|Burnt building at the US consulate Libyan city of Benghazi two days after an attack late on Sept. 11|
The second-ranking U.S. official in Libya during last year’s deadly attack on the mission in Benghazi immediately considered it a terrorist attack rather than a spontaneous event, according to a transcript of his interview with congressional investigators.
“I thought it was a terrorist attack from the get-go,” Gregory Hicks, a foreign service officer and former deputy chief of Libyan operations, told investigators, according to excerpts of the interview displayed today on CBS’s “Face the Nation” program. “I never reported a demonstration, I reported an attack on the consulate.”
His account contrasted with comments made by Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, after the attack on Sept. 11, 2012. She said it grew out of a “spontaneous” demonstration against an anti-Islamic video that was “hijacked” by militants.
Hicks said he wasn’t contacted by State Department officials before Rice spoke on five Sunday talk shows Sept. 16, according to the interview with congressional investigators.
The Benghazi attack killed four Americans including Ambassador Christopher Stevens and became a flashpoint in last year’s presidential campaign. Republicans criticized officials including Rice for their early accounts of the circumstances.
Hicks is scheduled to testify at a May 8 hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, a California Republican, in a May 1 statement announcing the hearing, accused President Barack Obama’s administration of offering “a carefully selected and sanitized version” of the Benghazi attack.
Read the full report here.
Related reading: Benghazi Continued: Investigation of a Citizen Above Suspicion; Special ops halted from responding to Benghazi attacks; The PJ Tatler on Benghazi Hearings