Official: Benghazi Looked Like Terror Attack From Start
Diplomat Hicks contradicts initial White House account of attack
By Ruth Brown, Newser Staff
Posted May 5, 2013 5:33 PM CDT
Glass, debris and overturned furniture are strewn inside a room in the gutted U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, after an attack that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, Wednesday,...   (AP Photo/Ibrahim Alaguri)

(Newser) – A senior US diplomat has disputed the White House's account of the attack on the US mission in Libya last year, and claims that the State Department's review "let people off the hook," CNN reports. In an interview with congressional investigators, Greg Hicks, the former deputy chief of mission in Libya, is quoted as saying: "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." This stands in contrast to Obama administration claims that the attack initially appeared to have erupted from a spontaneous protest. "I never reported a demonstration," he said. "I reported an attack on the consulate."

Hicks said his "jaw hit the floor" when Susan Rice appeared on US talk shows questioning Libyan President Mohammed Magariaf's claims that the attack was executed by Islamic extremists. "The spokesperson of the most powerful country in the world has basically said that the president of Libya is either a liar or doesn't know what he's talking about," he said. "The impact of that is immeasurable." Hicks' remarks were quoted during an interview with Rep. Darrell Issa, who heads the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, on CBS News' Face The Nation today. Hicks and two other officials are expected to testify on the attacks in front of the committee on Wednesday.

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