I believe that today was a defining day for the Obama administration and particularly for Hillary Clinton. After waiting nearly eight months to get more information on exactly what happened surrounding the terrorist attack in Benghazi, three brave whistle-blowers from the State Department finally told their stories to a Congressional committee. It was clear and embarrassing based on the questions from Democrat members of the committee that they were more interested in protecting Susan Rice, Hillary Clinton and the administration rather than seeking information and the truth. With that being said, the minute-by-minute recount of what happened on September 11th from Greg Hicks (who became the highest ranking diplomat in Libya after Ambassador Stevens' passing) was absolutely riveting. Here are some of the important points we learned today from Greg Hicks, along with Mark Thompson and Eric Nordstrom.
According to Greg Hicks, from the beginning it was reported from Libya that they were under attack. Hicks says, “The only report was there was an attack, no protest.”
Hicks also clarifies many times, “The YouTube video was a non-event in Libya.”
Greg Hicks was directed by lawyers in the State Department not to speak individually with Congressman Chaffetz during his congressional delegation to investigate what happened in Benghazi. When a lawyer traveling with the delegation was excluded from a meeting in which he did not have proper security clearance, Hicks later received a phone call from Cheryl Mills, Chief of Staff for Hillary Clinton, who was upset that the lawyer was not allowed in the briefing. It is also important to note that in all his time as a public servant, Hicks had never been asked such a request.
We learned from Hicks that the hospital where Ambassador Chris Stevens was taken was controlled by Ansar al-Sharia, which claimed responsibility for the attack in Benghazi.
Capable response from Tripoli was ordered to “stand down,” to go and help those still under attack in Benghazi. Colonel Gibson was “furious,” saying to Hicks something to the effect of “This is the first time in my career when a diplomat has more balls than the military.”
When asked if the ARB report lets anyone off the hook, Greg Hick responded “yes” and pointed to presidential appointees. Hicks also states that he was “never” given the opportunity to review any of his testimony to the ARB, which would be against protocol.
Hicks also says in a conversation with Secretary Jones about why Susan Rice would blame the attack on a YouTube video, Jones replied, “I don't know.” Hicks: “It was very clear from the tone that I should not proceed any further.” Hicks later received counseling on his management style.
Greg Hicks was never interviewed by the FBI.
Mark Thompson, a former Marine and now the deputy coordinator for Operations in the agency’s Counterterrorism Bureau, was told it was 'not the right time' for special FEST – Foreign Emergency Support Team -- team to deploy during the Benghazi crisis. The expressed purpose of such a team is to act in times of foreign crisis. Thompson says: "I was concerned about it because it was a terrorist event, and we didn't respond to it as a terrorist event."
According to Nordstrom, security at our facilities in Libya did not meet standards, and because of the nature of our posts, the only person who can grant a waiver for employees to be in unsafe facility is the Secretary of State.
At the end of the day, the stories of the heroism and bravery told by Greg Hicks of those people on the ground in Libya who did everything they could to protect their colleagues was extraordinary. However, I remain furious over what I believe to be this administration deliberately lying to the American people in pursuit of power. Last night I talked with Charles Woods, the father of Tyrone Woods who lost his life saving Americans during the attack in Benghazi. Mr. Woods says he has forgiven those who are responsible; I cannot yet say the same. But I do agree that what this all boils down to is credibility: Can we allow politicians of any political party to lie to the American people, to deliberately change the truth, in order to maintain power? The answer is not only no, but heck no.
It will be interesting, and likely frustrating, to see how this is covered by the lapdog Obama-mania media. Up until now, Fox News and talk-radio have been criticized for covering the Benghazi story. Leading up to today, when it became clear that the lapdog media couldn't simply ignore it, this is how they've begun to approach it: This is a partisan witch-hunt being pushed by the right-wing with the ultimate purpose of dismantling Hillary Clinton's chances of running in 2016. Really? The Obama-mania media cannot understand why today's hearings are so important to what many of us are simply seeking: The truth. We owe that to the memories of the four brave Americans who are now dead, we owe that to their families, we owe it to current and future public servants to know that they are safe and will be protected, and we owe that level of credibility to the American people.