The top deputy of fallen U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens has told congressional authorities that American Special Forces units that were scheduled to fly from Tripoli to Benghazi during the September 11, 2012 attacks in Benghazi were ordered to stand down.
The deputy, Greg Hicks, is scheduled for a congressional hearing in DC on Wednesday. Hicks is expected to reveal details from the attacks on the US embassy in Libya that fly in the face of the Obama administration’s narrative of what occurred in Benghazi that day.
Hicks says "a team of Special Forces prepared to fly from Tripoli to Benghazi," but didn't, "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."
In an interview with investigators, Hicks says that U.S. Special Operations Command South Africa (SOCAFRICA) commander Lt. Col. Gibson and his crew were preparing to fly from Tripoli to Benghazi during the attacks “when [Col. Gibson] got a phone call from SOCAFRICA which said ‘you can’t go now, you don’t have authority to go now.’”
No U.S. military forces outside of Libya were sent to Benghazi during the attacks on the embassy. Hicks believes that American lives could have been saved if more American military personnel were deployed to the scene.
“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 said. “They would have been scared to death that we would have gotten a laser on them and killed them.”
Hicks will be the first eyewitness to speak publicly about the attacks since they occurred eight months ago.
In the days following the Benghazi attacks, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice went on a brief media tour. During her stops, she attempted to dispel any notions that the embassy attacks had been premeditated. Rice said the attacks began spontaneously out of ongoing protests in Egypt.
But Hicks and Libyan President Mohammed al-Magariaf disagree with Rice’s account. Al-Magariaf says his government had “no doubt that this was preplanned, predetermined.”
Hicks says he was embarrassed to see Rice publicly disagree with al-Magariaf’s statement.
"...I've never been as embarrassed in my life, in my career, as on that day," Hicks said. "The net impact of what has transpired is, [Rice,] the spokesperson of the most powerful country in the world, has basically said that the president of Libya is either a liar of doesn't know what he's talking about. ....My jaw hit the floor as I watched this."
The rest of Hicks' interview with congressional investigators will be made available after Wednesday’s congressional hearing. If even portions of Hicks narrative prove true, the Obama administration will quite likely be thrust into an unwanted and ugly public relations scandal with the American public.