Benghazi whistleblower: Don’t even think about blaming Stevens

posted at 10:41 am on January 23, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

After the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence reported that the attack on Benghazi was “preventable” — surely one of the least surprising conclusions one could have foreseen from a serious review of the data — the rush was on to take responsibility pass the buck. Some of that effort involved casting murdered Ambassador Chris Stevens as partly to blame for not being clearer about security needs in Libya and especially Benghazi, where terrorist attacks had escalated enough in both intensity and frequency to drive other Western countries out of the area, as well as the Red Cross. Don’t try that line out on Gregory Hicks, the State Department veteran and Benghazi whistleblower, who takes to the Wall Street Journal today to rebut that response:

Last week the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence issued its report on the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attacks in Benghazi, Libya. The report concluded that the attack, which resulted in the murder of four Americans, was “preventable.” Some have been suggesting that the blame for this tragedy lies at least partly with Ambassador Chris Stevens, who was killed in the attack. This is untrue: The blame lies entirely with Washington.

At issue are two offers from AFRICOM commander General Carter Ham for additional security in Libya that Stevens declined. Defenders of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have pointed to those responses to say that Stevens’ decisions pointed out how unclear the security situation was even to those on the ground. That’s nonsense, Hicks responds. Stevens had no choice but to reject those offers because of decisions made by the Obama administration about the nature of the mission — and takes aim specifically at Patrick Kennedy and Leon Panetta.

Stevens’ request for more security was based on the detachment having State Department aegis, in order to retain diplomatic immunity for the men. The Obama administration wanted to change their mission from diplomatic security to training Libyan militias, which would put them in the DoD and outside of the cover of diplomatic immunity. Kennedy refused to rescind the transfer of the forces to Defense, and that meant big trouble:

However, on July 13, State Department Undersecretary Patrick Kennedy refused the Defense Department offer and thus Chris’s July 9 request. His rationale was that Libyan guards would be hired to take over this responsibility. Because of Mr. Kennedy’s refusal, Chris had to use diplomatic language at the video conference, such as expressing “reservations” about the transfer of authority. …

Transferring authority would immediately strip the special forces team of its diplomatic immunity. Moreover, the U.S. had no status of forces agreement with Libya. He explained to Rear Adm. Charles J. Leidig that if a member of the special forces team used weapons to protect U.S. facilities, personnel or themselves, he would be subject to Libyan law. The law would be administered by judges appointed to the bench by Moammar Gadhafi or, worse, tribal judges. …

Chris understood the importance of the special forces team to the security of our embassy personnel. He believed that by explaining his concerns, the Defense Department would postpone the decision so he could have time to work with the Libyan government and get diplomatic immunity for the special forces.

According to the National Defense Authorization Act, the Defense Department needed Chris’s concurrence to change the special forces mission. But soon after the Aug. 1 meeting, and as a complete surprise to us at the embassy, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta signed the order without Chris’s concurrence.

Stevens ended up dying because State and the White House thought it was more important to train Libyan militias than to provide effective security cover for its consulate in Benghazi. Chew on that one for a while. And while that percolates a bit, remember that the so-called Accountability Review Board’s co-chair Thomas Pickering scoffed at the notion that his panel needed to depose Patrick Kennedy at all.

Earlier today, I pointed out that this was the one-year anniversary of the one and only time that Hillary Clinton got pressed for accountability for the debacle, and her now-infamous reply, “What difference at this point does it make?” Instapundit was kind enough to link to that, but Citizens United has a new video out marking the event:


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Vegas, baby, VEGAS!

Bishop on January 23, 2014 at 10:42 AM

Stevens ended up dying because State and the White House thought it was more important to train Libyan militias than to provide effective security cover for its consulate in Benghazi.

Hillary Clinton.

forest on January 23, 2014 at 10:46 AM

When are Killary and obama going to arrested and tried?

Pork-Chop on January 23, 2014 at 10:47 AM

Some of that effort involved casting murdered Ambassador Chris Stevens as partly to blame for not being clearer about security needs in Libya and especially Benghazi, where terrorist attacks had escalated enough in both intensity and frequency to drive other Western countries out of the area, as well as the Red Cross.

This part I don’t get. He did ask for extra security twice and was turned down. How can a reasonable thinking person blame him for anything?

I know, I know, that was a rhetorical question. Idiots trying to protect the Hildabeast and her run in 2016.

