Gregory Hicks: Benghazi and the Smearing of Chris Stevens

345WSJ, By GREGORY N. HICKS:

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.

The report states that retired Gen. Carter Ham, then-commander of the U.S. Africa Command (Africom) headquartered in Stuttgart, Germany, twice offered to “sustain” the special forces security team in Tripoli and that Chris twice “declined.” Since Chris cannot speak, I want to explain the reasons and timing for his responses to Gen. Ham. As the deputy chief of mission, I was kept informed by Chris or was present throughout the process.

On Aug. 1, 2012, the day after I arrived in Tripoli, Chris invited me to a video conference with Africom to discuss changing the mission of the U.S. Special Forces from protecting the U.S. Embassy and its personnel to training Libyan forces. This change in mission would result in the transfer of authority over the unit in Tripoli from Chris to Gen. Ham. In other words, the special forces would report to the Defense Department, not State.

Chris wanted the decision postponed but could not say so directly. Chris had requested on July 9 by cable that Washington provide a minimum of 13 American security professionals for Libya over and above the diplomatic security complement of eight assigned to Tripoli and Benghazi. On July 11, the Defense Department, apparently in response to Chris’s request, offered to extend the special forces mission to protect the U.S. Embassy.

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.

Chris’s concern was significant. 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 described an incident in Pakistan in 2011 when an American security contractor killed Pakistani citizens in self-defense, precipitating a crisis in U.S.-Pakistani relations. He also pointed out that four International Criminal Court staff, who had traveled to Libya in June 2012 to interview Gadhafi’s oldest son, Saif al-Islam al-Qadhafi, were illegally detained by tribal authorities under suspicion of spying. This was another risk U.S. military personnel might face.

During that video conference, Chris stressed that the only way to mitigate the risk was to ensure that U.S. military personnel serving in Libya would have diplomatic immunity, which should be done prior to any change of authority.

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.

The SenateIntelligence Committee’s report accurately notes that on Aug. 6, after the transfer of authority, two special forces team members in a diplomatic vehicle were forced off the road in Tripoli and attacked. Only because of their courage, skills and training did they escape unharmed. But the incident highlighted the risks associated with having military personnel in Libya unprotected by diplomatic immunity or a status of forces agreement. As a result of this incident, Chris was forced to agree with Gen. Ham’s withdrawal of most of the special forces team from Tripoli until the Libyan government formally approved their new training mission and granted them diplomatic immunity.

Because Mr. Kennedy had refused to extend the special forces security mission, State Department protocol required Chris to decline Gen. Ham’s two offers to do so, which were made after Aug. 6. I have found the reporting of these so-called offers strange, since my recollection of events is that after the Aug. 6 incident, Gen. Ham wanted to withdraw the entire special forces team from Tripoli until they had Libyan government approval of their new mission and the diplomatic immunity necessary to perform their mission safely. However, Chris convinced Gen. Ham to leave six members of the team in Tripoli.

When I arrived in Tripoli on July 31, we had over 30 security personnel, from the State Department and the U.S. military, assigned to protect the diplomatic mission to Libya. All were under the ambassador’s authority. On Sept. 11, we had only nine diplomatic security agents under Chris’s authority to protect our diplomatic personnel in Tripoli and Benghazi.

I was interviewed by the Select Committee and its staff, who were professional and thorough. I explained this sequence of events. For some reason, my explanation did not make it into the Senate report.

To sum up: Chris Stevens was not responsible for the reduction in security personnel. His requests for additional security were denied or ignored. Officials at the State and Defense Departments in Washington made the decisions that resulted in reduced security. Sen. Lindsey Graham stated on the Senate floor last week that Chris “was in Benghazi because that is where he was supposed to be doing what America wanted him to do: Try to hold Libya together.” He added, “Quit blaming the dead guy.”

Mr. Hicks served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli from July 31 to Dec. 7, 2012.

Benghazi Bombshell: Help Denied – The Inside Job

c-110 1The National Patriot, By Craig Andresen:

When it comes to Benghazi…The more dots we are given to connect, the sharper the treasonous picture becomes and now, thanks to the Senate Intelligence Committee Report, we have even MORE dots on the page.

Imagine, if you will, having command of C-110 transferred, in the middle of an attack, to someone who doesn’t even know there is a second complex, full of Americans, in the attack zone.

