Adm. James Lyons (Ret.) on Growing Benghazi Scandal

Family Security Matters

The  nominations of John Brennan for CIA Director and Chuck Hagel for   Secretary of Defense are being held up by Republicans in the Senate  largely  because of the unwillingness of the Obama administration to come  clean on the  what the President knew, when he knew it, and what he did  during the seven  hours that the Temporary Mission and the annex in  Benghazi were under attack on  September 11th and 12th last year.

AIM  recently interviewed Retired Admiral James Lyons. He is the  former  Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. Pacific fleet, and a man not afraid to   tell it like it is. We need more men like Admiral Lyons to stand up to  the  lies, hypocrisy and political correctness that so dominates our  national  dialogue today.

The  interview took place the day after outgoing Secretary of  State Hillary  Clinton’s testimony to Congress, which Adm. Lyons discussed in  our  interview. It was before outgoing Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and   Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey testified before  Congress,  which raised questions about how in-the-loop Obama was during  the terrorist  attack, which killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three  other Americans.

I  asked Adm. Lyons what he thought of Hillary Clinton’s  question to the  senators when she was feeling the heat from their questions.  “What  difference does it make?” she angrily asked, referring to how the men   died. The questions asked of Sec. Clinton were trying to get an answer  to why  the administration had claimed for weeks that the attack was in  response to an  anti-Islamic video produced in the U.S., when records and  testimony made it  clear that it was a planned terrorist attack on the  11th anniversary  of September 11, 2001, and the intelligence community knew it from the first  day.

Adm. Lyons answer to “What difference does it make” was,  “Richard  Nixon found out what the difference is when you lie to the American   public-and in his lie, it was only a bungled burglary attempt; nobody  got  killed. In this case, we had four Americans murdered. Furthermore,  we knew,  within a matter of hours, that this was a determined,  preplanned terrorist  attack. So you have to ask yourself, why perpetuate  this lie for almost two  weeks?”

During  the interview, Adm. Lyons gave his views on what he  thinks was going on  in Libya at the time; on the “Arab Spring;” on sending  F-16s and tanks  to the Muslim Brotherhood-controlled Egypt; on President  Obama’s new  national security team; and on the Law of the Seas Treaty, among  other  topics. Below are excerpts from the interview. You can listen to the entire interview or read the transcript here.  You can read Admiral Lyons’ bio and learn more about his current activities here.

ROGER ARONOFF: You have been a persistent critic of how  the [Obama] administration has  handled the attack on our special mission  compound in Benghazi. We’ve  had a couple of reports, including the  Accountability Review Board, and  then, yesterday, we had Secretary of State  [Hillary] Clinton’s  testimony. Do you feel we’ve gained a more clear picture of  what really  happened?

ADMIRAL LYONS: Not in the least: You’re still getting the  smokescreen. I must say  that, quote, “Independent” Accountability Review Board,  from my  perspective, was like having the Mafia investigate a crime scene.

ARONOFF: Okay. Explain why. That was the one headed by  Pickering, Thomas Pickering-

ADMIRAL LYONS: Pickering and-[Admiral Mike] Mullen.  Pickering, he’s the chairman of  the International Crisis Group-which is a  Soros-funded group. Plus, with  his long career in the State Department, I  wouldn’t consider that to be  foremost in getting an independent review. What  really needs to happen  here-and you could see it yesterday in the testimony of  Secretary  Clinton-you’re never going to get the true story until you appoint a   Special Prosecutor, pull in, put the people under oath to find out what   actually went on.

ARONOFF: I  want to give you, first, the opportunity to  clarify a quote that has  been widely attributed to you-it was on numerous  websites. You were said  to have told The Washington Examiner that Benghazi was  actually a  bungled kidnapping attempt perpetrated upon Ambassador [Christopher]  Stevens, and that it was going to be part of a hostage exchange for the  “Blind  Sheikh,” Omar Abdel Rahman, who sits in jail in the U.S. for his  role in  planning the first World Trade Center bombing in 1993. I’m sure  you’ve seen  that-

ADMIRAL LYONS: Right. First, yes, I appreciate the  opportunity to clarify because,  first of all, I’ve never talked to The  Washington Examiner. Where this  came up: I was on Lou Dobbs’s show, and  somebody must have copied down  from that show, maybe submitted a report or  something, to The Washington  Examiner. Lou asked me, “What do [you] think went  on? What [do you]  suspect happened?” I said, “Well, if I had to speculate, I  believe this  was a bungled, a bungled attack-a kidnapping attack, to kidnap   Ambassador Stevens, and hold him in exchange for the Blind Sheikh.” You  know  there’s been a lot of pressure, certainly from [Egyptian President  Mohamed]  Morsi; that’s one of his objectives, to get the Blind Sheikh  released. Now,  again, [Dobbs] asked me what I thought, and I speculated,  because nothing else  made sense to me. We know that Ambassador Stevens  was concerned over his safety  there. I mean, why would he stay  there-first of all, why was he even there on  the night of 9/11? You have  the significance of the date of 9/11-most places,  people hunker down.  Then we had a lot of not only tactical, but strategic  warning of this  attack. We can get into that now, if you’d like.

