On Sunday night, CBS’ flagship news program, 60 Minutes, finally got around to investigating Benghazi. More than a year after the attack, and long after reporters at other networks including Fox and even CBS’ own Sharyl Attkisson have thoroughly investigated the attack, 60 Minutes interviewed “Morgan Jones.” Jones is the pseudonym of a former British soldier who was helping US security in Benghazi. He was in charge of the Libyan guard force, and had warned US officials that the Libyans hired to protect the consulate would not resist or repel a terrorist attack on the US facility. When he arrived in Benghazi, he found the local security forces sitting around, laughing and drinking tea. He says he warned US officials that “These guys are no good” and “You need to get ’em out of here.” Hillary Clinton’s State Department refused to listen to his warnings. Jones says he warned the State Department about the local Benghazi security forces so often that “In the end, I got quite bored of hearing my own voice say it.”
60 Minutes says Jones is using a pseudonym for his own safety, but leaves out who he fears might jeopardize his safety after he spoke with CBS reporter Lara Logan about Benghazi.
Logan also interviewed Lt Col Andy Wood, commander of the Green Beret security forces in Benghazi. Wood told Logan something that has been reported before: That al Qaeda had threatened to attack the US in Benghazi. Wood says he told Ambassador Stevens that the US facility in Benghazi should be shut down. “We had one option,” Wood says he had been telling Stevens, “Leave Benghazi or you will be killed.”
LOGAN: “Green Beret Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Andy Wood, was one of the top American security officials in Libya. Based in Tripoli, he met with Amb. Stevens every day. The last time he went to Benghazi was in June, just three months before the attack. While he was there, al Qaeda tried to assassinate the British ambassador. Wood says, to him, it came as no surprise because al Qaeda — using a familiar tactic — had stated their intent in an online posting, saying they would attack the Red Cross, the British and then the Americans in Benghazi.”
LOGAN: “And you watched as they–”
WOOD: “As they did each one of those.”
LOGAN: “–attacked the Red Cross and the British mission. And the only ones left–”
WOOD: “Were us. They made good on two out of the three promises. It was a matter of time till they captured the third one.”
LOGAN: “And Washington was aware of that?”
WOOD: “They knew we monitored it. We included that in our reports to both State Department and DOD.”
LOGAN: “Andy Wood told us he raised his concerns directly with Amb. Stevens three months before the U.S. compound was overrun.”
WOOD: “I made it known in a country team meeting, ‘You are gonna get attacked. You are gonna get attacked in Benghazi. It’s gonna happen. You need to change your security profile.'”
LOGAN: “Shut down–”
WOOD: “Shut down–”
LOGAN: “–the special mission–”
WOOD: –“Shut down operations. Move out temporarily. Ch– or change locations within the city. Do something to break up the profile because you are being targeted. They are– they are– they are watching you. The attack cycle is such that they’re in the final planning stages.”
LOGAN: “Wait a minute, you said, ‘They’re in the final planning stages of an attack on the American mission in Benghazi’?”
WOOD: “It was apparent to me that that was the case. Reading, reading all these other, ah, attacks that were occurring, I could see what they were staging up to, it was, it was obvious.”
LOGAN: “We have learned the U.S. already knew that this man, senior al Qaeda leader Abu Anas al-Libi was in Libya, tasked by the head of al Qaeda to establish a clandestine terrorist network inside the country. Al-Libi was already wanted for his role in bombing two U.S. embassies in Africa.”
HICKS: “It was a frightening piece of information.”
LOGAN: “Because it meant what?”
HICKS: “It raised the stakes, changed the game.”
CBS interviewed Woods in October 2012, and at that time Woods said that his defense forces in Libya had been steadily cut in the months leading up to the attack. He also told CBS at that time that the State Department had told security officials in Libya to stop asking for help, and forbade them from requesting help from the military. That slackening of the US defense posture and isolating State Department personnell from DoD help, at a time when al Qaeda was clearly on the rise across Libya, has never been explained. Congress’ investigations into this and other mysteries regarding Benghazi have mostly failed.
60 Minutes’ report is well produced, but it’s about a year too late. The administration that ignored warnings and left Ambassador Stevens and three other brave Americans to die lied about Benghazi and was re-elected.
It’s a sad state of affairs, but the fact is that Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton left Americans to die at the hands of terrorists and then lied about it for weeks, and they have paid no price for any of it. What difference, at this point, will one 60 Minutes report make?