Carney: Benghazi review was 'rigorous and unsparing'

Leaks of the expected testimony over the weekend suggested the "whistle-blowers" will accuse the State Department of deliberately working to avoid categorizing — or responding to — the attack as terrorism.

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On Monday, CBS News reported that Gregory Hicks — the deputy of slain U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens — has told congressional investigators that a team of Special Forces preparing to fly from Tripoli to Benghazi was ordered to stand down by U.S. Special Operations Command South Africa. That information apparently contradicts previous assertions from the Obama Administration, which has argued that no one was forbidden to respond and all available resources were tapped.

Carney said that the Department of Defense "has addressed this" issue before, but referred further questions to the Pentagon.

On Sunday, House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) told the network that Hicks always believed the Benghazi attack was terrorism.

“I think everybody in the mission thought it was a terrorist attack from the beginning,” Hicks told investigators. “For there to have been a demonstration on Chris Stevens’ front door and him not to have reported it is unbelievable."

Hicks also accused U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice of offending Libyan leadership by suggesting that Libyan President Mohammed al-Magarief was wrong when he said his government had "no doubt that this was preplanned, predetermined" following the attack. Hicks said Rice's statement that the violence had grown "spontaneously" out of other protests in Egypt led Libya to block American investigators from entering the country.

"I firmly believe that the reason it took us so long to get the FBI to Benghazi is because of those Sunday talk shows," Hicks said.

Fox News also reported Monday that a former deputy in the State Department's antiterrorism bureau is expected to testify that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and a key aide attempted to keep the bureau out of the response to the Benghazi attack. The network said the new testimony corroborated previous information that had been given to the Oversight panel. 

Carney pointed to a statement released by Daniel Benjamin, the head of the counterterrorism bureau during the Benghazi attack, to refute the claim.

"I ran the bureau then, and I can say now with certainty … that charge is simply untrue," Benjamin said.