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TEL AVIV – Further muddling information about the fate of late U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, a director of operations for the military’s U.S. Africa Command testified he first received notice Stevens may have been dead from a picture posted on Twitter.
The timeline described in declassified testimony by Rear Admiral Richard B. Landolt contrasts with details released until now by the U.S. government.
According to the declassified transcript, Landolt told House investigators his first indication Stevens was dead came from social media.
Stated Landolt: “In fact, the first indication that we received that we might have a dead ambassador on our hands was a Twitter, and our J2 had picked it up, and it was just a picture with somebody having a body thrown over their shoulder, but there was clearly blond hair that it was feasible that it could have been the ambassador.”
He continued: “And I remember this being between, I want to say, 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning. This was the first indicator. … So open source was probably our first indicator. And I don’t recall our NSA or our J2 types chiming in with any [intelligence] that they received.”
While Landolt says he learned about the fate of Stevens at 3 or 4 a.m. local time in Africa from a photo on Twitter, other government agencies have said they learned Stevens was likely in a hospital at approximately 2 a.m. local time.
The State Department-sanctioned Accountability Review Board, or ARB, investigating the Benghazi attacks stated, “At approximately 0200 local, Embassy Tripoli received a phone call from ARSO 1’s cell phone, which he had given to the ambassador while they were sheltered in the safe area.”
“A male, Arabic-speaking caller said an unresponsive male who matched the physical description of the ambassador was at a hospital,” reads the ARB report.
An ARSO is a regional security officer, who was part of Stevens’ security detail.
The ARB’s claim of an “unresponsive male” at a hospital is further contrasted with text in a U.S. government email from a top Obama administration official released this past May, as WND previously reported.
At about 9 p.m. Eastern, Pelofsky wrote: “Post received a call from a person using a RSO phone that Chris was given saying that the caller was with a person matching Chris’s description at a hospital and that he was alive and well.”
Pelofsky added: “Of course, if he were alive and well, one could ask why he didn’t make the call himself.”
The caller’s description of Stevens as “alive and well” in Pelofsky’s email contradicts State’s ARB report, which claims an “an unresponsive male who matched the physical description of the Ambassador was at a hospital.”
Meanwhile, according to his testimony, Landolt appears to have been in the dark about the alleged call from the hospital. This could indicate a lack of coordination between the State Department and other political offices and the Pentagon.
In further testimony, Landolt said he was receiving updates the night of the attack from the office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, raising questions about whether the State Department was withholding information from the Pentagon that night.
With research by Joshua Klein.