tv Happening Now FOX News May 8, 2013 8:00am-10:01am PDT
bill: i hope you enjoyed the ride. martha: i certainly have. bill: see you tomorrow, "happening now" starts right now. jon: we begin with this fox news alert. a brand-new hearing on the been gauzy terror attack in and the aftermath. hello, i am jon scott. jenna: i am jenna lee. we are waiting for the new testimonies from the so-called whistleblowers in this case. they will be talking about what went wrong in the september 11 attacks that killed four americans, including ambassador stevens. we have live team coverage. a mike emanuel is on capitol hill. james rosen is in washington with more for this exclusive report in been gauzy. first, we begin with our correspondent, mike emanuel, who
is just outside the room where the hearing will take place. pleased that the stage for what we're going to see just about half-hour. reporter: we expect that there will be some emotion. he will tell lawmakers that he is a career public servant and that he loves every day of his job until the been gauzy aftermath. testimony came in the days immediately after the benghazi attack. the secretary of state praise my performance. expressing confidence in abilities. lawmakers say they are looking forward to hearing from eyewitnesses. >> we have people who have first-hand accounts and the politicians that are stepping aside. these are real patriots. i don't think that they want to come forward and do this. but yes, they are actually going to it shed some light on the truth of this.
>> expect plenty of discussion during the discussion about whether or not military assets should have been sent to been gauzy on september 11. also, he will be asked about his opinion as to whether this was a terrorist attack from the get-go. jenna: mike, back you in just a moment. jon: today's testimony is expected to shed light on the events in benghazi, as well as the administration's response to the deadly terror attack left four americans dead. ambassador john bolton is a former u.s. ambassador to the united nations, also a fox news contributor. and he joins us now. mr. ambassador, what are you looking for? it appears that he is not able to hear us. we have you? mr. ambassador? apparently not. we will try to reconnect and get
back to him in just a moment. in the meantime, i want to play for you what congressman jason caithness told bill hemmer this morning about some of the answers that he and the other members would like to get from today's events. >> it wasn't for trey gowdy and others, we would be led to believe that security decisions were made on the grounds by those security professionals and that was never true. we are going to hear testimony from mark thompson about that today. we have military assets, people that were ready to go into battle. but there'll own lives at risk. we believe after-the-fact the country was led to believe that it was some kind of mob. that was never true either. there are four things that the administration would continue to
perpetuate. we have a duty and obligation to get to the truth. jon: that is jason caithness speaking with bill hemmer. he was going to be testifying today and he is going to say that this is a terrorist attack from the get-go that people believed it was and we will see what else comes out in front of this congressional committee today. jenna: sends a terror attack that we now know of, there has been a few different things that have happened. catch you up what happened the night of the attack and since then. the timeline of the events. reporter: to understand how we have gotten to this point, you first have to understand the events that led up to the terror attack in benghazi, libya. at this time, it was a country
in turmoil. requests that the state department denied for more security. in the night of the attack, september 11, 2012. two separate attacks, the separate on the main compound. ambassador chris stevens and sean smith were killed. the second attack, more than six hours later on the compound's mean annex building. a mile or so away. that is were security personnel glen doherty and tyrone woods, both former navy s.e.a.l.s were killed. >> nothing will ever shake the resolve of this great nation or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for. today we mourn for more americans that represent the very best of the united states of america.
reporter: the president talked about the acts of terror the days after benghazi. including why u.s. forces weren't sent in in a way that could have perhaps prevented the second attack. and statements from administration officials that seemed to blame the attack not on terrorists, but anti-islam films that were angering muslims all over the world. the best assessment that we have today is that in fact this was not a preplanned, meditated attack. that would happen initially is that it was a spontaneous reaction to what had just transpired in cairo, egypt, as a consequence of the video. the people gathered outside of the embassy. that it grew very violent. >> an independent review led by thomas pickering. and admiral mike mullen found that failures were grossly
inadequate security and the secretary of state, hillary clinton, grew impatient with republican lawmakers who feel that the lawmakers use the video excuse to hide the truth. but the benghazi attacks were terrorism. >> we have four dead americans. was it a protest or because there were guys going out for a walk. at what point does an eight? it is our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again. reporter: one of the victims father's telling fox news that getting to the truth makes a big difference. >> credibility is the difference it makes. we have a rule that says if a person's testimony is proven to be false in any part, the rest of the testimony is to be disregarded on that subject.
reporter: whether or not these hearings get us closer to the truth, we will have to wait and see. jenna: we will have to watch it together. jon: taking you to a news conference outside of the home of the sister of amanda berry, one of the kidnapped victims. let's listen to the head of the cleveland police, thomas mccarthy. >> i can't answer, but i honestly knew, i would tell you guys. but i do not know that answer. i am not going to release the child's name. the family has asked me to remain silent on that matter. i'm going to go on the other side of the street and i ask that everyone stay on the side
of the street. >> would apparently is going on there is that amanda is going to be coming out to make a statement. she is one of the women who was kidnapped on the day before her 17th birthday, held for more than 10 years, she is the hero that helped alert neighbors and ultimately police to the house of horrors in cleveland. where three women had been held captive for a decade or more. her sister, that is this the house that her sister lives in there. amanda is apparently they are and we are told that she may be coming out momentarily to make some kind of a statement. certainly if that happens, we will take you there live. a lot of other breaking news to tell you about as well. we are awaiting verdicts in two trials. brand-new developments in the story of the three young women rescued from the cleveland home.
