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Contractors say Clinton State Department silenced them on Benghazi security lapses

Jacob Wohl

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—VIA Fox News

EXCLUSIVE: Security at the State Department’s Benghazi compound was so dire that another contractor was brought in to clean up the mess just two weeks before the 2012 terror attack – and was later pressured to keep quiet by a government bureaucrat under then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, according to two men from the American security company.

Brad Owens and Jerry Torres, of Torres Advanced Enterprise Solutions, say they faced pressure to stay silent and get on the same page with the State Department with regard to the security lapses that led to the deaths of four Americans.

They spoke exclusively with Fox News for “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” revealing new information that undermines the State Department’s account of the 2012 terror attack in Benghazi, where Islamic militants launched a 13-hour assault from Sept. 11-12 that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, foreign service officer Sean Smith and former Navy SEALS Ty Woods and Glenn Doherty.

Torres Advanced Enterprise Solutions provides security for U.S. embassy and consulate personnel around the world in some of the most dangerous locations spanning Africa, the Middle East and South America, according to the firm.

Jerry Torres remains haunted by the fact specific bureaucrats and policies remain in the State Department after the Benghazi attack despite the change in administrations. “A U.S. ambassador is dead and nobody is held accountable for it. And three guys … all died trying to defend him,” said Torres, the company’s CEO and a former Green Beret.

Asked if there was a specific effort by a senior State Department contracting officer to silence them, Torres said, “Absolutely, absolutely.”

Owens, a former Army intelligence officer, echoed his colleague, saying 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.”

In 2012, Owens was the American company’s point man in Libya with extensive experience in the region. After the death of Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi in the fall of 2011, Owens stressed to Fox News it was well-known that Islamic radicals including Al Qaeda-tied militias were pouring into the region and security “had deteriorated considerably.”

Based on documents reviewed by Fox News, Torres Advanced Enterprise Solutions bid on the Benghazi compound security contract in the spring of 2012. But the State Department awarded the deal to a U.K.-based operation called The Blue Mountain Group.

Owens, who had personally visited the Benghazi compound to assess security, was shocked. “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. They had a few guys on the ground,” he said.

According to Torres, the Blue Mountain Group came in 4 percent lower than their bid – and they challenged the decision, claiming the American company should have been preferred over the foreign one.

Torres said State Department contracting officer Jan Visintainer responded that the State Department had the “latitude to apply” that preference or not.

And there was more: The Blue Mountain Group hired guards through another company who were not armed.

Problems soon arose. One month before the attack — in August 2012, with The Blue Mountain Group still in charge of compound security — Ambassador Stevens and his team alerted the State Department via diplomatic cable that radical Islamic groups were everywhere and that the temporary mission compound could not withstand a “coordinated attack.” The classified cable was first reported by Fox News.

By Aug. 31, 2012, the situation had deteriorated to the point that Owens and Torres said the State Department asked them to intervene – as Owens put it, an “admission of the mistake of choosing the wrong company.”

“They came back to us and said, ‘Can you guys come in and take over security?’ Owens said. “So we were ready.”

But Torres emphasized that time was against them, saying it would have taken two-to-three weeks to get set up.

Twelve days later, the ambassador was killed. Torres learned of the attacks by watching television. He called the circumstances leading up to the tragedy “bad decision-making from top to bottom.”

“There was nothing we could’ve done about it. If we’d had one month warning … who knows what might’ve happened,” Owens said.

In the chaotic days following that attack, the Obama White House blamed the attacks on an anti-Islam video and demonstration which was not accurate. As a former Green Beret, Torres was stunned: “Coming from a military background, I would expect the administration to tell the truth. So I bought into it for a minute. But I didn’t believe it in the back of my mind.” He said they later figured out the video was not the culprit. The attack was a coordinated terrorist assault which included a precision mortar strike on the CIA post in Benghazi.

But as the Obama administration and Clinton’s team struggled to answer questions about the attacks, Visintainer apparently took it one step further — summoning Jerry Torres from overseas to attend a meeting at her government office in Rosslyn, Va., in early 2013.

Torres took Fox News back to the Virginia office building where he recalled that day’s events.

“[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,” he said.

Torres said he was afraid for his company – and hasn’t spoken publicly until now.

“We had about 8,000 employees at the time. You know, we just didn’t need that level of damage because these guys, their livelihood relies on the company,” he said. “I trust that our U.S. government is going to follow chain of command, follow procedures, follow protocols and do the right thing.”

Another part of that conversation stuck out to Torres. He said Visintainer told him “in her opinion, that guards should not be armed at U.S. embassies. She just made that blanket statement. … And she said that they weren’t required in Benghazi. So I was kind of confused about that. And she said that she would like my support in saying that if that came up. And I looked at her. I just didn’t respond.”

The State Department declined Fox News’ request to make Visintainer available for an interview, or have her answer written email questions.

The Blue Mountain Group did not immediately respond to questions from Fox News.

Torres and Owens said repercussions against their company continue to this day – and that of the 20 security force contracts they’ve bid on since that conversation, they’ve lost 18.

Torres and Owens are concerned another attack like the one in Benghazi could happen again because the same State Department employees responsible for the Benghazi contract remain in place and the contracting rules are outdated.

“In 1990, Congress passed a law that required contracts of this nature to go to the lowest bidder that’s technically acceptable,” Owens explained. “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.”

The men say they are hopeful that changes will come with the Trump administration’s promise to “drain the swamp.”

“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.”

On the fifth anniversary, Torres said he thinks about the four families who lost a father, a brother or a son in the 2012 attack, and feels sorry “for not bringing this up earlier. For not actually being there, on the ground and taking care of these guys.”

