Published June 17, 2013
For the second time since the Sept. 11, 2012 Benghazi attacks, the four-star general in charge of U.S. military assets in the Africa region will testify before Congress about what happened that night.
The hearing has been scheduled for June 26 at 9:00 a.m. ET and will be held by the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.
Although the hearing will be closed to the public, retired Gen. Carter Ham will be questioned about his oversight of military assets in the region while dozens of Americans battled extremists for nearly eight hours in Benghazi on Sept. 11 and 12 . No U.S. military assets other than an unarmed drone were ever provided to assist in the fight.
At the time of the attack Ham was serving as Commander of AFRICOM and happened to be in Washington D.C. for meetings. He spent much of the night in the National Military Command Center, a basement office and war operations center in the Pentagon.
Ham's retirement was announced just weeks after the incident, sparking rumors that he was being pushed aside after having expressed his desire for a more aggressive military response. It’s a claim that Ham and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Gen. Martin Dempsey, have strongly denied.
Ham previously provided closed-door testimony in March on the Benghazi attacks to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.
Lt. Col. Steve "Hoot" Gibson and RADM Brian Losey are also scheduled to testify next Wednesday. Gibson is the Army lieutenant colonel who was in charge of a small group of special operators that, according to Deputy Chief of Mission Greg Hicks, received "stand down" orders after requesting to move from Tripoli to Benghazi on Sept. 12. RADM Brian Losey is the former Special Operations Commander for Africa who is said to have administered those orders.
Losey was stationed at AFRICOM's headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany on the night of the attack. In addition asking about his alleged “stand down” orders, lawmakers will likely ask why his team of European-based special operators known as the CIF, or Commanders in Extremis Force, was not available to go to Benghazi sooner. Though they deployed that night, the team only made it as far as a staging base in Sigonella, Italy.