Benghazi whistleblower’s lawyer: Washington said not to speak to media


(Esam Omran al-Fetori / Reuters)

Benghazi whistleblower Gregory Hicks yesterday gave the country a first-person account of the traumatic events that went down in Benghazi on Sept. 11, 2012 — just the sort of visceral account that had been missing from previous accounts, official and otherwise. Hicks started the evening as deputy chief of mission based in Tripoli and ended it as chief of mission, after the murder of U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens, one of four U.S. personnel to have perished in two separate attacks.

Hicks’s involvement in the goings-on made him an obvious person for the media to contact. Did any news organizations reach out to him? Victoria Toensing, his lawyer, says yes and cites an inquiry from CBS News.

Yet Hicks wasn’t allowed to answer, Toensing told the Erik Wemple Blog this morning. In an interview with House oversight committee staff, Toensing says, Hicks was asked if he’d received any instructions from Washington on the night of the attacks. “He said, ‘Not to talk to the press,’” she says.

Another source close to the matter says that Hicks told the committee he thought those instructions were prudent. Committee members apparently shared that judgment, as they didn’t press Hicks on the media directives that he received. In other words, it’s something everyone can agree on: Stiff the press!

An inquiry on this matter is pending with the State Department.

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.
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Erik Wemple | May 9, 2013