White House struggles to respond to new Benghazi revelations

  • Left to right: State Department officials Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Counterterrorism Mark Thompson, Foreign Service Officer and former Deputy Chief of Mission/ChargÈ díAffairs in Libya Gregory Hicks, and Diplomatic Security Officer and former Regional Security Officer in Libya Eric Nordstrom are sworn in to testify before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the September 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., Wednesday, May 8, 2013. (Andrew Geraci/The Washington Times)Left to right: State Department officials Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Counterterrorism Mark Thompson, Foreign Service Officer and former Deputy Chief of Mission/ChargÈ díAffairs in Libya Gregory Hicks, and Diplomatic Security Officer and former Regional Security Officer in Libya Eric Nordstrom are sworn in to testify before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the September 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., Wednesday, May 8, 2013. (Andrew Geraci/The Washington Times)
  • Foreign Service Officer and former Deputy Chief of Mission/ChargÈ díAffairs in Libya Gregory Hicks, center, and State Department officials Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Counterterrorism Mark Thompson, right, arrive to testify before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the September 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., Wednesday, May 8, 2013. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)Foreign Service Officer and former Deputy Chief of Mission/ChargÈ díAffairs in Libya Gregory Hicks, center, and State Department officials Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Counterterrorism Mark Thompson, right, arrive to testify before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the September 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., Wednesday, May 8, 2013. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)
  • Foreign Service Officer and former Deputy Chief of Mission/ChargÈ díAffairs in Libya Gregory Hicks, center, and State Department officials Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Counterterrorism Mark Thompson, right, arrive to testify before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the September 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., Wednesday, May 8, 2013. (Andrew Geraci/The Washington Times)Foreign Service Officer and former Deputy Chief of Mission/ChargÈ díAffairs in Libya Gregory Hicks, center, and State Department officials Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Counterterrorism Mark Thompson, right, arrive to testify before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the September 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., Wednesday, May 8, 2013. (Andrew Geraci/The Washington Times)
  • Left to right: State Department officials Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Counterterrorism Mark Thompson, Diplomatic Security Officer and former Regional Security Officer in Libya Eric Nordstrom, and Foreign Service Officer and former Deputy Chief of Mission/ChargÈ díAffairs in Libya Gregory Hicks, arrive to testify before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the September 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., Wednesday, May 8, 2013. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)Left to right: State Department officials Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Counterterrorism Mark Thompson, Diplomatic Security Officer and former Regional Security Officer in Libya Eric Nordstrom, and Foreign Service Officer and former Deputy Chief of Mission/ChargÈ díAffairs in Libya Gregory Hicks, arrive to testify before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the September 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., Wednesday, May 8, 2013. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)
  • Foreign Service Officer and former Deputy Chief of Mission/ChargÈ díAffairs in Libya Gregory Hicks arrives to testify before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the September 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., Wednesday, May 8, 2013. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)Foreign Service Officer and former Deputy Chief of Mission/ChargÈ díAffairs in Libya Gregory Hicks arrives to testify before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the September 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., Wednesday, May 8, 2013. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)
  • Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), second from left, greets Foreign Service Officer and former Deputy Chief of Mission/ChargÈ díAffairs in Libya Gregory Hicks before he  testifies before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the September 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., Wednesday, May 8, 2013. Also pictured is State Department officials Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Counterterrorism Mark Thompson, left, and Diplomatic Security Officer and former Regional Security Officer in Libya Eric Nordstrom, right. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), second from left, greets Foreign Service Officer and former Deputy Chief of Mission/ChargÈ díAffairs in Libya Gregory Hicks before he testifies before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the September 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., Wednesday, May 8, 2013. Also pictured is State Department officials Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Counterterrorism Mark Thompson, left, and Diplomatic Security Officer and former Regional Security Officer in Libya Eric Nordstrom, right. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)
  • State Department Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Counterterrorism Mark Thompson arrives to testify before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the September 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., Wednesday, May 8, 2013. (Andrew Geraci/The Washington Times)State Department Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Counterterrorism Mark Thompson arrives to testify before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the September 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., Wednesday, May 8, 2013. (Andrew Geraci/The Washington Times)
  • Vice Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), second from left, greets Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Counterterrorism Mark Thompson, left, before he  testifies before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the September 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., Wednesday, May 8, 2013. Also pictured is Diplomatic Security Officer and former Regional Security Officer in Libya Eric Nordstrom, right, and former Deputy Chief of Mission/ChargÈ díAffairs in Libya Gregory Hicks, second from right. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)Vice Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), second from left, greets Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Counterterrorism Mark Thompson, left, before he testifies before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the September 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., Wednesday, May 8, 2013. Also pictured is Diplomatic Security Officer and former Regional Security Officer in Libya Eric Nordstrom, right, and former Deputy Chief of Mission/ChargÈ díAffairs in Libya Gregory Hicks, second from right. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)
  • Left to right: State Department officials Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Counterterrorism Mark Thompson, Foreign Service Officer and former Deputy Chief of Mission/ChargÈ díAffairs in Libya Gregory Hicks, and Diplomatic Security Officer and former Regional Security Officer in Libya Eric Nordstrom arrive to testify before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the September 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., Wednesday, May 8, 2013. (Andrew Geraci/The Washington Times)Left to right: State Department officials Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Counterterrorism Mark Thompson, Foreign Service Officer and former Deputy Chief of Mission/ChargÈ díAffairs in Libya Gregory Hicks, and Diplomatic Security Officer and former Regional Security Officer in Libya Eric Nordstrom arrive to testify before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the September 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., Wednesday, May 8, 2013. (Andrew Geraci/The Washington Times)
  • Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), left, the senator who former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton yelled at during a senate hearing on the attacks in Benghazi, speaks with Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), right, before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the September 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., Wednesday, May 8, 2013. (Andrew Geraci/The Washington Times)Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), left, the senator who former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton yelled at during a senate hearing on the attacks in Benghazi, speaks with Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), right, before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the September 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., Wednesday, May 8, 2013. (Andrew Geraci/The Washington Times)
  • Left to right: State Department officials Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Counterterrorism Mark Thompson, Foreign Service Officer and former Deputy Chief of Mission/ChargÈ díAffairs in Libya Gregory Hicks, and Diplomatic Security Officer and former Regional Security Officer in Libya Eric Nordstrom are sworn in to testify before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the September 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., Wednesday, May 8, 2013. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)Left to right: State Department officials Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Counterterrorism Mark Thompson, Foreign Service Officer and former Deputy Chief of Mission/ChargÈ díAffairs in Libya Gregory Hicks, and Diplomatic Security Officer and former Regional Security Officer in Libya Eric Nordstrom are sworn in to testify before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the September 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., Wednesday, May 8, 2013. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)
  • Diplomatic Security Officer and former Regional Security Officer in Libya Eric Nordstrom arrives to testify before the  House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the September 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., Wednesday, May 8, 2013. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)Diplomatic Security Officer and former Regional Security Officer in Libya Eric Nordstrom arrives to testify before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the September 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., Wednesday, May 8, 2013. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)
  • State Department officials Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Counterterrorism Mark Thompson gives opening testimony before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the September 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., Wednesday, May 8, 2013. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)State Department officials Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Counterterrorism Mark Thompson gives opening testimony before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the September 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., Wednesday, May 8, 2013. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)
  • Gregory Hicks, the deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Libya, gives his opening testimony on Capitol Hill in Washington on May 8, 2013, before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the September 11, 2012, attack in Benghazi, Libya. (Andrew Geraci/The Washington Times)Gregory Hicks, the deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Libya, gives his opening testimony on Capitol Hill in Washington on May 8, 2013, before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the September 11, 2012, attack in Benghazi, Libya. (Andrew Geraci/The Washington Times)
  • Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), right, the senator who former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton yelled at during a senate hearing on the attacks in Benghazi, and Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), center, arrive before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the September 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., Wednesday, May 8, 2013. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), right, the senator who former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton yelled at during a senate hearing on the attacks in Benghazi, and Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), center, arrive before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the September 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., Wednesday, May 8, 2013. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)
  • Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) speaks as State Department officials Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Counterterrorism Mark Thompson, Foreign Service Officer and former Deputy Chief of Mission/ChargÈ díAffairs in Libya Gregory Hicks, and Diplomatic Security Officer and former Regional Security Officer in Libya Eric Nordstrom testify before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the September 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., Wednesday, May 8, 2013. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) speaks as State Department officials Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Counterterrorism Mark Thompson, Foreign Service Officer and former Deputy Chief of Mission/ChargÈ díAffairs in Libya Gregory Hicks, and Diplomatic Security Officer and former Regional Security Officer in Libya Eric Nordstrom testify before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the September 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., Wednesday, May 8, 2013. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)
  • Vice Chairman Elijah Cummings, Maryland Democrat, speaks as State Department officials Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Counterterrorism Mark Thompson, Foreign Service Officer and Gregory Hicks, senior diplomat in Libya, and Eric Nordstrom, Diplomatic Security Officer and former Regional Security Officer in Libya, testify before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the Sept. 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya, on Capitol Hill on May 8, 2013. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)Vice Chairman Elijah Cummings, Maryland Democrat, speaks as State Department officials Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Counterterrorism Mark Thompson, Foreign Service Officer and Gregory Hicks, senior diplomat in Libya, and Eric Nordstrom, Diplomatic Security Officer and former Regional Security Officer in Libya, testify before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the Sept. 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya, on Capitol Hill on May 8, 2013. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)
  • Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), right, the senator who former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton yelled at during a senate hearing on the attacks in Benghazi, Libya sits in the audience as  State Department officials, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Counterterrorism Mark Thompson, Foreign Service Officer and former Deputy Chief of Mission/ChargÈ díAffairs in Libya Gregory Hicks, and Diplomatic Security Officer and former Regional Security Officer in Libya Eric Nordstrom testify before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the September 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., Wednesday, May 8, 2013. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), right, the senator who former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton yelled at during a senate hearing on the attacks in Benghazi, Libya sits in the audience as State Department officials, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Counterterrorism Mark Thompson, Foreign Service Officer and former Deputy Chief of Mission/ChargÈ díAffairs in Libya Gregory Hicks, and Diplomatic Security Officer and former Regional Security Officer in Libya Eric Nordstrom testify before a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing on the September 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya on Capitol Hill, Washington, D.C., Wednesday, May 8, 2013. (Andrew Harnik/The Washington Times)
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The White House on Wednesday stood by its story that the Obama administration remained unsure exactly who was responsible for the attack on the U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi nearly five days after it occurred even though new revelations show Ansar al-Sharia’s direct involvement.

