Saturday, March 23, 2013

Senate Select Intelligence Committee views "Real-Time Film" of 9/11 Attacks on Benghazi

Washington ( -- After a long, near-five hour wait, the Senate Select Intelligence Committee emerged from their first closed hearing with intelligence officials on Thursday evening (November 15, 2012) tight-lipped. But of what they could say, the committee acknowledged that they did view a rendition of events put together by the National Counter-Terrorism center.

"We saw a real-time film put together by NCTC of exactly what happened," Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif.) said Thursday evening.

For almost four hours, members of the committee held a closed hearing with intelligence officials. Scheduled witnesses included Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, acting CIA director Michael Morrell, FBI Deputy Director Sean Joyce, Undersecretary of State for Management Pat Kennedy, and National CounterTerrorism Center Director Matthew Olsen.

All but one member of the Senate Select Intelligence Committee was in attendance at the closed hearing Thursday evening, Feinstein said, but did not name who.

"I’m not going to tell you what questions were asked or what answers given. This is just the first step in the inquiry," Feinstein said.

But Feinstein announced that the committee will hold another two full hearings, when members of Congress come back to work, presumably after the Thanksgiving holiday, and said she anticipates a public hearing to "make our findings that can be unclassified released."

"I think it was a good hearing," Feinstein said. "I think it gave us an idea as to the depth and breadth of this future areas to question. We have just to continue to do so and plow through this until we believe we have enough information."

Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) said that he learned that "mistakes were made" and that "we got to learn from that."

"Our membership asked some very hard and very tough questions of our witnesses today and were going to continue to do that at our subsequent hearings Mrs. Chairman outlined," Chambliss said.

Chambliss praised the "professionalism" of all who were involved in the hearing, namely, the "men and women who are in the intelligence committee and who are in the armed services who were involved here obviously as well as the State Department."

"There were some very heroic acts that took place," Chambliss said. "That does not in any way minimize obviously the fact that we lost four Americans."

General David Petraeus is scheduled to testify Friday morning. To her understanding, General Petraeus went to Tripoli and interviewed many of the people involved. Additionally, she said the purpose of the closed hearing was Benghazi and she was not willing to comment on the FBI investigation.

When asked if she could say when the Intelligence Comittee obtained the film "to help us with the timeline of what they knew and when they knew it." Feinstein didn't comment on when the film was put together, but noted that the film was a "composite" created from "a number of sources."

"It is real time," Feinstein said, adding that it does begin from before the incident started and goes through the "incident and the exodus."

When asked whether Ambassador Stevens was in the film, Feinstein again didn't comment.

While she did not comment on whether the version of events she learned Thursday held up to the version presented by the Obama administration shortly after the Sept. 11 attacks or if what she learned called into question some of the talking points being raised at the time, she avoided answering those questions not based on the confidentiality of the matter but because there are three more hearings ahead and she doesn't "have all the information" she needs.

However, she said that "a lot of light" was shown on what happened on September 11, 2012 at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi.

"One of the things that we want to do is give any real opinions or analysis because we dont have all the facts," Feinstein said.

"We are in effect fact finding," she continued.

When asked if the CIA asked for back up from Special Ops units in the region and in Europe, she was informed on what "assets were there and what assets were not there" in Benghazi.

[Editor's Note: This is previously unpublished news]

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