UPDATES: Benghazi Whistleblowers Testify on Capitol Hill
The hearings of Benghazi whistleblowers is underway on Capitol Hill, where the witnesses are expected to detail what happened during the September 11, 2012 terror attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Four people were killed, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.
We'll be posting live updates of the hearings as they proceed. Refresh this page for the latest.
2:05p ET: Democratic congressman William Clay blamed congressional budget cuts for the terror attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi. He cited the fact that House Republicans voted in 2011 to cut the administration’s request for embassy security funding by $128 million.
2:00p ET: At today's Benghazi whistleblower hearing, Democrat Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D.C.) pressed Mark Thompson, State Department Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for Counterterrorism, on a recent report that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tried to cut counterterrorism officials out of the loop following the Sept. 2012 Benghazi attack based on political reasons. "I do not politicize my job, Madam. I have served under three presidents," he said. Watch the video.
1:35p ET: Rep. Jason Chaffetz became emotional in questioning Hicks on the military being told to stand down after the attack on the Consulate. Watch the video here.
1:15p ET: Mark Thompson just responded to a question, saying that the Counterterrorism Bureau was not "cut out" of Benghazi response.
12:57p ET: Rep. Trey Gowdy became impassioned in questioning Gregory Hicks, saying, "For my colleagues who like to trumpet bi-partisanship, this would be wonderful time to prove it," he said. Gowdy read an excerpt from a letter sent on September 12, the day after the Benghazi attack and several days before Amb. Rice's TV appearance, that included the assertion that "the group that conducted the attacks is affiliated with Islamic terrorists."
12:45p ET: Gregory Hicks testified that the body of Ambassador Chris Stevens, once recovered, was taken to a hospital that he says was under the control a group that is a part of Al Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula.
12:30p ET: Watch the video of an emotional Eric Nordstrom getting choked up moments ago during his opening statement.
12:28p ET: Gregory Hicks continues to give a detailed rundown of the events of September 11, 2012 in Benghazi, saying that he briefed Secretary Clinton mostly about the search for Amb. Stevens and what the team on the ground would do after the attack. He went on to say that at 3 a.m., he received a phone call from the prime minister of Libya, saying it was the saddest phone call he'd ever received in his life, with the prime minister telling him Amb. Stevens had passed away.
12:25p ET: Rep. Elijah Cummings takes on Issa in opening statement, saying that "what’s occurred over the past two weeks is a full-scale media campaign that is not designed to investigate what happened in a responsible and bipartisan manner, but rather to launch unfounded accusations and to smear public officials.” We've got the video of the full statement HERE.
12:10p ET: Eric Nordstrom became emotional during his opening statement, breaking up several times as he told the House panel that "the committee's labors to determine what happened prior, during, and after the attack matter. It matters to me personally; it matters to my colleagues, to my colleagues ...[breaks up] ... It matters to the American public, whom we serve, and most importantly ...[breaks up again]... it matters to the friends and family of Amb. Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods who were murdered on September 11, 2012."
Stay tuned for the video of the emotional remarks.
12:00p ET: See photos of the whistleblowers as the hearings get underway by clicking HERE.
11:49a ET: Rep. Cummings is giving fiery opening remarks, saying in part, "today’s hearing is not the full story..." Stay tuned for video.
11:38a ET: Rep. Darrell Issa is making opening statements at the Benghazi hearings.