The HillTube

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Obama: Investigation into Benghazi attack has ‘very good leads’

President Obama said Sunday that investigators seeking answers on the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, have some "very good leads."

In a rare interview on NBC's "Meet the Press," Obama would not talk about the investigation at length, but he told moderator David Gregory that the probe is continuing and the FBI "has sent individuals to Libya repeatedly."

ADVERTISEMENT
"We have some very good leads," Obama said. "But this is not something that I'm going to be at liberty to talk about right now." 

At the same time, Obama called the security lapse ahead of the deadly September attack that claimed the lives of four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, a "huge problem." 

"My message to the State Department has been very simple, and that is we're going to solve this," Obama said. "We're not going to be defensive about it. We're not going to pretend that this was not a problem. This was a huge problem. 

"You read the report and it confirms what we had already seen based on some of our internal reviews. There was just some sloppiness, not intentional, in terms of how we secure embassies in areas where you essentially don't have governments that have a lot of capacity to protect those embassies."

An independent report earlier this month faulted the department’s handling of security for the consulate in Benghazi, blaming “systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies” at “senior levels” for the weak security the night of the attack.

The State Department has said three officials criticized in the report would resign from their posts.  

The report has only intensified congressional Republicans’ scrutiny of the administration’s handling of the incident.

Lawmakers have called for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to testify before Congress. Clinton was slated to speak at a hearing earlier this month but sent two senior aides in her place after she suffered a concussion during a fall. Clinton has said she is open to speaking with lawmakers about Benghazi next year.