WASHINGTON (AP) — The former head of a 16-member U.S. military team in Libya said Wednesday the consulate in Benghazi, where the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans were killed, never had the forces it needed to protect itself.
Lt. Col, Andrew Wood told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that U.S. security was so weak that in April, only one U.S. diplomatic security agent was stationed in Benghazi.
The committee hearing followed assertions Tuesday night by the State Department that it never concluded that the Sept. 11 attack stemmed from protests over an American-made video ridiculing Islam. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans died in what the administration now says was a terrorist attack.
Asked about the administration's initial — and since retracted — explanation linking the violence to protests over the anti-Muslim video circulating on the Internet, one official said, "That was not our conclusion."
He called it a question for "others" to answer, without specifying. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren't authorized to speak publicly on the matter, and provided no evidence that might suggest a case of spontaneous violence or angry protests that went too far.
It was a top administration diplomatic official — U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice — who gave a series of interviews five days after the attack that wrongly described the attack as spontaneous.