Benghazi “stand down” order confirmed by new testimony
I thought about adding this to my earlier post on the new Benghazi revelations, but I decided it was worthy of a post on its own. Tireless reporter Sharyl Attkisson set off a string of bombshells on Twitter Monday afternoon, as she reported that new testimony in this week’s congressional hearings will confirm that U.S. Special Forces were prevented from moving in to save the Americans under fire in Benghazi on September 11, 2012.
Twitchy.com has the full collection of Attkisson’s Twitter messages, which led to a full story she posted at CBS News. To summarize: The top deputy for slain U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, Greg Hicks, told congressional investigators that a Special Forces team was ready to fly from Tripoli to Benghazi during the attacks, using a C-130 transport plane, but they were told not to board the aircraft because they didn’t have the “authority” to proceed.
“And so they missed the flight,” Hicks testified. “They were told not to board the flight, so they missed it.”
Hicks also testified that military aircraft could have been used to disperse the attackers: “I believe if we had been able to scramble a fighter or aircraft or two over Benghazi as quickly as possible after the attack commenced, I believe there would not have been a mortar attack on the annex in the morning because I believe the Libyans would have split. They would have been scared to death that we would have gotten a laser on them and killed them.” He went on to observe that Libyans have very good reasons to fear U.S. and NATO air power, having just watched it dislodge the Quaddafi regime.
Hicks also discussed the importance of obtaining speedy permission from the Libyans to employ American military assets in Benghazi. He was convinced the Libyans would have provided it, going so far as to say “they were as surprised as we were that American – the military forces that did arrive only arrived on the evening of September 12.”
Why weren’t phone calls to obtain permission for a rescue operation made swiftly by Barack Obama? That would be his job, right?
Also, it remains little short of astonishing that the Administration made no contingency plans for trouble in the terrorist hotbed of Benghazi on the anniversary of 9/11. Were they afraid news of such preparation would leak out, jeopardizing Obama’s “all is well in Libya” political narrative? Hicks said he was eager to see Special Forces units arrive, “because we had already essentially stripped ourselves of our security presence, or our security capability to the bare minimum.”
As Attkisson observes, “The account from Gregory Hicks is in stark contrast to assertions from the Obama administration, which insisted that nobody was ever told to stand down and that all available resources were utilized.”