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Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Benghazi Updates: Whistleblower Testimony Ignored, New Whistleblowers And A 'Scapegoat' Speaks Out

By Susan Duclos

With the IRS targeting conservatives scandal and the AP phone records scandal, joined with the newly reported scandal of the Department of Justice tracking reporters and obtaining their personal emails, the Benghazi congressional investigation has largely been forced to share center stage.

The other scandals are bad, no doubt, and suggest a level of Obama administration tyranny that demands further investigation, but with that said, in Benghazi, Libya, in a terrorist attack on 9/11/12, four Americans died, so it is appropriate to keep track of the updates carefully.


One of the whistleblowers who already testified before congress, Gregory Hicks who was the second-ranking U.S. diplomat in Libya, at the time of the 9/11 terror attack, highlights a segment of his testimony that has not received the attention it so richly deserves.

Hicks’s attorney has been drawing attention to that section of his testimony, which was overshadowed by revelations that no one at the U.S. embassy in Libya believed the terrorist attack was preceded by a peaceful protest, and that the Pentagon told a special operations team to stand down.

“According to Stevens, Secretary Clinton wanted Benghazi converted into a permanent constituent post,” Hicks testified.

“Timing for this decision [to visit the region on Sept. 11] was important. Chris needed to report before Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year, on the … political and security environment in Benghazi.”
He said Pickering appeared “surprised.”

“I did tell the Accountability Review Board that Secretary Clinton wanted the post made permanent,” Hicks testified.

“Ambassador Pickering looked surprised. He looked both ways … to the members of the board, saying, ‘Does the seventh floor [the secretary of State’s office] know about this?’ ”

The ARB appears to have ignored Hicks’s statement in its public report. Instead, the board appeared to place responsibility on Stevens.

“The Ambassador chose to travel to Benghazi that week, independent of Washington, as per standard practice,” the ARB concluded in its three pages of findings.

“His status as the leading U.S. government advocate on Libya policy, and his expertise on Benghazi in particular, caused Washington to give unusual deference to his judgments.”

Ignoring what the second-in-command says in order to reach conclusions that fit a protect-the-top agenda, is why the fox should never guard the hen house. The "official" investigation into any agency's wrongdoings should never be an internal investigation. An independent board or commission should have conducted it.


In mid-May, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) said "I do think we're going to see more whistleblowers. Certainly my committee has been contacted, I think other committees as well." He stated "We have had people come forward because of the [Oversight] testimony and say we would also like to talk." (Video here)

That is relevant because according to a PJM exclusive, who spoketo two former U.S. diplomats, there is testimony on the horizon that could be devastating to former Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.

These whistleblowers, colleagues of the former diplomats, are currently securing legal counsel because they work in areas not fully protected by the Whistleblower law.

According to the diplomats, what these whistleblowers will say will be at least as explosive as what we have already learned about the scandal, including details about what really transpired in Benghazi that are potentially devastating to both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

The former diplomats inform PJM the new revelations concentrate in two areas — what Ambassador Chris Stevens was actually doing in Benghazi and the pressure put on General Carter Ham, then in command of U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM) and therefore responsible for Libya, not to act to protect jeopardized U.S. personnel.

Stevens’ mission in Benghazi, they will say, was to buy back Stinger missiles from al-Qaeda groups issued to them by the State Department, not by the CIA. Such a mission would usually be a CIA effort, but the intelligence agency had opposed the idea because of the high risk involved in arming “insurgents” with powerful weapons that endanger civilian aircraft.

Hillary Clinton still wanted to proceed because, in part, as one of the diplomats said, she wanted “to overthrow Gaddafi on the cheap.”

This left Stevens in the position of having to clean up the scandalous enterprise when it became clear that the “insurgents” actually were al-Qaeda – indeed, in the view of one of the diplomats, the same group that attacked the consulate and ended up killing Stevens.

if accurate, this would confirm previous testimony that the failures that occurred in Benghazi, came from the top, not lower level employees, such as the scapegoat stuck in limbo, discussed below.


The Daily Beast has an exclusive from a  man that believes he was scapegoated after the "internal investigation" was concluded, which as you saw above, ignored testimony from the second-in command in Libya, Gregory Hicks.

Following the attack in Benghazi, Libya, senior State Department officials close to Hillary Clinton ordered the removal of a midlevel official who had no role in security decisions and has never been told the charges against him. He is now accusing Clinton’s team of scapegoating him for the failures that led to the death of four Americans last year.

Raymond Maxwell was placed on forced “administrative leave” after the State Department’s own internal investigation, conducted by an Administrative Review Board (ARB) led by former State Department official Tom Pickering. Five months after he was told to clean out his desk and leave the building, Maxwell remains in professional and legal limbo, having been associated publicly with the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other American for reasons that remain unclear.
Maxwell, who served as deputy assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern affairs from August 2011 until his removal last December, following tours in Iraq and Syria, spoke publicly for the first time in an exclusive interview with The Daily Beast.

“The overall goal is to restore my honor,” said Maxwell, who has filed grievances regarding his treatment with the State Department’s Human Resources Bureau and the American Foreign Service Association, which represents the interests of foreign-service officers. The other three officials placed on leave were in the Diplomatic Security Bureau, leaving Maxwell as the only official in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs (NEA), which had responsibility for Libya, to lose his job.

“I had no involvement to any degree with decisions on security and the funding of security at our diplomatic mission in Benghazi,” he said.

Hot Air's Ed Morrissey points out:

Pickering will appear for a transcribed deposition on Thursday to answer questions about the conduct of the ARB.  Pickering at first vociferously defended the report, which focused blame for Benghazi on lower-level staffers, but the White House undermined it last week in leaks to CBS News’ Sharyl Attkisson that pointed fingers of their own at Undersecretary of State Patrick Kennedy.   Another whistleblower, Eric Nordstrom, testified two weeks ago that the ARB deliberately ignored Kennedy’s role in preventing security requests from being approved.
It is becoming a pattern with the Obama administration to lay blame on "lower level" employees, as they attempted to do with the IRS targeting conservatives scandal, with those lower level  employees immediately contradicting those assertions by saying their orders "came from the top."

Four brave Americans died in Benghazi, Libya and blaming lower level employees to avoid responsibility for the systematic failures is not only dishonest, it is cowardly.

Liberals and Barack Obama can claim all they want that the congressional investigation is "political" but there is no doubt that the families of those four Americans would like the truth of why their family members died and who is to blame. As would the rest of America.


Full Wake up America coverage of the 9/11/12 attack in Libya and the subsequent coverup can be found here.