ARONOFF: Yes, why don’t you give us some of that?

ADMIRAL LYONS: Let me say, from my viewpoint, there was  both strategic and tactical  warning. In the previous June, we had both the  British Consulate and the  International Red Cross close their offices up due to  the assassination  attempt on the British Consul General, and other  assassinations. We had  the bombing outside our special mission compound on the  6th of June. On  the 16th of August, the cable was put out-“Look, in a  determined  attack, we cannot defend this compound-” and they requested  additional  security assistance. They didn’t get any.

The  day of the attack, the Blue Mountain Security manager, that  afternoon,  sensed there was something wrong. He put out an alert on both his  radios  and cell phones. Prior to that, we know one of the policemen who was   assigned to guard the compound was seen taking pictures of the inner  layout the  compound. We found a memo, later, by Ambassador Stevens,  saying he found this  to be most troubling. We know, according to  reports, reliable reports, that  road blocks were set up at least three  hours before the attack. We know the  [Turkish] Consul General, who was  the last person to see Ambassador Stevens,  had to go through those road  blocks…Then there was a British security team  that, through prior  arrangements, would drop off or pick up equipment from the  compound. So  there was more than ample evidence, signals-warnings that  something is  not right, and knowing that [Stevens] feared for his safety, why  would  he stay there? It makes no sense to me. That’s why I speculated,   “Perhaps this was supposed to be part of a kidnapping, hostage  situation,  holding him in exchange for the Blind Sheikh”: Because  killing Ambassador  Stevens made no sense to me, since he was the great  facilitator in funneling  the arms to the rebels, to other militias-many  of which were  al-Qaeda-affiliated, who had been fighting our troops in  Iraq. So why would you  kill the golden goose? It made no sense to me.

ADMIRAL LYONS: There’s one other thing I’d mention-The  leader of al-Qaeda, the day  before, on 10 September, put out a video calling  for revenge on the U.S.  for the killing of a key al-Qaeda leader in Libya by  the CIA. When we  we’re talking about videos, that’s the video that everybody  should have  focused on. Not the 14-minute string-up, the anti-Islamic string-up  that  nobody had ever seen!

ADMIRAL LYONS: We had Lieutenant Colonel Wood and his  16-man security force, which was  at the Embassy in Tripoli. They were there in  August. They had been  there for a number of months to beef the security. The  ambassador  requested they stay, they wanted to stay, yet they were denied and   yanked out. The pleas for additional security were ignored, denied.

ADMIRAL LYONS: You  have to ask yourself, what was the  political agenda they were trying to  create here? That the Arab Spring has been  such a wonderful, great  success in Libya? That we can now stand down, and we  can rely on the  17th February Martyrs Brigade to provide the security-which,   incidentally, has close affiliation with al-Qaeda in the Maghreb? None  of this  really, if you step back and analyze it, makes any sense.

ADMIRAL LYONS: And we can get into what resources could  have been brought to bear that weren’t.

ARONOFF: Yeah,  let’s touch on that, because this is  something that I’ve followed and  written about, too. Secretary of Defense  [Leon] Panetta, early on, when  he was asked about this, said, and I quote here,  he said “The basic  principle”-on why no troops were sent in to attempt to save  or rescue  Stevens and the others, his answer was this, and this is a quote:  “The  basic principle is that you don’t deploy forces into harm’s way without   knowing what’s going on, without having some real time information about  what’s  taking place. And as a result of not having that kind of  information, we felt  very strongly that we could not put forces at risk  in that situation.” But then  he later indicated that he actually gave  verbal approval to have the Marine  teams based in Rota, Spain to come  there, to Tripoli and Benghazi. Then there  was the Marine unit that you  wrote about, stationed in Sigonella, Italy; none  of them went. But it  looks like Panetta has changed his story on this-

ADMIRAL LYONS: …All those comforting words that “We  don’t want to put our forces at  risk.” We had people at risk-they were crying  for help! In a situation,  you go with the resources you have available-and, in  this particular  case, we did have that 130-man Marine force recon team sitting  there at  Sigonella. Even if I only got 50 of them over there, that would have   been significant in turning the situation around. We may not have been  able to  save the ambassador, but we certainly could have saved those  other two SEALs  that were over on the annex.