You don’t have to imagine it.

It is a point of fact.

Let’s back up a bit and define a few very important details.

C-110.

What in the hell is C-110???

C-110 is a 40 man, Special Ops unit specifically trained for rapid response when Americans find themselves in harm’s way in foreign countries.

It is also known as, EUCOM CIF.

C-110 was under the control of our military’s European Command.

WAS…Being the key word.

The attack, NOT in QUESTION but, IN FACT was…

c-110 2Benghazi.

At some point, AFTER the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi had begun and, well before it ended some 8 hours later at the CIA annex in Benghazi…

Command OF C-110 was TRANSFERRED from European Command TO…General Carter Ham at AFRICOM or…United States African Command.

And here’s the kicker…

We now know, from page 77 of the 85 page Senate Intelligence Committee’s Benghazi Report that…

c-110 3AFRICOM Commander, General Carter Ham…“was not even aware there was a CIA annex in Benghazi at the time of the attacks.”

That is correct. You read that right.

IN THE MIDDLE OF THE AL QAEDA, TERRORIST ATTACKS, THAT TOOK THE LIVES OF AMBASSADOR CHRIS STEVENS, SEAN SMITH, GLEN DOHERTY AND TYRONE WOODS AND, LEFT MANY MORE AMERICANS WOUNDED…COMMAND OF THE SPECIAL FORCES UNIT SPECIFICALLY TRAINED TO RESCUE AMERICANS UNDER ATTACK…C-110…WAS…TRANSFERRED…TO A GENERAL WHO HAD NEVER BEEN TOLD OF THE EXISTENCE OF THE CIA ANNEX!!!

It gets even stranger.

Normally, C-110 is stationed in Germany but, on September 11th, 2012, on 6 hour’s notice, they had been sent to a training exercise in Croatia.

Croatia is only 925 miles from Benghazi and, despite General DEMPSEY’S claims that it would have taken more than 6 hours to fly C-110 from Croatia to Benghazi, the FACT is that a COMMERCIAL AIRLINER could have made that trip in under 3 HOURS and, according to General Ham…C-110 had “all their aircraft with them.”

So…WHY in THE HELL was C-110 NOT sent to Benghazi???

According to Dempsey…“They were told to begin preparations to leave Croatia and to return to their normal operating base,” IN GERMANY!!!

What if you were to ask General Carter Ham?

Well…Ham HAD been notified of the attack on the Consulate and, according to Ham “only was that there was some kind of attack.”

c-110 4Remember a couple of very important things here.

That initial attack, on the Consulate, lasted a couple of hours BUT, we also know from the Senate Intel Committee Report that, Obama and his administration knew…KNEW…in the first minutes OF that initial attack that…IT WAS A TERRORIST ATTACK AND AL QAEDA WAS INVOLVED!!!

There is absolutely no evidence that such information was shared with General Ham.

Also…Keep in mind that…AFTER the INITIAL ATTACK on the CONSULATE…There was a pause of a few hours before the SECOND attack on the CIA ANNEX…

A CIA ANNEX THAT GENERAL CARTER HAM HAD NO KNOWLEDGE OF WHATSOEVER, began!!!

According to Ham, regarding being notified that the attack on the Consulate was over and, that Stevens and Smith were unaccounted for: “In my mind at that point, we were no longer in a response to an attack. We were in a recovery.”

C-110 5AAThere are those who have questioned General Ham’s decision making regarding the night of the attacks but, when one realizes that HE had NO knowledge of the CIA annex AND that HE wasn’t receiving the necessary intel to MAKE a more well informed decision, coupled with the fact that C-110 had been ordered to make preparations to RETURN to GERMANY rather than to prepare for a mission in Benghazi…

Clearly, the fault does NOT reside with General Carter Ham…A point also made in the Senate report:

“We are puzzled as to how the military leadership expected to effectively respond and rescue Americans in the event of an emergency when it did not even know of the existence of one of the U.S. facilities.”

What we KNOW leads to questions that require answers.

Since Obama and Dempsey KNEW, within the first minutes of the attack, that it was al Qaeda terrorists…WHY did they NOT order C-110, which Dempsey well knew could be on site in less than 3 hours, to GO TO BENGHAZI???