Gregory Hicks, the deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Libya and a self-described whistleblower, testified before a Congressional committee Wednesday that the body of Ambassador J. Christpher Stevens was missing for hours during the attack after being dragged out of the diplomatic post in Benghazi.


SEE ALSO: Latest on Benghazi: Whistleblowers give Congress blow-by-blow account of deadly diplomatic attack


He said a Libyan official eventually called him that night to inform him Mr. Stevens had died and that his body was at a hospital run by Ansar al-Sharia. Mr. Hicks said it was the saddest phone call of his life.

Terrorists set fire to the diplomatic post to try to force Mr. Stevens and his staff out of a “safe house” part of the post. It was a petroleum fire, which produces deadly cyanide gas.

White House spokesman Jay Carney cautioned that he could not immediately respond to live testimony from the committee but went on to say that the administration remained unsure of the identity and affiliations of the attackers, noting that Ansar al-Sharia had taken credit for it on Twitter but then later recanted.

“What I can tell you is that it was the assessment of our intelligence community that the attacks were participated in by extremists,” he told reporters at a regular daily briefing. “That’s what I’ve said. That’s what Ambassador Rice said. She said on that Sunday that extremists were involved. What we didn’t know is what their exact affiliation was.”

“As you know, with regard to this group, there was a claim of responsibility, then there was a disowning of responsibility. So anybody who pretends to have known all the facts instantly is just mistaken,” he continued. “And it is always the case that things like this require careful investigation.”

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