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U.S. official: Benghazi assault appeared to be ‘terrorist attack from the get-go’

The deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Libya during a 2012 attack on a diplomatic outpost in Benghazi told investigators he thought it was a terrorist strike from the beginning, according to interview excerpts released yesterday on CBS News’s Face the Nation.

“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 said in an interview with investigators shared with Face the Nation. The excerpt was one of several host Bob Schieffer revealed on the program.

Hicks is one of the witnesses called to testify this week before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform about the Sept. 11, 2012, attack that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

Shortly after the attack, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice characterized the assault as a spontaneous attack. The Obama administration later said it was an act of terrorism.

“Clearly, there was a political decision to say something different than what was reasonable to say,” House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, a California Republican, said on Face the Nation.

According to the excerpts of his interview with investigators, Hicks said that the morning after Rice’s Sunday show appearances he called the acting assistant secretary for Near Eastern affairs, Elizabeth Jones, to ask why Rice had said that. Hicks said Jones told him she didn’t know.

This week’s hearing is expected to focus on claims in a Republican committee report that the State Department massaged public statements about the attack to eliminate or play down the likelihood of a terrorist connection.

That long-standing GOP claim may be better supported by documents the committee reviewed in recent months that chart the changes in language over several days following the attack.

Republicans are also focusing on the scope and mandate of an independent review of the attack by a panel appointed by the State Department amid accusations that potential witnesses were excluded from the review.

State Department spokesman Patrick Ventrell said that the review was comprehensive and that decisions about whom to interview were made by the outside review board, not the department.

Legacy Comments39

"On Sunday, four bereaved women will be facing their first Mother´s Day without their beloved sons, who were murdered in Benghazi last September 11. Will Hillary Clinton be thinking of them this Mother´s Day? And if she were to send the Benghazi Moms a Mother´s Day card, would it say, "What Difference at This Point Does It Make"? Clinton herself may well have made a difference -- a life-or-death difference. Evidence is mounting that Libyan Ambassador Chris Stevens, staffer Sean Smith, and former Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods could be alive"....and Hillary LIED LIED LIED

The Benghazi LIE LIE LIE ......"A failure of character corrodes the integrity of the state."........."Reserve a special place in hell. Four Americans had been sacrificed on the career altars of Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton."

Fact: the GOP controlled House last year cut funds requested by the Obama administration which would have increased security measures and personnel for this embassy and others. This is all nothing more than a big show, a diverson away from the truth, by the RNC, which is of course working pretty well. Americans are easily fooled, as we show time and time gain.

Fact: Joe Biden said he did not know that they needed more security, was not told they needed more security. Clinton said that she too, was unaware of requests for more security. Yep..sounds like a budget problem to me.

The State Dept has been underfunded for years--largely thanks to conservatives who fundamentally think diplomacy is for wusses. So yes, it is a budget problem. As for the continued obsession over Benghazi-gate, the hope is it becomes "bigger than Watergate"; cynicism and hypocrisy drip from the lips of Krauthammer and fellow conservative talking heads on Faux News and other outlets purveying their offal. (Just as hope and cynicism seep from the posts of the Obama/Clinton haters on this thread.) Where was the outrage during the Bush years, when there were at least 13 separate embassy and consulate attacks ( not counting those in Iraq), resulting in the deaths of at least 60 Americans?

Where is the outrage? Good question. Cindy Sheehans son killed and the media creates circus. Were they just "Bush" haters?

To "gone" below: Just pointing out the hypocrisy--which you don't have the decency to address. You've made a big stink about Benghazi--a screw-up on many levels, but all you're interested in is scoring political points and damaging Clinton and Obama, by trying to turn a tragedy into a scandal, without acknowledging context or history. As usual.

I've made a big stink...because this thing stinks. The media should too.

No, you're just parroting the right wing media--Faux and friends, in their unrelenting efforts to obstruct anything having to do with centrist and moderate governance--let alone 'progressive' or left wing. As my post down below pointed out, there were at least 13 Benghazis under GW's "watch". The silence from the right was deafening then--just as it was then on deficits. There is no interest on the part of Republicans in fixing the problems that may have led to Benghazi--long-term underfunding of State Dept especially. Your only interests seemingly are in cheering on the effort to score points aimed at weakening the current administration and Clinton should she choose to run in 2016, and in continued efforts to use "terrorism" as an issue on which to try to win elections. It's politics with as mean and nasty a streak as we've had in generations. Given the demographic problems Republicans face, it's an opportunistic (to say the least) strategy aimed at turning rational voters back into fearful ones. Otherwise, rational voters will continue to marginalize the party of angry, entitled, and fearful white men into the dustbin of history, where its current iteration deserves to be. The party of Lincoln is long dead, it's the party of Boehner, Cantor, Ryan, McConnell, and Paul, marching forward into a past that never was.

