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In the aftermath of the terrorist attack on the U.S. facilities in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, five State Department Diplomatic Security agents who were in Benghazi that day and survived the attack were evacuated from the country and taken to Ramstein Air Force Base in Germany.
All five had suffered from smoke inhalation, and one was seriously wounded.
Under questioning from Sen. Ron Johnson (R.-Wis.) in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton revealed that she has spoken to only one of the American survivors who was evacuated from Libya after the Benghazi attack. Presumably, this was one of the five Diplomatic Security officers who fought off the terrorists at the State Department's Benghazi Special Mission Compound on Sept. 11 and who lived to be able to report as eyewitnesses about what had happened there that day.
Because Clinton testified that she has only talked to one of the survivors, she could not possibly have even personally thanked--let alone heard the eyewitness accounts of--four of the five Diplomatic Security officers who put their lives on the line to protect Amb. Stevens and the U.S. facility in Benghazi.
She did not reach out to them in the hours or days after the attack to get their personal accounts of what had happened--information that clearly would have been valuable to her and her subordinates as they explained to the nation what actually happened that day.
“As I said, I still have a DS agent at Walter Reed seriously injured,” said Clinton. “Getting them into Frankfurt Ramstein to get taken care of, the FBI going over to immediately start talking to them—We did not think it was appropriate for us to talk to them before the FBI conducted their interviews.”
The ARB later reported that one of the State Department security officers at the Benghazi mission, watching a video monitor, saw the attack begin at about 3:42 p.m. Washington, D.C., time on Sept. 11, when dozens of armed terrorists swarmed through the main gain of the compound. He immediately sounded an alarm in the compound. He then used a cell phone to notify the CIA Annex down the road and the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli. The U.S. Embassy in Tripoli then immediately notified State Department headquarters in Washington, D.C.
“I was notified of the attack shortly after 4:00 p.m.,” Secretary Clinton testified on Wednesday.
Later that night, before 11:00 p.m. Washington time on Sept. 11, Clinton issued a statement linking the still-ongoing Benghazi attack to “inflammatory material posted on the Internet.”
She did not explain why she believed her contact with her own State Department employees could in anyway taint or disrupt an FBI investigation that is reportedly aimed at discovering the identity of the terrorists who attacked the U.S. facilities in Benghazi.
Would Clinton have talked to Amb. Stevens or Sean Smith had they survived the attack? Or would she have waited to speak to them, too, until after the FBI had interviewed them? No one asked Secretary Clinton those questions in the congressional hearings on Wednesday.