Hicks, who became the Acting Chief of Mission after Ambassador Chris Stevens was killed, gave a blow-by-blow account of the attack, which can be summarized by the following timeline:
1) The evening began with the attack on the U.S. Mission. A response team of six men came from the Annex and drove back up to 60 attackers. At this time, they found Information Management Officer Sean Smith's body. The body of Ambassador Stevens was not recovered. At this time, a second wave of attacks came, so the security personnel evacuated to the Annex.
2) There is approximately 1.5 hours of probing attacks against the Annex. A response team from the American Embassy in Tripoli makes a rescue mission to pick up the injured. A second response team prepares to leave for Benghazi, waiting for the command to allow military personnel to go to the aid of those still at the Annex. They are asking, "Is anybody coming to help?" Hicks is told that the closest air power is at Aviano Air Base in northeastern Italy, a 2-3 hour flight, but that there were no tankers to refuel them.
3) The Embassy in Tripoli then receives the news that Ambassador Stevens' body had been recovered and taken to a hospital that was controlled by the attackers. Twitter feeds soon reveal that Ansar al Sharia Brigade, an Islamist terror group, is claiming responsibility for the attacks. Further feeds show that the Embassy in Tripoli is soon going to be under attack, as well.
5) Meanwhile back at Benghazi, the response team was waiting at the airport for a Libyan escort to recover the body of Ambassador Stevens. But since the hospital was controlled by Ansar al Sharia, Hicks didn't want to send the response team into an ambush, so they sent them to the annex instead. Shortly after that, more mortars came at the annex. Some fell short, landing among the Libyans who were escorting them. The next mortar rounds landed on the roof, killing Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty. Team members climbed onto the roof to recover their bodies.
6) The military response team, which included four highly trained special forces personnel is left in Tripoli, after being told to stand down; they were not authorized to go to the defense of our personnel in Benghazi. Both Hicks and the leader of the response team, Lt. Col. Gibson are furious, but Hicks does not have the authority to send the team.
That is a cursory timeline of the events of September 11, 2012, but I think you get the idea. Just hours after our Ambassador and three others are killed, the President of Libya announces that it's a terror attack with possible terrorist group links. There goes the Youtube video argument! In fact, Gregory Hicks repeats Ambassador Stevens's frantic call to him, "Greg, We are under attack!" Not, "Greg there is a demonstration outside the Mission with people carrying signs about a Youtube video."
So when asked what his reaction was when U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice made the rounds of the Sunday talk shows and declared that it was, indeed, a video that resulted in these four American deaths, Hicks responds, "I was stunned. My jaw dropped and I was embarrassed by her remarks." In case, you have any doubts about her remarks, you need to realize that Hicks was the highest ranking official in Libya at the time, yet Rice did not talk to him before going on the talk shows.
The bottom line is that her remarks, which became the official narrative of the Administration, directly contradicted the facts on the ground; directly contradicted the President of Libya; and directly contradicted the last statement by Ambassador Stevens.
But Hicks wasn't the only one who responded negatively to the erroneous claim. The President of Libya was angry, insulted, and suffered reduced credibility in front of his own people. It is the feeling of Greg Hicks, that Ambassador Rice's comments directly resulted in an eighteen-day delay in getting the FBI in to begin their investigation.
It is apparent from the first-hand testimony that everyone involved on the ground knew it was a terrorist attack from the first moments, and that there has been a blatant attempt on the part of this Administration to mislead the American people. But unless we make the links, connect the dots, and name names, then what will actually be accomplished. Who gave the orders to stand down? We know that Susan Rice lied, but who told her to? How is it possible that the President of the United States is able to make a speech days later at the United Nations, where he still blames a weak video?
I would like to remain hopeful that these hearings will result in the truth. Someone needs to answer for the decisions made, and the lies told. The American people deserve accountability from our government, and the families of the dead deserve some answers. Unfortunately, I'm not confident that our political system even remembers how to tell the truth anymore. If this goes nowhere, the American people are truly defenseless against a media and government who are only interested in their self-preservation. God help us!
Proverbs 29:2 "When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice; but when a wicked man rules, the people groan."
The House Committee needs to take testimony from all involved in the operational chains of command: for the State Department and the Department of Defense. This was a terrorist attack on sovereign US territory and resulted in the murder of a US Ambassador - a direct representative to the President of United States!ReplyDelete
For State, the chain went from Hicks to AMB Stevens (killed in the attack), to Secretary Clinton, to the President.
For DOD, the chain is little more complex but still easily identifiable. It went from LTC Gibson to his Combatant Commander (CDR USAFRICOM), to the Secretary of Defense, and then to the President. DOD authorization for military operations would have also needed concurrence from the State Department chain.
In both cases, the OPERATIONAL chains of command MUST have been informed, involved and provided orders. The committee must clearly determine the complete timeline of notifications, orders and actions (or non-actions).
All decisions made during the attack, the evacuations and the recovery must be clearly identified with the full context of who and how they were made. I want to see military officers in uniform appear and tell the committee members what happened from their experience. Especially any officers from the Special Forces -- they owe Ty and Glen a personal debt.
Since this is a House committee, the Republican majority must NOT back down. And any Democrat representatives that try to derail the efforts must also be held to task for their failings.
This attack, and its subsequent handling directly impacted a US Presidential debate and by association influenced the electoral outcome. A full accounting is the only acceptable option.
Everything you said is absolutely true! And if these career diplomats or any military personnel have been threatened to be quiet, or to alter the facts, someone needs to have the courage to expose the coverup and name names! As Regional Security Officer Eric Nordstrom explained, so emotionally, "IT DOES MATTER! To the families, to Nordstrom's colleagues, and to the American people." And as Committee member Trey Gowdy stated, "There is no statute of limitations on the truth." I love this guy! I just pray that he and Jason Chavetz will see this investigation through to the bitter end. They will have every power in D.C. coming at them to shut down the investigation, but I sense that they realize there has been an unprecedented breach of conduct that goes all the way to the top. This miscarriage of justice should not be allowed to stand!Delete