And  there’s another tactic that we’ve used over the years very  successfully  in dispelling mobs, and scenes like we witnessed there in  Benghazi: We  had F-16 aircraft that could have been there within a matter of an  hour  or two. What you have them do is, you have them make a low pass over the   scene at full afterburner. It has a telling effect-it really gets their   attention. Plus, with the equipment they have in their cockpit, they  could have  been utilized to take some offensive action-if we had the  courage to do so. And  there’s another thing here, too.

The  independent Review Board made a statement that they  made some request  to embassies, but let me tell you this: I know of no request  that was  made to the Turkish Consul General, the Turkish Consulate, the Italian  Consulate, or that British Security Team that was in Benghazi. All have  said  they received no requests for support.  They went on to say, “If we were  requested, we would have provided it.”

ARONOFF: It’s really incredible. I think the sort of  smokescreen that you  referred to, that Secretary Clinton was throwing out there  yesterday,  part of it was “Well, look at what all was going on: All of our   embassies were under siege that day, in Egypt, in Tunisia and-” I  guess-“in  Yemen,” so they were looking at dealing with all of those  situations and, I  think, suggesting they were just kind of overwhelmed  by what was going on, and  maybe didn’t act right. This sort of also led  up to this scenario where Senator  Ron Johnson, from Wisconsin, was  asking her about why they persisted in telling  this story about the  anti-Islamic video that you referred to a few minutes ago.  Her answer  was saying-she said, quote, “What difference [at this point] does it  make” whether it was because it was “a protest or because guys were out  for a  walk one night who decided they’d go kill some Americans?” So I  ask you,  Admiral Lyons: What difference does it make?

ADMIRAL LYONS: Well, let me answer it this way: Richard  Nixon found out what the  difference is when you lie to the American public-and  in his lie, it was  only a bungled burglary attempt; nobody got killed. In this  case, we  had four Americans murdered. Furthermore, we knew, within a matter of   hours, that this was a determined, preplanned terrorist attack. So you  have to  ask yourself, why perpetuate this lie for almost two weeks? Why  did [Clinton]  participate in that video-at taxpayer’s expense, I might  add-that was sent all  around Pakistan condemning the 14-minute stringer  anti-Islamic video that  nobody had seen? Certainly, with our embassy in  Cairo, they had put out their  Great Apology the day before, and, really,  there wasn’t anybody in our embassy;  the Egyptians were able to quickly  restore order there. In Libya, you had no  such situation: You had,  really, no functioning central government in Libya.  It’s really in total  disarray. The Arab Spring there has fostered a group of   al-Qaeda-affiliated militias that have now made available all [Muammar]   Gaddafi’s military equipment, much of which we’re seeing show up in  Mali, and  certainly may have been a part of equipping the group that did  the terrorist  attack in Algeria.

ADMIRAL LYONS: In perpetuating this lie, we also had  administration officials lying to  Congressional committees. That’s a felony.  So, “What difference does it  make?” It makes all the difference in the world.  You cannot flaunt the  truth here, just walk away from it and, basically, tell  the American  public to stuff it. That’s not acceptable.

The  point on the organizing the two Marine anti-terrorist teams  in Rota,  that was good to go ahead and stand ’em up. What I find   incomprehensible: The first team, it took them 23 hours to go a few  hundred  miles from Rota to Tripoli. I could go around the world in 23  hours, so that  makes absolutely no sense to me. And the fact that they  stood down the second  team, which was supposed to go to our special  mission compound in Benghazi-the  excuse being, “Well, all the Americans  are out of there”-makes no sense to me,  since this was American  territory. That compound should have been immediately  secured, and  certainly that Marine team was quite capable of doing that. Had  they  done that, the FBI would have been immediately able to access that scene   and gain valuable information. Plus, we would have stopped the looting,  and, in  this sense, that compound had to have certain classified  communications  equipment; I can’t believe that they did not have  communications equipment-and  you have to ask, What happened to that  equipment? Who has it today? I know  Secretary Clinton made this grand,  flowing statement, “There was nothing  classified in the compound.”  I find that incomprehensible.

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2 thoughts on “Adm. James Lyons (Ret.) on Growing Benghazi Scandal

  1. the muslim satan never even made a phone call and all the evil liberal say oh well but when the time comes all the useful iodits will be the first to be elimated followed by all of us

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