats' nitpicking over whether Clinton's signature appeared on the memo denying those requests:
Furthermore, the Benghazi compound was operating below the bare minimum global security standard for US diplomatic missions -- despite being in an exceedingly dangerous place, and having been subjected to previous attempted attacks. Only the Secretary of State has the authority to grant exemptions for minimum security requirements.
(6) Amb. Stevens was stationed at the vulnerable Benghazi compound on a dangerous symbolic date at the behest of Sec. Clinton, who wished to make that diplomatic mission a permanent outpost. This detail should only intensify questions as to why the consulate was so poorly protected (see item #7).
(7) Nordstrom stated that elements of the lightly-armed Libyan militia group tasked with protecting the consulate were "certainly" complicit in the attacks. No US Marines were present at the time. Hicks estimated that at least 60 terrorists swarmed into the compound during the attack. Eight months later, zero arrests have been made.
(8) A mortally wounded Amb. Stevens was taken to a hospital controlled by the Islamist extremist group (Ansar Al-Sharia) primarily responsible for the assault. Administration officials initially pointed to locals rushing Stevens to a local hospital as evidence of local goodwill from protesters who didn't approve of the mob spinning out of control. Hicks said the American contingent did not go to retrieve Stevens from said hospital during the fight because they were fearful that it was a trap.
(9) The US government did not seek permission from the Libyan government to fly any aircraft into Libyan airspace, aside from a drone. The witnesses testified that they believe the Libyan government would have complied with any such request. The fact that none was even made indicates that there was never a plan or intention to rush reinforcements to Benghazi. This renders the "would they have made it on time?" argument largely irrelevant -- the facts in item #4 notwithstanding. Another important point about the "they wouldn't have made it" defense: The assault lasted for eight hours and took place into two waves at two different compounds. How could anyone have known how long the fighting would last? How could they have anticipated that ex-Navy SEALs Woods and Doherty wouldn't have been able to stave off the enemy for a few more hours? Help was not on the way. It was never sent.
(10) Despite committee Democrats' repeated claims and leading questions, reduced funding or "austerity" had absolutely nothing to do with the inadequate security presence on the ground. The State Department itself made this fact crystal clear at previous hearings, as did the administration's internal "ARB" review. Why did multiple Democrats flog an obsolete, thoroughly-debunked explanation, if not to muddy the waters?
(11) Oversight Democrats tried to cast doubt on Mark Thompson's credibility, suggesting that he'd declined to participate in the administration's ARB probe. Thompson corrected the record, noting that he "offered his services" to those investigators, who in turn did not invite him to testify. Democrats also claimed that the House hearings were slanted because the leaders of the ARB investigation were not invited to participate. In fact, Chairman Issa explicitly did invite them, as confirmed by letters obtained by ABC News. They chose not to participate. Democrats were dead wrong on both counts.
(12) During her Congressional testimony on Benghazi, Sec. Clinton memorably asked, "what difference does it make?" in regards to the provenance of the administration's incorrect talking points. Gregory Hicks and Eric Nordstrom both attempted to answer that question. Hicks did so in granular detail (the false explanation opened a nasty rift between the US and Libyan governments, impeding the FBI's investigation for weeks). An emotional Nordstrom was more general (we lost friends; the truth matters):
One of the few points of bipartisan agreement was that the number of unresolved issues merit additional hearings on Benghazi.
Thanks for posting this, Ernest.
There were only a couple things I remember that aren’t included here, and that I thought were relevant. Maybe others can add more.
1. Greg Hicks stated that when he provided testimony to the ARB there was no stenographer present, nor any recording devices. He was never allowed to see the final ARB report to know whether his witness had been transcribed correctly. When Issa asked him if he thought that might mean his testimony contained in the ARB report could have been inaccurate or editorialized, Hicks replied in the affirmative.
2. Hicks said that, while he had lawyers present during his ARB testimony, others who provided testimony did not. He also said that no other person he had spoken to that gave testimony to the ARB board had been allowed to see the final report that included their “presumed” comments.
2. Hicks stated that there were additional surveillance cameras still lying around in boxes at the Benghazi compound because no one had ever been sent to install them.
IMO, #9 points directly to one man and one man only: President Obama. #9 is shocking. This should be a President’s very FIRST act upon learning we are under attack. One precision guided missile launched from an F/A-18 (night attack) outside the the front gate of the consulate would’ve scared the living sh!t out of the bad guys. Just the shock wave of a high-speed fly by might have even done the trick. They’d have no idea what was coming next and would’ve scattered like rats.
But survivors at the base were afraid to retrieve the body because the hospital was one under the control of Ansar Al-Sharia whom Beth Jones initially fingered as the terror group responsible.
So WHY DID THEY SAY THEY WERE FRIENDLY LOCALS?
P.S. If Reagan or even Bush were President, they’d not asked for permission. They’d do whatever it took to save American lives rather than wait for permission.
Because all evidence suggests that they were.
Excellent ‘cliff’s notes’ summation!
The article is excellent...well laid out....thanks for pointing to it.
Were they friendly...or has it been spun that way?
Travis can talk about the Cross Border Authority the President has to issue in luie of not having permission from a government . skipping over some details there.
This is very helpful!
No, not different. The hospital was under the control of Ansar Al-Sharia. The locals who pulled Stevens’ body out of the rubble, hours after the attack, were not Ansar Al-Sharia.
Anshar al Sharia was one such.
There are photos on FreeRepublic of the al-Queda banner...flag flying on buildings in 2012 before the attack.
I never read anything definitive about them being friendlies.
My impression is that they were painted that way by an administration still clinging to the youtube fantasy. I'm not doubting you necessarily...just never read otherwise.
Their behavior on video when retrieving the body did not look friendly to me.
Hicks also testified that he was not allowed to read the classified report, which tells me that his testimony almost certainly was inaccurate or editorialized.
Obama spoke about the Libyans being friendly the day after the attacks. I perceived this as too premature and an attempt to downplay the severity of what happened:
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