Diplomats Criticize Benghazi Response In GOP-Led Probe

Source: Michael O’Brien / NBC News

A top diplomat on the ground in Libya during the Sept. 11, 2012, assault against a U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi described a chaotic series of hours in which the government struggled to organize its response to the terrorist attack.

Gregory Hicks, a career foreign service officer who served as the deputy chief of mission in Libya at the time of the attacks, painted a picture of a frenetic scene in Libya as he worked to communicate between besieged individuals in Benghazi, and the governments of Libya and the United States. His testimony included a description of his first briefing of then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton about the situation.

His testimony on Wednesday before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee came amid a broader, Republican-led probe into last year’s attack against the diplomatic outpost. Also testifying were Mark Thompson, acting deputy assistant secretary for counterterrorism, and Eric Nordstrom, diplomatic security officer and former regional security officer in Libya.

But while the hearing had been expected to feature political fireworks, much of the testimony involved reconstructing the decision-making and response process during the hours following the attack.

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