Opinion

Confirmation Special Forces were told to stand down in Benghazi

Congressional investigators were told by one of the Benghazi whistleblowers who will testify Wednesday that a Special Forces team, stationed just 400 air miles away, was preparing to aid those under attack on Sept. 11 but were told to stand down.

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Gregory Hicks, who served as deputy chief of mission in Libya under slain Ambassador Chris Stevens, was in the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli when Stevens called and told him Benghazi was under attack. Also in Tripoli was a Special Forces unit that was forbidden to render aid by the Special Operations Command South Africa, according to Sharyl Atkinson of CBS News.

This testimony “is in stark contrast to assertions from the Obama administration, which insisted that nobody was ever told to stand down and that all available resources were utilized,” she wrote. Atkinson is a CBS News investigative journalist who has tenaciously followed the Benghazi story from the beginning.

Her report continued:

According to excerpts released Monday, Hicks told investigators that SOCAFRICA commander Lt. Col. Gibson and his team were on their way to board a C-130 from Tripoli for Benghazi prior to an attack on a second U.S. compound “when [Col. Gibson] got a phone call from SOCAFRICA which said, ‘you can’t go now, you don’t have the authority to go now.’ And so they missed the flight … They were told not to board the flight, so they missed it.”

No assistance arrived from the U.S. military outside of Libya during the hours that Americans were under attack or trapped inside compounds by hostile forces armed with rocket-propelled grenades, mortars and AK-47 rifles.

In addition to the Special Forces unit stationed in Tripoli, Hicks noted that U.S. Navy fighter jets were available an hour flight time away in Crete, at Souda Bay

“I believe if we had been able to scramble a fighter or aircraft or two over Benghazi as quickly as possible after the attack commenced, I believe there would not have been a mortar attack on the annex in the morning because I believe the Libyans would have split,” Hicks testified. “They would have been scared to death that we would have gotten a laser on them and killed them.”

Obama administration officials have insisted all along that there were no military assets available that could have made it to Benghazi in time to be of any real help.

Read more at CBS News.

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