Johnnyreb on January 23, 2014 at 10:47 AM

Lies and smears, personal attacks, more lies, possible deaths if you are too threatening…..

That’s all this this thug crowd has to offer. I can go to any local ghetto and get the same.

avagreen on January 23, 2014 at 10:49 AM

Well lest someone dare point a finger publicly at Hillary. From that standpoint you’d better believe those aborted babies had it coming as well. Evil in the form of Liberalism is a flesh eater of a disease.

onomo on January 23, 2014 at 10:50 AM

What was his youtube handle?

rogerb on January 23, 2014 at 10:51 AM

Yeah but Chris Christie.

Cindy Munford on January 23, 2014 at 10:53 AM

Balme Stevens? That’s old hat and mild compared to a guy named Adam.
“It was that woman YOU MADE for me Lord.”

Eve, also an expert on deflection, said, “it was that serpent “YOU MADE” Lord.

Don L on January 23, 2014 at 10:54 AM

Well, they stood over the corpses at Andrews for a photo op.

Why would the feckless serpents of DC not make this move too?

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on January 23, 2014 at 11:00 AM

“We will make sure that the person who made that film is arrested and prosecuted” – Hillary

Electrongod on January 23, 2014 at 11:01 AM

That questioners’ comment after her historic arrogant, “what difference does it make now,” deflection, should have been that “we are not here to investigate now, Madam, but what difference you should have made back then!”

Don L on January 23, 2014 at 11:02 AM

There’s no there there…faux scandal….yada yada yada
-left

Shameful….but the lsm will vilify him and make Hillary is protected

cmsinaz on January 23, 2014 at 11:03 AM

This part I don’t get. He did ask for extra security twice and was turned down. How can a reasonable thinking person blame him for anything?

Johnnyreb on January 23, 2014 at 10:47 AM

Dead men tell no tales or, in this case, don’t write books that could be politically damaging to Presidents and Presidential hopefuls.

Happy Nomad on January 23, 2014 at 11:05 AM

Stevens ended up dying because State and the White House thought it was more important to train Libyan militias than to provide effective security cover for its consulate in Benghazi. Chew on that one for a while.

I don’t believe that was the primary thinking here. I believe the primary thinking was to keep as much of the Libyan debacle as possible on Department of Defense’s plate and thereby keep it off the State Department’s plate. Anything Libya would be a headache and State wanted to minimize them for Clinton.

Obviously that didn’t work out for the short-sighted Hillary.

Dusty on January 23, 2014 at 11:09 AM

wow, Patrick Kennedy, Leon Panetta and Hillary have some blood on their hands they can’t wash off. Its almost as if they killed Stevens deliberately. Matter of fact, if the ship had already left for Turkey they likely had a motive.

Now they have around 30 witnesses on their hands to deal with.

DanMan on January 23, 2014 at 11:18 AM

No, no, no. According to actor Mark Ruffalo, Republican budget cuts forced the Whitehouse to leave the embassy unguarded. Evil Republicans…

Jack_Burton on January 23, 2014 at 11:22 AM

Because liberals who will not accept responsibility, and yet demand responsibility of our military, will now turn a blind eye to responsible protection of our troops in protecting the diplomat who requested it. The double speak denial when ignoring the subtle situation, while saying the ‘one’ is too smart for anyone to grasp; no one else is capable of introducing multifaceted thoughts to situations of adversity without dismissal and blame. Thanks loser.

Molonlabe2004 on January 23, 2014 at 11:24 AM

Some have been suggesting that the blame for this tragedy lies at least partly with Ambassador Chris Stevens

Well one thing is for sure, it doesn’t make any difference who they attempt to blame.

lynncgb on January 23, 2014 at 11:28 AM

Transferring authority would immediately strip the special forces team of its diplomatic immunity. Moreover, the U.S. had no status of forces agreement with Libya. He explained to Rear Adm. Charles J. Leidig that if a member of the special forces team used weapons to protect U.S. facilities, personnel or themselves, he would be subject to Libyan law. The law would be administered by judges appointed to the bench by Moammar Gadhafi or, worse, tribal judges. …

By international law, any embassy or consulate of the United States in a foreign country (such as Libya) is considered American territory. An attack on a consulate is an act of war, and American soldiers would have the right to defend U.S. territory with lethal force if attacked.

