Republican Rep. Lynn Westmoreland of Georgia, chairman of a House Intelligence subcommittee investigating the September 2012 attacks on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, says the Obama administration did not orchestrate a "complete cover-up" of the assault.
"I think what ended up happening, you had the State Department trying to tell one story and you had the security, the intelligence community that may have been trying to sell another story," he said Monday
on CNN's "New Day."
His remarks came after his subcommittee interviewed five CIA contractors
who were at the U.S. compound that night, the first time members of Congress had done so.
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Questions about a cover-up surrounding what led to the deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans arose after the White House initially said the attack was not planned but grew out of a protest over an inflammatory anti-Muslim video.
Westmoreland suggested it was a case of miscommunication between the State Department and intelligence agencies, which "got their communications mixed up."
"I don't think there was any doubt that they knew it was a coordinated attack," he said, noting the "accuracy of the mortar fire that came."
But, Westmoreland said, the committee also is looking into why an Aug. 11 directive told the personnel in Benghazi that "you are on your own."
He told CNN that the CIA operatives said "that they couldn't believe those guys were over there as unprepared and unequipped as they were."
"We have been chasing every rabbit that's popped its head out of the rabbit hole, and we're going to continue to do that," Westmoreland said.
He later tweeted about his interview with the cable network.
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