Another potentially very explosive admission was made by a State Department witness at the second House Select Committee on Benghazi hearing last week. It came after Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-SC) asked Asst Secretary of State for Diplomatic Security Gregory Starr about a request made for a machine gun by personnel on the ground in Benghazi. The first request – according to Gowdy – was made in October of 2011. The second request was made one month prior to the September 11, 2012 attacks.
After pointing this out, Gowdy asked Starr if he knew who denied the requests and why. Starr responded that he did not know. When Gowdy asked for the name of the person who would know, Starr paused and said he would get back to Gowdy with an answer. It would have been nice to see Gowdy press Starr on this front but Gowdy was going somewhere; he accepted Starr’s word that he would indeed get back to the Committee with a name. Starr then appeared to defend the decision not to grant the request for the machine gun by expressing doubts about how effective it would have been during the attacks.
In many congressional hearings, pledging to get back to the committee with information is a common tactic used by some witnesses to obfuscate and hope the committee does not follow-up, which prevents witnesses from having to divulge what’s been requested.
That charge is not being made here but it is now incumbent upon Gowdy to follow-up if he doesn’t get that answer, which is critically important for several reasons.
Chief among them is where Gowdy went with the questioning shortly thereafter. In that line of questioning, Gowdy masterfully set the stage for pinning the decision to deny the requested machine gun on an individual. In fact, he got Starr to help him do it.
Moreover, as a result, there should one day be a very interesting discussion between Gowdy and the person Starr committed to handing over, relative to finding out who made the final decision to deny the machine gun request.
Here is a transcript of that portion of the exchange:
Gowdy: With specificity, I want to know who reviewed that request, who denied that request and is there an appeals process within the State Department… where someone hypothetically could say, “you know what, you’re giving me a ‘no’ but I’m going to take this up the food chain”. Does that exist?
Gowdy: All the way up to the highest levels of the State Department?
Starr: I will tell you that the one thing that the Department has that very few other agencies have is something called the ‘dissent channel’ and it is a channel that we highly prize and that if you disagree with a policy or if you disagree with a decision that officers in the Department of State – at all ranks and all locations – have the ability to send something directly and at the highest levels through a dissent channel cable and say, ‘I disagree with something’ and it goes to the highest level.
That should be check mate.
With his answer, Starr laid the foundation for one single individual – not the bureaucracy – being responsible for making the decision to withhold a machine gun from the Special Mission Compound (SMC) nearly one year after the initial request.
Someone decided to deny the request and someone obeyed the order to do so. The individual who obeyed the order had the opportunity to use the ‘dissent channel’. If he/she did use the channel and went all the way to the top, that would lead to Secretary of State Clinton. If he/she did not use the channel, the decision was his/hers as well as the person who issued the denial order (assuming that person didn’t use the dissent channel either).
One of the things State could come back with is that no one denied the request; it’s just that a decision was never made one way or the other. That argument – when coupled with a report by Adam Housely (posted underneath Gowdy video) earlier this year – holds no water.
Video is cued up to start at relevant part of exchange:
This leads us to the report from Housley of Fox News earlier this year in which he reveals that a group affiliated with Ansar al-Sharia moved in next door to the SMC and that this was the reason given by the team on the ground to request the machine gun. According to Housely, the request for the machine gun was in fact denied and that the reason given was it “wasn’t aesthetically pleasing” and that it would “upset the neighbors”. We are left to conclude that the “neighbors” were Ansar al-Sharia:
As Shoebat.com has reported, such a reality fits perfectly with Hillary Clinton’s recent comments about the U.S. needing to ’empathize’ with its enemies.
Go figure. She was the individual at the top of the dissent channel who also has a Muslim Brotherhood daughter as her closest adviser.
Last week, Shoebat.com reported on another explosive admission by Starr during that hearing when he singled out then Ambassador Stevens’ counterpart in Egypt Anne Patterson as being the person to best explain why the U.S. was in Benghazi.