Two security contractors at the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi have claimed they were pressured to stay silent about security deficiencies at the site and the scrambled to improve them in the weeks before it was attacked in 2012, Fox News reported.
In a story that aired on “Tucker Carlson Tonight” on Tuesday, five years after the attack, Brad Owens and Jerry Torres of Torres Advanced Enterprise Solutions told Fox News that Hillary Clinton’s State Department had ordered them to be quiet about security lapses. They said those lapses stemmed in part from the State Department awarding a security contract to a U.K. company called The Blue Mountain Group that didn’t have the resources to handle the task — and even hired unarmed guards to “protect” a location under constant threat.
“Blue Mountain U.K. is a teeny, tiny, little security company registered in Wales that had never had a diplomatic security contract, had never done any high-threat contracts anywhere else in the world that we’ve been able to find, much less in high-threat areas for the U.S. government,” Owens said. “They had a few guys on the ground.”
While TAES had bid on the contract, the men noted that the deck was stacked against them by what the State Department considered “technically acceptable.”
“In 1990, Congress passed a law that required contracts of this nature to go to the lowest bidder that’s technically acceptable,” Owens said. “Now, what that has created is a race to the bottom, is what we call it. So basically, every company tries to cut every corner they can for these contracts.”
After several entirely predictable problems with Blue Mountain U.K. — Fox News confirmed the company hired unarmed guards and noted Ambassador Chris Stevens’ requests for additional security and the deteriorating conditions in Libya at the time — the State Department asked TAES to take over on Aug. 31, 2012.
That was less than two weeks before the terror attack that claimed the lives of Stevens and three other Americans. It also represented, according to Owens, “admission of the mistake of choosing the wrong company.”
Yet, their testimony about the security issues in Benghazi was “absolutely” silenced by the State Department’s contracting officer, Jan Visintainer, Torres said.
“(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,” Torres, a former Green Beret, told Fox News’ intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge.
Owens said he was confident a similar situation wouldn’t happen under the Trump administration.
“Let’s just say there’s been a change at management at Department of State,” Owens said. “I feel now that, given that the politics has been taken out of the Benghazi situation, now that there’s no longer a candidate or anything related to it, a change of administrations, that actually, we have an opportunity here to fix the problems that made it happen.”
However, he added that “who made the poor choices that actually, I would say, were more responsible for the Benghazi attacks than anyone else, they’re still in the same positions, making security choices for our embassies overseas now.”
That’s a sobering problem — and one the State Department needs to address.
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