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Benghazi Rescue Bid Was Weakened, Issa Says ‘Whistleblower’ to Testify

Congressman says hearing Wednesday will reveal that troops were ordered to stand down.

SAN DIEGO, CA -- A rescue mission to save the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans was gutted amid the Benghazi siege, a “whistleblower” will testify Wednesday, said the head of the House oversight panel.

Rep. Darrell Issa of North County told a Republican awards dinner Friday that the former deputy chief of mission to Libya would be one of several to testify about the Benghazi attack of Sept. 11, 2012.

Media reports identify the diplomat as Gregory Hicks, who was in Tripoli at the time and reportedly took a call from Stevens during the attack. Issa didn’t use Hicks’ name, but did identify the other whistleblower as Mark Thompson, the State Department’s head of counterterrorism.

“He was there for every one of those phone calls—7½ hours in which they begged for help” during the deadly attack, Issa said of Hicks at the annual Lincoln-Reagan Dinner at the Rancho Bernardo Inn.

He said the whistleblower—who effectively became the acting ambassador when Chris Stevens was killed—“was there for the time in which they launched an internal rescue mission and military personnel were told to get off the plane.”

Issa said the whistleblower will testify that U.S. officials didn’t want troops on the plane because of the admonition “we do not want a military presence.” 

“So less good people—less capable of fighting their way in—were on that plane,” Issa told an Aragon Ballroom audience of 640.

Although reports have circulated for days that “whistleblowers” would testify before Congress, none had been named. Nor what they would say.

Conservative media, including Fox News, reported in November that a CIA backup team was ordered to “stand down” and not come to the rescue of the Benghazi consulate, despite pleas for help.

In addition, Thompson will testify that “he never got a call” about the Benghazi attack, Issa said before introducing Luis Fortuño, the Republican governor of Puerto Rico, as featured speaker.

Thompson, the counterterrorism leader, heard of the attack “through friends of friends,” Issa said. “He knew it was terrorism—just as the chargé d'affaires will testify that … everyone in Libya knew it was terrorism in Moment 1.

With no doubt in their mind that the attackers were terrorists—instead of a mob enraged over an anti-Islamic video—“they clearly relayed that to the State Department,” Issa said.

But U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice was deployed to the Sunday talk shows instead of Thompson, Issa said, “as part of the normalization that was going on” with Libya.

Issa said Wednesday will be a “very long day,” joking that he would forgo his coffee habit.

He said Friday night that he was flying back to Washington on Saturday to prepare for the hearing Wednesday.

The whistleblowers will say that Rice “clearly had better talking points,” but they were changed for “no security reason, no practical reason.”

Since the leader of Libya was calling the attack terrorist at the time of the Rice TV appearance, “we effectively called the president of the host nation a liar—but that’s what we did on those Sunday shows,” Issa said.

Issa speculated that Jay Carney, President Obama’s press secretary, will call the testimony old news. “Or perhaps former Secretary [of State Hillary] Clinton [will say]: What difference does it make?”

But Issa told the Republican crowd: “We left our people and did not make a proper attempt to rescue them for those 7½ hours,” Issa said. “And as a result, every State Department individual, every person serving overseas, asks the question now: What happens if it’s me, and I’m on my own?”

“That’s what difference it makes,” Issa said. 

The Benghazi issue was revived Tuesday when Obama was asked about allegations that his administration is preventing whistleblowers from testifying before Congress about the incident, The Associated Press reported.

Secretary of State John Kerry told reporters at the State Department: “We have to demythologize this issue and certainly depoliticize it. The American people deserve answers. I’m determined that this will be an accountable and open State Department as it has been in the past, and we will continue to do that, and we will provide answers.”

Other victims of the Benghazi attack were former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods of Imperial Beach and Glen Doherty of Encinitas and Sean Smith, an information management officer and San Diego native. The trio were honored along with others Friday at a Washington memorial service, U-T San Diego reported.

On Tuesday, Issa “complained that he had not received responses to four letters he sent to the administration calling for whistleblowers’ lawyers to get the security clearances needed to represent their clients,” AP said.

