Benghazi Testimony

Diplomat on the ground tells Congress he was ‘stunned’ by Rice account of Benghazi

by Shaun Waterman-The Washington Times  |  published on May 9, 2013

The State Department’s deputy chief of mission for the U.S. in Libya at the time of the Benghazi terrorist attack said Wednesday that the Obama administration didn’t talk to him before dubbing it a spontaneous attack spurred by an anti-Islam video, a move he said embarrassed the Libyan president and hampered the FBI investigation.

Gregory H. Hicks also said the mortar rounds that rained down on the CIA annex in Benghazi during the second phase of the attack were “terribly precise,” an immediate indication from the ground that the military-style assault was a planned attack.

“I was stunned, my jaw dropped and I was embarrassed,” he recalled Wednesday about his reaction when he saw U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan E. Rice appear on the Sunday TV political talk shows five days after the attack. She said the assault appeared to have grown out of spontaneous demonstrations against the video like those in other cities in the Middle East.

Mr. Hicks told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that he was told that the secretary of state, Hillary Rodham Clinton, was the only person empowered by law to authorize the use of U.S. diplomatic facilities in Libya last year. The buildings did not meet State Department security standards set in law after several previous terrorist attacks, culminating in the massive simultaneous suicide truck bombings of two embassies in East Africa by al Qaeda in 1998.

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