Maggie: Four Americans were killed during the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, including the U.S. ambassador to Libya.
In the days after the attack, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations did not link the violence to terrorism. She said it grew from a protest over an offensive anti-Islam film.
Susan Rice: What our assessment is, as of the present, is, in fact, what – it began spontaneously in Benghazi as a reaction to what had transpired some hours earlier in Cairo.
Maggie: But later, the White House did label the incident as a planned terrorist attack.
Gregory Hicks was the deputy diplomatic chief in Libya at the time. He says officials at the consulate knew immediately that they were under attack.
Representative Trey Gowdy: So, fast forward, Mr. Hicks, to the Sunday talk shows and Ambassador Susan Rice. She blamed this attack on a video. In fact, she did it five different times. What was your reaction to that?
Gregory Hicks: I was stunned. My jaw dropped. And I was embarrassed.
Maggie: For months, Republicans have been accusing the Obama administration of trying to cover up the facts about the attack which happened just two months before the presidential election. Republicans say there was a lack of security at the U.S. consulate, and that missteps were made during and after the attack.
Yesterday, a White House spokesman said the violence in Libya has already been thoroughly investigated.
White House Press Secretary Carney: The president has been committed, from day one, to finding and bringing to justice those responsible and committed, to day one – from day one – to ensuring that we take every step we can to protect our diplomats in the future.
Maggie: A government report in December said breakdowns in management and leadership at the State Department led to security failures at the Benghazi mission. And Democrats say these hearings are nothing more than a political witch hunt.
Representative Gerry Connolly: The ninth set of hearings, or briefings, that Republicans have had trying to make something stick.
Maggie: But House Republicans insist they are only trying to get closer to the truth of what happened in Libya.
Maggie Rulli, Channel One News.