New developments were revealed over the weekend regarding the much-anticipated House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing scheduled for this Wednesday on the September 11,2012 attack on a U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
Fox News reports that three career State Department officials and self-described 'whistle-blowers" will appear: Gregory Hicks, the deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Libya at the time of the attacks; Mark Thompson, a former Marine now the deputy coordinator for Operations in the agency's Counterterrorism Bureau; and Eric Nordstrom, a diplomatic security officer who was the regional security officier in Libya.
CBS News has released excerpts from an interview with Hicks where he says a team of U.S. Special Forces was prepared to fly from Tripoli to Benghazi to fend off attacks on September 11, but was expressly forbidden from doing so under orders from the U.S. Special Operations Command South Africa.
Hicks told congressional investigators that if the U.S. had quickly sent a military aircraft over Benghazi, it might have saved American lives. The U.S. Souda Bay Naval Base is an hour’s flight from Libya.
“I believe if we had been able to scramble a fighter or aircraft or two over Benghazi as quickly as possible after the attack commenced, I believe there would not have been a mortar attack on the annex in the morning because I believe the Libyans would have split. They would have been scared to death that we would have gotten a laser on them and killed them,” Hicks testified. Two Americans died in the morning mortar attack.
TheBlaze notes that Hicks's account of the 'stand down' order directly conflicts with the Obama administrations official account of events surrounding the attack. During an interview with CBS released in excerpts on "Face the Nation," Hicks says that everyone knew Benghazi was a terrorist attack "from the get-go."
"Everybody in the mission" in Benghazi, Libya, thought the attack on a U.S. consulate there last Sept. 11 was an act of terror "from the get-go," according to excerpts of an interview investigators conducted with the No. 2 official in Libya at the time, obtained by CBS News' "Face the Nation."
"I think everybody in the mission thought it was a terrorist attack from the beginning," Greg Hicks, a 22-year foreign service diplomat who was the highest-ranking U.S. official in Libya after the strike, told investigators under authority of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
Hicks says of his superior in Libya, the slain Ambassador Chris Stevens:
For there to have been a demonstration on Chris Stevens's front door and him not to have reported it is unbelievable," he said. "I never reported a demonstration; I reported an attack on the consulate. Chris - Chris's last report, if you want to say his final report - is, 'Greg, we are under attack.'
"...I've never been as embarrassed in my life, in my career, as on that day," Hicks continued in his interview with investigators. "The net impact of what has transpired is, [Rice,] the spokesperson of the most powerful country in the world, has basically said that the president of Libya is either a liar of doesn't know what he's talking about. ....My jaw hit the floor as I watched this."
On 'Real News' Monday the panel opened up discussing the testimony and the administration's account of events in Benghazi now heavily in question. Watch a clip below with Wyoming Congressman Cynthia Lummis: