Lawmakers set to hold new hearings on Benghazi

12:10 PM, May 8, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON, D.C. (NBCNC) - Today - explosive testimony is expected in Washington about whether the U.S. could've stopped the attack on our consulate in Benghazi, but didn't. 

Four Americans - including ambassador Chris Stevens - died in that attack last fall. 

This attack lasted from 9pm the night it started until after 6am the next morning. The last two Americans weren't killed until that following morning. Today, a former top diplomat will testify those last two deaths could have been prevented. 

Today our number two diplomat from Libya will tell congress he asked for more help when the Benghazi consulate was attacked, but the military turned him down. 

In an interview with lawmakers Gregory Hicks said, "I believe if we had been able to scramble a fighter or aircraft or two over Benghazi as quickly as possible after the attack commenced...there would not have been a mortar attack..."

He says four Special Forces operatives were in Tripoli, ready to go. The Pentagon says they had to stay in Tripoli to protect the embassy there. "They were going to get in the car to go to the airport. They were told to stand down. So If the Pentagon here in the last few hours is changing their story, that is new news," said Rep. Jason Chaffetz, (R) Utah.  

The Administration denies key testimony was withheld from the panel that reviewed Benghazi. "We have always encouraged any State Department employee who wants to share their personal story," said State Dept. Acting Deputy Spokesman, Patrick Ventrell.

"It was unsparing. It was critical. And it -- and it held people accountable," said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.

Lawmakers today, are ready to ask questions. "Should we look at Benghazi?  Yes.  But keep in mind that's just one place.  We should look at our security throughout our embassies, because there will always be easy targets," said Senator Patrick Leahy, (D) Vermont.  

The nominee to replace ambassador Chris Stevens - one of four killed in the attack - says security there is still a concern. "Flows of loose weapons including man pads from Libyan territory into conflict zones throughout the broader region must be staunched," said Nominee, U.S. Ambasador to Libya,  Deborah Kay Jones.

Jones also told congress there have been setbacks because our top post in Libya has been empty now for eight months. 


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