A contractor hired to take care of the lax security at the Benghazi diplomatic compound just two weeks before it was attacked told Fox News that Hillary Clinton’s State Department pressured the company to keep quiet and follow the administration’s line.
Brad Owens and Jerry Torres, of Torres Advanced Enterprise Solutions, told Fox News’ Catherine Herridge that many of the State Department bureaucrats who made decisions at the time are still on the job and they hope that coming forward now will make a difference since President Donald Trump is in office.
“Let’s just say there’s been a change at management at Department of State,” Owens told Fox News. “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.”
The two said they felt pressure to tow the department’s line on the attack Sept. 11, 2012, which killed four Americans, because they had 8,000 employees at the time who could have lost their means of livelihood.
U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, foreign service officer Sean Smith and former Navy SEALS Ty Woods and Glenn Doherty were killed in an attack the Obama White House blamed was spontaneous and fueled by an anti-Islam video produced in the United States, rather than a coordinated attack that could have been prevented.
“A U.S. ambassador is dead and nobody is held accountable for it. And three guys . . . all died trying to defend him,” said Torres, whose company provides security for embassies around the world.
Torres’ company came in second in bidding for the Benghazi compound, but the company that was awarded the contract, The Blue Mountain Group, was a small firm based in Great Britain that had never done high-threat contracts, Owens said. It also hired guards who were not armed.
Torres said the asked the State Department to use an option that the next-lowest bid could be awarded if the lowest bid was not an American firm, but the State Department declined.
The State Department asked Torres’ firm to take over security Aug. 31, 2012. They did, but he said it would have taken the two to three weeks to get completely set up. The four Americans died in the attack just 12 days later.
“There was nothing we could’ve done about it,” Owens said. “If we’d had one month warning . . . who knows what might’ve happened.”
Torres said State Department contracting officer Jan Visintainer, who is still on the job, is the person who urged him not to go against the administration’s story. She called Torres to her office in Rosslyn, Virginia, in early 2013, telling him “that I and people from Torres should not speak to the media, should not speak to any officials with respect to the Benghazi program.”
Despite keeping quiet, he said retaliation has continued up to the present. Of the 20 jobs his firm has bid on, it has lost 18, he said.
The State Department did not comment to Fox News and declined to make Visintainer available, Herridge reported.
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