Whistle-blower hearing raises unanswered questions

Reaction from 'Special Report' All-Star panel


This is a rush transcript from "Special Report," May 8, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


GREGORY HICKS, FORMER DEPUTY CHIEF OF MISSION IN LIBYA: We determined that we needed to send a second team from Tripoli to secure the airport for the withdrawal of our personnel from Benghazi after the mortar attack.

REP. JASON CHAFFETZ, R-UTAH: Were any of these U.S. military personnel not permitted to travel on a rescue mission or relief mission to Benghazi?

HICKS: They were not authorized to travel.

CHAFFETZ: How did the personnel react to being told to stand down?

HICKS: They were furious. I can only say, well, I will quote Lieutenant Colonel Gibson. He said "It was the first time in my career that a diplomat has more balls than somebody in the military."


BRET BAIER, HOST: Greg Hicks, the number two man on the ground in Libya. We're back with the panel. Steve, the military response, he's talking about special forces in Tripoli to get to Benghazi and the stand down order that Hicks describes.

STEVE HAYES, SENIOR WRITER, THE WEEKLY STANDARD: Right. I think if we have more hearings and I'm virtually certain we will have more hearings, I would suspect that one of the people they'd want to talk to is Lieutenant Colonel Gibson, who was the one who gave him that colorful quote.

BAIER: They believe gets the order from General Carter Ham.

HAYES: Right, saying basically don't send them. The White House spin on this is that when this plane left, they wouldn't have arrived in Benghazi in time to have actually made any difference in the fighting. But of course, that argument presumes that we have knowledge that the fighting was going to end when it ended. There is no way of knowing that. I've talked to military and intelligence folks who believe this fighting could have gone on for days and in fact, was designed to draw more people in.

BAIER: There was also a lot of testimony about F-15s, F-16s, they could have done flyovers and what that could have meant.

MARA LIASSON, NATIONAL PUBLIC RADIO: I think that's kind of a fertile ground for the next chapter of this. Why wasn't more done? Before the attack, why wasn't there more done to secure the embassy and the response, and I think we'll find out more about that.

BAIER: Charles, we do tweet the panel every Wednesday. Jody Noland tweets, "I don't understand the logic behind reducing the number of Special Forces teams in Libya after the carjacking in August 2012, do you?" I think Jody's referring to the British ambassador under attack in Benghazi, in other words, all of the things that happened prior to that moment.

CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER, SYNDICATED COLUMNIST: Look, that's one part of the story. It's clear the ambassador himself who was slain is the one who was really begging for more security. Everybody understands it was rated as a facility that was extremely insecure. That's one element.

The other element is at the time of the attack what happened. And I would ask another question, where was the commander in chief? The one man who can authorize and order troops to move above everybody and instantly is commander in chief. Where was he for these hours when the fight was raging? Has anybody asked it? Has anybody answered that?

BAIER: Last thing. Hicks specifically was asked about being demoted to desk officer from essentially chief of missions after Stevens dies, a number of questions about that. That could be another element to this story.

HAYES: I think it will be a growing element to this story. The testimony he gives about Sheryl Mills, who is Hillary Clinton's right arm and alter ego, in some respects, essentially intimidating him, calling him, telling him he couldn't meet privately with the congressmen. You have other suggestions of intimidation. Beth Jones, he said sat him down for what he described as a blistering attack after he questioned Susan Rice's performance on the Sunday shows. There are real serious questions about intimidation in this and I hope we get some answers.

BAIER: Not over.

LIASSON: I don't think it's over.


KRAUTHAMMER: Intimidation is the equivalent of a cover-up. If you're going to intimidate somebody as a way to shut that person up, you've got a cover-up on your hands.

BAIER: That's it for the panel. 

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