Security Contractors: Clinton State Dept. Silenced Us On Benghazi Security Lapses
Two men from security contractor Advanced Enterprise Solutions said that they were told to be quiet by a bureaucrat under the direction of then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about the lapse in security of the Benghazi compound that occurred prior to and on the night of September 11, 2012.
In an exclusive interview with Fox News, Brad Owens and Jerry Torres, of Torres Advanced Enterprise Solutions, told Catherin Herridge they faced pressure to stay silent and get on the same page with the State Department with regard to the security lapses that led to the deaths of four Americans.
Take a look at the interviews.
Fox News reports:
Torres Advanced Enterprise Solutions provides security for U.S. Embassy and consulate personnel around the world in some of the most dangerous locations spanning Africa, the Middle East and South America, according to the firm.
Jerry Torres remains haunted by the fact that specific bureaucrats and policies remain in the State Department after the Benghazi attack despite the change in administrations. “A U.S. ambassador is dead and nobody is held accountable for it. And three guys … all died trying to defend him,” said Torres, the company’s CEO and a former Green Beret.
Asked if there was a specific effort by a senior State Department contracting officer to silence them, Torres said, “Absolutely, absolutely.”
Based on documents reviewed by Fox News, Torres Advanced Enterprise Solutions bid on the Benghazi compound security contract in the spring of 2012. But the State Department awarded the deal to a U.K.-based operation called The Blue Mountain Group.
Owens, who had personally visited the Benghazi compound to assess security, was shocked. “Blue Mountain U.K. is a teeny, tiny, little security company registered in Wales that had never had a diplomatic security contract, had never done any high threat contracts anywhere else in the world that we’ve been able to find, much less in high threat areas for the U.S. government. They had a few guys on the ground,” he said.
According to Torres, the Blue Mountain Group came in 4 percent lower than their bid – and they challenged the decision, claiming the American company should have been preferred over the foreign one.
What’s even more interesting is that The Blue Mountain Group hired guards through another company who weren’t even armed.
Torres said State Department contracting officer Jan Visintainer told him “in her opinion, that guards should not be armed at U.S. embassies. She just made that blanket statement. … And she said that they weren’t required in Benghazi. So I was kind of confused about that. And she said that she would like my support in saying that if that came up. And I looked at her. I just didn’t respond.”
What kind of security is that? It’s no security!
Owens said that by August 31, 2012, the situation around Benghazi had gotten so bad that the State Department finally asked them to intervene, which Owens said was an “admission of the mistake of choosing the wrong company.”
“They came back to us and said, ‘Can you guys come in and take over security?’ Owens said. “So we were ready.”
However, it was going to take them two to three weeks to get set up. By then, the attack had already occurred.
“There was nothing we could’ve done about it. If we’d had one month warning … who knows what might’ve happened,” Owens said.
Torres said the loss of life that night and the circumstances that led to it was “bad decision -making from top to bottom.”
Of course, you know how Barack Hussien Obama Soetoro Sobarkah, Hillary Clinton and Susan Rice, along with several White House spokespeople lied in the face of the families of the victims and the American people about what really took place in Benghazi and yet, they still walk free when they should, at the very least, be charged with criminal negligence.
On top of that, the State Department also employed the February 17th Martyrs Brigade to provide security at the compound as well. It’s really difficult to tell if they actually provided any security at all.
This story surfaced back in October with The Daily Beast, which details the political fallout tied to the hiring of the Martyrs Brigade in a cable sent by Ambassador Stevens:
Just two days before the 9/11 anniversary attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, two leaders of the Libyan militias responsible for keeping order in the city threatened to withdraw their men.
The brinksmanship is detailed in a cable approved by Ambassador Chris Stevens and sent on the day he died in the attack, the worst assault on a U.S. diplomatic mission since the 1979 hostage crisis in Iran. The dispatch, which was marked “sensitive” but not “classified,” contained a number of other updates on the chaotic situation on the ground in post-Gaddafi Libya.
The cable, reviewed by The Daily Beast, recounts how the two militia leaders, Wissam bin Ahmed and Muhammad al-Gharabi, accused the United States of supporting Mahmoud Jibril, the head of the Libyan transitional government, to be the country’s first elected prime minister. Jibril’s centrist National Forces Alliance won the popular vote in Libyan elections in July, but he lost the prime minister vote in the country’s Parliament on Sept. 12 by 94 to 92. Had he won, bin Ahmed and al-Gharabi warned they “would not continue to guarantee security in Benghazi, a critical function they asserted they were currently providing,” the cable reads. The man who beat Jibril, Mustafa Abushagur, lost a vote of no-confidence Sunday, throwing Libyan politics back into further uncertainty.
The threat from the militias underscores the dangers of relying on local Libyan forces for security in the run-up to the 9/11 military-style assault. The U.S. consulate in Benghazi employed a militia called the “February 17 Martyrs Brigade” for security of the four-building compound. In addition, there were five Americans serving as diplomatic security and a group of former special operations forces that acted as a quick reaction force on the day of the 9/11 attack. Members of the militias led by bin-Ahmed and al-Gharabi overlapped with the February 17 militia, the cable says.
Following the attack, the February 17th Martyrs Brigade disbanded.
According to The Daily Beast, Jason Chaffetz, the Republican congressman who led the House Oversight and Government Reform committee’s investigation into the 9/11 attack, says the State Department actually decreased U.S. diplomatic security personnel in the months leading up to the attack.
We know the CIA put a clamp on their people.
Fortunately, many special operators who lived through the night of Benghazi have lived to tell what went on on the ground, including Kris Paranto. Their story has been chronicled in a book titled 13 Hours with a subsequent movie by the same name, available here.
As for Owens and Torres’ company, Torres said, “We had about 8,000 employees at the time. You know, we just didn’t need that level of damage because these guys, their livelihood relies on the company,” he said. “I trust that our U.S. government is going to follow chain of command, follow procedures, follow protocols and do the right thing.”
Of the 20 security force contracts they have bid on since just months after the attack, they said they have lost 18 of them, and they are concerned that other embassies and US citizens there are in danger.
“In 1990, Congress passed a law that required contracts of this nature to go to the lowest bidder that’s technically acceptable,” Owens explained. “Now, what that has created is a race to the bottom, is what we call it. So basically, every company tries to cut every corner they can for these contracts.”
Both believe that things may change in the Trump administration. That remains to be seen.