The former No. 2 U.S. diplomat in Libya said he thought what happened in Benghazi was terrorism from the start.
“I thought it was a terrorist attack from the get-go. I think everybody in the mission thought it was a terrorist attack from the beginning,” Gregory Hicks told congressional investigators, according to interview excerpts obtained by CBS News.
Hicks was the deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Libya under Ambassador Christopher Stevens at the time of the September 2012 attack. He is slated to speak publicly for the first time before the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday. Stevens and three other Americans were killed.
United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice stated on television several days after the attack that what had transpired was a reaction to protests in Cairo in response to an anti-Islam video. The Obama administration ultimately characterized what happened as terrorism, but Hicks — who was not in Benghazi at the time — said there had been no indication of a protest or demonstration.
“For there to have been a demonstration on Chris Stevens’ front door and him not to have reported it is unbelievable,” Hicks said, according to CBS. “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.'”
Hicks said he personally knew one of Rice’s staff members and could easily have provided accurate information before she went on TV.
“I could have been called…the phone call could’ve been, ‘Hey Greg, Ambassador Rice is going to say blah, blah, blah, blah and I could have said no, that’s not the right thing.’ That phone call was never made,” he said.