Benghazi Whistle-Blowers Testify
Three State Department whistle-blowers testified under oath today before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee about their knowledge of the Benghazi attacks on September 11, 2012. They were emotional, breaking down on several occasions. They witnessed a gross wrong, had friends die and watched a cover-up unfold from the inside.
The star witness was Gregory Hicks, a career foreign service officer. Fluent in Arabic, he has served throughout the Middle East and was the second-highest-ranking official at the U.S. embassy in Tripoli, just beneath Ambassador Stevens, on the night of the attacks. Here are some brief highlights of his testimony:
- Hicks began by saying, "I am a career public servant. Until the aftermath of Benghazi, I loved every day of my job." He provided the committee a detailed account of what transpired the night of the attack, describing the call he received from Ambassador Stevens in which he said, "Greg! We're under attack!" and the call he took from the Libyan prime minister informing him that Stevens was dead.
- Hicks recounted under oath how a Special Operations team from Tripoli was directed by its superiors not to board a plane bound for Benghazi to save U.S. personnel. The officer in command of the team told Hicks, "I have never been so embarrassed in my life that a State Department officer has bigger balls than somebody in the military."
- Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) asked Mr. Hicks if U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice ever called to speak to him. (As you may recall, the Obama White House sent Rice on all the Sunday talk shows to repeat a false narrative about protests over a film.) He said she never called him. Asked his response to Rice's claims about the protests being caused by an anti-Islamic video, Hicks responded, "I was stunned. My jaw dropped, and I was embarrassed."
- Rep. Gowdy then read an email from a State Department official sent the day after the attack to the Libyan ambassador. The message encouraged him and other Libyan officials to make it clear that the attack was committed by Islamic extremists.
So Rice never talked to the top embassy official, yet her statements contradicted Hicks' on the ground knowledge of events, contradicted statements of the president of Libya and contradicted statements from the State Department to Libyan officials.
- Under questioning from Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH), Hicks revealed that State Department lawyers told him not to speak to members of Congress who were coming to Libya to conduct an investigation of the attack. Hicks told Rep. Jordan that was the first time in his decades-long career he had ever been told not to cooperate with or speak to members of Congress.
After he did meet with them, he got an angry call from Cheryl Mills, chief of staff to the then-secretary of state. Clearly, Hillary was paying very close attention to the investigation and must have been annoyed that efforts to obstruct it had failed. Why else would Mills be calling?
Mills, by the way, is a long-time Clinton loyalist. She was a deputy White House counsel during the Clinton Administration and one of Bill Clinton's defense lawyers during his Senate impeachment trial. Now here is someone who might know a thing or two about obstructing investigations!
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I have heard from numerous sources that yesterday's "End of Day" was widely read on Capitol Hill. I've taken calls from the Washington Post and other media outlets in response to our reports.
Of course, many in Big Media are interested only in spinning the investigation as a political witch-hunt. But I am enjoying every opportunity I get to shame them into doing their jobs, reminding them that a free press should care about exposing corruption at the highest levels!
Smear Campaign Next
We don't know what will ultimately come of today's hearings. But we can safely predict that if the accusations made by the whistle-blowers today get any traction, the left-wing, Soros-funded smear machine will go after the witnesses with an unbelievable degree of vengeance.
They should expect the worst. Michelle Malkin looks at the experience of previous whistle-blowers who dared to cross the left, and it's not pretty.
Mother Blames Hillary
One of the men killed during the Benghazi attacks was Sean Smith. His mother has been dogged in demanding answers from the Obama Administration, supporting Rep. Frank Wolf's call for a select committee, and speaking publicly about her loss. During an interview on CNN this week, Mrs. Smith had harsh words for the Obama Administration and for Hillary Clinton in particular.
Smith said that Obama, Biden, Hillary and former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta all personally promised her that they would get answers for her about her son's death and find those responsible. She said, "I got one telephone call from a clerk… He was reading to me from the time line, which I already had. And that was it."
Asked if she blamed Hillary Clinton, Smith said, "Yes. Because that's her department. She is supposed to be on top of it. Yet she claims she knows nothing. It wasn't told to her. Well, who is running the place?"
Democrats Lose Big
Democrats had hoped to start off the 2014 congressional elections with some momentum by winning a special election in South Carolina's First Congressional District. They had everything going for them too -- from a big name recruit, Elizabeth Colbert Busch (sister of Comedy Central's Stephen Colbert), to a scandal-plagued GOP nominee, former Governor Mark Sanford. Democrats and their liberal allies threw the kitchen sink at this race, while the national Republican Party abandoned Sanford because of his severe ethical lapses.
Sanford was not the choice of many conservatives to run, but he won the primary. And despite Democrats' best efforts to take the seat, Sanford won convincingly last night.
Quite frankly, Sanford may have won because of liberal hubris. His opponent followed the left's playbook. She was pro-abortion. She favored same-sex marriage. As that information came out polls, which had Sanford down significantly, shifted rapidly in his favor.
Similarly, last year Obama came out for same-sex marriage right after the voters of North Carolina had resoundingly rejected it. In November, the only swing state that voted for Obama in '08 but switched to Romney in 2012 was North Carolina.
North Carolina last year and South Carolina's race yesterday provide further evidence that cultural extremism on life and marriage can hurt liberal candidates if conservatives make the case on values issues.