A congressman has revealed a new detail about the 2012 Benghazi attack, disclosing that staff members at the besieged U.S. special mission were told in a directive, “You are on your own.”
In an interview with CNN yesterday, Rep. Lynn Westmoreland, R-Ga., chairman of the House Intelligence Subcommittee, charged the State Department, then run by Hillary Clinton, was culpable in the attack and ensuing cover-up.
While CNN.com focused on a different aspect of Westmoreland’s interview, running the headline “GOP Rep: Benghazi Not A ‘Complete Cover-Up,’” other statements made in the nine-minute sit-down may be more significant.
Westmoreland’s committee recently questioned CIA agents and contractors who were on the ground during the attack.
The lawmaker told CNN his committee learned a directive was issued Aug. 11 – one month before the attack – telling Benghazi staff they were on their own.
“And so we are looking into that directive to find out exactly who put that out,” he stated.
Asked whether he thought the government did its job to protect the facility, Westmoreland replied, “Absolutely not.”
He pointed specifically to the State Department.
“I think this will come back to the State Department,” he said.
Later in the interview, he again pointed to Clinton’s State Department for making what he said were claims contradicted by the intelligence community.
“You had the State Department trying to tell one story, and you had the security – the intelligence community – that may have been trying to sell another story,” he said.
Westmoreland said the Benghazi compound “itself is not set up for protection.”
He stated that when his committee interviewed the people who were on the ground, “they said they were really surprised that the lack of security at the mission facility.”
“They also testified that the people at the facility had been wanting help, requesting help, requesting additional security,” he said.
Westmoreland said “they just couldn’t believe that those guys were over there as unprepared and unequipped as they were.”
With research by Joshua Klein.