The Greatest Benghazi Outrage: Failure to Aid Americans Under Attack
The Benghazi scandal is full of failure and deception, but the greatest outrage of all is the first-hand report that officials failed to respond to pleas for help from Americans under attack.
The attacks on the American consulate and a CIA complex in Benghazi last September 11 will be the subject of a long- anticipated House hearing Wednesday. One witness, characterized as a State Department whistleblower, will provide testimony charging that the military was told not to send help during the heat of the battle.
Gregory Hicks, a US diplomat who served as deputy to Ambassador Christopher Stevens, reportedly will tell the hearing that he asked the Pentagon to scramble jets after the first attack on the consulate. American officials in Tripoli later asked for permission to deploy Special Operations forces when terrorists launched the second attack on the CIA facility.
Both requests were denied. Ambassador Stevens and another diplomat were killed in the attack on the consulate. Two former Navy SEALs lost their lives in the attack on the CIA complex.
The preview of Hicks’ testimony was contained in news reports based on an interview that Hicks provided to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee last month. The committee is expected to hear from at least three whistleblowers.
The Washington Post reported that Hicks told committee staffers that he and others in Libya thought that flying U.S.
military jets over Benghazi during the early hours of the attack could have had a deterrent effect.
“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 (CIA) annex in the morning because I believe the Libyans would have split,” Hicks said. “They would have been scared to death that we would have gotten the laser on them and killed them.”
Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) told the Post in an interview that the White House and the Pentagon “have allowed us to believe” that there were no military options on the table.
“The model of the military is to leave no person behind, and it’s stunning and unacceptable to think we had military willing and ready to go and the Pentagon told him to stand down,” Chaffetz said. “That’s just not the American way.”
A Pentagon spokesman responded to reports of the upcoming hearing, saying that he would review the Hicks testimony.
“We have repeatedly stated that while Department officials started taking action immediately after learning that an attack was underway at the American facility there, our forces were unable to reach it in time to intervene to stop the attacks,” the spokesman told the Post.
It is time for the Obama administration to come clean on the entire Benghazi incident, including the inexcusable decision to deny military assistance to Americans under attack.