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Jacob Wohl is the CEO and Head of Fixed Income and Interest Rates for Montgomery Assets, a proprietary trading and asset management firm based in Los Angeles, CA. Jacob Wohl is the host of the Offended America Podcast

POLITICS

North Korea rules out negotiations on nuclear weapons

Jacob Wohl

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From Reuters

North Korea on Friday ruled out negotiations with Washington as long as joint U.S-South Korea military exercises continue, and said that Pyongyang’s atomic weapons program would remain as a deterrent against a U.S. nuclear threat.

In an interview with Reuters, Han Tae Song, North Korea’s ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva, brushed off the new sanctions which the Trump administration has said it is preparing, as well as the possibility of North Korea being added to a U.S. list of states sponsoring terrorism.

South Korea and the United States agreed on Friday to keep working for a peaceful end to the North Korean nuclear crisis, but a U.S. envoy said it was difficult to gauge the reclusive North’s intentions as there has been “no signal”.

Han, asked about those bilateral talks in Seoul, replied: “As long as there is continuous hostile policy against my country by the U.S. and as long as there are continued war games at our doorstep, then there will not be negotiations.”

“There are continued military exercises using nuclear assets as well as aircraft carriers, and strategic bombers and then…raising such kinds of military exercises against my country,” he said.

He, who is ambassador to the U.N.’s Conference on Disarmament, was speaking at the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) mission in Geneva, where the DPRK and the United States secured a 1994 nuclear deal which later fell apart.

“The DPRK, my country, will continue to build-up its self-defense capability, the pivot of which is nuclear forces and capability for a triumphant…strike as long as U.S. and hostile forces keep up nuclear threat and blackmail,” Han said.

“Our country plans ultimate completion of the nuclear force,” he said.

‘NUCLEAR DETERRENT’

China said on Thursday that a “dual suspension” proposal to handle North Korea was still the best option, after U.S. President Donald Trump said he and Chinese President Xi Jinping had rejected a “freeze for freeze” agreement.

Han, asked about China’s latest appeal for a freeze, said “the situation is far from those things”.

Han said that U.S. administrations had “never accepted” halting joint military exercises, adding: “So if they accept such things, then we will think what we do in the future.”

North Korea could not consider abandoning its nuclear program, he said, adding: “This is the deterrent, the nuclear deterrent to cope with the nuclear threat from America.”

Han said that Trump was expected to announce further sanctions against North Korea. Existing sanctions have constituted “large-scale human rights violations” that had delayed delivery of aid and consumer goods, he said.

“It is obvious that the aim of the sanctions is to overthrow the system of my country by isolating and stifling it and to intentionally bring about humanitarian disaster instead of preventing weapons development as claimed by the U.S. and its followers,” he said.

Han, asked whether new U.S. sanctions were expected against North Korean individuals or financial structures, said:

”The media is saying the Americans and Trump are considering such things.

”But that is their business and then we don’t mind what they want to do against my country since the aim is quite clear.

“So we are ready for such kinds of measures taken by America against my country,” he said.

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Oops! Russia’s $100K Facebook Ad-Buy was ANTI-Trump

Jacob Wohl

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For the first time, lawmakers have released the Facebook ads purchased by Russian entities. Unsurprisingly, the ads were anti-Trump. Facebooks release of the Russian ads raises questions about the intelligence community’s assessment that Russia aimed to help President Trump get elected.

The ads range from messages supporting Black Lives Matter to ads saying that Trump is “Not My President”.

While some of the ads racked up just a few hundred views, others were seen close to a million times.

Ads targeting Hillary supporting Muslim demographics were among the most provocative.

One ad targeting LGBT voters appeared to support the Campaign of Sen. Bernie Sanders (D).

Many of the ads supported the Black Lives Matter movement. While some of the Black Live Matter ads were vague, others promoted specific events, referring to them as “Blactivist”.

 

 

 

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Bob Corker Tries to Snatch the Nuclear Codes from President Trump

Mike Antebi

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On Tuesday the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing to discuss the President’s ability to launch a Nuclear Attack with almost no oversight and without approval from Congress. This is the first time in over four decades that the committee has discussed this matter and was spearheaded by Senator Bob Corker, a Republican Senator who has an ongoing feud with the President after being turned down from serving as Secretary of State.

The longstanding precedent of Presidents being able to launch an unrestricted nuclear strike comes from the idea that the US must be able to provide a credible deterrent to other nuclear-armed nations. This precedent dates back to the start of the Cold War, during the Eisenhower Administration.

A Russian or Chinese nuclear ICBM could reach the United States in about 6 minutes. A preemptive strike from Russia or China would likely hit US Missle Silos, leading to an almost immediate loss of capability to retaliate with land-based missiles.

If awaken in the middle of the night, and told that Kim Jong Un has launched a nuclear ICBM towards Los Angeles, President Trump would have just minutes to respond. Installing a bureaucracy around nuclear retaliation would place the United States at an inarguable strategic disadvantage.

The President just finished a successful foreign trip and nothing about his policies or behavior throughout his trip should suggest that his policies are done on a whim, quite the contrary in fact. The entire trip was a success at putting America First while still building major relationships with foreign leaders.

Past administrations have struggled and thought the only way to maintain a good relationship was by giving diplomatic concessions without demanding anything in return. President Trump has shown that leading with strength works. This begs the question: why does Senator Bob Corker, along with his fellow Democrats feel that the President is unhinged and unfit to make a clear decision about launching a nuclear strike?

The only logical answer is that these Senators have contempt for the President, whether it’s because they were not offered top jobs in this administration or because their candidate had a stunning defeat last November. Be that as it may, they are looking to undermine President Trump at every turn, even if it puts our national security at risk.

 

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