2012 Benghazi Attack Testimony

This recording will be posted unedited and without comment.

Benghazi hearing

Benghazi hearing part 2

Benghazi Hearing Conclusion on CSPAN

Highlights:

  • Introductions in order Mr. Thompson, Mr. Hicks and Mr. Nordstrom.
  • 14 minute mark, Mr. Gregory Hicks begins his version of the timeline. Senior officer in Libya and acting Ambassador.
  • Attackers used Cyanide Gas and attacked in multiple phases…..
  • 26 minute mark, attacks were being coordinated via a Twitter account controlled by “Ansar al-Sharia”.
  • 30 minute mark, US Africom reported there were no assets within 2-3 hours due to a lack of refueling air-tankers.
  • 34 minute mark, Embassy staff was not trained to use or drive the emergency response vehicles. The security plan relied on local staff not “was not there that night”.
  • 38 minute mark, “extremely precise Mortar fire” begins.
  • 40 minute mark, “LTC Gibson and his team of Special Forces” were ordered to stand down despite order of acting Ambassador. Response team leaves without them in Libya military C-130.
  • Second hour post break.Benghazi-Support-Map-1.2
  • Two Minute mark, President of Libya sent an email to State Department via Beth Jones less than 24 hours after the attack. “Islamic extremists ran the attack” and named the group. Why did Ambassador Rice say differently? NO ANSWER
  • Mr. Hicks “Bureaucratic delays” left Benghazi unsecure for 18 days.
  • “US military personnel were not authorized to travel”. LTC Gibson “Diplomats have more balls than the military”. AFRICOM or SOCOM ????? General Hamm was not on the ground and out of contact in Washington DC.
  • Several documents not released per Congressional Subpoena. Mr. Issa, “Not much in the record of the committee”.
  • Mr Thompson, FEST deployments stopped by Dep Sec. Fergusson. Told not to attend any meetings or VTCs. “FEST trained and equipped with its own aircraft” could have been in Benghazi in 4 hours. “FEST was pushed out of the office”.
  • 15 minute mark, discussion about Hillary Clinton, Ambassador Kennedy and political involvement….
  • 25 minute mark, Conflicting statements. Talking points put together by National Intelligence Director defending Ambassador Rice. Mr. Hicks “We reported no protests” and were not consulted prior to Ambassador Rice’s appearances. Then CIA Director General Petreus upset over leaks and politicians twisting intelligence out of Libya.
  • 36 minute mark, Mr. Hicks was reprimanded for not allowing Hillary Clinton’s aide into a classified briefing post attack. The aide did not have a security clearance.
  • 39 minute mark, Embassy Security budget was cut by over 400 million dollars in 2011 and 2012 total.
  • Was Libya considered a “High Risk, High Threat Environment?” The Benghazi Consulate was a Temporary Facility and ARB report said “Resources were an issue”. The building was not capable of withstanding the first of two bomb attacks.  There is a classified and unreleased version of the Accountability Review Board report that should be declassified.Benghazi-AOI Protests early sept
  • Many Democrat members of the House Committee are not present. What is the roll call count?
  • Mr. Hicks, told not to “Re-litigate Security issues in Libya”.
  • Special Operations were put on alert worldwide internally but were ordered to stand down.
  • 54 minute mark, Two different “STAND DOWN ORDERS”. First, State Department FEST. Second, US Military Special Forces. August 6th, Special Forces engaged in a gun fight. Response, General Hamm drew the team down to 4 men and transferred to training status. Those 4 Green Berets volunteered to go to Benghazi to relieve and reinforce the Consulate. DENIED.
  • Third Hour, Post Break:
  • “We are on our own”. Chief of Mission Authority over personnel in his embassy?
  • No warnings or Threat Alerts issued on anniversary of 9/11?
  • Why were there no Quick Response Forces assigned to AFRICOM or Libya? What were the contingency plans from DOD?
  • 27 minutes, Left in Oliver North comments and assessments.
  • 29 minutes, switched to CSPAN-3 feed due to constant commercials and FOX cutting out Democrat questions.
  • 32 minutes, Mr. Hicks, Diplomats were not trained for that security environment. They relied completely on local personnel for on the ground intelligence.
  • Mr. Thompson, The FEST teams have responded all over the world most of the time before DOD had any visibility of issues.
  • Mr. Hicks never told Hillary Clinton of any pre-attack demonstrations.
  • Accountability Review Board interviews conducted without stenographers, recorders or legal representation.
  • 43 minutes, Mr Nordstrom. “Machine gun nests at a diplomatic installation requires questions about the overall security situation”. DECISION MAKING PROCESS is flawed.
  • Mr Hicks, “I have not been allowed to read the classified ARB report”,
  • 46 minutes, There was an unarmed UAV flying over Libya. The US government never requested airspace over flight from the Libyan Government. Also there were no requests for assistance to any NATO country.
  • Daniel Benjamin denied FEST involvement per unclassified email. Mr. Thompson.
