Benghazi whistle-blowers

Three career State Department officials will testify before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Wednesday.

Their testimony is sure to be one of the biggest stories of the week.

Gregory Hicks, who was deputy chief of mission at the U.S. Embassy in Libya at the time of the Sept. 11 attacks there, will address lawmakers on Wednesday in an open session. 

 Mark Thompson and Eric Nordstrom will also appear before the committee. Thompson, an ex-Marine, is acting deputy assistant secretary for counterterrorism. Nordstrom, who has previously testified on the attacks that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, is a former regional security officer in Libya. 

 The White House has noted that the State Department inspector general has completed a report on Benghazi, but it does not include information that has surfaced over the last couple of days.

 In testimony that was released this week, Hicks told congressional investigators that the Obama administration could have saved the lives of its diplomats.

 “I believe that if we had been able to scramble a fighter or aircraft or two over Benghazi as quickly as possible after the attack commenced, I believe there would not have been a mortar attack on the annex in the morning because I believe the Libyans would have split,” Hicks said. “They would have been scared to death that we would have gotten a laser on them and killed them.”

 Hicks was dumbfounded with the Obama administration’s hesitance to label the assault a terrorist attack, and criticized how United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice characterized the deadly incidents to the media. 

 At the time of Stevens’s death, Hicks became the highest-ranking U.S. diplomat in Libya. His leaked testimony has already added a new chapter to the attacks and the administration’s response to them.