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jon: a full day of jury deliberations in the jodi arias trial. it is in the hands of jurors. jurors have been behind closed doors for six days trying to decide the doctors state for this abortion trial. trial. we are live to bring you that news as well. and new development in the amazing story of three girls found alive after about a decade of captivity in cleveland. police there the charges could be filed today against the three brothers under arrest in that case. we might hear from amanda berry as well. the young woman who escaped. she is inside her sister's home. she arrived there a short time ago. she is putting on a bit of makeup and i'm going to address the media. and she does so, we will take you back live. jenna: in the meantime, we are awaiting a hearing on the
benghazi terror attacks. after them and ghazi terror attack of 9/11, the administration repeatedly claimed that the violence was spontaneous and the video was to blame. >> initially it was a spontaneous reaction to what had just transpired in cairo is a consequence of the video. and then it grew very violent. >> we see rage and violence directed at american embassies over an awful internet video that we have nothing to do with. >> our initial information, that includes all information, we saw no evidence to back up claims by others that this was a preplanned or premeditated attack. we saw evidence that it was sparked by the reaction to this video. jon: so what happened to the man who made that video?
in the weeks that followed, he was arrested and he was charged with violating probation and it had nothing to do at the video of his arrest, but for something else. while he is serving time, for that probation at a federal lockup in texas, he was sentenced to a year and is expected to be released this september. what is happening now to the people who murdered the u.s. ambassador and three other americans. well, just last week, more than seven months after the assault, the fbi released these images of the three men wanted for questioning. they were on the ground of the u.s. mission when it was attacked. so far, no arrests for the murder have been made. jon: taking a moment to remember the four americans who lost their lives that night in benghazi. rick folbaum is here. >> as the president said, the
best and bravest of our country, ambassador christopher stevens, sean smith, former navy s.e.a.l. glen doherty and tyrone woods, who were there to protect the consulate staff, christopher stevens arriving in libya to serve as ambassador in may of 2012. he had previously served in other roles in libya from 2007 to 2009. then again during the 2011 uprising that led to the qaddafi regime. ambassador stevens becoming the first ambassador killed in an overseas attack since the year 1979. sean smith, he was there working with a sore wrist information management officer and he joined the state department back 2002. he had a temporary assignment. tyrone woods serve for more than
two decades as a navy s.e.a.l. he was in benghazi as a private security contractor. he died hours after the start of the initial attacks. the four men who served our country, who sacrificed, they are on our minds today on capitol hill. jon: one of the questions about the military response or lack thereof. could one have gotten to the bottom of that. we will hear about that today as well perhaps. jenna: you heard allegations of a cover-up and stonewalling by the obama administration. allegations that the administration firmly denies. lawmakers are pushing to uncover the truth that they say that they are seeking about the deadly terror attack.
>> we have live pictures of amanda berry sister. amanda is going to arrive in just moments, she's going to be greeted by family, she is going to make a statement and it will be her one and only statement. but that is the plan today. you can see the police officers outside the house, again, breaking news out of cleveland.
we expect to hear from amanda berry shortly. we will bring you back to cleveland when that happens. >> the special committee hearing into what happened during the benghazi attack expected to begin within the hour. testimony should shed new light as well as the administration's response to those deadly terror attacks. ambassador john bolton is a former u.s. ambassador to the united nations and a fox news contributor. we believe that we have our audio connection to the investor reestablished. thank you, sir, for rejoining us again. so as we go to these hearings today. as we hear from those who are testifying in front of congress, what is the most important thing that you would like to learn? >> i think there are three broad areas that people need to focus on.
this continues with the breakdown of order in libya, that sort of is issue number one. issue number two was wasn't a terrorist attack, and was there anything that the united states could have done to protect its people. and where did this story come from this is not terrorist assassinating americans, but a demonstration about the famous video that got out of control. that also speaks to the administration's attitude about the war on terror. and did they think that this is serious or some other motivation
>> exactly, what happened before the attack. his view was what terrorist threats or improving, the arab spring will take care of everything, that could be a motivating factor. it turned out to be a dangerous and deadly place. whether you want to call it a political cover-up perhaps we will find out a little bit of that today as well. >> there is a military question here as well over the course of 10 hours, the pentagon has officially said that there was not time to scramble military assets to affect any kind of a
rescue order at least some kind of a scare tactic or something to try to prevent these attacks from continuing. what is your assessment of that? >> with all due respect to the people in the pentagon saying there wasn't enough time, that is utterly available in. no one could know when it would end. no one could know what the geographical limitation was. could terrorists be poised to attack the embassy in tripoli, or others around the middle east in jeopardy? so that the notion, you're just going to sit and wait for this to work itself out, it left a lot of other people at risk. we have known and we do in september of last year for over a year, the entire middle east was in turmoil. if it wasn't in libya, it could've been in egypt or any number of posts in north africa and the middle east that came under attack.
there were some outside of other posts. military and diplomatic security throughout the middle east against this prospect. even in libya we had to evacuate american civilians in february of 2011. we didn't have naval capabilities. we had to rent a greek ferryboat. did we not learn any lessons from not? jon: and september 11, it became a time of high alert in his department. it is also in the state department? >> well, it certainly should be, especially in the middle east where the risk of terrorist attacks of grave because the terrorists have very short supply lines. that is where most of them live. therefore it is a lot easier to have terrorist attacks against american targets in the region. and i think that what went on
before the attack that is as much a part of criticism from september the 11th itself, i think these witnesses, given their positions, the deputy cheat and the alter ego in effe stevens, the counterterrorism bureau, those who have a sense of a worldwide terrorist threat, and eric nordstrom, the regional security officer who has already testified of his continued frustration and enhanced security who may well give us a sense of the retaliation, he has already experienced as a whistleblower. i think that is the most important point. and this is not political finger-pointing, this is people that experienced the before and
during and after the benghazi attacks. i think it's important that they are allowed to speak to be american people. if i had my brothers, i would ask my congressmen to ask questions and what these witnesses tell their story. >> that seems to be part of the problem with some of the earlier hearings. ambassador bolton, we are now rode away from the scheduled start time of the hearings. we appreciate you joining us. >> glad to do that. jon: all of those opening statements, right now all eyes on capitol hill. the benghazi attack that killed four americans. >> we will take that. we will give you a pass. taking a live picture from capitol hill. opening statements in just moments. we just got word that an american eagle flight bound for new york city was struck by lightning.
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after. let's talk with james rosen who helped to break this story when it started and who has new developments for you today. not only about who's testifying, but who is not. >> that is right. good afternoon. as we await the start of this, an important detail comes to light. it mainly that tom pickering and admiral mike mullen, the two men who lead the post and benghazi review board has decided not to testify. the number two diplomat under ambassador stevens, hicks will testify about rejected pleas for military intervention and his exclusion from the talking points. and whistleblower mark thompson. he will talk about the foreign emergency support team.
