According to testimony offered at Wednesday’s hearing regarding the Benghazi terrorist attack, the State Department’s Accountability Review Board (ARB) was negligent in its failure to deal with the lack of communication between the State Department’s upper levels. In addition, ARB was accused of attempting to cover for higher-ranking officials and letting lower-ranked officials take the fall.
Eric Nordstrom, the regional security officer posted in Libya at the time of the Benghazi attack, said State department officials wanted more security in Benghazi for months before the 9/11 attack, but somehow Hillary Clinton didn’t know of such requests. He said the ARB was covering for Under Secretary for Management Patrick Kennedy, who supposedly never delivered the requests to Clinton. Nordstrom said, “[The ARB] has decided to fix responsibility on the assistant secretary level and below. And the message to my colleagues is that if you’re above a certain level, no matter what your decision is no one’s going to question it.”
So just who was punished? The assistant secretary of state for diplomatic security, the deputy assistant secretary in charge of embassy security and the deputy assistant secretary overseeing the North African region. But a State Department official said the ARB report stated there wasn’t a breach of duty: “The ARB found that no one engaged in misconduct or willfully ignored his or her responsibilities.”
And just who was asked by Hillary Clinton to conduct the ARB report? Would you believe former Ambassador Thomas Pickering and former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen?
Question: Just who is Thomas Pickering?
Answer: Former President Bill Clinton’s ambassador for political affairs.
Now, why would you even consider that there is something rotten here? Nothing to see here. Move along, folks.
Former Deputy Chief of Mission Gregory Hicks said that the Obama Administration’s insistence that an anti-Islam video was responsible for the attack irritated Libyan officials, who then blocked the FBI from investigating the attack for 17 days. Hicks said of United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice’s assertions blaming the anti-Islam video, “I was stunned, my jaw dropped and I was embarrassed.”
Hicks testified that the night of the attack, after Ambassador Chris Stevens unsuccessfully called him twice, Hicks called back to hear Stevens say, “Greg, we’re under attack.” Hicks called the Libyan government and asked for help: “Over that night…I was talking with the government of Libya, reporting to the State Department through the operations center and also staying in touch with the annex chief about what was going on.”
But no help came. Hicks said that the military only sent 2 out of 6 men to help, and the four that didn’t go were furious about staying put.
Coincidentally, after Hicks got back from Libya he was shoved down the chain of command, and made a foreign affairs officer. He said, “Foreign affairs officer is a designation that is given to our civil service colleagues who are desk officers. So I’ve been effectively demoted from deputy chief of mission to desk officer.”