Upon news that Republicans altered emails from government officials to make it appear that the State Department was engaged in a cover-up of the attack in Benghazi, Sen. Rand Paul attempted to revive the non-scandal in his column for the Washington Times.
Paul writes that “[Gregory] Hicks testified that he spoke with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on the night of the attack and that a special-forces unit was stopped from deploying.”
I think Mr. Obama has failed that test of power. From the cover-up in Benghazi to letting the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) target the Tea Party to First and Fourth Amendment violations in obtaining records from the press, Mr. Obama has shown disregard for the Bill of Rights and his responsibilities as commander in chief.
The handling of the tragedy in Benghazi continues to raise more questions than it produces answers. The White House’s original story, that no one was told to “stand down” on the night of the attack, was contradicted last week by Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens‘ deputy, Gregory Hicks. Mr. Hicks testified that he spoke with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on the night of the attack and that a special-forces unit was stopped from deploying.
But Hicks actually testified that the order came from Special Operations Command Africa, not the State Department or anyone in the Obama administration, and that the security team in question was not organized to intervene in the attack but to secure the airport for evacuation.
But Hicks’ testimony and a State Department review board report show it was clear the “people that were getting killed” were already dead when the security team was ready to go.
“We determined that we needed to send a second team from Tripoli to secure the airport for the withdrawal of our personnel from Benghazi after the mortar attack,” he said.
During Hicks’ testimony last week, Rep. Robin Kelly, D-Ill., read from a Defense Department press release explaining the security team was directed to stay in Tripoli because those in Benghazi “had shifted to evacuation.”
“We continue to believe that there was nothing this group could have done had they arrived in Benghazi, and they performed superbly in Tripoli,” she read. “In fact, when the first aircraft arrived back in Tripoli, these four played a key role in receiving, treating and moving the wounded.”
But it’s clear from Hicks’ testimony that four Americans “getting killed” in Benghazi were already dead when the decision was made to keep the special forces team in Tripoli. The mortar attack was over. A Defense Department drone watched overhead in Benghazi as Libyan militia members helped Americans get to the airport.