Hopefully, some will be answered in the upcoming Congressional hearings:
1. Who gave the stand-down order, and why? Fox and CBS have both reported that there was a stand-down order issued during the battle in Benghazi on September 11, 2012. Four Americans died, while as many as 30 survived. Assistance could have come in from U.S. bases in Italy or possibly from bases in the Middle East. There was a drone, unarmed, overhead, and there have been reports that an AC-130 gunship was also overhead at some point during the prolonged battle.
2. Where was President Obama and what was he doing? As commander-in-chief, the president is ultimately responsible for any U.S. response to attacks on our missions and personnel overseas. According to official schedules and White House answers after the fact, President Obama held a regularly scheduled meeting at 5 pm Washington time with his then Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, around the time that the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi began. [Obama] held the meeting, the attack began and would unfold for several hours, and the president reportedly went to bed that night in the White House. By the time he went to bed, news had already broken that U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens was missing. Obama went to bed not knowing his ambassador’s fate, and reportedly learned the next morning that Stevens had been killed.
3. Where was Secretary of State Clinton and what was she doing? How much did Clinton know about the security situation in Benghazi before the attack? Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s whereabouts and activities during the attack in Benghazi are similarly mysterious. Why Stevens was in Benghazi that night, and what the consulate may have been used for, remains unknown. One of the Wednesday whistleblowers, veteran counterterrorism officer Mark I. Thompson, is expected to testify that Secretary of State Clinton sought to cut the State Department’s counterterrorism bureau out of the chain of reporting and decision-making during the attack. Thompson also claims that the State Department suppressed his account after the attack. Another unnamed State official corroborates Thompson’s account. All three of the nation’s top national security and diplomatic officials — President Obama, Defense Secretary Panetta and Secretary of State Clinton — were in Washington that night. Panetta and Clinton were evidently engaged in responding to the attack, independently. Yet according to Panetta, they never talked to each other during the attack.
4. Who changed the talking points, and who made the decision to blame a movie? Stephen Hayesreported last week that the CIA’s original talking points drafted after the attack made several references to al Qaeda and to the true nature and origins of the attack. State Department whistleblower Thomas Hicks was the mission deputy in Libya. Hicks says that the administration knew that Benghazi was a terrorist attack “from the get-go.” The CIA’s original talking points never mentioned a movie or a protest at all. But beginning on September 12, through Clinton’s speech before the coffins of the slain, through U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice’s infamous five-shot on Sunday talk shows on September 16, 2012, the administration said that the attack grew from a spontaneous protest of a movie. Who decided to substitute the attack’s actual cause — al Qaeda, in a premeditated attack that we now know included operatives from as far away as Yemen — for a movie? When specifically was President Obama aware that the movie played no role in the attack? What role, if any, did he and Attorney General Eric Holder play in the arrest and incarceration of Nakoula Nakoula, the man behind the film that the Obama administration blamed for the attack? Why did President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton produce a public service announcement that ran in Pakistan, and denounced the movie that they blamed for the attack, when the administration knew from September 11 forward that the movie had played no role?
5. Where are the Benghazi survivors and why have we not heard from them? As many as 30 Americans survived the attack at Benghazi. Some of them have turned up, quietly, at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Where are the rest? Why have we not heard anything from them about the attack? Are they being silenced by threats and intimidation from higher up in the government, as several State Department officials claim is happening to them?