by Stewart Rhodes * May 09, 2013
One of the most moving statements made by star Benghazi witness Gregory Hicks during yesterday’s hearing was about his oath. During his opening statement, Hicks said, “On February 19th, 1991, I swore an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution of the United States. I am Here to Honor That oath.”
And honor it he did, with frank, honest, and heartfelt testimony that laid bare the horrendous fact that two inexplicable stand-down orders were given that left Hicks and Special Forces personnel in stunned disbelief and outrage, and left their brothers in Benghazi to fend for themselves.
Stand-down order #1 was when Hicks requested deployment of the special incident Foreign Emergency Support Team (FEST), which is specifically designed to handle such attacks. Hicks testified that the FEST team had dedicated aircraft capable of responding within four hours – which is exactly why that team was created after the attack on the USS Cole. When asked why the FEST team was not deployed, Hick’s answered, “I don’t know.”
Stand-down order #2 was when the Special Forces team in Tripoli was all set to jump on a C-130 and fly to Benghazi and rescue their brothers, when their commander, Lt. Col. Gibson, was ordered to stand-down and stay in Tripoli.
As Hicks said, “I told him to go get our people and that is what he wanted to do.” When asked how Colonel Gibson reacted to being told to stand-down, Hicks said he “was furious.”
The SF Colonel also told Hicks, “this is the first time in my career that a diplomat has more balls than a member of the military.”
As to why the team had been ordered to stand-down and NOT try to rescue their brothers, Hicks said “I don’t know.”
Clearly, Colonel Gibson needs to be called to testify, and that testimony could be explosive, especially if that career Special Forces officer is still furious about he and his men not being allowed to do what they are trained to do, and what they LIVE to do.
Taking the fight to the enemy to save comrades in arms or hostages is something that every special operations warrior would be chomping at the bit to go and do, and being told to inexplicably stand-down and let your brothers hang in the wind, when you are their only known chance of rescue, goes against every instinct and creed of such men.
Frankly, under such circumstances, I’m surprised they didn’t have a sudden, inexplicable failure of commo when talking to the ball-deficient general – “sorry sir, you are breaking up, I can’t hear you” and just carry on with what was right, and needed to be done to back-up fellow Americans already engaged in combat.
The media has been focusing on the obvious cover-up and spin afterwards, with the disclosure that the Administration knew, the very next day, that it had been a well organized attack, not a spontaneous riot, but nonetheless insisted on repeating that false “riot” talking point in numerous interviews and press conferences.
Certainly, that is important, but nowhere near as important as finding out why the FEST team was not deployed and why the Special Forces personnel who were on their way to conduct a rescue were ordered to stand-down.
This is only the beginning, and who knows what else may come to light, but that intentional withholding of life-saving military support is a smoking gun all on its own.
Founder of Oath Keepers
PS – I am at the Boston Bombing Hearing in DC, which is beginning now.