Diplomat: Special Ops Told to Stand Down During Benghazi

Hicks says Pentagon refused to scramble jets

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted May 7, 2013 12:29 AM CDT | Updated May 7, 2013 5:52 AM CDT

(Newser) – More testimony has been released sharply contradicting the Obama administration's version of events during last year's Benghazi attack. Greg Hicks, deputy of slain US Ambassador Chris Stevens, says a team of Special Operations troops was ready to fly from Tripoli to Benghazi but was told to stand down by Special Operations Command Africa, reports the Washington Post. Hicks—who says the State Department's review "let people off the hook"—is scheduled to appear tomorrow at a congressional hearing on the attacks that killed Stevens and three other Americans.

Hicks says he tried unsuccessfully to get the Pentagon to scramble jets over Benghazi, a move he believes could have saved American lives by causing Libyan attackers to scatter instead of launching a second attack, CBS reports. After the attacks were over, Hicks says the lieutenant colonel in command of the Special Operations team told him, "I've never been so embarrassed in my life that a State Department officer has bigger balls than someone in the military."

A man walks near a charred vehicle at the entrance of the damaged American consulate building in Benghazi, Libya.
A man walks near a charred vehicle at the entrance of the damaged American consulate building in Benghazi, Libya.   (AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon)
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