Three whistle-blowers from the State Department testified yesterday at the Benghazi hearings held by the Congressional Oversight and Reform Committee. Eric Nordstrom, Mark Thompson and Gregory Hicks appeared before Darrell Issa and the rest to give their version of what happened during the terrorist attack on our facilities in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012. There was general agreement that the version of the story portrayed by the White House, and by Hillary Clinton, was inaccurate. That the Accountability Review Board was very limited in it′s investigation, never interviewing high-level officials nor even having stenographers present while taking testimony. Gregory Hicks, the Deputy Mission Chief in Libya, second only to Ambassador Chris Stevens, gave perhaps the most important statements. He said of the video-protest story which U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice presented on Sunday talk shows that he was ″stunned″ and ″embarrassed″. That ″my jaw dropped″ when he heard about her talking points.

benghazi hearings

Hicks is the first person to go public who was actually on the ground in Libya at the time of the attack. He had communicated with Ambassador Stevens earlier that fateful day informing him about the protests at the U.S. embassy in Cairo, Egypt. Stevens reportedly answered back that he was unaware of events in Cairo and that nothing was going on in Benghazi. Later that evening, after 9pm in Tripoli, Hicks was told by an aid that the residence in Benghazi was under attack. Hicks found his cell phone and saw that he had missed two calls, one from Stevens and one from an unfamiliar number. Hicks called back on both, getting Ambassador Stevens on the unfamiliar phone, which turned out to belong to one of his security team. Stevens said that they were under attack and then the call went dead. Attempts to call back failed.

The committee gave Hicks plenty of time to tell his story. He went through the events of that long night, as well as the aftermath which followed. Hicks was shocked when the head of a special forces unit assigned for protecting the embassy in Tripoli was ordered to not go to Benghazi. He was also told that no outside help was coming as the only available military assets were jet fighters in Italy, about 2-3 hours away, but they had no refueling tankers to support them. How they knew that night from Twitter feeds that the terrorist group, Ansar al-Sharia, was claiming responsibility. That Stevens body had been taken to a hospital run by the same group. How the Libyan president pt his own neck on the block to get the body back. But perhaps the most damning charges made by Hicks were the efforts by the State Department to keep him quiet.

Hicks told of how he had been ordered not to allow Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) to have any private interviews with himself, as well as two other ranking managers in Libya during a Congressional fact-finding trip. How that State Department sent a lawyer to shepherd Hicks to prevent him from saying the wrong thing. Later, how Cheryl Mills, Hillary Clinton′s Chief of Staff, read him the riot act and removed him from any position a 22-year veteran diplomat might have. Hicks was essentially spanked and exiled within the State Department. Hicks also talked about how the video-protest story created issues with the Libyan government.

We also heard new information from Mark Thompson, the State Department′s top manager for their Counter-Terrorism Bureau. He had been on duty when the attack began in Benghazi and immediately attempted to convince his superiors to send help in the way of the quick response FEST (Foreign Emergency Support Team) unit. Even if it took them 8-9 hours to fly there, or at least land in a nearby friendly nation, Thompson believed the FEST unit was needed to be sent immediately. Thompson also told committee members that he and his bureau had been effectively blocked from participating in the decision making process. How the experts and professionals were cut off at the knees from giving any input.

As political theater goes, the Benghazi hearings provided plenty of drama and some tragic, twisted comedy, mainly from the Democrat members. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) served up plenty of baloney trying to equate the attacks on Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama for being incompetent with the murderous mayhem in Benghazi. Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) tried to accuse Darrell Issa of playing politics. Other bozo Democrats tried to blame budget cuts by the GOP House on Benghazi, even though we had learned from Charlene Lamb in previous hearings that money was not an issue for providing extra security in Libya.

Yesterday′s Benghazi hearings may not have produced a smoking gun assigning any criminal blame to members of the Barack Obama administration, but it did provide enough new information to require more investigating. The White House, Hillary Clinton and Susan Rice were less than truthful about what started the terrorist attack in Benghazi. We still do not know exactly who ordered the military to stand down and not help Ambassador Chris Stevens? Of course, Obama, as Commander and Chief, had the last word in such a decision, but where was Obama? Was he asleep? Too busy preparing for a fund raiser in Las Vegas the next day? We are still just beginning to scratch the surface of this political scandal.