Former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton says the courage of three Benghazi whistleblowers may well trigger more critical revelations about what happened before, during and after the terrorist attack.
He also told WND Democrats are unified at the moment in defending President Obama and former Secretary of State Clinton, but they're getting increasingly worried.
At the end of a week focused on Benghazi, including dramatic testimony Wednesday on Capitol Hill, new revelations are calling the Obama administration's actions into question. ABC News reports the CIA talking points drafted in the wake of the attack were changed 12 times before U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice appeared on five Sunday morning talk shows. According to ABC's Jonathan Karl, all references to al-Qaida and terrorist attacks were scrubbed. Karl said the order came from State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland, who did not want congressional critics to "abuse" the information in the original talking points.
Bolton said this latest news further confirms the critical testimony offered by former Libya Deputy Chief of Mission Gregory Hicks.
"This is what happens when you finally allow people who actually were involved in the events of 9/11 to testify," Bolton said. "I think the most dramatic aspect of the testimony on Wednesday was the repeated assertion by Gregory Hicks and the others that this was never believed by anybody on the ground in Libya to be anything other than a terrorist attack.
"As Mr. Hicks said, the YouTube video was a non-event for us in Libya. He said all the embassies reporting from the get-go was that it was a terrorist attack. He said that he had said this to Secretary Clinton when she called him at 2 a.m. his time," Bolton said. "So there was no question here of conflicting intelligence, no question here of what the White House calls the fog of war. You don't need intelligence reports when you can talk to your own employees in the State Department and other agencies who were right there on the ground. That's why I think not just the rewriting of the talking points but the entire administration approach, including what Secretary of State Clinton said and including what the president said at the United Nations about the Muhammad video, were false and known to be false right from the outset."
Bolton said it seems increasingly clear that the story of the YouTube video was a political concoction designed to minimize the damage of Benghazi during the final stretches of a presidential campaign. As bad as that sounds, he said the only other plausible explanation would be far worse.
"It was either a political cover-up or it was a demonstration of willful ideological blindness, the refusal to see facts that contradicted their theology that the war on terror was over," Bolton said. "For the security and safety of our country, I hope that the explanation is that it was a political cover-up, because that you can expose and fix. But if it's an ideological blindness and an unwillingness to see terrorism for what it is, we've got four more years of it in front of us."
Bolton said the retaliation of the State Department against Hicks is nothing new in terms of how the government responds to whistleblowers. However, he said the fact that Hicks, Mark Thompson and Eric Nordstrom came forward to tell their stories means that this investigation is only beginning to ramp up.
"I'm hoping their courage will inspire others to come forward. Within the bureaucracy, once people start talking and pointing fingers it's amazing what comes out, and the effort to maintain message discipline, which the Obama White House and Hillary Clinton's State Department have been so good at, I think will just blow up in their faces,"he said.
On Friday, congressional Republicans announced they are working to bring CIA operatives to Capitol Hill for testimony or to arrange media interviews for them. Bolton said there are still some critical questions that remain unanswered.
"There are a lot of questions, why there was a consulate in Benghazi to begin with that didn't meet State Department security standards, why after two years of turmoil in the Arab world there weren't more prepositioned assets to protect against exactly what happened in Benghazi," he said.
He also said the nation needs answers as to why Clinton was still publicly condemning the video at the ceremony to receive the bodies of the murdered Americans.
Bolton suggested earlier this week that the Benghazi affair could be the downfall for the entire Obama administration. Democrats now appear unified in defending Obama and Clinton, but Bolton said Obama is quickly losing credibility as a result of his handling of Syria and Benghazi and the Democratic solidarity on this issue is getting substantially weaker.
"The behind-the-scenes conversation among Democrats on the hill is while they've still got the the front up because they're trying to protect Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama; they are very worried. They could see the dramatic, emotional effect that that testimony on Wednesday had on anybody who watched it. I think the more the American people hear from these three witnesses and others that might come forward, the more profound the effect will be," Bolton said.
The mainstream media is spending more time covering the Benghazi investigation, and Bolton contends that will weaken the Democratic instinct to protect the administration even more.
"They see Jonathan Karl of ABC News, a major network, coming out and reporting and Sharyl Attkisson of CBS, who's been on this and I think now finally vindicated, that they've failed to contain this in the blogosphere and on Fox News. With the mainstream media now having their competitive juices unleashed, I really do think the dam has burst here," Bolton said.