Obama clearly knew of the CIA annex…Hillary clearly knew of it also as those in that annex were working in tandem with those in the Diplomatic Consulate so…Why on earth was the existence of the CIA annex intentionally kept from the General who was…AFTER THE ATTACKS BEGAN…suddenly placed in command of the very Special Ops team TRAINED for such a mission? 

WHO issued the change in command of C-110…From European Command to AFRICOM…IN THE MIDDLE OF A DAMN ATTACK AND…WHY???

c-110 6And further more…When the initial attack had ended…Tyrone Woods had evacuated all the Americans he could find at the Consulate TO the CIA annex where he was joined by Glen Doherty and THEY were in direct contact with Gregory Hicks at the Embassy in Tripoli where, according to Hicks:

“At about 10:45 or 11 we confer, and I asked the defense attache who had been talking about AFRICOM and with the joint staff, ‘Is anything coming? Will they be sending us any help? Is there something out there?’ And he answered that, the nearest help was in Aviano, the nearest – where there were fighter planes. He said that it would take two to three hours for them to get onsite, but that there also were no tankers available for them to refuel. And I said, ‘Thank you very much,’ and we went on with our work.”

You got that???

The DEFENSE ATTACHE…WHO WAS TALKING TO AFRICOM AND…THE JOINT CHIEFS…WAS DELIBERATELY FED FALSE INFORMATION!!!

THAT ATTACHE WAS TOLD, BY THE JOINT CHIEFS…THAT THE NEAREST ASSISTANCE WAS AT AVIANO, ITALY…NOT IN CROATIA!!!!

A further point of clarification is needed here.

c-110 7By military protocol, such an order to General Ham could only have been made by, potentially, 3 people…Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Dempsey…Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta or…The president.

We know from their testimony that both Dempsey and Panetta were in the white house situation room DURING THE ATTACKS and, for the first 20 minutes or so, before he disappeared…SO WAS OBAMA!!!

And, remember…While under attack…Tyrone Woods was in communication with Gregory Hicks who was getting HIS information from a DEFENSE ATTACHE who was…TALKING TO THE JOINT CHIEFS!!!

Now…Remember this as well…NOBODY knew how LONG the attack was going to continue…IT COULD HAVE GONE ON ALL NIGHT AND INTO THE NEXT DAY for all anyone knew…

Unless…

C-110 8AAASomeone DID know exactly how long al Qaeda would be on the attack.

With al Qaeda on the rise in Benghazi…after the attempt on the life of the British Ambassador and 2 attacks against the Red Cross…After 2 previous attacks on our Consulate in Benghazi…After more than a DOZEN requests from our security personnel and Ambassador Stevens himself for ADDED security were denied…After OUR security personnel were DRAWN DOWN and the February 17th Militia…an affiliate OF al Qaeda also known as Libya’s Ansar al Sharia were HIRED by Hillary’s State Department for “security” in Benghazi…

And considering the transfer of C-110 command DURING the attack…the fact that the new commander OF C-110 was NEVER made aware of the existence of the CIA annex and the fact that C-110 had, after the attack began…BEEN ORDERED BACK TO GERMANY while the JOINT CHIEFS were giving FALSE INTEL TO THOSE UNDER ATTACK IN BENGHAZI…

Is it possible that this was all a part of the plan orchestrated by Obama and Hillary???

By connecting the dots are we getting a clearer picture of an INSIDE JOB???

Let’s put it this way…

The FACT that any and all obstacles to a successful attack by al Qaeda against our Consulate and Ambassador Chris Stevens in Benghazi had been removed and, the FACT that al Qaeda WAS keenly aware of the existence of the CIA annex in Benghazi while the General to whom command of the very Special Forces unit, C-110, trained for just such a mission, was NEVER INFORMED of it…

Speaks volumes.

Also see: State Department’s own guards attacked U.S. Benghazi mission by Aaron Klein at WND

PJM EXCLUSIVE: Ex-Diplomats Report New Benghazi Whistleblowers with Info Devastating to Clinton and Obama

pic_giant_051013_The-Benghazi-LiePJ Media, by Roger L Simon:

More whistleblowers will emerge shortly in the escalating Benghazi scandal, according to two former U.S. diplomats who spoke with PJ Media Monday afternoon.

These whistleblowers, colleagues of the former diplomats, are currently securing legal counsel because they work in areas not fully protected by the Whistleblower law.