>> the issue is something that was addressed in great detail with previous hearings. hixson thompson held jobs with security clearances and hazardous postings. >> again, you're trying to get me to the credibility of witnesses. there are some folks who want to go out and they're going to tell their stories and they are going
to say what they want to say. i'm not going to get into the thick of it. >> the state department trying to discourage them from testifying. jenna: james is live in washington dc. the hearing is about to begin. >> here is the chairman of this congressional hearing. congressman dan isaiah -- excuse me, darrell issa of california. talking about what happened. >> on september 11, 2012, four americans were murdered by terrorists. it was the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks on new york and washington. recognizing that the witnesses before us, i'm not going to
recount the events or decisions. these witnesses deserve to be heard. they deserve to be heard on the benghazi attacks, the flaws in the accountability review boards, methodologies, processes and conclusions. before i introduce these witnesses that explains some of our efforts to earn more about what happened in benghazi, can we have those doors close, please. i want to take a moment to reflect on and recognize the brave americans who lost their lives in that attack. i also want to note that there are friends and immediate family of those killed or injured that are with us here today.
jay christopher stevens. u.s. ambassador to libya. sean patrick smith, information management specialist. tyrone woods, security specialist and former navy s.e.a.l. glen doherty, security specialist and former navy s.e.a.l. her goal is to get answers because our families deserve answers. they were promised answers at the highest level when their bodies came home secretary of state was there. we want to make certain those promises are kept on behalf of
those individuals. we also want to make certain that our government learned the proper lesss from this tragedy so it never happens again. so that the right people are held accountable. i want those watching the proceedings now that we have made extensive efforts to engage the administration and to see and hear their cooperation. the administration has not been cooperative. the minority has sat silent that we have made these requests. some examples come on february 22, the committee wrote to ambassador pickering and admiral mullen, who as required by law, were appointed by secretary clinton and cochaired the accountability review board investigation. we asked him to testify about their investigations and findings and are minority said
nothing. when we asked ambassador pickering and admiral mullen to speak with us and our committee, they again refused and again, there was silence by the minority. when five house committee chairman wrote the white house and requested relevant documents about the benghazi attacks, we were refused. the minority did not join in a similar call for transparency. and i wish that they had. on april 29, this committee asked the state department to make nine current and former officials with relevant information available for this hearing for separate transcribed interview. the state department did not even respond. today, the minority has not made a similar request. sir, i would like nothing more than to have it work with me on this investigation.
because we have worked on other areas together, i still hold out hope that one day you will stand with me as this administration doesn't cooperate. when they ignore our inquiries and when that day comes together we will be far more effective. and now for our witnesses. or should i say our whistleblowers. mr. mark thompson is the acting deputy assistant secretary in the state department and bureau of counterterrorism. mr. gregory hicks is a 22 year veteran and foreign service officer and the former deputy chief for the u.s. embassy in libya. after ambassador stevens was murdered, mr. hicks became the acting chief, or as they say, he was, in fact, the highest
ranking officer, if you will, america's representative in libya. mr. eric nordstrom is a former regional security officer in libya. and perhaps, the foremost in the most knowledgeable person about security requests that were made and denied to the u.s. diplomatic mission in libya and also in benghazi, ultimately in benghazi. mr. cummings, we will have, from time to time, our disagreement. but i know that for all the members of this committee, we understand that these disagreements must be kept on the side of the desk. the brave witnesses deserve this committee was called to testify. the brave whistleblowers are what make this committee and their work so important.
we are the ones that lead underneath this president. the public has a right to their accounts. we must respect whistleblowers and work on a bipartisan basis to protect them. with that, i recognize the ranking member for his opening statement. mr. chairman, i want to thank you for calling this hearing. and i want to be clear. i have said it over and over again. no member of congress, be they republican or democrat, who failed to be whistleblowers. i think it is sad when that accusation is made against any member of this congress all of
our members, both republicans and democrats, we were tremendously saddened by the deaths of christopher stevens and sean smith, tyrone woods, glen doherty. they were servants of the public. like our whistleblowers, they were dedicating their lives to making a difference. they saw the world is bigger than just them. they were the ones that were often unseen and unnoticed and unappreciated and on applauded. we have actually seen some of with regard to public employees in this congress. day after day they were not there and they went and did their jobs.
on behalf of this congress and a grateful nation, i say thank you. i will do everything i can in my power to protect whistleblowers. as a matter of fact, on may 7, 2013, i sent a letter to john kerry and i seven that letter that despite the partisan nature of the actions, it nevertheless remains very important. it remains important to make clear to all government agencies and employees who choose to come forward to congress, but the interest will be protected. the department is reminding its employees of providing information including not
retaliating against individuals who exercise those rights. the department may already do this in which i ask that they provide an update on the status of those efforts. whistleblowers are important. they are very important. one of the things i have said over and over againe of the major roles is to make sure the government works properly. so to all of our witnesses, i thank you. i would like to start by expressing my gratitude for your service and my condolences for your loss. i can only imagine what you went through on the night of the attacks. if i had been in your place, hearing the voice of the gassner stevens on the phone and wanted wanting to do everything possible to help him, i would've
had the same questions that you had read where is the military? where are the special forces. where are the fighter jets to rescue my colleagues? these are legitimate questions and i want i wanted to answer them myself. there was a widely publicized news report that a team in europe called the commanders in extremist force and it was before the second benghazi attack. i wrote to the secretary of defense when i heard this claim. yesterday i received an official response but said this press report was wrong. but the requirements were too great. that f-16 planes, in italy, they could have guided their time.
