The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee said this morning that the new evidence unveiled showing al-Qaeda plotted the Benghazi diplomatic mission attack proves the “cries for help” from Ambassador Chris Stevens “were not responded to.”
CBS featured on 60 Minutes last night the first Western eyewitness to the Sept. 11, 2012, attack: a former British soldier involved in diplomatic security.
“About 30 minutes into the attack, a Quick Reaction Force from the CIA annex ignored orders to wait and raced to the compound, at times running and shooting their way through the streets just to get there,” the guard said. “Inside the compound, they repelled a force of as many as 60 armed terrorists and managed to save five American lives and recover the body of Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith. They were forced to fight their way out before they could find the ambassador.”
He noted al-Qaeda had promised to attack the Red Cross, the British and Americans in Benghazi, and had already carried out the first two before the Sept. 11 attack.
“They knew what they were doing,” the guard said. “That was a well-executed attack.”
Chairman Mike McCaul (R-Texas) said the interview shows disturbing, crystal-clear warning signs ignored by the administration. “The fact that the people on the ground, for the first time, have come forward to tell their story about what happened and what they saw when they got to Benghazi before this — before 9/11 where the black flags of Al Qaida flying, they saw the Red Cross embassy attack — or Red Cross attacked, the British ambassador, an assassination attempt on him. And then the third thing, that they actually put all this on the Internet, sort of prophesying what they’re getting ready to do, was to take out our consulate in Benghazi,” he said this morning on Fox.
“This was all foreseeable, and warnings were made to State Department in Washington. And a cry for help was made by the ambassador. Those cries for help were not responded to,” McCaul added.
The chairman also noted that even though Ramzi Yousef, the 1993 World Trade Center bomber, and Saddam Hussein’s brothers were on the U.S. Rewards for Justice list, the Benghazi suspects, “these terrorists, have not been put on this list.”
“I just think it’s a sign for the administration, they’re not taking it seriously, it’s not a priority. This could bring these — these terrorists to justice. It’s been over a year. I think we had them in our sights, we let them go. And now this is the best chance we can get to apprehend them,” McCaul said.
He also predicted that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s role in blaming the attack on an anti-Muhammed video will stick with the potential 2016 Democratic presidential candidate.
“She was behind all of this. And I think it’s gonna haunt her in any potential presidential election,” McCaul said. “I was one of the last ones to question her in Congress on Foreign Affairs Committee about these cables, about these warnings. ‘And what was your response, Madam Secretary?’ ‘I never saw them,’ she said.”
“I think this one is the most disturbing and offensive event of all the tragedy of Benghazi. And that is, you know, the military teaches that no left — no man left behind. No man left behind. And we left behind our ambassador and three other, Navy SEAL and two Foreign Service officers — we left behind to die. And what — you heard it last night. They called for additional help,” he continued.
“Al Qaida is spreading like a wildfire across Northern Africa, and is growing out of control.”
Correspondent Lara Logan and 60 Minutes producer Max McClellan said that they have been trying to report on Benghazi without political influence.
“We had to make sure we weren’t used by anyone on the left or the right who had a political agenda. That was our biggest concern. Journalism is not about making a case, it’s about finding the facts. In this story, you had to work really hard to find the facts and not be seduced by anybody. So, we left about 98 percent of what we learned on the floor– didn’t even report it– because unless we could substantiate it with primary sources that we truly trusted and whose motivations we trusted, then we didn’t even go there,” Logan said.
“The challenge was sifting out the political bias that might exist with the information that you’re trying to get, finding the little nuggets of truth in the midst of the political spin. For me, that was the big challenge: making this as apolitical as possible, so that our only mission was to try to ascertain the facts, leaving all the other stuff aside,” McClellan said.