The Difference It Made
After nine rounds of Benghazi hearings convened by Representative Darrell Issa’s (R., Calif.) House Oversight Committee — a number of iterations made necessary by the administration’s manifold efforts to stall, stymie, and deflect the investigation — we are finally beginning to get a picture of the terrorist attacks that took four American lives on September 11, 2012. The breakthrough came with the testimony of Mark Thompson, acting deputy assistant secretary of state for operations, counterterrorism bureau; of Eric Nordstrom, former State Department regional security officer for Libya; and especially of Gregory Hicks, a Foreign Service officer and former deputy chief of mission in Libya, who, after Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens’s death that night, became America’s senior diplomat in the country. Rightly identified as “whistleblowers,” the three men came forward at considerable professional risk because, as a choked-up Nordstrom testified in his opening remarks, “it matters” that we find out what happened before, during, and after the attacks that left four Americans dead.
Mr. Hicks began the hearing with a harrowing account, from his vantage point at the embassy in Tripoli, of the attacks as they unfolded. He spoke with emotion of learning of the death of Ambassador Stevens, and of the heroism of the few, outnumbered and outgunned, left to fend off wave upon wave of jihadi firebombs, RPGs, and mortar rounds.