this is our highest-ranking military member. every bipartisan review has confirmed this fact. we have the best military in the world. but even with all of our advances, they could not get there in time. mr. hicks, i know these answers provide no comfort to you or the families of the victims. this is the testimony that congress has received. and i have seen nothing to make me question our nations military commanders. we have a fundamental obligation including responsible oversight and that includes the
information that you and before we make public accusations, what we have seen over the past two weeks is a full-scale media campaign that is not designed to investigate what happened in a responsible and bipartisan way, but rather, unfounded accusations. let me be clear. i am not questioning the motives of our witnesses, i'm questioning the motives of those who want to use their statements for political purposes. chairman darrell issa has accused the administration of intentionally withholding this information. i say for political reasons. of all of the allegations, leveled over the past two weeks, this is the most troubling. based on what our military commanders have told us, this
allegation is simply untrue. the morning after the attack, supposedly because of the administration's desire not to have evidence to support this and benghazi. one plane had dirty left at 1:15 a.m. that night. it included two military personnel. the decision the next morning was not made by the white house or the state department. but by the military chain of command. there are other allegations that the chairman used, excusing secretary clinton of lying to congress, saying that she tried to get security reductions.
her name is printed at the bottom, just like tens of thousands of people every year from the department. "the washington post" fact checker called the accusation a walker. that is their work, and they gave it four pinocchio is. including statements that were made on sunday talk shows. saying that they misled the american people. the claim has been directly contradicted by our nation's top intelligence officials, general james clapper. he testified that he has already done before the senate. because he was going on what we had given her and that was our best judgment at the time. the accountability review board led by thomas pickering and admiral mike mullen examined the role and this accusation was
inaccurate. they covered it up and admiral mullen are failing to investigate it, the least we can do is have them invited to this hearing today and according to our conversation yesterday, with regards to admiral pickering and admiral mullen, you had said you plan to be a part of this and i appreciate that. last but not least, i want to make it clear to our witnesses. i respect the witnesses who are here today to offer their testimony as a lawyer and an officer of the court. i have tremendous respect and
today's hearing is not the full story. we will eventually include a diplomatic situation. as the chairman said, this committee, which is ensuring the department implements recommendations to improve the security of our diplomatic officials overseas. those who are so often on unnoticed, unappreciated and on applauded. for that, i yield back. >> i think the gentleman. i think the witness. i would like to invite our witnesses. first, mr. mark thompson. the 20 year, career united states marine, who two years before his retirement from the marine corps, he was assigned to the state department where he
served and all for marine divisions and in numerous amphibious forces to the state department. for 17 years, he has used that military experience and the accumulated knowledge of counterterrorism while. he has served and lead teams in baghdad, latin america, southeast asia, and in africa. in 1996, he joined the state department as a u.s. marine. he was brought there because of what he knew and because of what they needed to know. in 1998, when he retired from the marine corps, he was transitioned into civil service and was assigned to the office of the coordinator for counterterrorism he advises
senior leadership on operational counterterrorism matters and ensures the united states can rapidly respond to global terrorism crisis is, that is his job. in addition to his responsibility, he has led the direct support team in support of u.s. chiefs of mission in response to terrorism events, including his expertise that was used in that capacity hostage and recovery efforts in latin america and southeast asia and africa and the middle east.
we welcome mr. gregory hicks. in more than 22 years in the foreign service, mr. hicks has served notably in libya, but also in afghanistan, where we first met. in yemen and in syria where we met again. prior to his assignment in libya, hand-picked to be the deputy chief by the now deceased ambassador, chris stevens, he also served here in washington. he was the deputy director of the office of investment affairs. a special assistant to the undersecretary for economic energy and agricultural affairs. trade policy negotiations for the office of the united states trade representative's and an officer for vietnam and yemen. mr. hicks played key roles in a
number of important historic events in this country and the state department. the free trade agreement, the vietnam bilateral trade agreement and the renegotiation of u.s. forces based in iran. mr. hicks is the recipient of five meritorious service increases, three individual superior honor award, three individual honor awards and numerous group awards for his service. thank you. >> mr. nordstrom. he has served in washington dc, honduras, ethiopia, india, and most recently, the regional security officer for the u.s. mission to libya based out of
tripoli. in that capacity, from september september 2011 to july 2012, he was the principal security officer advising both ambassador stevens on security and law enforcement matters. prior to joining the department of state, mr. nordstrom also served in federal law enforcement department of treasury. welcome to all three of you. would you please rise and take the oath. do you swear the testimony that you're about to give is going to be the truth in all truth and nothing but the truth? please have a seat take the time
that you need to, we will listen and the ordinary time is five minutes. you take a little less comely take a little more. the hearing is about hearing from you and your experience. mr. thompson. as the chairman indicated, i came to the department 16.5 years ago as a marine we have been the night that i was
involved in this incident, i was at my desk at the end of the day when the first reports came in that indicated diplomatic facility in benghazi. in that facility we knew we had our ambassador and we had his security personnel. later when i heard that the situation had evolved to them going to a safe haven and then the fact that we could not find the ambassador i alerted my leadership, indicating that we needed to go forward and consider the he do employment of the foreign emergency support team. that particular team is an inneragency team. it's been represented as something that the state department deploys. it does not. the deputy committee of the
national security council deploys that organization but i wanted that considered. i notified the white house of my idea. they indicated that meetings had already taken place that evening. that had taken fest out of the menu of options. i called the on office of the state department that asked representative there and asked why it was taken off the table. i was told that it was not the right time and it was no the team that needed to go right then. let me explain the team a little more. it is comprised of the leadership from my office. it is comprised of professionals from special operations command, from diplomatic security, from the intelligence community, from fbi. it is a holistic, comprehensive organization that is designed to go forward to embassies just as
we did as indicated in 1998 in east africa, as we've done in the other places indicated, the uss cole and other hostage situations. it is designed to be the glue and the connective tissue that gets all the options on the table for the decision-makers. decision-makers in my line of work are the chief of mission and the authorities back here in washington that make the decisions of what, where we send people into harm's way. it doesn't mean it has a, it has a irreversibility to it. the other thing that i pointed out was that with the tyranny of distance at least eight or nine hours to get to the middle of the mediterranean, we needed to act now and not wait. there's sometimes the hesitancy to not deploy because we don't know what's going on.
