Once again the phony story about an anti-Muslim YouTube video gets kicked to the curb. On last night’s “Special Report with Bret Baier,” the host interviewed Eric Stahl, a retired major in the U.S. Air Force, who piloted the C-17 aircraft that used to transport the corpses of the four fallen heroes and survivors of the Benghazi raid from Tripoli to an American military base in Germany.
During the interview, Stahl reported that the terrorists who attacked the U.S. Consulate and CIA annex in Benghazi used cell phones stolen from State Department personnel during the attacks, and American intelligence agencies listened as they called their superiors to report their success. Multiple sources confirmed this report.
The stolen phone call report agrees with every CIA report, military report, two State Department emails from Beth Jones, a phone call from Deputy Chief of Mission Greg Hicks, and testimony from General Carter Ham and Leon Panetta. All blame the attack on terrorism before the fight was over. By the end of the day on Sept. 12, 2012, everyone knew it was an act of terrorism perpetuated by al Qaeda affiliate Ansar Al Sharia.
Now this is where Major Stahl comes in.
Stahl said members of a CIA-trained Global Response Staff who raced to the scene of the attacks were “confused” by the administration’s repeated implication of the video as a trigger for the attacks, because “they knew during the attack … who was doing the attacking.” Asked how, Stahl told anchor Bret Baier: “Right after they left the consulate in Benghazi and went to the [CIA] safehouse, they were getting reports that cell phones, consulate cell phones, were being used to make calls to the attackers’ higher ups.”
A separate U.S. official, one with intimate details of the bloody events of that night, confirmed the major’s assertion. The second source, who requested anonymity to discuss classified data, told Fox News he had personally read the intelligence reports at the time that contained references to calls by terrorists – using State Department cell phones captured at the consulate during the battle – to their terrorist leaders. The second source also confirmed that the security teams on the ground received this intelligence in real time.
Major Stahl was never interviewed by the Accountability Review Board, the investigative panel convened, pursuant to statute, by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, as the official body reviewing all the circumstances surrounding the attacks and their aftermath. Many lawmakers and independent experts have criticized the thoroughness of the ARB, which also never interviewed Clinton nor the under secretary of State for management, Patrick Kennedy, a key figure in the decisions about security at the consulate in the period preceding the attack there.
It gets more incriminating. When the passengers got off the major’s plane, no one was interviewed by the FBI or some other investigative officer. Instead, all were interviewed by a senior State Department diplomat on the ground.
“They were taken away from the airplane,” Stahl said. “The U.S. ambassador to Germany [Philip D. Murphy] met us when we landed and he took them away because he wanted to debfrief them that night.” Murphy stepped down as ambassador last year. A message left with Sky Blue FC, a private company in New Jersey with which Murphy is listed online as an executive officer, was not immediately returned.
Stahl further reported that he could have rescued some of the Benghazi victims but was not given orders to do so.
“We were on a 45-day deployment to Ramstein air base,” he told Fox News. “And we were there basically to pick up priority missions, last-minute missions that needed to be accomplished.”
“You would’ve thought that we would have had a little bit more of an alert posture on 9/11,” Stahl added. “A hurried-up timeline probably would take us [an] hour-and-a-half to get off the ground and three hours and fifteen minutes to get down there. So we could’ve gone down there and gotten them easily.”
Stahl’s account is convincing and, if true, pokes gaping holes in the official State Department-administration account.
Cross-posted at The Lid