Witnesses: ‘Nobody knew’ when Benghazi attack would be over

Yesterday, the House Intelligence Committee heard the testimony of two more CIA contractors in closed session about the events in Benghazi on 9/11 and 9/12 of last year. In an interview with Fox’s Megyn Kelly after the hearing, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) appeared convinced that there was no way anyone could have concluded that the fighting was over before the deaths of Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty.

This conclusion was a central pillar in the Accountability Review Board’s (ARB) report. The ARB implied that there was a lull in the fighting of about five hours, which led the administration to believe the fighting was over.

Gate at CIA Annex in Benghazi.

Gate at CIA Annex in Benghazi.

Last month, the House Intelligence Committee heard the testimony of five CIA contractors in closed session.

According to Nunes after last month’s hearing, the fighting ‘never stopped’. This seemed to be inconsistent with the account of Committee Chairman, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), who said there was a lull of several hours, essentially echoing the ARB’s findings.

As we wrote at the time, this was a significant inconsistency between Nunes and Rogers. A few days later, Rep. Lynn Westmoreland (R-GA) appeared to attempt to bridge the gap between Rogers and Nunes, saying there was “probing” fire that lasted for several hours between attacks at the Annex.

Based on what Nunes seems to have taken away from yesterday’s hearing, the two CIA contractors reinforced his contention that the fighting ‘never stopped’. Watch during this exchange with Kelly as Nunes confidently asserts that:

“Nobody knew, even at 5:30(am) that the attack was going to be over.”

Via Fox News:

The assertion by Nunes that “no one knew” when the attack was going to be over flies in the face of what the ARB said and does not square with what Rep. Rogers said last month. It would be nice to see Chairman Rogers give his take after these latest hearings. So far, it appears that Nunes is sticking by his story. Where is Rogers?

Fox’s Catherine Herridge reported that the timing of the mortar attack that killed Woods and Doherty may not have been coincidental:

According to the closed-door testimony on the Hill by two CIA personnel, a small team was sent on the night of the attack from Tripoli and got held up at the Benghazi airport. After they were eventually cleared, they arrived at the annex. Witnesses testified that it did not seem coincidental that the mortar attack began soon after.

It strains credulity to believe that the unarmed drone that was circling overhead throughout this ordeal wasn’t able to chronicle these events as they were unfolding.

Still, Nunes appears to be sticking by his story that there was no lull in the fighting. His is a story that is inconsistent with the account of his Committee chairman, Rogers.