According to the diplomats, what these whistleblowers will say will be at least as explosive as what we have already learned about the scandal, including details about what really transpired in Benghazi that are potentially devastating to both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

The former diplomats inform PJM the new revelations concentrate in two areas — what Ambassador Chris Stevens was actually doing in Benghazi and the pressure put on General Carter Ham, then in command of U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) and therefore responsible for Libya, not to act to protect jeopardized U.S. personnel.

Stevens’ mission in Benghazi, they will say, was to buy back Stinger missiles from al-Qaeda groups issued to them by the State Department, not by the CIA. Such a mission would usually be a CIA effort, but the intelligence agency had opposed the idea because of the high risk involved in arming “insurgents” with powerful weapons that endanger civilian aircraft.

Hillary Clinton still wanted to proceed because, in part, as one of the diplomats said, she wanted “to overthrow Gaddafi on the cheap.”

This left Stevens in the position of having to clean up the scandalous enterprise when it became clear that the “insurgents” actually were al-Qaeda – indeed, in the view of one of the diplomats, the same group that attacked the consulate and ended up killing Stevens.

The former diplomat who spoke with PJ Media regarded the whole enterprise as totally amateurish and likened it to the Mike Nichols film Charlie Wilson’s War about a clueless congressman who supplies Stingers to the Afghan guerrillas. “It’s as if Hillary and the others just watched that movie and said ‘Hey, let’s do that!’” the diplomat said.

He added that he and his colleagues think the leaking of General David Petraeus’ affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell was timed to silence the former CIA chief on these matters.

Regarding General Ham, military contacts of the diplomats tell them that AFRICOM had Special Ops “assets in place that could have come to the aid of the Benghazi consulate immediately (not in six hours).”

Ham was told by the White House not to send the aid to the trapped men, but Ham decided to disobey and did so anyway, whereupon the White House “called his deputy and had the deputy threaten to relieve Ham of his command.”

The White House motivation in all this is as yet unclear, but it is known that Ham retired quietly in April 2013 as head of AFRICOM.

PJ Media recognizes this is largely hearsay, but the two diplomats sounded quite credible. One of them was in a position of responsibility in a dangerous area of Iraq in 2004.

We will report more as we learn it.

Jihadists Occupy Mali With Impunity

0702-ansar_full_600-450x344By Joseph Klein

Foreign Islamist jihadists from Sudan, Algeria, Libya and elsewhere, who are part of a network of terrorist groups that affiliate themselves with Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, are entrenching themselves in yet another African country. Al Qaeda is currently occupying an area the size of France in the northern portion of Mali. Like a virus exploiting a weak immune system, the jihadists, mostly Arabs, are exploiting a power vacuum created by internal fighting among ethnic tribes within Mali that had led to a coup and a weakened central government.

Yet, in the face of both a strategic and humanitarian crisis in northern Mali caused by Islamist jihadist invaders, the Obama administration is dithering as conditions in northern Mali worsen by the day.  So is the United Nations on which the Obama administration appears to be relying for a global consensus regarding what to do next.

Reports from the ground indicate that the jihadists have stepped up their forces in the area, turning northern Mali into another breeding ground for the spread of Islamic terrorism throughout Africa. According to the top American military commander in Africa, Gen. Carter F. Ham, the jihadists in Mali are providing arms, explosives and financing to their counterparts in northern Nigeria, where Christians are already being murdered and churches burned. Moreover, al Qaeda is using its control of northern Mali to increase recruiting across sub-Saharan Africa, the Middle East and Europe, according to Gen. Ham.

Northern Mali is also near the tipping point of becoming the current version of the Afghanistan of the 1990′s, in terms of its use as a base for plotting, training and launching of terrorist attacks around the world. Indeed, according to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Mali-based extremists played a role in the September 11th attack in Benghazi that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. That fact alone would merit direct American action to eliminate the al Qaeda presence in Mali. Yet there is silence from the Obama White House.

The jihadist occupiers have also committed gross human rights violations against the local Malian population. Imposing Taliban-style sharia law in place of Sufism that most Malians practice, the occupiers have destroyed the local population’s most revered religious monuments the jihadists considered idolatrous and subjected Malians to amputations, stoning, extra-judicial executions and recruitment of children as soldiers. As usual when sharia law is applied, women have been targeted for the harshest treatment. Over 412,000 people have been forced to flee the north.

