As if the rest of his testimony didn’t make it clear enough, Deputy Mission Chief Gregory Hicks, of the U.S. Embassy in Libya, said it point-blank on Wednesday: “The YouTube video was a non-event in Libya.”
Hicks gave a moving, harrowing account of the night of the attack, sometimes visibly overcome by emotion as he spoke. Nothing in his account gave even the smallest hint of any “spontaneous video protest.” He was very clear about discussing events with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that very night, at around 2 AM… and yet she, and the rest of the Administration, continued peddling a blatantly false narrative about a video protest for days afterward. The full 30-minute video of Hicks’ description of the attack appears below.
As for the Administration’s vows to bring the perpetrators to justice, Hicks testified that the “crime scene” was unsecured for seventeen days before the FBI was allowed access to it. He blamed this in part on the false “spontaneous video protest” narrative pushed by U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice on the talk-show circuit, which led to “bureaucratic resistance for a long period” from the Libyan government.
The Administration was considerably more determined to protect itself from political fallout. Hicks testified that he was specifically instructed by the State Department to refrain from talking to congressional investigator, or allowing anyone under his command to do so. He said nothing of the kind had ever happened to him before, and he’s been in the foreign service for over two decades.
Hicks recalled Hillary Clinton’s chief of staff, Cheryl Mills – a high-powered lawyer who worked on President Bill Clinton’s impeachment defense team, described in a January Washington Post profile as Hillary’s “guardian angel” – contacting him for a report after Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) met with him. “A phone call from that person is generally not considered to be good news,” said Hicks. “She was very upset.” It’s hard to hear such testimony without concluding that Hillary Clinton orchestrated the cover-up.
Speaking of Rep. Chaffetz, he asked a very good question during today’s hearings: we’ve been told that refueling tankers were unavailable to bring American aircraft to bear against the consulate attackers. Why not? Why wasn’t that precaution taken as the anniversary of 9/11 drew near, in an area the Administration (no matter what fantasies it sold to the American public) knew was dangerous? Where was NATO during all this?
Hicks said his “jaw dropped” and he was “stunned” after the Administration began pushing its false “video protest” story, while military officers in Tripoli were “furious” when they were told to stand down instead of trying to help the Americans under siege at the Benghazi consulate. He contacted Beth Jones, who was the acting Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs, why Ambassador Rice spent a whole news cycle talking about some phantasmal video protest. “She said, ‘I don’t know,'” Hicks recalled. “The sense I got was that I needed to stop the line of questioning.”
Hicks wasn’t the only one to offer emotional testimony. Regional security officer Eric Nordstrom was moved to tears when he answered Hillary Clinton’s legendary “What difference, at this point, does it make?” effort to dismiss further inquiry into the Benghazi disaster and subsequent cover-up:
Incidentally, the full text of Hillary’s callous remark about the Benghazi attack was: “Was it because of a protest, or was it because of guys out for a walk one night and decided they’d go kill some Americans? What difference – at this point, what difference does it make?”
It was neither of those things, and this shameless liar knew it all along. Hicks’ testimony makes it clear that Hillary Clinton knew the consulate was hit by a coordinated terror attack, using precision mortar fire, no later than 2:00 AM that morning. She was still lying about it when she had her “what difference does it make?” outburst in January 2013.
Everything the Obama Administration told the American people about Benghazi during the election was a deliberate lie – not a misunderstanding, not some talking points messed up by anonymous intelligence staffers, not a confused struggle to understand incomplete reports. Obama lied, Hillary lied, Susan Rice lied… and they did it with calculated malice, knowing the full truth all along. They made a political calculation that admitting the incident was an organized terrorist attack would expose them to devastating criticism about the weak security in Benghazi, their confused response, and President Obama’s apparent disinterest in the situation as it unfolded.
The behavior of committee Democrats during these hearings has been nothing short of a national disgrace. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) professed admiration for the whistleblowers, but then set about trying to discredit their testimony before any of them said a word. He drifted into a bizarre sermon about how “death is a part of life,” which must have had the families of the Benghazi dead grinding their teeth:
Every other Democrat on the committee tried to flog the discredited talking points about how Republican budget cuts supposedly set the stage for the Benghazi disaster – which, as an exasperated Oversight Committee chairman Darrell Issa had to remind them at one point, is not true, according to testimony right out of the State Department itself.
It doesn’t seem as if the Democrats came prepared to do much beyond wail about budget cuts. Hilariously, Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) tried claiming they weren’t given time to prepare. (Funny, I thought Benghazi happened “a long time ago,” according to the White House.) Their confidence that the media would not cover these hearings, so they didn’t have to do anything but recycle the old talking point about budget cuts, must have been absolute. We’ll soon know if it was justified. If not, the Democrats’ conduct at the hearings may prove to be as damaging as the explosive testimony delivered by the whistleblowers.