Today marks the one year anniversary of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the 2012 9/11 Benghazi terror attack. During that testimony Clinton infamously declared, “What difference does it make!” when pressed on how and why four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, were killed.
The Obama administration quickly said the incident was a result of a protest over an anti-Islam YouTube raging out of control but the evidence and witnesses declared the event a terrorist attack almost immediately after it happened. Last week, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence released a report that determined the attack, and the deaths of four Americans, could have been prevented.
Writing in the Wall Street Journal late yesterday former Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli (from July 31 to Dec. 7, 2012) Gregory Hicks, the last person to talk to Ambassador Stevens before he was killed, continued to express his frustration with the Obama administration’s portrayal of the facts surrounding the attacks and recent accusations that Ambassador Stevens was responsible for his own death. After multiple threats, Ambassador Stevens repeatedly requested more security at the consulate and that security was repeatedly denied.
On Sept. 11, we had only nine diplomatic security agents under Chris’s authority to protect our diplomatic personnel in Tripoli and Benghazi.
Chris Stevens was not responsible for the reduction in security personnel. His requests for additional security were denied or ignored. Officials at the State and Defense Departments in Washington made the decisions that resulted in reduced security. Sen. Lindsey Graham stated on the Senate floor last week that Chris “was in Benghazi because that is where he was supposed to be doing what America wanted him to do: Try to hold Libya together.” He added, “Quit blaming the dead guy.”
During congressional testimony last year, Hicks said the YouTube video was a “non-event” in Libya and said his jaw hit the floor when he learned the administration was blaming the attack on a video. Hicks, second-in-command to Stevens in Libya, was on the ground in Tripoli when the attack occurred and reported directly to Clinton immediately that the consulate was under attack. He never reported a protest.
“The only report that our mission made through every channel was that this was an attack,” Hicks said. “No protest.”
Since speaking out as a whistleblower about what happened in Benghazi, Hicks has faced retaliation from inside the State Department.
One year after Clinton’s testimony on Benghazi we still have very few answers about what happened and the families of those who were killed are far from receiving closure. What difference does it make? A hell of a difference.