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Nov 1

Written by: Diana West
Thursday, November 01, 2012 2:04 AM 

Greta Susteren interviewed Cathering Herridge on Fox last night about a smoking cable:

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Disturbing new information about Benghazi and the Obama administration. Fox News obtained a classified cable sent in August from the U.S. mission in Benghazi to the State Department in Washington. The cable, coming just weeks before the attack, warned the Benghazi consulate could not sustain a coordinated attack.

But that is not all that was in that cable. Fox News chief intelligence correspondent Catherine Herridge, who has read that cable, is here with the latest -- Catherine.

CATHERINE HERRIDGE, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, the status of the cable is that I really believe, having read it, that it is the smoking gun warning here. You've got this emergency meeting in Benghazi less than a month before the attack. At that briefing, the people are told that there are 10 -- 10 -- Islamist militias and al Qaeda groups in Benghazi.

The consulate cannot sustain a coordinated attack and that they need extra help. And this information goes directly to the office of the secretary of state, Hillary Clinton. So again, you're got the culpability of the State Department. This is a very specific warning that they are in trouble, they need help and they see an attack on the horizon.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right, what's the date on this cable?

HERRIDGE: It's the 16th of August.

VAN SUSTEREN: Is there any response or any indication that there's been any direct response to that cable between the 16th of August and the 11th of September?

HERRIDGE: I don't know what the classified traffic was between the 16th and the 11th, but I asked the State Department today specifically, given the warnings and how detailed they were and the intelligence that al Qaeda and these militias were operating in Benghazi, was any extra security considered or put in place in light of the 9/11 anniversary? You're three weeks out. I think that's the critical question.

And the State Department said to me today they wouldn't comment because it's classified. And they are also waiting for the outcome of this investigation.

VAN SUSTEREN: Who was the signatory to the cable?

HERRIDGE: Ambassador Stevens.

VAN SUSTEREN: And you say that it was -- it went to the office of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Was there any indication that it actually went to her? I mean, I don't know what the office (INAUDIBLE) the office could be -- as far as I know, could be 60 people down a chain of command.

HERRIDGE: The copy to her, and then it routes (ph) out, in this case, probably, typically to diplomatic security, their Near East Asia desk and others. But it is specifically addressed to her office.

VAN SUSTEREN: How did you get to see it?

HERRIDGE: It came to me through confidential sources.

VAN SUSTEREN: And why -- I mean, it sounds to me that things are starting to break down because we're starting to get, you know, information from -- from different sources. Both you and Jennifer Griffin are getting it. Is there sort of a brewing dissatisfaction in how this administration is disseminating or not disseminating information?

HERRIDGE: I can't speak for why these sources come forward, but I believe, based on this cable, that the point that was being made that they wanted made publicly, not just in a classified setting, is that the warning that came from Benghazi was very specific.

It said, We cannot withstand an attack. The militias are everywhere. Al Qaeda is here. This was known to the U.S. intelligence community, as well, and that they really could not see a situation where the security was going to turn around. They said it was trending negatively.

This comes three weeks, three-and-a-half weeks before the attack. I can't think of anything that would be more specific than if these groups had emailed the State Department and said, Here's the time, here's the place and here's the method of the attack, because the cable names the two groups, al Qaeda and Ansar al Sharia, that we believe were responsible for this assault.

VAN SUSTEREN: How long is this cable? I mean, is it a page, two pages?

HERRIDGE: It's a little over a page.

VAN SUSTEREN: So it's quite detailed.

HERRIDGE: It's very detailed. There can be no doubt that this is really a cry for help from the people on the ground. They also talk at length that they think the 17th February Brigade -- this is the Libyan militia that's supposed to be friendly to the United States that's really tasked with being the police force in Benghazi, has been infiltrated by our enemies.

It says the 17th February Brigade is not sharing information with the Americans anymore. So that's us. And we had information right after the attack that this brigade just kind of melted away during the attack. They were nowhere to be found.

That would be the February 17 Martyrs Brigade.

VAN SUSTEREN: What would be the reason or is there any reason supplied as to why that cable wasn't acted on? Is there any -- is there any sort of -- I mean, did the person you spoke to -- does anybody have any idea? Did it get lost in the shuffle or there was a diplomatic or political reason? Or is there any reason it wasn't acted on?

HERRIDGE: Well, someone has said to me, looking at this whole story, don't see a conspiracy when you can just see incompetency.

How about a disastrous, see-no-jihad policy?

I think we sometimes know that things move very slowly in Washington, D.C. So I think that's -- I think that's one element.

But if you couple this with the fact that we were coming up to the 9/11 anniversary and you couple this with the statements that a videotape was somehow responsible, what you see is that that is completely undercut. This cable says the militias and al Qaeda are here. We essentially think that we are next.

So to take this attack and to suggest for such a long period of time that it was a video, when you have this classified cable in the intelligence? It just doesn't match up!

VAN SUSTEREN: What is your -- why do you think that we're not getting much information out of the administration? Is it in part because it's the CIA or is it a situation where they're trying to cover mistakes?

HERRIDGE: I believe they're trying to have a real investigation. I believe that we are also in the middle of something called an election, in the final days. And what I see is a growing body of evidence that the State Department has culpability for the death of the ambassador and those three Americans.

The warnings were specific. They were direct. They named the enemy. And they said that this consulate needed more support. And it also indicated in the cable that the consulate should probably move long-term into the annex. We now know that's the CIA facility in Benghazi.

VAN SUSTEREN: Catherine, thank you. And obviously, very disturbing. And you know, working in Washington, we all know people who are at the State Department and how hard they work and they want to take such good care of their people. So you know, it's -- there's no...

HERRIDGE: I think it's important that the people who lost their lives have themselves honored with the facts, and I think we're starting to get the facts.

VAN SUSTEREN: Without any doubt. I'm in agreement with you on that. It's -- you know, the facts need to -- as -- we need to get the facts. Catherine, thank you.

HERRIDGE: Thank you very much.

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