WASHINGTON — The star witness at Wednesday's House Oversight Committee hearing on Benghazi said that a top State Department official called him after he met with a congressional delegation demanding a report from the meeting and upset that a State Department lawyer was not present.
"I was instructed not to allow the RSO, the acting deputy chief of mission — me — to be personally interviewed," said Gregory Hicks, the fomer Deputy Chief of Mission in Libya, who was in Tripoli at the time of the Benghazi attack. He said that was the first time administration lawyers had told him not to talk to a congressional delegation, and that a lawyer attempted to be present during the meeting.
"We were not to be personally interviewed by Congressman Chaffetz," Hicks said again later in the hearing.
Hicks said that he was interviewed by a State Department Accountability Review Board assigned to investigate the attack, but was not allowed to read the classified report ARB produced.
Hicks also said that Cheryl Mills, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's chief of staff (who Ohio Rep. Jordan referred to as Clinton's "fixer" while questioning Hicks), had attempted to monitor the meeting between Hicks and the delegation consisting of Rep. Jason Chaffetz.
"The phone call from that senior of a person is generally speaking not considered good news," Hicks said.
Hicks said that Mills "demanded a report on the visit."
Spokespeople for the State Department didn't immediately return a request for comment about Hicks' claims.
Hicks also said that during a phone call with Beth Jones, the Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, he had asked Jones why U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice had said the Benghazi attack stemmed from a demonstration. Jones said that she didn't know, according to Hicks. "The sense I got was that I needed to stop the line of questioning," Hicks added.
Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
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Rosie Gray is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, D.C. Gray reports on politics and foreign policy.
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