Revealed: Three Benghazi survivors set to go before House committee to testify about 2012 attack identified as career State Department officials as their attorneys claim ‘Obama administration tried to silence them’
Gregory N. Hicks was deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Libya
Mark I. Thompson is a former Marine and now the deputy coordinator for Operations in Counterterrorism Bureau
Eric Nordstrom is a diplomatic security officer who was the regional security officer in Libya
The House Oversight committee will hear their testimony on May 8, forcing the Obama administration’s hand
President Obama has professed ignorance of any effort to prevent whistle-blowers from telling Congress about the night terrorists attacked
On Wednesday, the three State Department officials will appear on Capitol Hill before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee to talk about the September 11, 2012, assault on the U.S. Embassy in Benghazi that resulted in the deaths of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.
Fox News revealed Saturday that the key witnesses are: Gregory N. Hicks, the deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Libya at the time of the Benghazi terrorist attacks; Mark I. Thompson, a former Marine and now the deputy coordinator for Operations in the agency’s Counterterrorism Bureau; and Eric Nordstrom, a diplomatic security officer who was the regional security officer in Libya.
First hearing: Eric Nordstrom, a diplomatic security officer who was the regional security officer in Libya, testifies on Capitol Hill on October 10
Wintess: Gregory N. Hicks, a veteran officer of the Foreign Service – was in Tripoli on the night of the attack when he received a distress call from Ambassador Stevens
For Nordstrom, the upcoming hearing would not be the first time that he was called to testify on the events of last September.
‘For me the Taliban is on the inside of the [State Department] building,’ the former mission deputy chief angrily said while speaking at a hearing chaired by California Republican Rep. Darrell Issa in October 2012.
During his testimony at the time, Nordstrom detailed for lawmakers how he and the late ambassador had repeatedly asked to increase security at the embassy in the months leading up to the attack, but said that their pleas fell on deaf ears as the situation in the country continued deteriorating.
Witness accounts: The three career diplomats who were in Libya during the 2012 attacks will appear before a congressional hearing to testify about the deadly events of last September
The two other State Department officials have never publicly spoken about the attacks.
At the time of the deadly attacks, Hicks was the highest-ranking American diplomat serving in Libya.
Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a Republican and members of the House committee, said that Hicks – a veteran officer of the Foreign Service – was in Tripoli on the night of the attack when he received a distress call from Ambassador Stevens.
‘We’re under attacks! We’re under attacks’ Stevens reportedly yelled into his cell phone.
According to the Utah congressman, Hicks reacted to the news by calling Washington to alert officials and set off an ‘inter-agency response.’
What remains: As the investigation into the attack continues, the consulate remains damaged
According to the State Department website, Thompson ‘advises senior leadership on operational counterterrorism matters, and ensures that the United States can rapidly respond to global terrorism crises.’
Victim: U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens was killed during the attack
Hicks and Thompson are believed to be represented pro bono by Joe diGenova, a former US attorney, and his wife, Victoria Toensing, a former chief counsel of the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Of the three men, Nordstrom is the only one who does not consider himself a whistle-blower.
According to diGenova and Toensing, their clients’ accounts of the attacks in Benghazi were dismissed by then-Secretary Hillary Clinton’s Accountability Review Board, and the two civil servants have been subjected to an intimidation campaign by their superiors meant to stop them from telling the truth about the tragic events in Libya.
The revelation of the witnesses’ identities comes just days after the Obama administration denied that it was prohibiting any U.S. personnel who survived last year’s attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya from testifying before Congress about what they experienced.
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee announced on Wednesday that it will convene a hearing on May 8 aimed at ‘exposing failure’ in the Obama administration to respond to security threats to that diplomatic mission, and to present to the public and to Congress an accurate version of the attack that left Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans dead.
‘This Administration has offered the American people only a carefully selected and sanitized version of events from before, during, and after the Benghazi terrorist attacks, committee Chairman Issa, a Republican congressman from California, said in a statement. ‘Not surprisingly, this version of events casts senior officials in the most favorable light possible.’
Jay Carney insisted in a press briefing that no administration employees had sought security clearances so they could testify about he Benghazi raid, even after the House Oversight Committee asked for those very clearances
Issa’s committee has already shed public light on the U.S. State Department’s denials of requests for more robust security at the consulate in Benghazi. And in an October 2012 hearing, it produced evidence contradicting the administration’s initial claim that the the Sept. 11, 2012 military-style assault on the diplomatic compound began as a ‘protest’ sparked by a low-budget YouTube video that lampooned the Muslim prophet Muhammad.
‘Next week’s hearing will expose new facts and details that the Obama Administration has tried to suppress,’ Issa said.
At least four surviving witnesses to the Benghazi attack have retained attorneys to help them navigate the process of testifying before Congress about what they saw. They are all employees of the CIA and the State Department, according to a Fox News report.
The U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya was attacked and burned on Sept. 11, 2012 in a military-style attack that killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans
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