Lets see..Right Wing media..check, GWB..check, Republicans..check, Seems like the left (far left?) is NOT interested in finding out what happened in Benghazi, if you had the power to make this all go away you would. Nothing to see here, move along. What really is disturbing is the lengths to which the left will go to protect this admin. Calling people racists for questioning Susan Rice, absolutely disgusting. Thats what Bruce Currie calls "centrist and moderate governance"...leveling charges of racism for daring to question this admin.

And you're still playing the innocent here, disingenuously proclaiming your interest is "Just the facts, Ma'am." Your record of posts on this thread and elsewhere gives the lie to that claim, as does your constant evasion and avoidance of historical context for Benghazi. Those who disagree with you are "haters". You, however, are only interested in the virtuous pursuit of "truth". You can add sanctimony to your long list of imagined virtues.

I notice that every time I mention charges of racism leveled at those who criticized Susan Rice, the left (far left?) zip right by it, historical context be darned. Yep, thats your "centrist and moderate governance". Sickening.

"CBS News President David Rhodes and ABC News President Ben Sherwood, both of them have siblings that not only work at the White House, that not only work for President Obama, but they work at the NSC on foreign policy issues directly related to Benghazi." ....So much lefties knock FOX NEWS....they aren't firing their lead reporter for digging too deep like CBS is doing

FACTS for democrats .....This statenment is FALSE : "GOP controlled House last year cut funds requested by the Obama administration which would have increased security measures and personnel for this embassy and others"....FACT The democrats have not passed a budget for over 4 years and the Repuplicans could not have cut any funds as democrats have run the government on continuing resolutions for the last 4 years

So what we have are hearings to place blame. Not to make sure it doesn't happen again. As shown by all the comments American's are more concerned with finding someone to point a finger and who said what. Why concern ourselves with fixing the problem when there are more important issues to address. It is really a waste of time and resources to rage a partisan war of words over who said what, when and how often. Alas, we don't seem to care about preventing future deaths as long as we can blame someone for something that has already taken place. BTW, the people to really blame were those that attacked the embassy, have you all forgotten that with this blind partisan whining.

We cannot find out what went wrong unless we know who ordered what. That is the only way we can see where the mistakes were made on all levels. Without that we fix nothing. It was pretty evident yesterday listening to the Dems that they have no desire to find out where the failures in the depts are. They were so busy making sure that they protected Clinton, that not one of them asked any questions about the timeline, who said what or gave what order etc. The Dems did this with all 3 hearings on this. This is fine when we are talking about where funds were spent, but it is not fine when we are talking about security. They were hoping it would go away so it would have no impact on the election, that is why they stalled.

Sorry Bruce, but media matters is a progressive spin machine, who's goal is to make sure that only progressive proganda gets out there. Biased does not even describe that rag. We all know what Rice said and how many times she said it. We also know what the President and Clinton said. We will see what the hearings produce. Unlike many, I do not take the media's talking points. I actually watch the hearings. Wish more people did so they can make up their own minds.

Re: "We all know what Rice said". You do now since I provided a transcript. And it's not quite as portrayed by Faux, and its lackeys on here. As for disparaging Media Matters, time will tell whether it's more or less accurate than Faux on this topic. As for Faux, its record of distortion as a "spin machine" on a wide variety of subjects is documented and well-deserved.

Your under the impression Bruce that folks just get transcripts or info from Fox. No so. Unlike many progressives who just read and listen to media that agrees with them, many of us actually have the desire to get info from many sources. That requires listening to both sides of an issue. Look how outraged you progressives are about Grant Bosse. It is obvious that info that does not agree with your politics, is something that the left just does not want to hear, even if it is factual.

" the current phony outrage from the Obama Protection Society is exceptionally putrid." An American Ambassador died and Hillary & Obama LIED LIED LIED

Watch the hearings today and make up your own minds. I watched the two prior hearings, and I can tell you, they tell a lot. The obvious thing that jumped out when I watched both was how the Dems showed no desire to ask questions that pertained to the subject. Instead , it was like they all had been scripted to ask similar, "what does your dept do" questions. Even more blatant was the questioning of Hillary. Praise for 4 minutes, then with the minute they had left asked her to repeat what she said 5 minutes earlier to another Dem. Wonder who the Dems will try to throw under the bus.

in Benghazi real Americans died and........ CLINTON.....lied.....Lied.....LIED

I find Benghazi the same as Bush going to war over weapons of mass destruction. In both cases decisions were made on the information at that moment in time, not hours, days or months later. If Obama had come out within hours claiming Benghazi or Boston were a terrorist attack and the evidence later showed it was not, the cry would have been he was just trying to gain politically from it. I have yet to hear one person say they were told to “lie or change paperwork” to cover up something in Benghazi. Article says Gregory Hicks and others "THOUGHT" it was a terrorist attack from the start. I don't doubt they did but their personal "thoughts" are not facts…… Regardless of who is President, I certainly hope they don’t just shout out emotions every time something bad happens.

