Major Benghazi Inconsistency Revealed after Closed Session

CIA personnel who witnessed the Benghazi attacks on 9/11/12 testified in front of the House Intelligence Committee behind closed doors this week. Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), chairman of the committee and Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), who sits on the committee, appear to be at complete variance on one key issue. That issue?

Was there a lull in the fighting from approximately 0100 – 0500?

Nunes (L) and Rogers (R): Conflicting accounts on a key Benghazi fact.

Nunes (L) and Rogers (R): Conflicting accounts on a key Benghazi fact.

Rogers says yes; Nunes says no.

The “Independent” Accountability Review Board (ARB) clearly implies that there was a four-hour lull, in its Unclassified Report. After closed-door testimony this week, Rogers indicates the lull was approximately three hours. Nunes indicated that there was none at all.

So, after talking to witnesses and getting more details, how come there are even more discrepancies?

This detail is important because Obama administration officials have attempted to assert that the reason help never came for the first attack is that there wasn’t sufficient time to respond. The reason given for why no help came for the second attack, which took place more than seven hours later, was because they thought everything was over. If there weren’t two separate attacks but one protracted fight that took place on two proximate fields of battle, the administration has a major problem on its hands.

That leads to an interview between Fox News Channel’s Megyn Kelly and Rep. Rogers, in which the closed door testimony is discussed. During this exchange, Rogers essentially echoes the findings of the ARB, saying that there was a lull in the fighting before the deaths of Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty, that lasted about three hours (ARB implies it was four). He is then caught flat-footed when Kelly plays a short excerpt of an exchange between Nunes and Chris Wallace from one day earlier:

This was an excellent accountability moment for Kelly and a weak response from Rogers, who seems to be saying that a key fact can be disagreed on by him and a fellow committee member from the same party after hearing witnesses give firsthand accounts. This is simply not acceptable or believable. As a key point, it should have been made clear during the session so there wouldn’t be any inconsistencies.

In testimony before the House Armed Services Committee earlier this year, former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said the following:

“The bottom line is this: that we were not dealing with a prolonged or continuous assault which could have been brought to an end by a U.S. military response… Very simply, although we had forces deployed to the region, time, distance, the lack of an adequate warning, [and] events that moved very quickly on the ground prevented a more immediate response.” {emphasis ours}

If this obvious contradiction continues to play in the media, look for Nunes to fall in line behind Rogers, the chairman. Should that happen, it should raise more questions, not fewer ones. If, as Rogers said, both he and Nunes heard things differently, we deserve to know why.

The conflicting accounts from Rogers and Nunes should be explained, not dismissed. Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) also sits on the Committee. Perhaps she can help clear some of this up.

Here is the full interview between Nunes and Wallace: