May 11, 2013

Gregory Hicks giving emotional testimony earlier this week

Gregory Hicks has been characterized as a whistleblower and a hero by the right wing for bravely stepping forward and telling "the truth" about September 11, 2012 and the Benghazi attacks. To listen to him, you wonder how he managed to survive it all, but somehow he did only to claim he was demoted in retribution for speaking out.

Not so much, it seems. Other embassy personnel in Libya at the time spoke to ThinkProgress Friday, and their story is quite different from Hicks'.

A second State Department employee present in Libya before and during the Benghazi attacks confirmed the meetings occurred. Assistant Secretary Jones’ meetings with the staff prior to Oct. 2 were “entirely” focused on Hicks’ performance, according to this second employee, who also believed that Hicks should be removed from his position. “The group of us who were here during the attacks, we sat here two nights ago and watched [the hearing] with our jaws dropped,” the staffer said, referring to Hicks’ claim that he was demoted out of retribution for speaking out.

“He was removed from here because he was a disaster as a manager,” the second employee went on to say, expressing the belief that Hicks’ reassignment had “nothing to do with him being a whistleblower, it had everything to do with his management capacity or lack thereof.” This statement contradicts the narrative promoted onconservative media outlets that Hicks was being forced to remain silent and being punished for speaking out.

Well, maybe he was a crummy manager but a hero anyway, right? Even incompetent people can rise to an occasion. Once again, it appears not to be so.

When speaking about the night of the attacks, the employees ThinkProgress spoke with described Hicks as being in a daze while other senior Embassy officials organized the evacuation from Tripoli to Germany. “At one point [Hicks] wandered past the huddled State evacuees, muttering to himself, and just sank into a couch,” the first employee relayed to ThinkProgress.

Hmmmm. It seems the Great Hero of Benghazi, to conservatives at least, is no hero at all. Why doesn't this surprise me?

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