one definition of a crisis is, you don't know what is going to happen in two hours, so you need to help develop that situation early. we have a robust com suite on the airplane are transported on. it is ably flown by my socom colleagues. it is on alert to do just this mission and it is designed to carry a comprehensive team to a conflict or a crisis and to the ambassador and work for the ambassador and or the chief of mission to handle that crisis and to make sure that he or she has the best information possible to make decisions and to make recommendations back to washington and those same representatives make their views known back to their parent organizations. so that when we do have deputies committees and principle committees meetings at the white house, we have a situation in which everyone is using the most
up-to-date information and so that we can figure out what we have to do securitiwise. what we have to do intelligencewise. what we have to do with the military. what we have to do diplomaticwise. what we have to do on the public apfairs front. that works for the chief of mission and i can't emphasize that enough. we're not there to subsume any activities. the experts on the team are, know that the real experts are in the embassy and they work for the chief of mission to do that. my time is drawing to a close. i'll end there and await your questions. >> thank you. >> >> we really will have, you're pretty soft-spoken. you have to get a little closer. >> thank you, mr. chairman. thank you, ranking member. thank you members of the committee. i'm a career public servant. until the aftermath of benghazi i loved every day
of my job. in my 21 years of government service prior to tripoli i earned a reputation for being an innovative policy-maker who got the job done. i was promoted quickly and received numerous awards. people who worked for me rated my leadership and management skills highly. i have two masters degrees from the university of michigan in applied economics and modern near eastern and north african studies. i have served my country extensively in the middle east. besides libya i served in afghanistan, bahrain, yemen, syria, and the gambia. i speak fluent arabic. in bahrain my shia opposition contacts gave me advance warning of impending attacks on our embassy and anti-american demonstrations
allowing us to prepare and avoid injuries to staff. i learned that knowledge of local conditions and strong connections with the local population are as important as the strength and height of walls. one reason i am here is because i have pledged to the foreign service as part of my campaign to be state vice president of the american foreign service association that none of us should ever again experience what we went through in tripoli and benghazi on 9/1 9/11/2012. after i arrived in tripoli as deputy chief of mission on july 31st, 2012, i fast became known as the ambassador's bulldog because of my decisive management style. in the days immediately after the benghazi attack, the president and secretary of state praised my performance over the telephone. president obama wrote libyan president magaref expressing confidence in my abilities.
deputy secretary burns and general ham told me how much they appreciated how i handled the night of the assault and its aftermath. i received written notes of come men is today from undersecretary wendy sherman and from executive secretary steven moll incharming charge larry pope told me personally that my performance was near heroic. in february of 1991 i swore an oath to uphold and defend the constitution of the united states. i'm here today to honor that oath. i look forward to ends aing your questions fully and truthfully. thank you very much. >> thank you. i understand that some of those commendations an letters are in your opening statement. for all the witnesses, all extraneous material or other insertions will be placed in the record on your behalf. mr. nordstrom. >> good morning chairman
issa, ranking member cummings and other distinguished members of the committee. for the benefit of the new committee members my name is eric nordstrom and i currently serve as the supervisory special agent with the u.s. department of state's diplomatic security. since september 2012 i have been enrolled in long-term language training in preparation for my next assignment. as chairman issa noted i served in federal law enforcement since january 1996, first as a customs inspector before joining the u.s. department of state. i've served in domestic and overseas postings including washington, d.c., honduras, ethiopia, india, and most recently the regional security officer at the u.s. embassy in tripoli. all of those assignments have been assignments which i faced the threat of criminal or terrorist attacks. i held the last position as rso from september 21st,
202011 until july 26th2012. as the regional security officer or rso for the embassy in tripoli i served as the principal security advisors to u.s. ambassadors eugene kretz and chris stevens on security and law enforcement matters. i want to thank the committee again for opportunity to appear and provide further testimony and support of your inquiry into the tragic events of september 11th, 2012. i would also like to thank the committee in your continued efforts in investigating all the details and all the decisions related to the attack on our diplomatic facility. specifically the committee's labors to uncover what happened, prior, during and after the attack matter. it matters to me personally. it matters to my colleagues, to my colleagues at the department of state.
it matters to the american public for whom we serve. and most importantly, excuse me. it matters to the friends and family of, of ambassador stevens, sean smith, glen doherty, tyrone woods who were murdered on september 11th, 2012. in addition to my testimony before this committee in october of 2012 i also met with the fbi, senate homeland security and governmental affairs committee, the department's accountability review board and i have discussed my experience in libya with all of them. i'm proud of the work that our team accomplished in libya under extraordinarily difficult circumstances. the protection of our nation's diplomats, our embassies and consulates and the work produced there is deserving of the time that this committee, other
congressional committees and the accountability review board and no doubt future review efforts will invest in making sure we get this process right. thank you, mr. chairman, members of the committee and for the opportunity to appear before you today. i have stand ready to answer any questions you might have. >> thank you. i will now recognize myself for a quick round of questioning. mr. thompson, mr. thompson, you went through a process of things thaw observed how you tried to activate your team. did you do so. because you had initial view whether this was a terrorist at actor something else? please be brief. i want to use my time? >> yes. >> okay. thank you. mr. hicks, as the principal officer, once the ambassador
had been murdered, the highest ranking officer on september 11th from from the moment you unexpectedly became the charge, america heard many accounts of what happened. we never heard accounts from a single person that was in libya that night. you will be the first person who observed in our own words, as much time as you want, please take us through the day of september 11th, from whatever time you want to begin, through when you first heard from ambassador stevens and through the hours and days immediately following so we could have a understanding for the first time from somebody who was there.
