STATEMENTS OF GREGORY HICKS AND LT. COL. STEVEN GIBSON CONTRADICT EACH OTHER
by Sharon Rondeau
(Jul. 6, 2013) — As The Post & Email reported on Friday, a Special Operations officer assigned to the U.S. mission in Tripoli, Libya on September 11, 2012 contradicted the testimony of former charge d’affaires Gregory Hicks when the officer told the House Armed Services Committee that he did not receive a “stand-down” order after learning of the attack on the Benghazi outpost that night.
The House Armed Services Committee issued a summary of the June 26 session during which Lt. Col. Steve Gibson, Adm. Brian Losey and Gen. Carter Ham (Ret.) testified about their respective roles and experiences after the mission was attacked at approximately 9:40 p.m. on the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks.
Gibson was in Losey’s Special Operations chain of command, while Ham was commander of the regional unit AFRICOM at the time.
The attack was first said to be a protest in response to the release of an anti-Islamic video which reportedly was distributed to various news outlets in the Middle East beginning on September 6. For several weeks the Obama regime clung to its story about the video being the cause, but the intelligence community revealed that it had known within 24 hours that a terrorist attack had occurred.
Middle Eastern expert Walid Shoebat, who is fluent in Arabic, has reported that the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, and specifically now-deposed President Mohamed Morsi (Mursi) was involved in the attack, with the terrorists possibly having received financing from the Morsi regime.
Shoebat cites a Libyan Intelligence document and video in which he reported that attackers could be heard shouting that they had been sent by “Mursi.”
In January, in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Morsi had said that in regard to the Blind Sheikh, who has been imprisoned for the last 15 years for his role in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, he “wanted him to be free” so that he could obtain advanced medical care. Some believe that the sheikh, whose name is Omar Abdel-Rahman, was in play for release by the Obama regime in exchange for Libyan Amb. Chris Stevens, who might have been the object of a failed kidnapping plot.
Stevens, along with three other Americans, was killed as a result of the terrorist attack in Benghazi. Shoebat has called for a grand jury investigation to examine the evidence of Morsi’s alleged involvement in the attack.
Hicks had publicly testified on May 8 to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that Gibson and another emergency team had been issued a “stand-down” order after preparing to go to Benghazi to assist victims of the attack. When Rep. Jason Chaffetz asked Hicks what Gibson’s reaction to the order was, Hicks described Gibson as “furious” and as having told him that “this is the first time in my career that a diplomat” had more courage than anyone in the U.S. military.
The Committee stated of Gibson’s testimony that “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.”
What “hindsight” was involved if Gibson had not intended to travel to Benghazi? How can the accounts of Gibson and Hicks be reconciled?
Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey testified, along with former Defense Secretary Leon Panetta in February, that “We positioned our forces in a way that was informed by and consistent with available threat estimates.” Two months prior, under Panetta’s direction, Dempsey indicated the need for a study of ethics in the upper echilons of the military’s command structure by sending a letter to every senior officer in the wake of growing military scandals.
The Joint Chiefs Chairman is the highest-ranking officer in the U.S. military and advises the commander-in-chief, various security agencies and the Defense Secretary. He coordinates meetings among the chairmen of the different branches of the military. However, he cannot give commands to military units.
Sen. John McCain found Dempsey’s prepared statement “one of the more bizarre statements that I have ever seen in my years in this committee.”
Dempsey also said that the military was not asked by the State Department to assist in the Benghazi crisis, but when questioned by McCain about whether or not he had received “repeated warnings” from Stevens prior to the attack, Dempsey responded, “I had, through General Ham.”
Also on February 7, Panetta told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that Ham’s command, AFRICOM, had “directed that an unarmed, unmanned, surveillance aircraft that was nearby to reposition overhead the Benghazi facility.” Panetta said that after consulting with Ham and Dempsey, he ordered various military units to go to places in “Southern Europe” and other locations, but not Benghazi.
Panetta claimed that Obama “ordered all available DoD assets to respond to the attack in Libya and to protect U.S. personnel and interests in the region,” but there was no aircraft carrier in the Mediterranean Sea as was the case before Obama took office, to which Panetta admitted.
It was Panetta’s contention that it was not the Department of Defense’s responsibility to protect U.S. embassies, but U.S. Marines often stand guard at such embassies. According to Wikipedia, “The Marine Corps has a long history of cooperation with the Department of State, going back to the early days of the nation. From the raising of the United States flag at Derna, Tripoli and the secret mission of Archibald H. Gillespie in California, to the Boxer Rebellion at Peking, Marines have served many times on special missions as couriers, guards for embassies and legations, and to protect American citizens in unsettled areas.”
On the same day of Gibson’s testimony, Dempsey was nominated to serve a second term as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs under Obama.
Gen. Ham reportedly told the committee that despite his having been commander of “one of the most volatile threat environments in the world,” he was not brought into the security discussion reportedly carried out by John Brennan, Obama’s new CIA chief, prior to the September 11 anniversary. Former members of the military have stated that Ham was relieved of his command while in the National Military Command Center at the Pentagon on September 11, 2012 for refusing to obey the “stand-down” order which came from the White House.
Retired military officers Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney and CDR Walter Francis Fitzptrick, III have stated that Obama gave the stand-down order to Panetta during a 5:00 p.m. meeting, which they say explains Obama’s absence for the rest of the evening. Both say that Obama is guilty of “dereliction of duty.”
Brennan is reportedly a practicing Muslim. Obama has been noted to show strong sympathies to members of The Muslim Brotherhood and Muslim groups in general. Morsi is a member of The Brotherhood, which Egyptian citizens found repugnant to the freedoms they believed they would have after Hosni Mubarak, a long-time U.S. ally, was removed from power in 2011.
In a 2008 interview with George Stephanopoulos, Obama referred to “his Muslim faith.”
In response to complaints from 57 Muslim groups, Dempsey destroyed the career of Lt. Col. Matthew Dooley, who was teaching a course to officers on the threat of radical Islam and ordered material “purged” from military training manuals which Muslims found offensive. Dooley’s counsel, the Thomas More Center, stated in a press release dated September 18 that Dempsey and others had violated Dooley’s right to free speech and undermined the national security of the United States out of their observance of political correctness.
At a forum at The Brookings Institute in which Dempsey was to speak on “Defending the Nation at Network Speed,” Dempsey told the host, “Just remember Peter, you may write about drones, but I have them.”
Last summer, Dempsey told a reporter that he was “disappointed” that former military members might criticize those currently in leadership positions. On September 12, Dempsey called a private citizen, Pastor Terry Jones, who had reportedly indicated his agreement with the premise of the video upon which the Benghazi attack had been blamed, and “asked Mr. Jones to consider withdrawing his support for the film.”
In September 2010, Gen. David Petraeus, who was stationed in Afghanistan at the time, had asked Jones to reconsider his plans to burn Korans on September 11 of that year. ABC News called Jones and his followers “armed and militant” and editorialized that Jones’s agenda is one of “hate.”
The House Armed Services Committee is still seeking testimony from Col. George Bristol, who retired several weeks before Ham earlier this year and who the Pentagon claims it cannot find. Bristol was Gibson’s superior under Losey at the time of the Benghazi attack.