Two service members, one based in Aviano Air Base in northeastern Italy, the other in the U.S., have told Fox News that on Sept. 11, 2012, they were armed and ready to go to Benghazi and at the very least could have protected the Americans under siege from the second wave of attacks. But the order to act never came.
“There were people everywhere. That flight line was full of people, and we were all ready to go” to Benghazi, said one of the men, who asked that his identity be protected for fear of retaliation.
The source, the first in his squadron to speak out publicly since that attack, is going public to explain – in his view – that more could have been done to save Americans under attack that night.
The source went on to say that others in his squadron also have wanted to talk about Benghazi from the beginning, but no others have been interviewed and all are afraid of the potential backlash from speaking out.
“The whole night we were told that we are waiting on a call,” he told Fox News. “I’m not trying to give away any type of [information] that could ever harm the military,” the source told Fox News. “That is never my plan. I feel that some things need to come to light.”
The question of why the military didn’t send help to our heroes under attack in Benghazi has been one of the key areas of contention in the investigation of the terrorist attack.
The source said: “I definitely believe that our aircraft could have taken off and gotten there in a timely manner, maybe three hours at the most, in order to at least stop that second mortar attack … and basically save lives that day.”
Former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty were killed in that second wave. Ambassador Chris Stevens and information officer Sean Smith were killed in the initial attack on the main compound.
“We could have been there. That’s the worst part,” the source said.
The man took issue with the military claim that a re-fueling tanker wasn’t available. He said American jets routinely refuel by using what’s called a “hot pit maneuver,” which allows the jets to land and then get fuel without shutting off the engines.
Obama administration figures, including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, insist that nothing could have been done. But Jeremy Bash, Chief of Staff at the U.S. Department of Defense, wrote an email in 2012 saying that the night of the attack the military had forces “spinning” and prepared to head toward Benghazi as soon as the orders were approved. Bash was interviewed by the House Select Committee in January.
A second source named Mike, a former team sergeant for a military anti-terror quick reaction, force explained:
For some reason they were all shut down, and I think it leads back to a policymaker somewhere because nobody in the military is going to shut down an operation.
On the night of the attack, Mike was at Delta Force headquarters in the U.S. monitoring the events as they happened.
“We had hours and hours and hours to do something … and we did nothing,” he said. “I know everything was spun up and nothing was done.” He added: “At our level, we were doing everything we were supposed to be doing. At everybody else’s level above us, it was political.”
Upon hearing about the Fox report, Benghazi Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy issued the following statement:
As a former federal prosecutor, I find it deeply troubling there are individuals who would like to share their stories, but have not because they are afraid of retaliation from their superiors. No one should be afraid of talking to their elected representatives in Congress.
The committee has not interviewed these individuals and therefore cannot vouch for the credibility of their allegations. I can promise these witnesses and others, if they talk to our committee they will be treated fairly, and both Republican and Democrat members will have questions for them. Nearly 100 people have testified before the committee, and not one witness has said they were treated otherwise.
Democrats may be content to stick to their preordained conclusions, but the committee has an obligation to determine what can and cannot be substantiated when it comes to the new witnesses we have interviewed and the new evidence we have gathered.
Here is a video of the Fox report:
Cross-posted at The Lid