3 State Dept. 'Whistleblowers' To Testify at Benghazi Hearing

Saturday, 04 May 2013 12:10 PM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Three career State Department officials – who describe themselves as Benghazi "whistleblowers" — will testify at Wednesday's widely anticipated congressional hearing, Fox News reported, releasing the names that have been kept a well-guarded secret.

The three men who will testify about the Sept. 11, 2012 attacks, in which U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed, are:
  • Gregory N. Hicks, a foreign service officer and former Deputy Chief of Mission/ChargĂ© d’Affairs in Libya
  • Former Marine Mark I. Thompson, acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Counterterrorism for the State Department.
  • Diplomatic security officer Eric Nordstrom, former Regional Security Officer in Libya. He was the top security officer in the country in the months leading up to the attacks.
They will appear before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, chaired by California Republican Darrell Issa.

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“I applaud these individuals for answering our call to testify in front of the Committee," Issa said in the statement releasing the names of the witnesses.

"They have critical information about what occurred before, during, and after the Benghazi terrorist attacks that differs on key points from what Administration officials – including those on the Accountability Review Board – have portrayed,” said Issa. “Our committee has been contacted by numerous other individuals who have direct knowledge of the Benghazi terrorist attack, but are not yet prepared to testify.

"In many cases their principal reticence of appearing in public is their concern of retaliation at the hands of their respective employers. While we may yet add additional witnesses, this panel will certainly answer some questions and leave us with many new ones.”

Nordstrom testified before the committee in October 2012, just a month after the assault, telling lawmakers about the series of requests he, Stevens and others made seeking enhanced security at the Benghazi consulate.

The State Department refused most of their requests, leading Nordstrom to angrily declare "for me, the Taliban is on the inside of the [State Department] building."

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Hicks and Thompson have not yet spoken publicly about the attacks. Hicks, a veteran Foreign Service officer, has been stationed in Afghanistan, Syria, and Yemen in the past, and received one of Stevens' earliest phone calls during the attack, Fox news reported.

Thompson is an expert who advises "senior leadership on operational counterterrorism matters, and ensures that the United States can rapidly respond to global terrorism crises," according to the State Department website.

Joe diGenova, a former U.S. attorney, and wife Victoria Toensing, a former chief counsel to the Senate Intelligence Committee told Fox this week they are representing, pro bono, two career State Department "whistleblowers" who believe their accounts about Benghazi were disregarded by the Accountability Review board, convened by then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Further, they claimed their clients – whose names they did not discuss in the interview – have faced threats from some superior officers.

“I'm not talking generally, I'm talking specifically about Benghazi that people have been threatened,” Toensing said. “And not just the State Department; people have been threatened at the CIA….It's frightening….They're taking career people and making them well aware that their careers will be over.”

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