Benghazi: “A Long Time Ago…”?
Eight Months Later, Still More Questions Than Answers From The Obama Administration On The Deadly Attack In Benghazi
THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION CONTINUES TO DODGE QUESTIONS ABOUT BENGHAZI
Last Week, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney Dismissed Concerns About The Silencing Of Benghazi Whistleblowers Saying, “Benghazi Happened A Long Time Ago.” WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY JAY CARNEY: “Let’s be clear, Benghazi happened a long time ago. We are unaware of any agency blocking an employee who would like to appear before Congress to provide information related to Benghazi.” (Jay Carney, White House Press Briefing, Washington, DC, 5/1/13)
Almost Eight Months Have Passed With No Arrests In The Deadly Terrorist Attack In Benghazi. “There have been no arrests reported in the more than seven months since terrorists reportedly attacked two U.S. compounds in Benghazi. Four Americans were killed, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens.” (Sharyl Attkisson, “Benghazi Whistleblowers Still Waiting To Tell Their Story,” CBS News, 4/30/13)
Was The Military Ordered To “Stand Down”?
Greg Hicks, Deputy Chief Of Mission For The U.S. In Libya, Said That A U.S. Special Forces Unit In Tripoli Was Told “It Did Not Have The Authorization” To Fly To Benghazi During The Attack. “During a transcribed interview April 11 with investigators from the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Hicks said he had repeatedly asked whether any ‘big military’ support was on the way as the attack continued. While support was deemed to be too far away to respond, Hicks said that a Special Forces unit in Tripoli was prepared to board a flight to Benghazi but was told by military headquarters in Germany not to board because it did not have the authorization to do so.” (John Parkinson and Luis Martinez, “US Diplomat Reignites Benghazi Controversy,”ABC News’ The Note, 5/6/13)
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney Dodged Questions About Hick’s Claim That American Special Forces Were Told To Stand Down: “You’re Citing An Interview That I Haven’t Had Access To…” FOX NEWS’ ED HENRY: “If that report was unsparing, way is Greg Hicks, who was the number two to Ambassador Stevens, now going to tell Congress and tell the American people that there were U.S. Special Forces who were in Tripoli getting ready to board a plane, come to Benghazi to help these Americans, and they were told to stand down?” WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY JAY CARNEY: “Well, I think the Department of Defense has addressed this. I don’t have access to the interviews that I think have been referred to in some of the news reports, but in terms of that issue, the response that the Department of Defense took and the actions that the Department of Defense took in response to what was happening in Benghazi, I would refer you to the Department of Defense. They have addressed this very issue. And I would refer you to the content of the ARB. Again, Admiral Mullen, Ambassador Pickering — former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, one of the most respected diplomats, living diplomats in our country, served under Presidents of both parties — oversaw a very rigorous investigation that reached a number of conclusions, including the fact that action was taken immediately and appropriately and that that action saved American lives.” HENRY: “I know what they said, but Greg Hicks is -” CARNEY: “Again, you’re citing an interview that I haven’t had access to -” HENRY: “Okay, but he’s challenging the credibility of the White House. You don’t care about what he’s saying? Do you think he’s lying?” CARNEY: “Again, Ed, you’re citing an interview that I don’t have.” (Jay Carney,White House Press Briefing, Washington, DC, 5/6/13)
Pentagon Spokesman Maj. Robert Firman Denied That Anyone Was Told To “Stand Down.” “Maj. Robert Firman., a Pentagon spokesman, said Monday that the military’s account that was first issued weeks after the attack ‘hasn’t changed.’ ‘There was never any kind of stand down order to anybody,’ Firman said.” (Oren Dorell, “GOP Lawmaker: Benghazi Witnesses Will Contradict Account,” USA Today, 5/6/13)
Why Won’t The Obama Administration Acknowledge The Claims Of Benghazi Whistleblowers?
CBS’ Nancy Cordes Said The Obama Administration Had “Deflected Questions” About Benghazi Whistleblowers. CBS’ NANCY CORDES: “Republican Darrell Issa chairs the House Oversight Committee. Hicks and two other State Department officials will testify before the committee tomorrow. Hicks says that there was a special unit that was right there in Tripoli that was ready to go to Benghazi but they were told to stand down. Why?” REP. DARRELL ISSA: “This is one of the most disturbing parts of Gregory Hicks’ testimony is that assets were available. They were military in nature. They were the best trained, best equipped and most likely to be able to save lives and they were taken off the plane.” CORDES: “Hicks said, ‘I believe if we had been able to scramble a fighter, or an aircraft or two over Benghazi as quickly as possible, the Libyans would have split.’ Administration officials insist no military resources could have made it in time.” WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY JAY CARNEY: “I don’t have access to the interviews that I think have been referred to.” CORDES: “On Monday, spokesmen at the White House and State Department deflected questions about Hicks.” STATE DEPT SPOKESMAN: “In terms of these potential transcripts out there, we haven’t seen the transcripts.” (CBS’ ” This Morning,” 5/7/13)
The Attorney For One Of The Benghazi Whistleblowers Said That Two Weeks Had Gone By Since Republicans In Congress Asked The Obama Administration To “Outline The Process For Clearing Private Attorneys For Benghazi Whistleblowers.” “The attorney for a whistleblower on the Sept. 11, 2012 attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, says the Obama administration is impeding efforts to allow her client and other whistleblowers to speak. Washington D.C. attorney Victoria Toensing has taken the case of an unidentified whistleblower from the State Department. For her client to provide full testimony, Toensing says she needs something the government has yet to provide: the means for her to receive a security clearance to handle the sensitive or classified material involved. It’s been two weeks since Republicans in Congress formally asked the State Department, the CIA and the Defense Department to outline the process for clearing private attorneys for Benghazi whistleblowers, but the agencies have not responded. The House Oversight Committee has identified at least four federal employees whom investigators consider ‘whistleblowers.’” (Sharyl Attkisson, “Benghazi Whistleblowers Still Waiting To Tell Their Story,” CBS News, 4/30/13)
At His April 30 Press Conference, Obama Claimed He Was Unaware Of The Benghazi Whistleblowers. “Today, President Obama said he’s unaware of the controversy. ‘I’m not familiar with this notion that anybody’s been blocked from testifying. So what I’ll do is I will find out what exactly you’re referring to,’ said Mr. Obama when reporters asked about the whistleblowers. ‘What I’ve been very clear about from the start is that our job with respect to Benghazi has been to find out exactly what happened, to make sure that U.S. embassies, not just in the Middle East, but around the world, are safe and secure, and to bring those who carried it out to justice.’” (Sharyl Attkisson, “Benghazi Whistleblowers Still Waiting To Tell Their Story,” CBS News, 4/30/13)
State Department Spokesman Patrick Ventrell Also Denied Knowledge Of Whistleblowers’ Requests. “Monday, State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell told reporters ‘I’m not aware of private counsel seeking security clearances or anything in that regard.’” (Sharyl Attkisson, “Benghazi Whistleblowers Still Waiting To Tell Their Story,” CBS News, 4/30/13)
What Did Hillary Clinton Know About The Changes To The Benghazi Talking Points?
