Benghazi panel interviews Air Force drone operator ‘John from Iowa’

Benghazi panel interviews Air Force drone operator ‘John from Iowa’

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June 11, 2016 – navytimes.com, thehill, theblaze.com- WASHINGTON — The House Benghazi committee has interviewed two drone sensor operators who were working on the night of the deadly 2012 attacks in Libya, including one who identified himself on talk radio as “John from Iowa.”

The unidentified drone operator has earned derision from the Pentagon and committee Democrats, who say the GOP-led panel has made a series of costly, duplicative and unnecessary requests — including some based on claims made on Facebook or talk radio.

The drone operator, an Air Force sergeant on active duty, told a radio host in 2013 he was surprised that no one from Congress had contacted him.

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The House Select Committee on Benghazi has identified and interviewed a man who claims to be a drone-camera operator with information about the deadly 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya.

In May 2013, a man who identified himself as “John from Iowa” called the conservative host Sean Hannity and said he saw what happened in Benghazi on the night of the attacks. He also complained that neither Congress nor the administration had interviewed him.

never forget

He told Hannity: “The video footage — when we initially got on station and we were told to go down to the consulate — it was already under attack. It was already on fire [when we got there]. We were asked then to go to the annex to just try to watch and make sure that the individuals in the annex were not going to be coming under attack there either…”

He continued: “If anything were to happen, this video is being disseminated to multiple locations and agencies around the globe. So surely once individuals saw that there was a grave problem on a U.S. Embassy/Consulate, phone calls I would’ve think should’ve been made and started going up the chain, and eventually it would’ve hit the State Department. If it did not, individuals were remiss in their duties.”

John reiterated that they were working for an agency that already knew there was a problem in Benghazi; that’s why they were sent there.

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He continued:

“There were dozens if not hundreds of people surrounding the consulate. There were cars continually driving by and stopping, and it was at that time — we were only over the consulate for maybe about five minutes when we were told to then go watch the CIA annex.

Our guys that were inside of there were on the rooftops, and they were looking in the direction of the consulate, and we were told, just watch the entries and the exits of the consulate and make sure no one’s trying to break in and get them there. But we wouldn’t have been able to do much anyway because of the [agreement] with the host countries where we’re located. We were not able to be armed that night.

ohn said he knew “immediately” that the American people were being lied to, particularly “with regard to Susan Rice” that the attack was actually an outgrowth of a YouTube-related “spontaneous” protest.

“But we are bound by certain documents such as non-disclosure agreements on what we can and can’t say, and my thought was that I am a small pawn in this chess game, and the truth will come out, and then it just unfolds and unfolds…and it never stops.”

He added: “Part of me says maybe I should’ve spoken up sooner, but you want to have faith and trust in your government, and that they would come out with the truth and get to the bottom of it.

But apparently that’s not what they wanted to do…The election was coming up and Hillary Clinton might want to run in 2016, God help us.”

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Democrats and critics of the GOP-led Benghazi committee mocked the claim, and the Pentagon singled him out as “unnecessary” to interview, complaining that it had “expended significant resources to locate” the man “to no avail.”

But his name was included in a list of drone personnel active on the night of the 2012 attacks that the Pentagon handed over in late May, the Benghazi panel said on Thursday.

And years after his initial radio show interview in May 2013, he has provided testimony for the committee.

As it turns out, John was exactly who he had claimed to be and still on active duty with the Air Force.

Gowdy has said he expects to issue a final report “before summer” on the September 2012 Benghazi attacks, which killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens. Questions about security at the U.S. diplomatic facility have dogged Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, who was secretary of state at the time.

A senior Pentagon official, Stephen C. Hedger, criticized the Republican-led investigation in April, saying the panel has made a “crescendo” of costly, duplicative and unnecessary requests, including some based on claims made on Facebook or talk radio.

Hedger, an assistant secretary of defense, expressed frustration with the Benghazi panel’s potentially futile calls for witnesses and information, including some that were later withdrawn. Hedger also challenged a line of questioning of current and former military officials that focused on hypotheticals suggested by committee members or staff.

Gowdy and other Republicans defend the inquiry and say the Obama administration has repeatedly thwarted their efforts.

“As it turns out, John (from Iowa) was exactly who he had claimed to be and still on active duty with the Air Force,” the Benghazi committee said in a statement Thursday.

While Hedger and other Pentagon officials claimed the Defense Department was expending “significant resources to locate” the drone operator, “the Air Force knew exactly who had called into the talk radio show in 2013,” the committee said.

Details of the closed-door interview with the two drone operators were not released. The interviews come a day after the panel interviewed retired Army Gen. Carter Ham, the former commander of U.S. Africa Command.

Help was available during the 8 hour attack, but was not sent.



 
Credit thehill, theblaze.com

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