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Blogging Benghazi Hearing: “Greg, Greg, the consulate’s under attack,” Ambassador Stevens’ first words

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J. Scott Applewhite/Associated Press

From left, Mark Thompson, the
State Department's acting deputy assistant secretary for
counterterrorism; Gregory Hicks, the  former deputy chief of mission in
Libya, and Eric Nordstrom, the State Department's former regional
security officer in Libya, were sworn in on Wednesday before the House
Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Thoughts  and tweets while watching the Benghazi hearings. This is the first time we are hearing from an eyewitness — someone who was there, Greg Hicks.

The
testimony coming from these steely, disciplined, tough-as-nails men is
very painful to watch. As an American, I am ashamed of my country.

Hicks' description of the endless night is harrowing. What is painfully clear is how alone they were. Utterly and completely alone.

Benghazi testimony is astonishing. It's a stunning indictment of Obama's epic failure — White House was called immediately.

Where did the stand down order come from?

From the very first words — the first phone call from Ambassador Stevens to Hicks — "the consulate is under attack."

CHRIS-STEVENS-570

Photo: Ambassador Stevens being paraded through the streets of Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012

Ambassador
Stevens was taken to an al qaeda-affiliated hospital that night — Obama
blamed free speech video while al qaeda was slaughtering us.

Gregory Hicks "appealed in vain for fighter jets to buzz the besieged compound, and
that other American officials sought to send a group of commandos to the
rescue but were told to stand down'. The US
military head in Tripoli was "furious".

US
military head in Tripoli to Greg Hicks furious at STAND DOWN
order-"this is the first time a diplomat has more balls than military" 

Democratic representative Elijah Cummings going after heroic Hicks exposes the treasonous Dems for the destroyers they are – teachable moment for the American people. Clowns like Lacy Clay are using the hearings to campaign (on the bodies of Benghazi) and slam Republicans. Jackals.

Hicks described the plot to lure more Americans into 'trap'

UPDATE: Maj. Robert Firman. a Pentagon spokesman, "There was never any kind of stand-down order to anybody."
Benghazi eyewitness: we were there 'when Gibson given a stand down
order.'

UPDATE: FOX reporting:

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A key Benghazi whistle-blower testified Wednesday that his team knew
the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. compound was terrorism, revealing that
it appeared some were trying to lure even more U.S. personnel into a
separate "ambush" while the attack was still being carried out. 

Greg Hicks, the deputy chief of mission in Libya who became the top
U.S. diplomat in the country after Ambassador Chris Stevens was killed,
revealed new details as he and other whistle-blowers delivered emotional
testimony on Capitol Hill. 

He described how, as diplomatic officials were trying to find out
what happened to Stevens, they were receiving phone calls from supposed
tipsters saying they knew where the ambassador was and urging Americans
to come get him. 

"We suspected that we were being baited into a trap," Hicks said,
adding that he did not want to send anybody into what he suspected was
an "ambush." 

Getting choked up, Hicks described how the Libyan prime minister
later called him to tell him Stevens was in fact dead. "I think it's the
saddest phone call I've ever had in my life," he said. 

At the very beginning of the attack, before Stevens went missing and
was later found dead, Hicks said his team believed it was terrorism. He
said a regional security officer rushed into his villa yelling, "Greg,
Greg, the consulate's under attack." 

He then spoke by phone with Stevens who told him the same: "Greg, we're under attack." 

After enduring a night of attacks on the U.S. consulate, Hicks said
the team departed at dawn for the nearby annex — shortly after they
arrived, "the mortars came."

The testimony of Hicks and others is poised to challenge key elements
of the Obama administration's narrative, including their initial
statements that the attack was triggered by protests over a film. 

Hicks said that, despite U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice's repeated claims
the Sunday after the attack that the film was the impetus, Stevens
never mentioned a demonstration before his death. 

"I was stunned," Hicks said of Rice's comments. "My jaw dropped, and I was embarrassed." 

He said Rice never talked to him before those appearances. 

Another whistle-blower questioned Wednesday why more military assets
were not deployed sooner during the Benghazi terror attack. Mark
Thompson, a former Marine and official with the State Department's
Counterterrorism Bureau, said he was rebuffed by the White House when he
asked for a specialized team — known as a FEST team — to be deployed.
This is a unit made of special operations personnel, diplomatic
security, intelligence and other officers. 

Suggesting that some were hesitant to deploy because they were unsure
what was happening, "One definition of a crisis is you do not know
what's going to happen in two hours," he said. 

Further, Hicks explained how a separate team of special forces
personnel were not given the authorization to fly from Tripoli to
Benghazi. "They were furious," he said. 

Rep. Darrell Issa, chairman of the oversight committee holding the
hearing, defended the witnesses, calling them "actual experts on what
really happened before, during and after the Benghazi attacks," who
"deserve to be heard." 

The three witnesses are Hicks, deputy chief of mission in Libya who
became top U.S. diplomat in the country after Ambassador Chris Stevens
was killed in the terror attack; Eric Nordstrom, a diplomatic security
officer who was formerly the regional security officer in Libya; and
Thompson. 

"I am a career public servant," Hicks said. "Until the aftermath of Benghazi, I loved every day of my job." 

Nordstrom choked up as he began to testify Wednesday.  

The administration has parried Republican allegations lately by
arguing that the attack is old news, that the State Department already
has investigated it and that Republicans are engaged in a political
witch hunt. 

Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., top Democrat on the oversight committee,
also said Wednesday that Republicans are using the witnesses'
statements for "political purposes." He said he's glad the
whistle-blowers are testifying and would ensure they are protected, but
pre-emptively challenged some of their claims — including the claim
that U.S. military could have responded sooner to the site of the
attack. 

But a series of carefully timed leaks on the whistle-blowers'
testimony indicates House Republicans could have the goods to at least
merit a second look at the administration narrative. 

"The question is, where's the accountability for lying to the
American people?" Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., chairman of the House
Oversight and Government Reform Committee, told Fox News. "The American
people were lied to." 

The witnesses are expected to cover a breadth of material in their
testimony Wednesday. Lawmakers have questioned to what extent security
requests were ignored before the attack, whether the military could have
done more to respond the night of the attack and whether talking points
were intentionally changed for political reasons after the attack to
downplay terrorism. The witnesses could address all three areas on
Wednesday. 

The Obama administration has adamantly denied several of the latest
charges, including a claim that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton
and a key aide tried to cut the department's own counterterrorism bureau
out of the chain of reporting and decision-making on Sept. 11. The
administration also denied that the whistle-blowers in question were
intimidated — while behind the scenes questioning the credibility of
the witnesses. 

A "fact sheet" released by the department ahead of the hearing
reiterated its denials. The statement also said the department has
"demonstrated an unprecedented degree of cooperation with the Congress"
on Libya, and rejected claims that the military was in a position to
help that night but was told to stand down. Citing its internal review,
the statement noted the review "found no evidence of any undue delays in
decision making or denial of support from Washington or from the
military combatant commanders."

 


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