Republicans and conservative media outlets have jumped on a story broadcast by 60 Minutes on Sunday about a so-called "lingering question" about Benghazi.
That "lingering question" was why U.S. military forces did not immediately come to the aid of U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens and his small staff at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya during a terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2013.
CBS' 60 Minutes' correspondent Lara Logan interviewed the former deputy chief of mission Gregory Hicks, who has given countless interviews asking the same "lingering question," which has been answered numerous times in the last 13 months, noted MediaMatters.org (video below).
"You have this conversation with the defense attache. You ask him what military assets are on their way. And he says?" asked Logan.
"Effectively, they're not. And I, for a moment, I just felt lost," said Hicks. "I just couldn't believe the answer. And then I made the call to the annex chief, and I told him, 'Listen, you've got to tell those guys there may not be any help coming.'"
"That's a tough thing to understand," stated Logan. "Why?"
"It just is," answered Hicks. "We, for us, for the people that go out onto the edge, to represent our country, we believe that if we get in trouble, they're coming to get us. That our back is covered. To hear that it's not, it's a terrible, terrible experience."
What Hicks and Logan did not mention was that Lieutenant Colonel S.E. Gibson, the former commander of the security team at the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli, answered this "lingering question" during his testimony in June to the House Armed Services Committee.
According to the Armed Services Committee:
In his testimony, LTC Gibson clarified his responsibilities and actions during the attack. Contrary to news reports, Gibson was not ordered to “stand down” by higher command authorities in response to his understandable desire to lead a group of three other Special Forces soldiers to Benghazi.
Rather, he was ordered to remain in Tripoli to defend Americans there in anticipation of possible additional attacks, and to assist the survivors as they returned from Benghazi. Gibson acknowledged that had he deployed to Benghazi he would have left Americans in Tripoli undefended.
He also stated that in hindsight, he would not have been able to get to Benghazi in time to make a difference, and as it turned out his medic was needed to provide urgent assistance to survivors once they arrived in Tripoli.
Also, soon after the first attack on the Benghazi consulate, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta ordered Marine anti-terrorist teams from Rota, Spain to fly to Tripoli and Benghazi, noted CNN.
The U.S. Marines arrived in Tripoli, Libya about 11 hours after the Americans had been evacuated from Benghazi.
According to MediaMatters.org, Admiral (Ret.) Mike Mullen, Former Joint Chiefs Chairman, testified during a September Congressional hearing (video below): "The military did everything they possibly could that night. They just couldn't get there in time."
"...This is not something you can just wish to happen instantly. There's a lot of planning, preparation, as rapidly to do it as rapidly as one can do it," added Mullen.
Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates slammed the Benghazi conspiracy theorists on CBS' Face the Nation in May (video below).
"It's sort of a cartoonish impression of military capabilities and military forces," said Gates. "The one thing our forces are noted for is planning and preparation before we send people in harm's way, and there just wasn't time."