The US House Oversight and Government Reform Committee conducts a hearing today with Foreign Service officers focusing on information turned over to the committee by whistle-blowers on the Benghazi terrorist attacks. Click here to watch the hearings live beginning at 10:30 CST.
Buck Sexton provides background and offers a compelling analysis under the headline, “Benghazi Revelations Today Could Obliterate Obama’s Credibility and Sink Hillary’s 2016 Ambitions.”
Sexton, former CIA officer assigned to the Counter Terrorism Center and Office of Iraq Analysis has also served as an analyst for NYPD Intelligence Division. Sexton has field experience in the Middle East, South Asia and Africa with a B.A. in Political Science from Amherst College. Sexton writes:
We may finally learn the truth about Benghazi. Eight months have passed since the September 11th attacks on the U.S. Mission there, but a moment of reckoning has come. The House Oversight Committee has brought forth whistle-blowers with direct and unique knowledge of the Benghazi attack and the Obama administration’s inept, dishonest response to it.
Today could be politically devastating for the president and his party. Or it could merely solidify that which we already know about the Benghazi debacle.
Either way, here’s a breakdown of some of the key issues that the whistle-blowers are likely to address, and the possible ramifications of the hearings for the Obama administration as well as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Inaction During the Attack
There is no argument that crucial warnings were missed in the run-up to the Benghazi attack. The security environment was deteriorating, multiple requests for help from Ambassador Stephens went unheeded. Inexplicably, the State Department pulled security resources away from a critical threat post.
This incompetence is well-documented, and unless new information surfaces today to shine a spotlight on then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s direct role in this, the narrative of bureaucratic stupidity is unlikely to change.
The administration’s actions during the hours of the attack itself, however, could be up for a major thrashing. Based on early excerpts of testimony from the Deputy Chief of Mission, Greg Hicks, senior administration officials both failed to act decisively to save U.S. lives, and even stood in the way of an effort to do so.
DCM Hicks has stated that, in his opinion, aerial assets such as an F-16 fighter could have been deployed as a show of force over the Benghazi compound. He suggested that “buzzing” the attackers may have caused some to withdraw for fear of being targeted. The U.S. airbase in Aviano, Sicily, or the Naval Base at Souda Bay, in Greece, could have possibly provided fighter aircraft.
If this is true, it portrays a chain of command that not only failed to plan for such a critical contingency, but one that was unwilling to take the risk of deploying manned aerial assets to help those fighting off the terrorist attack.