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Bryan Preston

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May 8, 2013 - 2:58 pm
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4. Whistleblowers were intimidated into silence. Hicks testified to a pattern of behavior that leads to the reasonable conclusion that many officials within the State Department wanted him to remain silent after the Benghazi attack. He said that on the night of the attack he was personally commended both by Secretary Clinton and President Barack Obama. But he later questioned why Ambassador Rice blamed the YouTube movie, and from that point on his superior, Acting Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs Beth Jones, questioned his “management style” and told him directly that no one in State should want him on their team in the field again. He was eventually demoted to a desk job after having been deputy to Ambassador Stevens, and remains in that post. Hick also testified that the Accountability Review Board, convened by Clinton last fall allegedly to determine the facts of the attack, never had stenographers in the room during his tw0-hour interview. Nordstrom concurred. Thompson was not even allowed to testify to the ARB despite having direct knowledge of the attacks due to his position on the U.S. Foreign Emergency Support Team. Thompson testified that the FEST was designed to go from zero to wheels up very quickly but was not deployed at all. He wanted to tell his story to the ARB, but was not allowed to. Hicks also testified that for the first time in his career, the State Department assigned a lawyer/minder to attend witness interviews with the ARB. He also testified that Jones told him not to be personally interviewed by Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the Republican House member who was investigating the attack on behalf of the House Government Oversight and Reform Committee. It all adds up to a pattern of witness control and intimidation.

5. “The YouTube movie was a non-event in Libya.” Hicks directly testified that the YouTube movie, for which a man remains in jail, was not in any way relevant to the attack in Benghazi. Why Obama, Clinton, Rice et al blamed that movie for the attack remains an unanswered question. Hicks said that no American on the ground in Libya that night believed the movie was to blame. He also testified that there was no protest prior to the attack. When the attack began, he was in Tripoli. He texted Stevens, who was in Benghazi, to advise him of the riot in Cairo at the U.S. embassy. In that riot, jihadists had stormed the walls and replaced the American flag with the black flag of Islam. Stevens had not been aware of the Cairo situation at all, but shortly after Hicks texted him about it, Stevens called and told Hicks that the Benghazi consulate was under attack. He never mentioned a protest.

Hicks also testified that blaming the movie had strongly adverse real-world effects. According to him, it humiliated Libya’s president, who had correctly stated that Benghazi was a terrorist attack. Blaming the movie, Hicks said, did “immeasurable damage” to our relations with Libya and delayed the FBI investigation. On Sept. 12, Ambassador Susan Rice told the first of her many untruths, claiming in an email that the FBI investigation into the attack was already underway. It would not actually get underway for 17 days after the attack, by which time the scene of the attack had been compromised and contaminated.

We still do not know who decided to change the original CIA talking points and blame the movie, but the finger is pointing directly at Hillary Clinton. She was briefed by Hicks during the attack, the movie was never mentioned, but in her first public statement on September 12, she blamed the movie. Her subordinate, Ambassador Susan Rice, also blamed the movie the following weekend. The fact that Obama himself blamed the movie repeatedly, though, strongly suggests that he took part in the decision as well.

6. Democrats were uninterested in getting at most of the facts, but were very interested in destroying Mark Thompson. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) set the tone for the Democrats’ angle on the hearings in his opening remarks. He used his opening to attack the committee chairman, Rep. Darrell Issa, and to pre-question the witnesses. Most of the Democrats who followed him failed to ask many questions of the witnesses. Instead, they delivered speeches or blamed budget cuts, an argument that has already been debunked by the State Department itself. One sadly hilarious moment came during Rep. William Clay’s questioning. The Missouri Democrat blamed the repeated denials to enhance security at Benghazi on budget cuts. Issa reminded him that the State Department has debunked that line, in the person of Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Charlene Lamb. She testified last fall that budget cuts had not impacted the decisions not to enhance security at Benghazi. Clay claimed not to remember Lamb’s testimony, then moved quickly to cite the ARB, which backed his side. His selective memory proved politically, if not factually, reliable.

Mark Thompson, member of the Foreign Emergency Support Team (FEST) testified that his section had been cut out of decision making during the attack. The Democrats consistently circled on him to try to get him to contradict himself or attack his boss, Daniel Benjamin, who has claimed FEST was included throughout the attack. They never really succeeded, and now Benjamin will be called to testify in a future hearing to clear up the dispute. The heads of the ARB, Ambassador Thomas Pickering and Admiral Michael Mullen, will now be called as well.

7. House hearings are a poor way to determine who did what and why during and after the attack. The Republicans, as I said, should have broken today’s hearing out across several days. When they did question the witnesses, they kept their speeches short and focused on getting answers. Their Democratic counterparts consistently gave speeches and raised red herrings. They were able to waste time and stall long enough for the Arias trial to push the hearing off the TV, and for energy to flag and boredom to set in. The Benghazi attack needs to be properly investigated by someone outside the political process and outside the Obama administration. State cannot be trusted; its own investigation failed even to interview Clinton. Defense may also have officers and political appointees to protect. A special prosecutor is in order and should be appointed.