>> thank you, mr. chairman. as i remember september 11th, 2012. it was a routine day at our embassy. until we saw the news about cairo. i remember sending a text message to ambassador stevens saying chris, are you aware of what is going on in cairo? and he said, no. so i toll him that the embassy in another text, that the embassy had been stormed and they were trying to tear down our flag. and he said, thanks very much. and, then i went on with business. closed the day and i went back to my villa, was relaxing, watching a television show that i particularly like and at 9:45 p.m., all times will be libyan times, the six-hour
time difference, the rso, john martin ran into my villa, yelling, greg, greg, the consulate is under attack. and i stood up and reached for my phone because i had an inkling or thought that perhaps the ambassador had tried to call me and relay the same message and you found two missed calls on the phone. one from the ambassador's phone. one from a phone number i didn't recognize. and i punched the phone number i didn't recognize and i got the ambassador an the other end and he said, greg, we're under attack! and i was, walking out of the villa on my way to the tactical operations center because i knew we would all have to gather there to mobilize or try to mobilize a response. and it was also a bad cell phone night in tripoli.
connections were weak. and i said, okay, and the line cut. and as i walked to the tactical operations center i tried to reach back on both of the numbers, the unknown number and the many a ambassador's personal number and got no response. when i got to the tactical operations center i told people that the ambassador, that i just talked to the ambassador and what he said. at the time john martineqe was on the phone with alex henderson the in benghazi, the rso there and i asked one of our dsa agents, what number did i reach ambassador stevens on? oh, that is scott wiclan's telephone. scott was the ambassador stevens's agent in charge, his personal escort for that night and was with him in the villa during the attack. so i asked, when john martinek
got off the telephone i asked him, what was going on and he said that the consulate had been breeched and there were at least 20 hostile individuals armed in the compound at the time. so i next called annex chief to see if he was in touch with the benghazi annex to annex to inact the emergency response plan. >> please explain the annex chief so people who wouldn't know as much would understand that. no, go ahead, please. >> okay, thank you. he said he had been in touch with the annex in benghazi and they said they were mobilizing a response team there to go to so our
facility to provide reinforcement to repeal the attack. with that knowledge i called the operations center at the state department approximately 10:00 p.m. to report the attack and, what we were doing to respond to it. the next thing i did was to calling senior officials in the government of libya that i knew at the time. i dialed first the president's chief of staff and reported the attack and asked for immediate assistance from the government of libya to assist our folks in because because. i followed that off with a call to the prime minister's chief of staff to make the same request. and then to the mfa, america's director mfa is
ministry of foreign affairs. the defense attache was at the same time calling the leadership of libya's military libya to ask them for the same purpose, to ask them for assistance. once that was done i called again to washington to report these actions had been commenced. over the night that is basically how our team operated. i was reporting to the government of libya, reporting to the state department through the operations center and staying in touch with the annex chief of about what was going on. let me step back one minute if i could.
and say that i also discussed with the annex chief about mobilizing a tripoli response team and we agreed that we would move forward with a chartering a plane from tripoli to fly a response team to benghazi to provide additional reinforcements. the defense attache was also reporting through his chain of command back to africom and to the joint staff here in washington about what was going on in the country. david mcfar land, our political section chief, had just returned from benghazi where he had been our principle officer for the previous ten days. so he jumped into this picture by reaching out to
his contacts in benghazi and trying to get them at the local level there to respond to the attack. and he also was in touch with our local employee there as well. excuse me to check my notes here. it was a long --, the attack unfolded in four faces or the night unfolded in four spaces. the first phase was the attack on our consulate. this story is well-known i think. the benghazi, the consulate was invaded. the villa c where the ambassador and sean smith and scott wikland were hiding in the safe area was set on fire.
the attackers also went into, went into another building. they were unable to enter the tactical operations center in benghazi because of improvements to that facility that had been made. they, scott attempted to lead the ambassador and sean smith out of the burning building. he managed to make it out. he tried repeatedly to go back into try to rescue sean and the ambassador but had to stop due to exposure to smoke. the response team from the annex in benghazi, six individuals, drove the attackers out of our compound and secured it temporarily. there have been estimates as high as 60 attackers were in the compound at one particular time.
there were repeated attempts by all of the rsoes and by the response team from the annex to go into the burning building and recover or try to save sean and the ambassador. they found sean's body and pulled it out but he was no longer responsive. they did not find the ambassador. i spoke with a medical officer, one our medical officers after the attack and the heroism of these individuals in repeatedly going into petroleum-based fire can not be understated. according to our regional medical officer, petrol yum -- petroleum-based fires emit enormous amounts cyanide gas. he told me that one fulleath ofd incapacitate and kill a
person. if exposed to it. the second, it was noticed that a second wave of attacksers was coming to attack the facility and our teams evacuated. five rs 0s and shaun smith in one vehicle that suffered heavy fire and they managed to break through and get to the annex. and thin the annex team also withdrew from the facility and the second wave of attackers took it over. after the second phase of the evening occurs, the timing is about 11:30 or so. the second phase commences after the teams have returned to the annex and they suffer for about an hour and a half probing
attacks from, from terrorists. they are able to repulse them and then they desist at about 1:30 in the morning. the tripoli response team departs at about midnight and arrives at about 1:15. in benghazi. if i may step back again to tripoli and what's going on there at this point. at about ten: 45 or 11:00 we confer and i asked the defense attache who had been talking with africom and with the joint staff, is anything coming? will they be sending us any help? is there something out there? and he answered that, the
nearest help was in aviano. the where there were fighter planes. he said it would take two to three hours for them to get on site but they're also were no tankers available for them to refuel. and i said, thank you very much. and we went on with our work. phase three begins with news that the ambassador, ambassador's body has been recovered and david macfarland if i recall correctly is the individual who began to receive that news from his contacts in benghazi and we began to hear also that the ambassador has been taken to a hospital. we don't know initially
which hospital it is but we, through david's reports we learn that it is in a hospital which is controlled by ansar al-sharia, the group that twitter feeds had identified as leading the attack on the consulate. we're getting this information as the tripoli response team arrives in benghazi at the airport. both our annex chief and the annex chief in benghazi and our defense attache are on the phone during this period trying to get the libyan government to send vehicles and military, and/or security assets to the airport to assist our response team. at this point this response
team looks like it may be a hostage rescue team. that they are going to, that we are going to need to send them to try to save the ambassador who is in a hospital that is, as far as we know, under enemy control. our contacts with the government in tripoli are telling us that the ambassador is in a safe place but they imply he is with us in the annex, in benghazi and we keep telling them no, the, he is not with us. we do not have his, we do not have him. about 12:30, tame we see the -- at the same time we see the twitter feeds that are asserting, ansar
al-sharia is responsible for the attack, we also see a call for an attack on the embassy in tripoli and so we begin to, we had always thought we were in under threat but we now have to take care of ourselves and we begin planning to evacuate our facility. when i say our facility, i mean the state department residential compound in tripoli and to consolidate all of our personnel in, at the annex in tripoli. we have about 55 diplomatic personnel in the two an nexts. on that night, if i may go back, i would just like to point out that with ambassador stevens and sean
smith in benghazi there are five diplomatic security agents, assistant regional security officers. with us in, at our residential compound in tripoli we have the rso, john martinique, three assistant regional security officers protecting 28 diplomatic personnel. in addition we also have four special forces personnel who are part of the training mission. during the night i'm in touch with washington, keeping them posted of what's happening in tripoli and to the best of my knowledge what i'm being told in benghazi.