If an American soldier killed a Libyan who attacked the consulate, the Libyan government could not legally arrest the soldier if he remained on consulate territory.

This entire tragedy could be due to political correctness, trying to treat acts of international terrorism as criminal acts to be tried in civilian courts (including foreign courts) in deference to hostile countries, instead of an attack on U.S. territory, which should be handled militarily.

Steve Z on January 23, 2014 at 11:34 AM

“At this point what difference does it make?” when there’s more important things like Chris Christie’s donut run blocking an ambulance on a bridge.

“DONUTS FRIED,
A POOR WOMAN DIED”

Devote more time to Bridgegate, we must get to the bottom of this.

normschaef on January 23, 2014 at 11:39 AM

There is still no account of what Obama was doing that night. Anything to protect Obama and Killary remaining in power.

birdwatcher on January 23, 2014 at 11:55 AM

You betcha! Hillary needs to be in jail!

TerryW on January 23, 2014 at 12:15 PM

Leaders do all they can to protect those they lead. They are first on the battlefield, first to take fire, first to die if necessary and last to leave, if God is willing.

Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton are not leaders. They are cowards who hide behind distractions, diversions, empty phrases and political process. They are underwhelming both in character and capabilities. Just look at how far our nation has fallen.

They own that. They collectively own years of destruction, division, waste, fallacious promises and outright fraud that has destroyed our nation and cohesion as a populace.

Mr. Obama and Mrs. Clinton don’t see these fellow Americans as heroes or brave. They view them as just another causality in their political game that has a sole purpose of despotism. They are a disgusting representation of everything that needs to change and be dispensed of to restore the heart and soul of our citizens. Good riddance to both of them.

Marcus Traianus on January 23, 2014 at 12:16 PM

Traffic jam in Jersey, people… keep your eye on the ball!!

dpduq on January 23, 2014 at 12:27 PM

Blame Washington? What has GWB done now?

Chris of Rights on January 23, 2014 at 12:29 PM

Stevens was a Tea Partier, people!!

ToddPA on January 23, 2014 at 12:41 PM

If they start blaming the dead, maybe the other three families will start demanding answers.

Cindy Munford on January 23, 2014 at 12:54 PM

Steve Z on January 23, 2014 at 11:34 AM

The rented facility was not a consulate. It didn’t even appear on DOS website.

Akzed on January 23, 2014 at 1:14 PM

No, no, no. According to actor Mark Ruffalo, Republican budget cuts forced the Whitehouse to leave the embassy unguarded. Evil Republicans…

Jack_Burton on January 23, 2014 at 11:22 AM

But we can breathe a sigh of relief that the Chevy Volts purchased with States’ scarce, GOP-gutted funding were unscathed.

BobMbx on January 23, 2014 at 1:48 PM

Devote more time to Bridgegate, we must get to the bottom of this.

normschaef on January 23, 2014 at 11:39 AM

If Issa chose to, he could end the Bridgegate scandal simply by holding a single hearing in an effort to get to the bottom of it.

BobMbx on January 23, 2014 at 1:50 PM

Slippery Clinton II’s infamous quote about Benghazi contains two stunning flaws that are often overlooked due to the audacity of her rhetorical question regarding what “difference” it makes.

A. She uses a favorite Obama trick, stating two alternative scenarios — an irrelevant video OR (her description) some guys out for a walk who decided to go kill some Americans — neither of which had anything to do with the attack on the Consulate. And, at the time she made the statement, she knew that the truth was otherwise. She had known it since the initial moments following the attack. It was not either/or — it was neither and she knew it. This is merely a device and a fancier form of lying popular among the political class.

B. She concluded by saying that, though the cause of the attack didn’t make any “difference,” her job was to “find out what happened” so it wouldn’t happen again in the future. If her job was to find out what happened, it obviously did make a difference. She contradicted her own statement as she was making it.

If she had been under actual cross-examination rather than the poor excuse substituted in Congressional hearings, she would have been flayed open on both points. Her infamous question deserves all the attention it has received but there are at least these two other flies in the ointment she tried to spread over the wound to her credibility — a wound that now appears to be festering.

IndieDogg on January 23, 2014 at 2:51 PM

I hope everytime she has a fundraiser a family member is there to stare her down.

warren on January 23, 2014 at 3:01 PM

But….but….no one in Foggy Bottom could ever do anything wrong.

Another Drew on January 23, 2014 at 3:35 PM