Security firm hired by State Department says bureaucrat silenced it about lapses in Benghazi

"What happened at Benghazi?" is a story that simply won't go away.  The more we find out, the more questions are raised and the more the official State Department narrative collapses.

The owner of a security firm that operates in some of the most dangerous parts of the world, Jerry Torres of Torres Advanced Enterprises, says the firm was called in to assess the situation in Benghazi twelve days before the terrorist attack that killed Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans.  This despite the fact that the firm had a lost a bid on providing security for the compound previously.

The company hired by the State Department to provide security in Benghazi was a small firm from Wales with no experience working in high-threat areas.  What's more, Blue Mountain Group hired employees who were unarmed.

Then, twelve days before the attack on the compound, the State Department, in something of a panic, called Torres and asked his firm to assess the security situation.  The request came after Ambassador Stevens sent a cable saying Islamist groups were all over the place and he feared for the compound's security.

The State Department contracting officer who rejected Torres's bid, Jan Visintainer, warned the contractor not to talk to the media or anyone else about Benghazi.

Fox News:

By Aug. 31, 2012, the situation had deteriorated to the point that Owens and Torres said the State Department asked them to intervene – as Owens put it, an "admission of the mistake of choosing the wrong company." 

"They came back to us and said, 'Can you guys come in and take over security?' Owens said. "So we were ready."

But Torres emphasized that time was against them, saying it would have taken two-to-three weeks to get set up.

Twelve days later, the ambassador was killed. Torres learned of the attacks by watching television. He called the circumstances leading up to the tragedy "bad decision-making from top to bottom."

"There was nothing we could've done about it. If we'd had one month warning … who knows what might've happened," Owens said.

In the chaotic days following that attack, the Obama White House blamed the attacks on an anti-Islam video and demonstration which was not accurate. As a former Green Beret, Torres was stunned: "Coming from a military background, I would expect the administration to tell the truth. So I bought into it for a minute. But I didn't believe it in the back of my mind." He said they later figured out the video was not the culprit. The attack was a coordinated terrorist assault which included a precision mortar strike on the CIA post in Benghazi.

But as the Obama administration and Clinton's team struggled to answer questions about the attacks, Visintainer apparently took it one step further – summoning Jerry Torres from overseas to attend a meeting at her government office in Rosslyn, Va., in early 2013. 

Torres took Fox News back to the Virginia office building where he recalled that day's events.

"[Visintainer] said that I and people from Torres should not speak to the media, should not speak to any officials with respect to the Benghazi program," he said.

Torres said he was afraid for his company – and hasn't spoken publicly until now.

It could be that Visintainer was looking to cover up her incompetence.

Another part of that conversation stuck out to Torres. He said Visintainer told him "in her opinion, that guards should not be armed at U.S. embassies. She just made that blanket statement. … And she said that they weren't required in Benghazi. So I was kind of confused about that. And she said that she would like my support in saying that if that came up. And I looked at her. I just didn't respond."

But was it her incompetence or that of her superiors?  Sending unarmed guards into a city like Benghazi that resembled old Dodge City on a Saturday night would be incomprehensible except that the policy was perfectly aligned to the mindset of State Department officials.  These are the same people who refused to send help to the compound because they feared a backlash against the new U.S.-created Libyan government – a backlash that would have been caused by U.S. boots on the ground.  Also, the compound was supposedly being additionally guarded by a local militia, who ended up standing aside once the assault began.

Before Ambassador Stevens's body was cold, the State Department was planning the whitewash.  None of what Mr. Torres told Fox News is surprising – just further confirmation of how badly botched the entire incident was.  And the finger points right at Secretary of State Clinton.

"What happened at Benghazi?" is a story that simply won't go away.  The more we find out, the more questions are raised and the more the official State Department narrative collapses.

The owner of a security firm that operates in some of the most dangerous parts of the world, Jerry Torres of Torres Advanced Enterprises, says the firm was called in to assess the situation in Benghazi twelve days before the terrorist attack that killed Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans.  This despite the fact that the firm had a lost a bid on providing security for the compound previously.

The company hired by the State Department to provide security in Benghazi was a small firm from Wales with no experience working in high-threat areas.  What's more, Blue Mountain Group hired employees who were unarmed.

Then, twelve days before the attack on the compound, the State Department, in something of a panic, called Torres and asked his firm to assess the security situation.  The request came after Ambassador Stevens sent a cable saying Islamist groups were all over the place and he feared for the compound's security.

The State Department contracting officer who rejected Torres's bid, Jan Visintainer, warned the contractor not to talk to the media or anyone else about Benghazi.

Fox News:

By Aug. 31, 2012, the situation had deteriorated to the point that Owens and Torres said the State Department asked them to intervene – as Owens put it, an "admission of the mistake of choosing the wrong company." 

"They came back to us and said, 'Can you guys come in and take over security?' Owens said. "So we were ready."

But Torres emphasized that time was against them, saying it would have taken two-to-three weeks to get set up.

Twelve days later, the ambassador was killed. Torres learned of the attacks by watching television. He called the circumstances leading up to the tragedy "bad decision-making from top to bottom."

"There was nothing we could've done about it. If we'd had one month warning … who knows what might've happened," Owens said.

In the chaotic days following that attack, the Obama White House blamed the attacks on an anti-Islam video and demonstration which was not accurate. As a former Green Beret, Torres was stunned: "Coming from a military background, I would expect the administration to tell the truth. So I bought into it for a minute. But I didn't believe it in the back of my mind." He said they later figured out the video was not the culprit. The attack was a coordinated terrorist assault which included a precision mortar strike on the CIA post in Benghazi.

But as the Obama administration and Clinton's team struggled to answer questions about the attacks, Visintainer apparently took it one step further – summoning Jerry Torres from overseas to attend a meeting at her government office in Rosslyn, Va., in early 2013. 

Torres took Fox News back to the Virginia office building where he recalled that day's events.

"[Visintainer] said that I and people from Torres should not speak to the media, should not speak to any officials with respect to the Benghazi program," he said.

Torres said he was afraid for his company – and hasn't spoken publicly until now.

It could be that Visintainer was looking to cover up her incompetence.

Another part of that conversation stuck out to Torres. He said Visintainer told him "in her opinion, that guards should not be armed at U.S. embassies. She just made that blanket statement. … And she said that they weren't required in Benghazi. So I was kind of confused about that. And she said that she would like my support in saying that if that came up. And I looked at her. I just didn't respond."

But was it her incompetence or that of her superiors?  Sending unarmed guards into a city like Benghazi that resembled old Dodge City on a Saturday night would be incomprehensible except that the policy was perfectly aligned to the mindset of State Department officials.  These are the same people who refused to send help to the compound because they feared a backlash against the new U.S.-created Libyan government – a backlash that would have been caused by U.S. boots on the ground.  Also, the compound was supposedly being additionally guarded by a local militia, who ended up standing aside once the assault began.

Before Ambassador Stevens's body was cold, the State Department was planning the whitewash.  None of what Mr. Torres told Fox News is surprising – just further confirmation of how badly botched the entire incident was.  And the finger points right at Secretary of State Clinton.

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