i think at about 2:00 p.m. the, 2:00 a.m., sorry, the secretary, secretary of state clinton called me and along with her senior staff were all on the phone and she asked me what was going on and i briefed her on developments. most of the conversation was about the search for ambassador stevens. it was also about what we were going to do with our personnel in benghazi. and i told her we would need to evacuate and that was the, she said that was the right thing to do. at about 3:00 a.m. i received a call from the prime minister of libya. i think it is the saddest
phone call i have ever had in my life. he told me that that ambassador stevens had passed away. i immediately telephoned washington that news afterwards and began accelerating our effort to withdraw from the compound and move to the annex. the, excuse me. take a glass of water. our team responded with
amazing discipline and courage in tripoli in organizing our withdrawal. i have vivid memories of that. i think that most telling though was of our communications staff dismantling our communications equipment to take with us to the annex and destroying the classified communications capability. our office manager, amber pickens, was everywhere that night just throwing herself into some task that had to be done. first she was taking a log of what we were doing. then she was loading
magazines, carrying ammunition to the, carrying our ammunition supply to our vehicles. then she was smashing hard drives with an axe. alan greenfield, our management officer, was a whirl wind of activity organizing the vehicles to lining them up, finding the drivers, making sure everybody was getting the things that they would need for the coming days. john martinique was a mountain of moral support, particularly to the guys who were in benghazi. he was on the phone talking them through the whole ordeal. david macfarland on the phone constantly all the time talking to his contacts in benghazi urging them to
help. lieutenant colonel phillips and lieutenant colonel arnt, lieutenant colonel gibson, mountains of strength. in awe, still in awe of them. they asked me in one of the phone calls when were you going to move to the annex? and i said, we'll move at dawn because none of our people had great experience driving the armored suburbans that we were going to have to use. our local staff drove for us as part of our security procedures. they of course were not there that night. and we would have to go through checkpoints, militia checkpoints on the way to the annex to get there.
and i didn't want our people to be going through those checkpoints because i didn't know what to expect from the militias. so we moved at dawn. and we arrived at the annex, at least my group i think, at about 4:45 perhaps. maybe 5:00 a.m. and a few minutes later came the word of the mortar attack. if i could return to benghazi a little bit, talk -- sorry if i bounce back and forth but the tripoli team was basically had to stay at the benghazi airport because they had no transport and no escort from the, the libyans.
after the announcement of chris's passing military escort and vehicles arrived at the airport. so the decision was made for them to go to the annex. one of the, before i got the call from the prime minister we had received several phone calls on the phone that had been with the ambassador saying that we know where the ambassador is. please, you can come get him. and our local staff engaged on those phone calls admirably. asking very, very good, outstanding even open-ended questions about where was he?
trying to discern whether he was alive, whether they even had the ambassador, whether that person was with the ambassador. send a picture. could we talk to the ambassador? because we knew separately from david that the ambassador was in a hospital. that we believe was under ansar sharia's call. we suspected we were being baited into a trap and so we did not want to go send our people into an ambush. and we didn't. we sent them to the annex. shortly after they arrived at the annex the mortars came in. the first mortar round was long. it landed actually among the libyans who escorted our people. they took casualties for us that night. and then the next was short.
the next three landed on the roof. killing glen and tyrone. severely wounding david. they didn't know whether anymore mortars were going to come in. the accuracy was terribly precise. the call was, the next one is coming through the roof maybe if it hit. two of the guys from team tripoli, they climbed up on the roof, they carried glen's body and tyrone's body down. one guy, about mark's size, full combat gear, climbed up there, strapped david uben, who is a large man, to his back, carried him down a
ladder. saved him. in tripoli we had the defense attache had persuaded the libyans to fly their c-130 to benghazi. we wanted to airlift, since we had consolidated at the annex and libyan government had now provided us with external security around our facilities we wanted to send further reinforcements to benghazi. we determined that lieutenant colonel gibson and his team of special forces troops should go.
people in benghazi had been fighting all night. they were tired. they were exhausted. we wanted to make sure the airport was secure for their withdrawal. as colonel gibson and his three personnel were getting in the cars he stopped and he called them off and said, told me that, he had not been authorized to go. the vehicles had to go because the flight needed to go to tripoli. i mean to benghazi. lieutenant colonel gibson was furious. i had told him to go bring our people home. that's what he wanted to do. paid me a very nice compliment. i won't repeat it here.
so the plane went. i think it landed in benghazi around 7:30. the other thing that did was and i want to mention jackie levaskqe name in this hearing. she was our nurse. we initially thought she should go to benghazi. one of the special forces was lieutenant colonel gibson's team was our last military-trained medic trained available. he had a broken foot, in a cast. i still remembering him walking to go get in the car with his machine gun, carrying a machine gun on his shoulder.
but jackie, i refused to allow her to go to benghazi because i knew we had wounded coming back. i knew david was severely wounded. i knew others were wounded as well. jackie just made terrific contacts with a hospital in town and so we, we sent her, i sent her to that hospital to start mobilizing their e.r. teams and their doctors to receive our wounded. so when the charter flight arrived in tripoli we had an ambulances at the hospital, at the airport waiting. their doctors were ready and waiting for our wounded to come in, to be brought in to the operating room.
