Tuesday, May 7, 2013

White House Will Not Answer Questions On Benghazi Stand Down Order

Steve Watson
May 7, 2013
In a remarkable exchange Monday, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney failed to directly address questions regarding explosive claims by a whistleblower that US Special forces personnel were ordered to stand down as the attack on the US embassy was taking place.
During a press conference, the senior White House correspondent for Fox News Channel, Ed Henry pressed Carney on the issue, stating:
“Why is Greg Hicks, who was the number two to Ambassador Stevens, now going to tell the Congress and the American people that there were US special forces who were in Tripoli, ready to board a plane, come to Benghazi to help these Americans, and they were told to stand down?”
In several attempts to dodge the question, Carney referred Henry to The Department of Defense, stating “I don’t have access to the interviews that I think have been referred to and some of the news reports.”
“Hicks is challenging the credibility of the White House,” Henry persisted. “You don’t care about what he’s saying? Do you think he’s lying?”
“You’re citing an interview that I don’t have.” Carney again claimed, adding that the official narrative has been corroborated by the Accountability Review Board and White House officials.
Watch the video:
As several mainstream reports have detailed, Hicks has stated that following the murder of Ambassador Stevens, and while the attack on the American embassy was still ongoing, “The Libyan military agreed to fly their C-130 to Benghazi and carry additional personnel to Benghazi as reinforcements.”
Hicks claims that as a specials ops team was about to board the plane, they received a phone call from Special Operations Command Africa saying, “you can’t go now; you don’t have authority to go now.”
“They were told not to board the flight, so they missed it.” Hicks said. In the hours that passed afterward, three more American diplomats were killed by the attackers in a hail of bullets, rocket-propelled grenades and mortars.
Hicks’ claims directly contradict those of the Obama administration, which has stated that all personnel at every point in the chain of command were engaged in providing help, and that “There were no orders to anybody to stand down in providing support.”
Hicks’ claims came in a pre testimony interview, portions of which were leaked ahead of Wednesday’s hearing, possibly in order to protect him. Hicks is also quoted as saying that he believed the incident was a terrorist attack from the outset. “I think everybody in the mission thought it was a terrorist attack from the beginning.” Hicks said.
He also stated that he finds it astounding that White House officials have directly contradicted Libyan President Mohammed Magariaf, who told CBS the same day that the attack was “preplanned, predetermined” by militants with ties to al Qaeda.
“The net impact of what has transpired is the spokesperson of the most powerful country in the world has basically said that the President of Libya is either a liar or doesn’t know what he’s talking about. The impact of that is immeasurable.” Hicks is quoted as saying.
In a separate press briefing Monday, at the State Department, spokesman Patrick Ventrell also refused to directly answer questions relating to Hicks, and Mark Thompson, another State Department official also set to testify in Congress on Wednesday.
“Before we get to the specifics of what they’re expected to testify, I wonder if you could provide us with your assessment of the caliber of these two individuals,” James Rosen of Fox News asked Ventrell. “Are they credible? They’ve been working at fairly senior posts here and abroad for years and years. I wonder first what thoughts the Department has about the caliber of these two individuals.”
Ventrell repeatedly responded that he was not in a position to “assess” the witnesses:
Ventrell also refused to directly answer a question posed by a CNS News reporter, who asked exactly who within the administration was responsible for telling then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that the attack in Benghazi was being justified as “a response to inflammatory material posted on Internet.”
The claim appeared in Clinton’s written “Statement on the Attack in Benghazi” released in the 10:00 p.m. hour Washington, D.C. time on the day of the attack. Ventrell repeated the same empty claims as Carney that the ARB has thoroughly reviewed the issue:


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