The House Oversight Committee has released excerpts of their interview with Gregory Hicks, one of the two high-profile whistleblowers who will be testifying at tomorrow’s hearing. From what we have heard thus far from Hicks, his account of the events that took place between high level security and State Department officials on September 11, 2012 as a U.S. consulate in Libya was under siege differ drastically from what we have been told by the Obama administration.
CBS News reports:
According to excerpts released Monday, Hicks told investigators that SOCAFRICA commander Lt. Col. Gibson and his team were on their way to board a C-130 from Tripoli for Benghazi prior to an attack on a second U.S. compound “when [Col. Gibson] got a phone call from SOCAFRICA which said, ‘you can’t go now, you don’t have the authority to go now.’ And so they missed the flight … They were told not to board the flight, so they missed it.”
No assistance arrived from the U.S. military outside of Libya during the hours that Americans were under attack or trapped inside compounds by hostile forces armed with rocket-propelled grenades, mortars and AK-47 rifles.
Hicks told congressional investigators that if the U.S. had quickly sent a military aircraft over Benghazi, it might have saved American lives. The U.S. Souda Bay Naval Base is an hour’s flight from Libya.
“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,” Hicks testified. Two Americans died in the morning mortar attack.
During an interview with CBS , Hicks says that everyone knew Benghazi was a terrorist attack “from the get-go.”
As Washington braces for the hearing Wednesday, the Benghazi attack, response and investigation is once again turning into a major scandal that conservatives lament Obama dodged in the fall shortly after the attack and amidst the presidential campaign. Jim Geraghty notes though in his column on the conservative National Review Online that Republicans should go into the hearings dedicated strictly to unearthing facts, rather than showboating.
Dear Republicans on the House Oversight Committee:
Please do not grandstand. Please do not take the time before the television cameras to tell us how outraged you are, even though what you are investigating is, indeed, outrageous. There will be plenty of time for that after the hearing. All day Wednesday, give us the facts, and then more facts, and then more facts….
On ‘Real News‘ Tuesday the panel previewed what to look for from tomorrow’s hearing, namely, if we get answers to two questions: Were military forces told to stand down? And, did the administration lie to the American people afterward about the events that took the lives of four Americans? Watch a clip from Tuesday’s show below.