Obstruction, lies and dishonor: Hillary’s Benghazi legacy

“If you guys don’t get out here, we’re all going to f—-ing die.”

These first words of truth, spoken frantically by a Diplomatic Security Agent in Benghazi while under attack, are quoted for all to read as the first sentence of the House Select Committee’s comprehensive report Part I, “Terrorist Attack on U.S. Facilities in Benghazi.” http://benghazi.house.gov/NewInfo

The theme that hits home throughout the report is the litany of excuses from the Obama administration as they struggle to explain away their failure to act.  Not surprisingly, the same “talking point rationale” is used repeatedly – “tyranny of time and distance”. (Panetta Transcript at 47)   

{mosads}After a thorough investigation, delayed and repeatedly obstructed by House Democrats and the Obama Administration, Chairman Trey Gowdy and his Republican committee members managed to piece together and document volumes of facts. These facts recount actions and in-actions before, during and after the attacks.  

Their report starkly contrasts the heroism of GRS personnel, Diplomatic Security Agents and Team Tripoli fighting to protect America lives in Benghazi, with the total incompetence and dereliction of duty of so-called “leaders” in D.C. who chose to talk and spin while actually doing nothing.   

Apparently those who chose that night to debate videos and uniforms, and who have never smelled the smoke of battle, think Americans are stupid enough to buy their after-the-fact excuses for why they did not even attempt to rescue over thirty Americans facing multiple assaults.

Excuses after-the-fact simply do not cut it. American lives were at stake. The Special Mission Compound and Annex were under attack, and no one could have possibly known how long the battle would continue. There is no ‘magic crystal ball’ telling you when an attack will end or if you will survive. As the brave Americans who fought valiantly that night demonstrated, you just keep fighting and hope a relief force will arrive before you run out of ammo or out of luck.

The Select Committee report reveals that three-minutes after the first wave of assault began at the Special Mission Compound in Benghazi (roughly 3:42pm in D.C.), senior diplomats in the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli learned of the attack. (Hicks April 2013 Transcript at 18)   AFRICOM learned of the attack just 30-minutes after it began. (Leidig 2014 Transcript at 20)

However, the Diplomatic Command Center at the State Department in Washington, D.C. received word of the attack immediately and, as remarked in the Select Committee’s report, that notice took about one hour to get to the Pentagon.

By 5pm the President, Secretary of Defense, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and National Security Advisor were convened in the White House.  The outcome of that meeting was straight forward, as stated in the Select Committee’s report, “The President made clear that we ought to use all of the resources at our disposal to try to make sure we did everything possible to save lives there.” (Panetta Transcript at 24)  

Panetta testified that at 6pm he had identified “three distinct capabilities” to deploy to Benghazi, and by 7pm he “issued the order to deploy the identified assets.” (Panetta Transcript at 25-26)  

Soon afterwards, the first of two drones was flying overhead of the Benghazi compounds giving officials in D.C. real-time situational awareness.  Given the President’s direct order and the order of the Secretary of Defense to deploy a rescue mission, why were available forces not launched?

Despite the rhetoric of Democrats and their efforts to derail the truth, the Select Committee’s report does in fact connect-the-dots to a “smoking gun” – in fact, a direct order of the Commander in Chief was obstructed by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

As described in great detail in the Benghazi report, a “Deputies Meeting” was convened by the White House at 7:30 pm shortly after State learned that the Pentagon was “spinning up as we speak.”  Participating in this meeting would be Hillary Clinton and deputies from State, the Pentagon and the White House, while both the President and Secretary of Defense were absent.  

The transcripts and emails of this meeting read like a Roman tale of betrayal and treason.  

One American was dead, our Ambassador was missing, and dozens more were under attack and in grave danger of being massacred. However, as the senior official participating in the meeting, Hillary’s apparent first concern was the diplomatic impact a rescue mission might have with the Libyan government, and her “State department emphasized any deployment of U.S. Forces into Libya needed approval from the Government of Libya.” (Part I Redacted DR pg111)

Really?  Did she get approval from the Government of Pakistan before Navy Seals went after bin Laden?   Or, did she use the authority of her office to waive such protocol?  Americans no doubt recall the formal photo of Hillary, the President and others huddled in the WH situation room.  Where were all of these same “leaders” during the attack in Benghazi?

The Select Committee’s report provides the first evidence that Hillary obstructed a direct order from the Commander in Chief during the 7:30pm deputies meeting. The delay in launching a rescue mission was not due to the “tyranny of time and distance.” Rather, it was the total failure of Secretary of Clinton to lead even after receiving the news, around 3am Benghazi time, that Ambassador Stevens was dead.

The Benghazi report further reveals that the Libyans who responded to the frantic calls for help from the Americans at the Annex were former Gaddafi loyalists (called Libyan Military Intelligence) not affiliated with the Libyan government.  These Libyan men were deposed and forced into hiding following the death of Gaddafi, and yet they were the only ones who answered the mayday call from the Annex.  

In less than two hours they organized a formidable force of some 50-heavily armed vehicles to rescue over 25 Americans.  Had these Libyans not acted, the remaining Americans at the Annex could have been massacred in a follow-on attack. Meanwhile, American forces were directed to remain in a “stand-by posture” awaiting resolution of Secretary Clinton’s bureaucratic obstruction of the order to deploy.

Despite the many unanswered questions, the Select Committee’s report does detail new facts that support haunting conclusions and indeed shed light upon the truth.

Having laid out the facts, the Select Committee is relying upon all Americans to see the truth, draw conclusions, and act appropriately to hold those who failed our fellow Americans accountable for in-action, deceit and dereliction of duty.

In his letter forwarding the Benghazi Report to Speaker Ryan, Chairman Gowdy expresses the hope that “our fellow citizens will read the full report.” Trey Gowdy’s letter concludes by stating: “A country grand enough to produce these four men can handle the full truth of Benghazi.  And luckily for us and for them, there is no statute of limitations on the truth.”

Stephanie M. Jason is a Middle East and North Africa expert, who has spent extensive time in Libya since 2004 and was on the ground in Baghdad, Iraq during Operation Iraqi Freedom. She was a friend of the late Ambassador Chris Stevens and was with him in Tripoli two months prior to his murder in Benghazi. She is a Donald Trump supporter.


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