Mali leaders have pleaded for help from their neighbors with whom they have had peaceful relations. The African Union and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) responded with an offer of military assistance to uproot the Islamist invaders. In accordance with the United Nations Charter, these regional groups have gone to the UN Security Council to seek authorization and support for an African-led military force to drive out the occupiers.

The Council passed a resolution in October.  It stated the Security Council’s readiness to consider requests for international military force under African auspices to intervene in Mali, but kicked the can down the road until it received a report from Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on the situation in Mali and further recommendations for UN action.

Under Secretary General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman presented the Secretary General’s report on Mali to the Security Council on December 5th, followed by statements from representatives of Mali, ECOWAS and the African Union.  The disconnect on what to do next between the UN Secretary General’s passive recommendations and the call for forceful action by the Mali, ECOWAS and African Union representatives was glaring.

Although conceding the urgency of conditions on the ground in northern Mali, the Secretary General’s report urged patience.  Give “national dialogue” more time to sort out Mali’s internal issues, prepare a “transitional roadmap” (a favorite phrase the UN bureaucracy uses when it has no concrete plan of action) and establish the conditions for a credible election, the report recommended.

“A military operation may be required as a last resort to deal with terrorist and criminal elements in northern Mali,” Under Secretary General Feltman told the Security Council in summarizing Ban Ki-moon’s report, “but the priority must be on supporting the national authorities to restore constitutional order and reach a political settlement to the ongoing crisis.”

The report expressed concern that the request to the Security Council to authorize a United Nations support package for an offensive military operation could have an “impact on the image of the United Nations,” as if its image could become any worse in dealing with the global Islamist threat. The United Nations is “not best placed to directly tackle the security threat posed by terrorists and affiliated groups,” the report conceded.

Nevertheless, while disavowing the UN’s responsibility for providing direct support or funding from the UN’s regular budget for targeted military operations required to dislodge the terrorists from northern Mali, the report recommended that the Security Council set down “benchmarks” the African-led forces and Malians must meet before they are permitted to commence military operations.  The benchmarks would include “positive developments in the political process…and the effective training of military and police personnel of both the support mission and the Malian forces in their obligations under international human rights, humanitarian and refugee law.” The UN should then send in a “sufficient number” of human rights observers to monitor “strict adherence to international humanitarian and human rights law” by the Malian forces and their allies.

In other words, the United Nations’ top leader Ban Ki-moon is recommending that the Malians defending their own country with the help of their neighbors against a foreign invasion by the world’s worst  specimens of human rights abusers must first prove to the UN that they have their own house in order before they can repel the jihadist invaders. Second, the Malians and their allies must effectively pass a human rights certification course and then show that they will play by the rules flouted by the terrorists, all under the watchful eyes of UN monitors for which, by the way, funding will somehow be made available even though there are evidently no monies in the vast UN budget that can be found to support the military operation itself.

The Malian representative, not surprisingly, had a very different take. She pleaded for military assistance to rid Mali of the jihadist scourge without delay.  She mentioned several times that the terrorists occupying northern Mali are foreign. Mali is addressing its own human rights issues in dealing with ethnic minorities, she assured the Council, using what she described as “affirmative action” to integrate minorities into significant positions in government institutions. The process for holding credible elections is already underway, she added.  Responding to those concerned about human rights violations in Mali, she declared that “the best way to preserve human rights” is to quickly set up an African-led military force with international backing that would “allow the Mali government to restore territorial integrity of the entire country.”

Kaddre Ouedraogo, the president of ECOWAS and former Prime Minister of Burkina Faso, told the Security Council that “political dialogue must be combined with a military option to dismantle the terrorists.”  He called for the Security Council to pass a resolution by the end of this year under Chapter 7 of the UN Charter authorizing the use of military force against the terrorists.

The African Union representative Tete Antonio concurred, adding that past experience of the United Nations in Sudan and Somalia has shown the limitations of voluntary contributions to pay for the support of military operations.  He wants funding to come through the UN assessed budget this time  rather than have to pass the hat for voluntary contributions.

Where is the Obama administration regarding the Mali crisis? Leading from behind would be an overstatement. It is outsourcing the matter to the UN and to France.

Read more at Front Page