At the same hearing, Republican members asked Hicks and Eric Nordstrom, who had been the regional security officer (the State Department’s top onsite security official) at the U.S. Embassy in Libya until July 26, 2012, whether the State Department;s Benghazi compound, where Amb. Stevens was killed on Sept. 1, 2012, met the department’s Overseas Security Policy Board (OSBP) standards. Nordstrom noted that they did not meet those standards or the standards of the Secure Embassy Construction and Counterterrorism Act of 1999 (SECCA)—and that only Secretary Clinton had the authority to send diplomats to a facility that did not meet the SECCA standards.
“Mr. Hicks, when you arrived in July, did the facilities of Benghazi meet the minimum OSPB security standards set by the State Department?” asked Rep. Lankford.
“According to the Regional Security Officer at the time in Tripoli, John Martinec, they did not,” said Hicks.
“Do you think they were close to meeting the standards?” Rep. Lankford asked Hicks about both the Tripoli embassy and the Benghazi facility.
“No, sir,” said Hicks.
“Now, Mr. Nordstrom, same thing to you,” said Rep. Gowdy. “And if I'm unfair in my characterization, you need to correct me. I thought I understood your testimony to be that Secretary Clinton alone was able to approve facilities that were below specs.”
“That's correct--part of the specs; certain, certain, there's two categories, SECCA and OSPB. She can--is the only one that can authorize waivers for SECCA. In this case, both apply because we didn't meet either.”
Rep. Gowdy said: “So, we are able to show that in part he went to Benghazi because of Secretary Clinton. In part, Benghazi was still open despite the fact it was below specs because of Secretary Clinton.”
When Clinton visited Libya in October 2011, according to the State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, the U.S. Defense Department prepositioned assets off the coast of Libya in case it needed to rescue her.