Syria soaks up most of the media attention of late, of course, but that’s not the only story this week, either. Thanks to some bizarre timing by Barack Obama, his call for military intervention against Bashar al-Assad’s regime will go prime-time the night before the one-year anniversary of the sacking of the Benghazi consulate — which was a direct result of the US-led NATO intervention in Libya. The juxtaposition reminded ABC News to follow up with Gregory Hicks, one of four State Department whistleblowers to debunk the Accountability Review Board’s snow job in the aftermath of the terrorist attack. Hicks remains unassigned at State, and he told George Stephanopoulos that it’s punishment for blowing the whistle:
Hicks also told Stephanopoulos it may have been possible to save two of the men killed.
“Sadly…I think that Ambassador Stevens and Sean Smith, maybe not. Ty [Woods] and Glen [Doherty], of course, were killed in the mortar attacks that took place eight hours after the initial attack…It’s possible they could have been saved, I think,” Hicks said referring to the two former Navy SEALs working as CIA contractors in Libya.
Hicks, who has given Congressional testimony about events in Benghazi, is the only American official who was in Libya during the attack that has spoken publicly about what happened and told Stephanopoulos he has been punished for his openness by the State Department.
“I don’t know why I was shunted aside, put in a closet, if you will,” he said.
Asked for a response (that can be read in full below) a spokesman said the State Department has “not punished Mr. Hicks in any way” and that “the circumstances that led to his departure from Libya was entirely unrelated to any statements he may have made relating to the attack in Benghazi.”
The State Department denies that Hicks has been punished at all, but Hicks still draws a check without any assignment. State claims that they offered Hicks both a short- and long-term assignment overseas but that Hicks declined them both.
George Stephanopoulos started the full segment with a replay of John Kerry’s angry exchange with Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC), when Duncan demanded answers on Benghazi during a hearing on Syria. Kerry insisted that one had nothing to do with the other, but that’s absolutely untrue. We created the environment in eastern Libya that led to the terrorist attack on our consulate in Benghazi a year ago with the ill-advised military intervention against Moammar Qaddafi that turned Libya into a failed state. The Obama administration still hasn’t answered the pertinent questions about that humiliating failure that cost four American lives, and we’re about to do the same thing to Syria that we did to Libya. This is precisely the correct context in which to have this debate.