Greg Hicks, former deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, Libya, told congressional investigators that the State Department internal review of the catastrophe at the mission in Benghazi “let people off the hook,” CNN has learned. [CNN]
THERE ARE no two people more associated with partisan brawls than Joseph diGenova and Victoria Toensing, who are now representing the so-called Benghazi “whistle-blowers.” They’re most recent partisan plea for justice was demanding a pardon for Scooter Libby over his involvement in the outing of CIA NOC Valerie Plame Wilson.
There’s a reason Joseph diGenova and Victoria Toensing have been retained, which is represented by the latest Fox News headline:
Clinton sought end-run around counterterrorism bureau
on night of Benghazi attack, witness will say
The large Fox News headline should alert you to what’s going on, with Brian Stelter offering an anecdote on Fox and Benghazi. They’re coming for Hillary Clinton.
It’s not exactly Whitewater, because that was launched in the spring of the same year that Bill Clinton was running for president, but it’s a close cousin. The latest attempt to tar Hillary Clinton with Benghazi comes before she’s even decided to run for president. But just in case she does, Victoria Toensing and Joseph diGenova want to make sure there’s plenty of fodder for the media to pick through once it happens. So, they’re back and they’re loaded with Benghazi factoids.
The real shame in this is that if there are legitimate questions to be asked and answered there is no way to trust the information through this hyper partisan lens.
During the Clinton – Lewinski imbroglio, Victoria Toensing and Joseph diGenova were seen on television more often than any two lawyers. The Washington Post profile of the two, who are married, apprears in the “Clinton Accused” archives.
Jake Tapper reports what CNN has learned about what Greg Hicks, former deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, Libya is alleging. Tapper does his sober best to take Hicks and the information being supplied to congressional investigators seriously. But it’s ground we’ve been over before.
Hicks’s beef seems to revolve around U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice’s characterization of the Benghazi attack on television.
“I thought it was a terrorist attack from the getÃ¢â‚¬”˜go,” said Hicks, who was in Tripoli during the attack. “I think everybody in the mission thought it was a terrorist attack from the beginning.”
Hicks said he never had any indication that there had been a popular protest outside the mission in Benghazi.
“I never reported a demonstration; I reported an attack on the consulate,” Hicks said. Stevens’ “last report, if you want to say his final report, is, ‘Greg, we are under attack.’”
You know, it’s jawÃ¢â‚¬”˜dropping that Ã¢â‚¬”˜Ã¢â‚¬”˜ to me that Ã¢â‚¬”˜Ã¢â‚¬”˜ how that came to be,” Hicks recalled. “And, you know, I knew Ã¢â‚¬”˜Ã¢â‚¬”˜ I was personally known to one of (U.S.) Ambassador (to the United Nations Susan) Rice’s staff members. And, you know, we’re six hours ahead of Washington. Even on Sunday morning, I could have been called, and, you know, the phone call could have been, ‘hey, Greg, Ambassador Rice is going to say blah, blah, blah, blah,’ and I could have said, ‘no, that’s not the right thing.’ That phone call was never made.”
Hicks said that “for there to have been a demonstration on Chris Stevens’ front door and him not to have reported it is unbelievable. And secondly, if he had reported it, he would have been out the back door within minutes of any demonstration appearing anywhere near that facility. And there was a back gate to the facility, and, you know, it worked.”
Hicks said that despite being the senior diplomat in Libya after Stevens was killed, he wasn’t consulted at all before Rice went on Sunday talk shows to discuss the attacks.
Rice contradicted Libyan President Mohammed Magariaf, who said the same day that “this was an attack by Islamic extremists, possibly with terrorist links,” Hicks said. “He describes what happens. He tells the truth of what happened. And so, you know, Ambassador Rice says what she says, contradicting what the president of Libya says from Benghazi.”
This violated “a cardinal rule of diplomacy that we learn in our orientation class, and that rule is, never inadvertently insult your interlocutor. 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. Magariaf has just lost face in front of not only his own people but the world. And, you know, my jaw hit the floor as I watched this. I’ve never been Ã¢â‚¬”˜Ã¢â‚¬”˜ I have been a professional diplomat for 22 years. I have never been as embarrassed in my life, in my career, as on that day.
The day after Rice’s appearance on the Sunday shows, Hicks says, he asked Acting Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs Beth Jones, ” ‘Why did Ambassador Rice say that?’ And Beth Jones said, ‘I don’t know.’”
Rep. Darrell Issa, the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, will hear testimony from Hicks on Wednesday. Victoria Toensing won’t be far off camera.
The Fox News headline concentrates on former Secretary Clinton. Mark I Thompson, another so-called “whistle-blower,” who we’ve heard from before, has retained Joseph diGenova. Thompson is reportedly going to level accusations at Clinton during Wednesday’s hearings. Thompson is a former Marine and now the deputy coordinator for operations in the agency’s counterterrorism bureau.
On the night of Sept. 11, as the Obama administration scrambled to respond to the Benghazi terror attacks, then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and a key aide effectively tried to cut the department’s own counterterrorism bureau out of the chain of reporting and decision-making, according to a “whistle-blower” witness from that bureau who will soon testify to the charge before Congress, Fox News has learned.
So, Victoria Toensing and Joseph diGenova, through their clients, have leveled their aim at former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as well as Under Secretary Patrick F. Kennedy, a career foreign service officer.
The chaos that ensued on the ground after the Benghazi bombing had its roots long before it started. Foreign service officers like Chris Stevens make harrowing choices to move countries forward after leaders fall. The most fateful decision was moving from the safer city of Tripoli to the unstable city of Benghazi, which was a much more dangerous post. But Stevens believed it had to be done to get closer to the Libyan people, who love him it should be noted, in order to continue the efforts of stabilizing the country after Gadhafi fell.
Rep. Issa’s majority Republican committee is a partisan investigation into a diplomatic foreign policy matter that these politicians seem not to remotely understand. The so-called “whistle-blowers” have retained lawyers who are infamous in the worst partisan wars Washington has seen in the last twenty years.
It’s not difficult to see what’s going on here.
What happened in Benghazi was a tragedy. The way the information was dispensed to the public afterward was handled poorly by the Obama administration, partly because in the 24/7 new media multi-platform era we live in no White House can respond clearly enough after chaos erupts.
Secretary Clinton didn’t go on the Sunday shows, because she obviously knew what was going to happen if she did. Ambassador Rice took the Administration bullet for Benghazi, but now the partisan hacks are coming back to get the woman they couldn’t touch the first time around.
There were mistakes made in Benghazi. Hopefully our government has learned something from it, because nothing is going to be learned through the partisan lens that is now being utilized to pull scalps.
One wonders what Issa’s Republican committee, as well as the media and James Fox at Fox News, might do today with the 1983 Marine barracks bombing in Lebanon that happened under Ronald Reagan’s watch, a man who got away with an impeachable offense for Iran-Contra.