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Bryan Preston has been a leading conservative blogger and opinionator since founding his first blog in 2001. Bryan is a military veteran, worked for NASA, was a founding blogger and producer at Hot Air, was producer of the Laura Ingraham Show and, most recently before joining PJM, was Communications Director of the Republican Party of Texas.

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Top Rated Comments   
If Obama and Hillary had actually wanted Americans killed at Benghazi, what would they have done differently?
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Item 2 appears to hold some serious political downside for Hillary as it is almost solely her judgment that is in question. Establishing the Benghazi post was her project, and she decided the lower level of security based on her assertion that projecting goodwill would trump actual known security risks. She demonstrated willful blindness to facts on the ground, it appears, prior to 9/11/12.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Things like this make me wonder if the Republican party actually exists or if it's just an elaborate smoke & mirrors job by the Democrats. Honestly, how can a political party be this incompetent for this long?
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (60)
All Comments   (60)
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The Muslim Brotherhood doesn't have to invade the US. We can kill ourselves off without much help from any outside force, But I am wondering how the brotherhood will treat all the welfare recipients in so many of our inner cities and in some of our less prosperous areas. I don't think they feel the same about political correctness
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Blaming the attack on a YouTube video and not on Islamic terrorists may have less to do with the president's re-election and more to do with simply this administration's constant fear of putting the blame on anything that implicates Islam in anything relating to terror. The video was handy in that a) it puts the blame on a thing, a video, b) it shunts the blame to an American thing, since it was produced by an American and c) in the first stages of reporting the producer was sometimes described as an Israeli, thus definitely moving it even further away from Muslims. The same today is true with the Boston massacre terrorists: They are "Chechin" terrorists, not Islamic terrorists. In the end, it's not so much about protecting the president's re-election, but coddling of Islamists, lest, I imagine, we Americans run wild and burn mosques and start profiling Musllims while foolishly putting the blame where it belongs. JTA
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Bryan, about the ‘stand down’ order(s).  You wrote:

“One of the orders came in the middle of the attack, the other came toward the end after Hicks’ team had traveled from Tripoli to Benghazi.”

And you linked to a Fox News transcript of Greg Hicks’s testimony.  I have now read and re-read and re-read that testimony, and I cannot find even a hint of the second (Tripoli to Benghazi) order. Will you or a reader here please clarify for me where exactly in the transcript that second order is cited?

Or did Fox News’s infamous scrubber scrub that part of the transcript like it scrubbed an entire article about the Saudi national at the Boston massacre? Nowhere in the transcript of HIcks’s testimony is the phrase ‘Stand down’ quoted. Peripheral language is employed that SUGGESTS the first order, but I cannot find even peripheral language that could remotely suggest the second order you cited.

Thanks very much.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
On issue five, Jay Carney was very candid in this interview about why the Innocence of Muslims was initially blamed: http://digdeeper1.blogspot.com/2013/05/jay-carney-answers-questions-about.html
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
ALL Democrats share blood guilt for this incident.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Clinton and Obama have gotten away with negligent homicide, this is already forgotten by the MSM and the low information voters. Don't believe me? When was the last time you have heard anything about "Fast and Furious"? The only thing that is important to these sleaze bags is their agenda.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Please keep in mind we are dealing with people that have ZERO honor , integrity , moral standards and have NO principles when it comes to protecting their agenda and actors involved in it . There is only ONE man with the authority to give a stand down order , Barrack Hussein Obama !
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment

People should not have to depend upon congressional hearings to keep informed. I like to be able to reread parts of testimony. I hope the GOP will use some of the Democrat's statements in campaign ads. So what if there is some degree of politics in it. I think the whole operation in Libya was political.,....if not why the concealment. The future of this nation should not be in the hands of people who have to rely upon such subterfuge.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm sick of hearing "they were ordered to stand down."
Who gave the order? I WANT A FREAKING NAME.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
Maj. Eaton: We have top men working on it now.

Indiana Jones: Who?

Maj. Eaton: Top... men.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
As the crated arc is being pushed in a gargantuan government to be stored and not researched nor looked upon by human eyes ever again.

Great stuff!
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
I think I've been in that warehouse. It did not even have decent lights. We had to open a door to the outside to see what we were doing, examining some F-111 parts.

Then again, it looked a lot like the basement of the Pentagon, which is even darker.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
It might be a good idea to call Cheryl Mills and Beth Jones too. It would be nice to receive some corroborative testimony from Colonel Gibson. And where are the whistle-blowers from the CIA and DoD? And how about calling Mike Morrell and Tom Donilon who were at the deputies meeting? Perhaps, the survivors could be identified and could testify as well. Anybody heard from Petraeus lately. I think he's in California, give him a call. This thing is not over by a long shot.
49 weeks ago
49 weeks ago Link To Comment
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