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Benghazi Assault Probe Failed to Hold Leaders Accountable for Security Failures: Official

A Libyan man checks the burned-out interior of the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 13, 2012. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Wednesday heard testimony on the attack that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans (AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon). A Libyan man checks the burned-out interior of the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 13, 2012. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Wednesday heard testimony on the attack that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans (AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon).

A State Department security specialist on Wednesday faulted the  U.S. government's investigation into the Sept. 11 attacks on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, for not doing a sufficient enough job in holding top officials accountable for the deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans, the Washington Post reported.

Eric Nordstrom, who oversaw regional security for U.S. diplomatic outposts at the time of the incident, said it was "inexplicable" that the State Department in its assessment of the terrorist attack did not "review the decisions of the (undersecretary) for management and other senior leaders," according to his prepared statement for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

Partisan differences within Wednesday's hearing are sharp. While panel Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) said Nordstrom and two other officials "deserve to be heard," Representative Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), accused Republican lawmakers of casting aspersions for political gain. 

Republican lawmakers have released an interim assessment that focuses blame on then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who is widely seen as a possible contender in the 2016 presidential election, the Associated Press reported.

"It looks pretty clear that there was some catastrophic decision-making that in some way contributed to the death of those four Americans. And that part I think is what the investigation will unfold," said House intelligence committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.).

Also testifying on Wednesday were Mark Thompson, acting deputy assistant secretary of State for counterterrorism, and Gregory Hicks, a deputy of mission for Libya when the attacks occurred.

Hicks said the military declined to dispatch four special operations troops from Tripoli to Benghazi in the early hours of Sept. 12, the Post reported.

“People in Benghazi had been fighting all night,” he said. “They were tired, exhausted. We wanted to make sure the airport was secure for their withdrawal.”

Pentagon spokesman George Little on Wednesday said "we continue to believe there was nothing this team could have done to assist during the second attack in Benghazi."

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