The Washington Post ‘s Glenn Kessler Said The “Biggest Unknown” About The Benghazi Talking Points Is Whether Changes Came From “Anyone On Clinton’s Immediate Staff.” “The biggest unknown is whether the ‘building leadership’ in the State Department who objected to the initial talking points included anyone on Clinton’s immediate staff.” (Glenn Kessler, “The Benghazi Talking Points: What’s Known And Unknown,” The Washington Post ‘s The Fact Checker , 5/7/13)
Clinton’s “Odd Locutions” Before The Senate And House Committees “Leaves Open The Possibility That She Was Aware Of The Internal Debate” Over The Talking Points. “Clinton, during her testimony before the Senate and the House in January, made the following comments about the development of the talking points. She also stressed it was an ‘intelligence product’ and said she was not involved in the ‘talking points process’ and she ‘personally’ was not focused on them – odd locutions that leaves open the possibility that she was aware of the internal debate at the time.” (Glenn Kessler, “The Benghazi Talking Points: What’s Known And Unknown,” The Washington Post ‘s The Fact Checker , 5/7/13)
Then-Secretary Of State Hillary Clinton: “I Would Say That I Personally Was Not Focused On Talking Points.” SECRETARY OF STATE HILLARY CLINTON: “I would say that I personally was not focused on talking points. I was focused on keeping our people safe.” (Secretary Of State Hillary Clinton, U.S. Senate, Committee On Foreign Relations, Hearing, 1/23/13)
- Clinton: “I Wasn’t Involved In The Talking Points Process.” SECRETARY OF STATE HILLARY CLINTON: “And, you know, I wasn’t involved in the talking points process. As I understand it, as I’ve been told, it was a typical interagency process where staff, including from the State Department all participated, to try to come up with whatever was going to be made publicly available, and it was an intelligence product. And it’s my understanding that the intelligence community is working with appropriate committees, to kind, of explain the whole process.” (Secretary Of State Hillary Clinton, U.S. Senate, Committee On Foreign Relations, Hearing, 1/23/13)
Why Wasn’t Clinton Interviewed By The Benghazi Accountability Review Board, Which Carney Called “Rigorous And Unsparing”?
On May 6, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney Said The Accountability Review Board Was “Led By Two Men Of Unimpeachable Expertise And Credibility Who Oversaw A Process That Was Rigorous And Unsparing.” WHITE HOUSE PRESS SECRETARY JAY CARNEY: “I’m saying that there was an Accountability Review Board led by two men of unimpeachable expertise and credibility who oversaw a process that was rigorous and unsparing, that was highly critical in some areas, and that produced a series of recommendations that have all been acted on by the State Department, as the President insisted be the case. What he made clear from the very onset in the wake of Benghazi was that he wanted action taken to ensure that we found out who was responsible and that they were brought to justice, and that action be taken to ensure that we implement the steps necessary to improve the security of our diplomats and diplomatic facilities around the country [world*] so that this kind of thing can’t happen again.” (Jay Carney, White House Press Briefing, Washington, DC, 5/6/13)
The Same Day, State Department Acting Deputy Spokesperson Patrick Ventrell Confirmed That The Accountability Review Board Did Not Interview Then-Secretary Of State Hillary Clinton For The Benghazi Report. QUESTION: “I’m asking you a very simple question, Patrick: Did they have access to her? Did they interview her?” STATE DEPARTMENT ACTING DEPUTY SPOKESPERSON PATRICK VENTRELL: “Again, the ARB -” QUESTION: “They did not, correct?” VENTRELL: “Mr. Rosen.” QUESTION: “Correct?” VENTRELL: “Mr. Rosen, the ARB is an independent body. They can choose who they want to interview. We have two of the most respected people in Washington – chose who they wanted to interview and needed to interview for the information that they needed. I will get you -” QUESTION: “So they decided they didn’t need to talk to Secretary Clinton?” VENTRELL: “Let me finish. Let me finish. I will find you the quote where Secretary – former Secretary Clinton talks about this and her willingness, if the ARB needed to talk to her, to do so. They didn’t, and that was their decision. And they felt that, based on the people that they were able to talk to, they had a complete picture.” (Patrick Ventrell, State Department Press Briefing, Washington, DC, 5/6/13)