A San Diego-area congressman has identified three “whistleblowers” who will testify next week that military troops were ordered off an airplane heading to rescue officials at the beseiged U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi last year.
Rep. Darryl Issa told a Republican fundraising audience Friday that the three officials will describe lapses in communications and resopnse blunders made by the State Department during the siege that left four Americans, including the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, dead.
Issa identified one of next week’s witnesses as Mark Thompson, a former marine who was working as the State Department’s head of counterterrorism. Another was identified by Issa as the former deputy chief of mission to Libya, apparently a reference to Gregory Hicks, Patch reported.
The San Diego Republican has lead an investigation into the Benghazi disaster, which has been dismissed by Democrats as a partisan witch hunt.
The attacks killed U.S. Ambasssador Chris Stevens and U.S. security officers Tyrone Woods of Imperial Beach, Glen Doherty of Encinitas, and Sean Smith, a San Diego native.
Issa predicted the White House would call the Wednesday hearing “old news” and dismiss it as “so what?”
But he said Thompson will describe sitting on a phone for 7-1/2 hours and listening to frantic pleas for help from Benghazi, only to learn that special CIA security officers were not being sent to the rescue.
“We left our people and did not make a proper attempt to rescue them for those 7-1/2 hours,” Issa told the partisan crowd. “And as a result, every State Department individual, every person serving overseas, asks the question now: what happens if it is me, and I’m on my own?”
Issa spoke before the Republican Party of San Diego County’s Lincoln- Reagan Day fundraiser in suburban Rancho Bernardo. His remarks were recorded by a journalist for the local Patch news websites, and have been picked up by the affiliated Huffington Post site and conservative media.