House defense panel to call special forces team in Libya to testify

House defense panel members are pushing to get the U.S. special operations team ordered to stand down in Libya to testify before the committee's oversight and investigations subpanel.

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"We are working with the Defense Department to see if that can happen," a staffer with the House Armed Services oversight and investigations subcommittee told The Hill on Tuesday.

The staffer declined to comment as to how soon that U.S. special operations team could come before the subcommittee, or if its members would testify publicly or brief members behind closed doors.

Members of the U.S. special operations team are just some of many U.S. military officials House Republicans are looking to bring before the oversight panel, as part of an ongoing investigation of last September's terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya.

The raid on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi ended with the deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

As news of the attack was reaching Tripoli, a team of American special operators was preparing to deploy to the attack site, Gregory Hicks, the former top U.S. diplomat in Benghazi, told Congress in May.

Just as U.S. troops were about to depart for Benghazi, officials from Special Operations Command-Africa ordered the units to stand down, according to Hicks.

"They were furious," Hicks said during his testimony before the House Oversight Committee on May 5.

DOD has repeatedly defended the military commander's decision to prevent U.S. special operations forces from going into Benghazi.

"The fact remains, as we have repeatedly indicated, that U.S. military forces could not have arrived in time to mount a rescue of those Americans who were killed and injured that night," Pentagon press secretary George Little told The Hill shortly after Hicks's testimony.

On Tuesday, senior military officials briefed House Oversight Committee members on the Pentagon's efforts to respond to the attack, subcommittee chair Rep. Martha Roby (R-AL) told reporters after the closed-door session.

The Pentagon officials ran through a number of "different scenarios" regarding the U.S. response to the Benghazi attack, Roby said Tuesday.

While she declined to go into details on those scenarios, the message coming from the military officers was clear, she said.

"We were not prepared [for Benghazi] and that was unacceptable," according to Roby.

Congressional Republicans have prodded the Obama administration for more details since White House officials admitted the Benghazi strike was a planned, coordinated assault by Islamic militants in the country.

President Obama has come under heavy fire amid news of the stand down order and recent reports that the White House intentionally removed any reference to terrorism or the al Qaeda-linked Ansar al-Sharia from the official talking points.

The talking points, vetted by the White House and intelligence community, initially claimed the Benghazi raid was the result of an anti-American protest gone violently wrong.