  • SOCOM-Africa, Operations center ordered the team to secure the embassy and not move to Benghazi.
  • Libyan’s were not really upset over the video. The Libyan government felt the video was not an instigator. Prior to the attack there were no indicators the video was an issue.
  • Congressman, Having an active consulate in Benghazi was “Stupid” given the environment and threat levels.
  • Mr. Hicks, post attack I counseled repeatedly after questioning the Talking Points.
  • Libyan President was upset and offended by the attacks and Talking Points issued by Ambassador Rice.
  • It took 17 days to get the FBI into Libya and the crime scene secured.
  • Who approved occupancy of the Benghazi compound? By law the Secretary of State. Not delegatable by law.
  • Mr. Nordstrom, “Feb 17th Martyrs Brigade” provided by Libya to secure the Benghazi Compound.
  • Mr Hicks, the Martyrs Brigade militia let the attackers through the checkpoints and barricades.
  • Security in Libya was the “Best Bad Plan”, Mr Nordstrom.
  • 4th hour, Break
  • Mr. Hicks, never received negative feedback or counseling prior to the Libya Attacks.
  • Mr. Hicks, I have effectively been demoted to a desk job.
  • Mr. Nordstrom, I submitted a transition plan in Feb 2012. I never heard from anyone in the State Department after.
  • Mr. Hicks, John Martin and I submitted a list of physical security needs post attack. That cable was not well received by Washington.
  • July 9th, US Ambassador approved a request to “Front Channel” security requests. “Front Channel” refers to official correspondence that requires action or response. Mr. Nordstrom believes any security cables were treated as an embarrassment for the State Department.
  • Mr. Nordstrom, “my front channel cables were never replied to”, “that is unheard of in the State Department, even for a copier”, the official response was no response.
  • MILITARY RESPONSE:
  • EUCOM had assets to respond in less than in less than 6 hours. Before the second attack.
  • DOD response “CIF would not have made a difference in that 7 1/2 hour time frame”
  • FYI, 12 hours is the standard planning window for exigent military operations. Staff planners and Watch officers were responding per SOP. Special Forces has the capability to get on the ground, assess and advise. Obvious breakdown in the comm channels……….
  • FEST trains and deploys twice a year. minimum. Mr. Thompson
  • There is no reason to believe that any preventative steps have been made since the attacks. Mr. Thompson.
  • Hillary Clinton told Mr Hicks the USMC FAST team from Spain and a C-17 transport were enroute to evacuate the embassy.
  • The reason the Ambassador was in Benghazi was to make it a permanent post and to prepare for a December 2012 visit by Hillary Clinton.
  • Hillary Clinton had to know that security in Libya was being drawn down. The transfer of assets requires head of department signature. There were political questions and concerns about overt US military assets in Libya.
  • “We have more to do”. Lessons Learned, improve security, training and response times. Mr. Hicks.
  • Mr. Thompson, DOD, FBI and DSS FEST were shocked that they were not going. They did not even get phone calls.
  • All Three, Career military and government bureaucrats were ready to go. The delays were caused by the politicians.
  • Mr. Nordstrom, Three under secretaries cannot be blamed and disciplined while the boss remains clueless. The boss have known what they were doing unless the boss is clueless and or incompetent.
  • “Measure the immeasurable”. One of the items taken from the compound was the notebook.
  • WHO ISSUED THE STAND DOWN ORDER? LTC Gibson did not tell me. Mr. Hicks.
  • Congressional visit was assigned a State Department attorney by Cheryl Mills, Chief of Staff for Hillary Clinton. Mr. Hicks was ordered not to speak to anyone outside of the attorney presence. MAJOR BREACH OF CONGRESSIONAL PROTOCOL WITH AMBASSADORS by political appointees.
  • Huge partisan fight between Democrats and Republicans over access to witnesses. Witnesses were there under Whistleblower protection and not suspect to cross examination prior to their official testimony. Their prepared statements were available to the elected members of the board.
  • British Diplomats were attacked in Benghazi. Staying there was important to maintain a demonstration of support for the Libyan government and people. Mr. Hicks
  • Secretary Clinton had to authorize any occupancy of embassy facilities that were below DSS specifications.
  • Cheryl Mills led the attempts to control Congressional access to the whistleblowers and Ambassador Rice’s talking points. Email correspondence.
  • Was becoming a Whistleblower worth the effort and would you do it again? ALL THREE, YES.
  • Per the Whistleblowers not one single person has been held accountable for what happened in Libya.
  • We have not learned our lessons even after Tanzania, Nairobi, Duhai, Sarajevo and now Libya.
  • 264 State Department Diplomatic posts, 14  posts were considered “Critical Threat Level” posts including (Benghazi and Tripoli). Post attack the assessments were reevaluated and lowered post facto. Mr. Nordstrom.
  • Hearing is over but the investigation is not. Congressman Issa,