News & Politics

Gowdy: Yeah, Some Benghazi Witnesses Say There Was a 'Stand-Down' Order Given To Military Assets

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Rep. Trey Gowdy, chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, let slip on Wednesday that a number of witnesses have told the committee that a stand-down order was given to military assets as the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attacks were taking place.

“The best I can do is tell you what the witnesses say, and then you can decide who you think is more credible,” Gowdy said during an interview with Boston Herald Radio.

This contradicts what both the Accountability Review Board and the Republican-controlled House Intel Committee found in their investigations, but perhaps their investigations were incomplete.

“There are witnesses who say there was one, there are witnesses who say there was not one,” said Gowdy.

The other investigations apparently somehow neglected to interview witnesses who were in a position to say that there was a stand-down order.

The State Department’s sham “Accountability Review Board” didn’t interview President Obama or Secretary Clinton, or even bother to investigate and get statements from the Benghazi survivors.

And as Stephen Hayes pointed out in the Weekly Standard in December of 2014, the House Intel report was a hot mess—sloppy and incomplete.

For many of those who had been following the story closely, the report was bizarre and troubling. Key events were left out. Important figures were never mentioned. Well-known controversies were elided. Congressional testimony on controversial issues was mischaracterized. The authoritative tone of the conclusions was undermined by the notable gaps in evidence presented to support them.

“If this was a high school paper, I would give it an F,” says John Tiegen, a former CIA officer who fought on the ground that night in Benghazi and lived through many of the events the report purports to describe. “There are so many mistakes it’s hard to know where to begin. How can an official government report get so many things wrong?”

Why the House Intelligence Committee would have presented such an incompetent report, I’ll leave to the readers to decide.

Gowdy told Boston Herald Radio that “there were no assets that could have gotten there” in time to save Ambassador Chris Stevens and Sean Smith, who both died of smoke inhalation at the diplomatic compound earlier in the evening of Sept. 11, 2012.

But he noted the question of whether assets could have arrived in time to save the other two victims, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, was “eminently fair.”

The South Carolina Republican has taken heat from Democrats for the length and scope of his investigation, which many critics have dismissed as a partisan exercise.

However, Gowdy noted the Justice Department has been equally slow to prosecute Ahmed Abu Khatallah, the only Benghazi suspect taken into U.S. custody.

“I don’t think a single Democrat has asked the Department of Justice why they haven’t brought Khatallah to trial yet,” he said. “I haven’t heard a single one complain about the amount of time that it’s taken the Department of Justice to bring the only person who’s been apprehended in connection with Benghazi to trial. So they’re willing to give a pass when their guys are doing an investigation; they do nothing but obstruct when we’re trying to do it.”

The Select Committee on Wednesday interviewed Jeremy Bash, who served as chief of staff at the Defense Department during the Benghazi attacks.

Col. Andrew Wood told investigative journalist Sharyl Attkisson that the Special Forces mentioned in an email from Bash to the State Department were on their way to Benghazi, but were ordered to turn back.

Bash was the 69th interview the panel has conducted since it was formed in June, 2014, and there are roughly 12 witnesses left to interview before it winds down its investigation.