This is not about what was said Tillie. Although that lead to the evidence that something was amiss, when those statements were repeated over and over for weeks. The issue is far deeper than that. It had to do with why security was refused time and again, and it was not funds, why the troops nearby were told to stand down and not help, why nearby help was not called in from planes etc, why Clinton had no clue what was going on in her dept, etc. Security Issues.

Your claim (no doubt derived from Faux News) that "troops nearby were ordered to stand down" is false: http://mediamatters.org/blog/2013/05/02/the-newsy-nonsense-of-fox-news-benghazi-insider/193880 In fact, there were no "troops nearby" at all. Nor were CIA operatives told to "stand down".

http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/special-ops-halted-from-responding-to-benghazi-attacks-us-diplomat-says/2013/05/06/c3f311d4-b677-11e2-aa9e-a02b765ff0ea_print.html........"Hours later, according to excerpts of the account by the U.S. diplomat, Gregory Hicks, American officials in the Libyan capital sought permission to deploy four U.S. Special Operations troops to Benghazi aboard a Libyan military aircraft early the next morning. The troops were told to stand down. "

Originally, those told to "stand down" were supposed to be the 2 CIA security agents at the compound. That has since been changed to refer to, according to Hicks' account, 4 "troops" in Tripoli. This doesn't square with the CIA account and timeline. And just for the record: the number"four", whether soldiers, CIA operatives, or SEALs isn't what most think of when they read or hear the word "troops". http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/erik-wemple/post/benghazi-timeline-challenges-fox-news-story/2012/11/02/07e6ab0e-2487-11e2-ac85-e669876c6a24_blog.html

A 10 man SWAT team was sent to arrest the movie maker that Obama and Hillary said was the cause.........how many men did Obama and Hillary send to rescue the American Ambassador?

I want to see Kelly Ayotte gather up ALL the parents and families of these dead American heroes, put them on a bus, and take them to every major US city. I want to hear how they feel, what they think of the Obama admin, Susan Rice, et al, . Then I want to see some criminal indictments on these officials that fed us lies, and called good people racists.

Disagree, GWTW. Ayotte than does what this adminstration is doing. Using victims as props. I am hopeful the hearings this week will finally give us some answers. I do not care who is in office. Security here and protecting our folks overseas is vital. Terrorism is real folks. If you think the terrorsim is Boston was an isolated incident, think again. We better start getting on top of who we allow in here. Better keep tract of our terrorist list, and make sure Homeland Security is doing it's job.

The media wont interview these people. How else are the American public going to hear how they feel?

Who we allow in here, did you really mean that?? Just how do we keep the militia's and budding Tim McVeigh's out ? As for Homeland Security, these are a bunch of political hacks who couldn't protect anything but their jobs and budget. As for Libya and our embassy, most embassies are protected by local government forces while having limited security personnel of their own. Our defensive capabilities are not designed for immediate response toward attacks that last only hours. Personnel who man these locations do so with the knowlege of the inherent danger. But keep up the political witchhunt by all means - it makes good press but nothing else.

Strong words. I don 't recall you're ever expressing similar sentiments in response to the lies told by Bush Administration officials before, during and after our invasion and ten years' war in Iraq.

Brit Hume: ‘No way’ for Hillary Clinton to escape responsibility for Benghazi Daily Caller, by Jeff Poor

This post shows signs of infection with Toxic Faux Syndrome. Here's what Susan Rice said on ABC's "This Week", as she made the rounds of the Sunday talk shows "feeding us lies" as you so eloquently put it: RICE: [O]ur current best assessment, based on the information that we have at present, is that, in fact, what this began as, it was a spontaneous — not a premeditated — response to what had transpired in Cairo. In Cairo, as you know, a few hours earlier, there was a violent protest that was undertaken in reaction to this very offensive video that was disseminated. We believe that folks in Benghazi, a small number of people came to the embassy to — or to the consulate, rather, to replicate the sort of challenge that was posed in Cairo. And then as that unfolded, it seems to have been hijacked, let us say, by some individual clusters of extremists who came with heavier weapons, weapons that as you know in — in the wake of the revolution in Libya are — are quite common and accessible. And it then evolved from there. We’ll wait to see exactly what the investigation finally confirms, but that’s the best information we have at present."

So what in that statement is true?

Rice was repeating talking points she got from the CIA. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/22/us/politics/explanation-for-benghazi-attack-under-scrutiny.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 The CIA may have had its own reasons for being less than forthcoming with a timely account of the events. There are reports that its presence in the region was larger than publicly stated, and that it was actively involved in eliminating extremist rebels leaders in the region. In this scenario, the Benghazi attack was payback.

To Bruce Below. You said "Rice was repeating talking points she got from the CIA." Please show me in any talking points that a video is mentioned.

Reply to GWTW below: CIA support for video having played a role is here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/benghazi-attack-becomes-political-ammunition/2012/10/19/e1ad82ae-1a2d-11e2-bd10-5ff056538b7c_story.html?hpid=z2

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