and they certainly saved david uben's leg and they may very well have saved his life. and they treated our other wounded as well, as if they were their own. >> mr. hicks --. jenna: you're hearing the first testimony from gregory hicks, the only american so far that was on the ground in libya sharing exactly what happened there from his own perspective the night our ambassador and three other americans were killed. his testimony will continue. we had to take a quick break. we want to note one thing that he shared that's of, the utmost importance. there are several things he shared that were very important but this being that the ambassador's body, once it was recovered was taken to a hospital, a hospital that in his words, in mr. hicks's words, is a hospital under enemy control. ansar al-sharia, the state department weeks after the
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he was on the ground that night in libya. he was the number two person, the number two state department person in libya just under ambassador stevens who lost his life that night. he has been the first one to testify and his testimony has been in short, gripping. let's get ambassador john bolton, the former u.s. ambassador to the united nations and a fox news contributor. let's get his take. when he was talking about, you know, speaking to ambassador stevens and warning him or hearing, hearing from him that the consulate was under attack, it was absolutely gripping. >> well, this is extraordinary testimony. very emotional, really hard to take but several things emerged. number one, from the beginning, from the first words of the regional security officer to mr. hicks, from chris stevens telephone conversation, it was that the consulate was under
attack. so unambiguous right from the get-go. second, when they learned that ambassador stevens or his body is in a hospital, that it was controlled by the terrorist group ansar al-sharia, a stunning piece of information. i don't recall having known that before. and then third now we hear exactly about the team from tripoli that they wanted to send to benghazi to secure the airport to get the remaining cia and that's what the annex references are by the way i think, the cia personnel and state department personal out and the defense attache hearing from some presumably higher military authority being told to stand down, just incredible. and i must say overall the sense of how alone these people were. jon: yeah. mostly, mostly unarmed state
department personnel and they were fighting it out for themselves on that, on that horrible night. mr. ambassador, thanks for sticking with us. we'll take a, go back to the hearings now. >> dod assets to respond to the attack in libya and to protect u.s. personnel and interests in the region. some have asked why other types of armed aircraft were not dispatched to benghazi. the reason is because armed uavs, ac-130 gunshipses or fix-winged fighters with associated tanking, armaments targeting and support capabilities were not in the vicinity of libya and because of the distance would have taken at least nine to 12 hours, if not more to deploy. this was pure and simple a problem of distance and time,
end of quote. do you question his testimony? >> sir, again, the defense attache said to me that fighter aircraft in aviano might be able to, would not be able to be over benghazi for two to three hours. what i'm going on. what the defense attache told me. >> thank you. and i, assure you that in regards to your earlier statement, we will bring in people where we can have that discussion, hopefully with knowledgeable people chosen on both sides, could they or couldn't they. i think it is a good line of questioning but perhaps not for the ambassador. >> mr. chairman -- >> you can an certainly have another minute. >> thank you very much, mr. chairman. k. are but it is extremely important that i ask these questions because a lot has been put out there in the
air and all these folks aren't here for no reason. and there, i know we will get those questions answered but, we all we have is you today and and i'm glad to have you but, in other words, i'm trying, again, remember what i said to you all earlier, and everybody on this committee should know this. jon: ranking democratic member of the house government oversight and affairs committee, elijah cummings of maryland is continuing his question of greg hicks, number two person from the state department in libya the night our embassy and consulate was attacked there. we'll take a short break and be back with more in a moment on "happening now". >> take what you girl vo: i'm pretty conservative.
... back to the hearing in o benghazi, congressman with important questions for ben hicks about the aftermath of attack and what the administration said to the world. who is beth jones? >> beth jones is the sector middle eastern affairs. >> i want to read an excerpt from an email she sent. by the way, more chairman, for our colleagues that like to trumpet by partisanship, this would be a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate it. some of these emails have not
been released including the one i'm going to read from. so for my colleague who has prumpet bipartisan, this would be a wonderful time to prove it. this is from miss jones to you to counsel to hillary clinton to victoria newland, to mr. kennedy. i'm going to read it. i spoke to the libyan ambassador and emphasized the importance of libyan leader to make strong statements. by the way, mr. hicks, this was september sent on september 12th the day after benghazi and several days before ambassador rice's television appearance. i'll continue. >> when he said the government suspected that former xuay regime elements carried out the moammar khadafy conducted the attacks that i said that sharia
is affiliated with islamic terrorists. she told him the state department on september 12th, days before our ambassador wanted on national television is telling the ambassador to libya, the group that conducted the attacks is affiliated with islamic terrorists. mr. hicks, i wanted to know two things. number one, why in the world would susan rice go on five sunday talk shows and perpetuated a demonstrably false narrative. secondarily, what impact did it have on the ground in benghazi the fact she contradicted the president of libya? >> as to the first question, i cannot provide an answer, but perhaps you should ask ambassador rice.
>> i would love the opportunity to do just that. >> as to the second question at the time we were trying to get the f.b.i. to benghazi to begin its investigation. that talk show provided an opportunity to make that happen. afterwards, we encountered bureaucratic resistance for a long period from the libyans. libyan government at this time is not very deep. president, prime minister and deputy prime minister and ministers all capable people. some vice ministers, as well. it took us an additional two --
it was 18 days to get the f.b.i. team to benghazi. >> so the crime scene was unsecured for 18 days? >> yes, sir. >> witnesses were not interviewed -- >> the gentleman, please finish up because we want to move on. >> we will finish you up. we will finance up if there is a second round. >> for all individuals, to the extent that our witnesses can stay on, we will try to have a second round. the ranking member and i both realize we are a little behind schedule. i take blame for it. we're going to try to move within five minutes of questioning whenever possible. the gentleman from. >> thank you, mr. chairman. >> i want to thank --. >> megyn: knocks fuse alert out of washington about truth about benghazi attacks. i'm megyn k