They mischaracterized what was a jihad attack because they do not want the American people to know that there is a jihad against the U.S. "Whistle-blower: Botched talking points hurt FBI probe of Benghazi attack," from FoxNews.com, May 8 (thanks to Pamela Geller):
A key Benghazi whistle-blower, responding to Democratic claims that the prolonged scrutiny over the administration's botched talking points is unwarranted, testified Wednesday that the early mischaracterization of the attack may have actually hurt the FBI's investigation.
"I definitely believe that it negatively affected our ability to get the FBI team quickly to Benghazi," said Greg Hicks, the deputy chief of mission in Libya who became the top U.S. diplomat in the country after Ambassador Chris Stevens was killed. He claimed the Libyan president was angered by the mischaracterization, in turn slowing the U.S. probe.
The claim was one of several new accounts given at Wednesday's high-profile hearing where three whistle-blowers testified.
Democrats, while giving deference to the officials and their version of events, used the hearing to try and deflect criticism away from the administration. In particular, they rejected the notion that early talking points on the attack were deliberately changed, to downplay terrorism, for political reasons.
"People who have actually seen the documents, who have actually conducted a real investigation completely reject the allegation that they were made for political purposes," Rep. John Tierney, D-Mass., said.
But the substance of the claims Wednesday could serve to re-open questions about that deadly night -- and specifically about the initial claim by U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice that the attack was triggered by a protest over an anti-Islam film.
Hicks was asked to respond to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's statement at a prior hearing asking "what difference" do the questions over the talking points make.
Hicks argued that Rice's comments so insulted the Libyan president -- since they contradicted his Sept. 16 claims that the attack was premeditated -- that it slowed the FBI's investigation.
"President Magariaf was insulted in front of his own people, in front of the world. His credibility was reduced," Hicks said, adding that the president was apparently "still steamed" two weeks later.
This bad blood, he claimed, contributed to the FBI team being stuck in Tripoli for about 17 days. He added that the U.S. could not even get the Libyans to secure the crime scene during that time.
As for Rice's comments that Sunday, when she repeatedly cited the video as the trigger for the attack, Hicks said his "jaw dropped" when he heard that.
"I was stunned," Hicks said. "My jaw dropped, and I was embarrassed."
He said Rice never talked to him before those appearances.
Hicks said the only information coming out of his team was that there was an "attack" on the consulate. "The YouTube video was a non-event in Libya," he said.
He also claimed that, when he asked a superior about the interviews, he was told "he should not proceed" with his questions. He was later given a "blistering critique" of his management style and effectively demoted to "desk officer," he claimed.
Hicks' testimony marked some of the most detailed of any delivered Wednesday. He and others also suggested the State Department's internal review into the attack was lacking. Hicks said when he was interviewed by the group, a stenographer was not present.
In hours of testimony, the witnesses recounted in great detail what happened in eastern Libya on Sept. 11 and how U.S. personnel came under a series of attacks that left four Americans dead. Though Democratic officials have argued the attack has been thoroughly investigated and that the hearing Wednesday was political in nature, the claims challenged several long-standing assertions by the Obama administration.
The witnesses criticized the lax security at the Benghazi site in the run-up to the attack, and suggested the military did not do all it good to respond to the scene that night despite claims to the contrary.
Hicks also revealed that it appeared some were trying to lure even more U.S. personnel into a separate "ambush" while the attack was still being carried out. He described how, as diplomatic officials were trying to find out what happened to Stevens, they were receiving phone calls from supposed tipsters saying they knew where the ambassador was and urging Americans to come get him.
"We suspected that we were being baited into a trap," Hicks said, adding that he did not want to send anybody into what he suspected was an "ambush."
Getting choked up, Hicks described how the Libyan prime minister later called him to tell him Stevens was in fact dead. "I think it's the saddest phone call I've ever had in my life," he said.
At the very beginning of the attack, before Stevens went missing and was later found dead, Hicks said his team believed it was terrorism. He said a regional security officer rushed into his villa yelling, "Greg, Greg, the consulate's under attack."
He then spoke by phone with Stevens who told him the same: "Greg, we're under attack."
After enduring a night of attacks on the U.S. consulate, Hicks said the team departed at dawn for the nearby annex -- shortly after they arrived, "the mortars came."
Another whistle-blower questioned Wednesday why more military assets were not deployed sooner during the Benghazi terror attack. Mark Thompson, a former Marine and official with the State Department's Counterterrorism Bureau, said he was rebuffed by the White House when he asked for a specialized team -- known as a FEST team -- to be deployed. This is a unit made of special operations personnel, diplomatic security, intelligence and other officers....