cbs this evening
Three more officials to testify over Benghazi attacks - CBS NewsOther so-called "whistleblowers" from federal agencies, including the CIA, have provided information to Congressional investigators, but are said to be unwilling - so far - to speak publicly because they aren't authorized by their agencies to do so. Some claim fear of retaliation.
It's been a remarkably long period of silence from the dozens of American survivors and eyewitnesses who were in Libya the night of the attacks. It's not publicly known what testimony the witnesses will give at this week's hearing, but in a series of interviews and communications, CBS News has obtained information about some of areas of knowledge the witnesses can address.
gregory hicks, deputy chief of mission, essentially ambassador stevens' #2, took the first call
"we were under attack"
hicks took the call from the unidentified caller on stevens' personal cell phone saying the ambassador was at the hospital dead
hicks was there when americans took custody of the body under (to quote cbs) "circumstances that still remain mysterious"
mark thompson is acting deputy assistant secretary for counter terrorismThroughout the night, sources say Americans on the ground in Libya at times felt helpless and abandoned.
"We relied on Washington for dispassionate assessment," one eyewitness told CBS News. "Instead, they [Washington officials] were asking us what help we needed.
We answered: 'Send reinforcements!' "
But they were told immediate help wasn't available.
Embassy personnel say they repeatedly asked the Defense Attache on site in Tripoli for military assistance.
"Isn't there anything available?" one Embassy official says he asked. "But the answer was 'no.'"
"What about Aviano?" the official pressed, referencing the NATO air base with US assets in northeastern Italy. "No," was the answer.
Two of the four Americans killed that night died hours after the first attack began.
Some have complained the Obama Administration has not explained why there were no military resources available to turbulent North Africa on the Sept. 11 attacks, even at the large Souda Bay U.S. Naval base less than an hour's flight from Libya. The State Department's independent Accountability Review Board said government officials did everything they could, considering the challenges.
"thompson will testify that he was locked out of the process even tho he was the individual who was supposed to react to these kinds of things"
that is, the admin did not convene its "top interagency counter terrorism resource," the csg, counter terrorism security group
"counter terrorism sources and internal emails reviewed by cbs express frustration that key responders were ready to deploy but were never called upon to help"
nsc spokesman tommy vietor told cbs the csg was not needed
"'the csg is the one group that's supposed to know what resources every agency has, they know of multiple options and have the ability to coordinate counter terrorism assets across all the agencies,' a high-ranking government official told cbs"
we were not allowed to do our job, we were not called on, we were frozen out
in the absence of csg, the response became chaotic, recounts cbs
"the response process was isolated at the most senior level" of (points out cbs) "the executive branch"
my fellow counter terrorism pros and i were not allowed input, thompson will testify (according to cbs)
hicks and thompson and "several others whose accounts are at odds with official govt statements have reported feeling marginalized, intimidated and/or subjected to threats of retaliation"