New, helpful information clarifying the military's involvement in the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya was revealed by briefers before the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations Wednesday, said U.S. Representative Martha Roby (R-AL), who chairs the subcommittee and led the briefing.
Of particular note is the clear lack of preparedness by the White House leading up to September 11 despite the Administration's claims to the contrary. The briefing also revealed that no "stand down" order was given to the forward commander, counter to some rumors and reports.
Rep. Roby discussed these developments with Fox News Channel reporter Mike Emanuel on "Special Report with Bret Baier" yesterday evening.
Clarifying what decisions were made and why is critical to learning lessons and ensuring such attacks never happen again, Rep. Roby said.
"The biggest takeaway from this briefing is that no heroic military effort to respond to the Benghazi attack could overcome the White House's clear lack of preparedness to protect Americans in a dangerous part of the world," Rep. Roby said. "On September 10th last year, the day before the attack, the White House bragged in a press release that then-counterterrorism adviser John Brennan had reviewed all security preparations for the September 11 anniversary. But, as we learned from testimony, no one talked to the Combatant Commander in charge of this very dangerous part of the world to make sure he had everything he needed.
"We also learned that Commander Gibson was not ordered to "stand down' by higher command authorities in response to an understandable desire to lead Special Forces group to Benghazi in the wake of the attack. Rather, he was ordered to remain in Tripoli to defend Americans in anticipation of further attacks. Commander Gibson acknowledged that had he deployed to Benghazi, not only would Americans in Tripoli have been left defenseless, but his forces could not have arrived in Benghazi soon enough to make a difference. These are important facts to clarify because there have been rumors and reports to the contrary.
"In any case, it is unacceptable that the Combatant Commander would be put in a position to have to make that choice. It further demonstrates the lack of preparedness by the Administration leading up to September 11."
The Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations received testimony from three key figures involved in the response to the attack on Americans in Benghazi: General Carter Ham (ret), former Commander, AFRICOM; Lieutenant Colonel S.E. Gibson, former commander of the site security team at the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli; and Rear Admiral Brian Losey, former commander, Special Operations Command Africa. Each offered accounts of U.S. force posture and planning ahead of the attack, as well as actions taken during and after the attack.
Due to the discussion of some classified information, the briefing was closed.
BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
The subcommittee will continue to carry out appropriate oversight of the response of U.S. Armed Forces in the September 11, 2012 terrorist attacks in Benghazi.