Security Contractors: Clinton State Department Silenced Us on Benghazi Lapses

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Two security contractors on Tuesday blew the whistle during an exclusive interview with Fox News' chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge about Hillary Clinton's State Department silencing them on Benghazi lapses.

Four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya, were killed on September 11, 2012 in a terrorist attack on the U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya.

"Was the State Department contract officer trying to silence you?" Herridge asked.

"Oh absolutely," longtime special forces soldier and security contractor executive Joe Torres said. "The U.S. ambassador is dead and nobody is held accountable for it."

Brad Owens, a former Army intelligence officer echoed Torres, saying that those "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."

Torres went on to say that this terrorist attack could happen again and ‘nothing [has] changed" in making the security safer.

"In the spring of 2012, Torres bid on the security contract for the State Department compound in Benghazi, but the nearly $700,000 deal, handled by State Department contracting officer Jan Visintainer, went to a mysterious foreign company Blue Mount Group," Herridge said. "The guards were local hires through another company and not armed."

Owens said that Blue Mountain Group was "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."

Herridge said Fox News received a classified cable in October 2012 after the attack that showed Libya ambassador Chris Stevens and his team knew they were in trouble in mid-August and that they had warned the State Department that radical Islamist groups were everywhere.

"They were sending these cables back to the contracting guys and the decision makers back here and they weren't responding," Owens. "It's gross incompetence or negligence, one of the two."

Herridge said that Visintainer summoned Torres to visit the State Department building in Arlington, Va., to discuss Benghazi.

"She 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 said.

Herridge asked Torres whether he felt guilty for not speaking out sooner, prompting him to respond, "absolutely."

"We had about 8,000 employees at the time and we just didn't need that level of damage because these guys–their livelihood rely on the company," he said.

Herridge said that the State Department declined a request to make Visintainer available and that the two contractors alleged that repercussions have continued against their company.

Cameron Cawthorne

Cameron Cawthorne   Email Cameron | Full Bio | RSS
Cameron Cawthorne is a Media Analyst for the Washington Free Beacon. He graduated from the University of Virginia in 2013. Prior to joining Free Beacon, Cameron was a Legislative Assistant in the Virginia General Assembly and a War Room Analyst at America Rising.

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