Whistle Blower Deputy Chief of Mission in Libya
claims we had C130, drones etc...
Colonel Gibson given the stand down order do not proceed:
“If we had been able to scramble a fighter
or aircraft or two over Benghazi as quickly as possible after the attack
commenced, I believe there would not have been a mortar attack on the
[CIA] annex in the morning, because I believe the Libyans would have
split,” Hicks said. “They would have been scared to death that we would
have gotten a laser on them and killed them.” …
cbs: According to excerpts released Monday, Hicks told investigators that
SOCAFRICA commander Lt. Col. Gibson and his team were on their way to
board a C-130 from Tripoli for Benghazi prior to an attack on a second
U.S. compound "when [Col. Gibson] got a phone call from SOCAFRICA which
said, 'you can't go now, you don't have the authority to go now.' And so
they missed the flight ... They were told not to board the flight, so
they missed it.
Q: But do you think, you know, if an F-15, if the military had allowed a
jet to go fly over, that it might have prevented [the second attack]?
Yeah, and if we had gotten clearance from the Libyan military for an
American plane to fly over Libyan airspace. The Libyans that I talked to
and the Libyans and other Americans who were involved in the war have
told me also that Libyan revolutionaries were very cognizant of the
impact that American and NATO airpower had with respect to their
victory. They are under no illusions that American and NATO airpower won
that war for them. And so, in my personal opinion, a fast-mover flying
over Benghazi at some point, you know, as soon as possible might very
well have prevented some of the bad things that happened that night.
: The theory being, the folks on the ground that are doing these --
committing these terrorist attacks look up, see a heavy duty airplane
above, and decide to hightail it?
A: I believe that if
-- I believe if we had been able to scramble a fighter or aircraft or
two over Benghazi as quickly as possible after the attack commenced, I
believe there would not have been a mortar attack on the annex in the
morning because I believe the Libyans would have split. They would have
been scared to death that we would have gotten a laser on them and
Q: I just wanted to ask, you mentioned permission from the Libyans. Why is that important? What did you mean by that?
Well, it's their country. And for an American military aircraft to fly
over their country, we have to have permission from them to do so.
So what would have been the risk of -- do you think it would have been
risky for us to send someone, do you think it would have been
counterproductive for us to send a fighter pilot plane over Benghazi
without that permission?
A: We would have certainly
wanted to obtain that permission. I believe we would have gotten it if
we had asked. I believe that the Libyans were hoping that we were going
to come bail them out of this mess. And, you know, they were as
surprised as we were that American -- the military forces that did
arrive only arrived on the evening of September 12. Yeah.
So, at this point [at approximately 10:00 pm in Tripoli], you are
talking to Washington, you are talking to your RSO Martinec, you are
talking to RAO. Are you talking to the Defense Attache?
The Defense Attache is there, and he is immediately on the phone to
Ministry of Defense and to chief of staff of the Libyan Armed Forces. He
also notifies Joint Staff and AFRICOM. Our SOCAFRICA lead, Lieutenant
Colonel Gibson, connects with SOCAFRICA in Stuttgart, as well. And,
obviously, RAO is also connected back home.
Q: Was there ever any thought at that time of the night to have an F-16, you know, fly over?
I called -- when we knew that -- I talked with the Defense Attache, Lt.
Col. Keith Phillips, and I asked him, "Is there anything coming?" And
he said that the nearest fighter planes were Aviano, that he had been
told that it would take two to three hours to get them airborne, but
that there were no tanker assets near enough to support a flight from
A: And for the second
time that night [Before 5:15 AM attack], I asked the Defense Attache, is
there anything coming, is there anything out there to help our people
from, you know, big military? And the answer, again, was the same as
Q: And what was that answer?
A: The answer was, it's too far away, there are no tankers, there is nothing, there is nothing that could respond.
Q: So you had mentioned that the first team from Tripoli to Benghazi arrived at 1:15?
Q: And was there a second team that was organized? Could you tell us about the second team?
Right. The second team -- the Defense Attache worked assiduously all
night long to try to get the Libyan military to respond in some way.
Early in the morning -- sorry, after we were formally notified by the
Prime Minister, who called me, that Chris had passed, the Libyan
military agreed to fly their C-130 to Benghazi and carry additional
personnel to Benghazi as reinforcements. Because we at that time -- at
that time, the third attack, the mortar attack at 5:15, had not yet
occurred, if I remember correctly.
Q: So what time did the second rescue team ??
A: Well, again, they flew -- I think that flight took off sometime between 6:00 and 6:30 a.m.
Q: At that point, you are the Chief of Mission?
A: Yeah, I'm Chief of Mission effective 3:00 a.m.
Q: Now, did any of the Special Forces folks, were they planning at any time to travel on that second aircraft?
On the second, on the C-130? Yes. We fully intended for those guys to
go, because we had already essentially stripped ourselves of our
security presence, or our security capability to the bare minimum ...
So Lieutenant Colonel Gibson, who is the SOCAFRICA commander, his team,
you know, they were on their way to the vehicles to go to the airport
to get on the C-130 when he got a phone call from SOCAFRICA which said,
you can't go now, you don't have authority to go now. And so they missed
the flight. And, of course, this meant that one of the ...
Q : They didn't miss the flight. They were told not to board the flight.
They were told not to board the flight, so they missed it. So, anyway,
and yeah. I still remember Colonel Gibson, he said, "I have never been
so embarrassed in my life that a State Department officer has bigger
balls than somebody in the military." A nice compliment.
Q: Now, at this point, are you having communications with Washington?
I was in communications with Washington all night long. I was reporting
all night long what was happening to Washington by telephone.
When these Special Forces folks were told essentially to stand down,
what was your next move? Did you have a recourse? Were you able to call
Washington? Were you able to call anyone at this point to get that
A: No, because the flight was -- the
flight was leaving. And, you know, if they missed -- you know, if the
vehicles didn't leave when they leave, they would miss the flight time
at the airport. And the airport -- you know, we were going all the way
to Mitiga. The C-130 is at Mitiga, which is all the way on the other
side of Tripoli.
Q: What was the rationale that you were given that they couldn't go, ultimately?
A: I guess they just didn't have the right authority from the right.