State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell has denied that any employee had been threatened or told to remain silent.

“The State Department would never tolerate or sanction retaliation against whistleblowers on any issue, including this one,” Ventrell was quoted as saying. "That’s an obligation we take very seriously, full stop.”

Libi Uremovic May 05, 2013 at 10:26 PM
yes, let's take off the rose colored glasses and look at the reality.... the men killed in bengazi were private citizens ...they had stayed in the military for 20 years and when they got out they still couldn't make a living for themselves in their own country.... the gop want to worship the dead, but you have nothing for the living... the line for vets benefits is over a year long....our county is almost $17 trillion in debt....we only have 18 states in this country that can sustain themselves - 32 of the state are dependent on federal subsidies paid for by money taken from our state... thousands have died because of the lies told to invade iraq....our government invented a war so the private sector could pillage a foreign country.... now you and issa want to scream that the white house is personally responsible for the actions of private citizen in foreign lands...??
Ed Sorrels May 05, 2013 at 10:46 PM
Rightr on Libi ! And the lies continue, Those so very rightious lies from ? Where else but that so very Rightious Right ! A point of history ! Every time religion becomes the politic's of a nation war follow's ! Think about it !
Loki May 06, 2013 at 07:48 AM
Wow! You two take the role of Obama Apologist to a whole new level! He can do no wrong! Like Hilary said "What difference at this point does it make?" ... the king has been crowned. The deception and foot dragging worked. So really, what difference does it make that we ... ... Hired an al-Qaida linked group for the consulate security (February 17th Martyr's Brigade) - what difference does it make? ... Refused to send reinforcements to save the lives of a US diplomat and other US citizens that were at Benghazi on an Obama directed mission - what difference does it make? ... Lied and deceived the US people for two weeks about the absence of terrorism of the attack - what difference does it make? ... Intimidated witnesses - what difference does it make? This administration is responsible for the murder of a US diplomat and his security detail and the cover-up thereof. HE needs to be impeached and Hillary needs to be imprisoned for murder & treason. This administration's political expediency makes anybody expendable - what difference does it make? Indeed! Benghazi, Solyndra, Fast & Furious, Obamacare "you need to pass it before you read it", de facto amnesty, extension and strengthening of Patriot act, Q.E. continuing devaluation of our dollar, assault on our 2nd amendment rights ... Watergate, Iran/Contra & the Lewinski scandal pale in contrast to any of these coordinated & treasonous deceptions by HIS administration!
Libi Uremovic May 06, 2013 at 11:40 AM
it has nothing to do with obama nor did ed or i bring up obama.... it's about an endless political distractions instead of focusing on the realities of our situation...and this ridiculously blind political following that has developed in this county... the gop has built of shrine of power around obama to 'rally the base'...., but obama is nothing more than a laissez faire style politician ...he's got no deep ties nor is he making any 'bold choices'....he's just going whichever way the wind blows.... ....but to the gop obama is a master ruler with plans of ultimate domination....which doesn't exactly fit with the 'he's golfing again' mantra, but hey - we don't need no stink'n reality check, now do we...??
Status Quo May 11, 2013 at 05:51 PM
Appreciating, your Jungian improper transference - 'Libi'. Although a clumsy attempt, your analysis of 'new (R)epublican' values is just as improper in transference, though deliberate in being incendiary. Good luck with your line of reasoning, in your obvious formative stage of trying to understand "values". Although I feel you failed to make a case, it is clear you were responding to remarks regarding Obama as highest level of State. Many see these puerile attempts in the comments section of Patch - rose or blackened lens, in your reality shared with readers. Though neither 'Ed' in agreement with your reality, does your view square with conventional reality. Though I still enjoy seeing through your shared prism. "the GOP's(gop) obama is a master ruler with plans of ultimate domination"?? Wow! which orifice does this emanate from? From my conservative Republican perspective, Mr. Obama is simply a Keynesian charlatan who is a bad manager in need of replacement.

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