Classified Dispute Stalls Libya Hearing

“You can Google this.”

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Washington, D.C. — At a high-stakes House Oversight Committee hearing on the attack in Libya that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens, proceedings were halted briefly Wednesday during a dispute over classified information.

As Charlene Lamb, the deputy assistant secretary of state, testified about the details of the attack on the consulate in Libya, she presented a satellite photo depicting the annex near the American mission in Benghazi.

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a Utah Republican, stopped her, saying that the information was classified.

Later, Becca Glover Watkins, press secretary for the committee, explained Chaffetz’s reaction in a statement to BuzzFeed.

“The committee had been advised not to talk about the annex building and who worked there on national security grounds, and now the administration is highlighting satellite photos of it in an open forum,” she said.

But Lamb and other State Department witnesses said during the hearing that the photo was snapped by a commercial satellite.

“You can Google this,” Rep. Elijah Cummings, the ranking member on the committee, said in agreement, drawing laughter from some of the crowd in attendance.

This post has been updated.

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