(L to R) Lt. Col. Andrew Wood, Utah National Guard of the U.S. Army, Eric Nordstrom, Regional Security Officer of the U.S. Department of State, Charlene R. Lamb, Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Programs of the Bureau of Diplomatic Security of the U.S. Department of State, and Patrick Kennedy, Under Secretary for Management of the U.S. Department of State, testify on the Security Failures of Benghazi before the U.S. House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C., capital of the United States, Oct. 10, 2012. The attack to the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012 left U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three of his staff dead, a tragedy that shocked America and the world. (Xinhua/Zhang Jun)
WASHINGTON, Oct. 10 (Xinhua) -- The American security presence at the Benghazi consulate which was under fierce attacks on Sept. 11 was insufficient, U.S. security officers who had worked in Libya told a congressional hearing on Wednesday.
"It was abundantly clear that we were not going to get resources until the aftermath of an incident," Eric Nordstorm, a former U.S. regional security officer in Libya, told a special hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform committee.
"And the question that we would ask is, again, how thin does the ice have to get before someone falls through?" he said.
The attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi on the night of Sept. 11, which resulted in the deaths of U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three of his staff, shocked the United States.
Amid the presidential campaign season, the attacks have turned into a partisan bickering. The Republicans accuse the State Department of being caught unprepared for the assault, while the Democrats criticize their opponents for conducting one-sided investigation on this matter.
Nordstorm told the hearing that he had asked a regional director for 12 more security personnel.
But he said: "His response to that was 'You're asking for the sun, moon and the stars.'"
Andrew Wood, another security officer who was in charge of the security team based in Tripoli from mid February to mid August, echoed Nordstorm's view.
"We were fighting a losing battle. We were not even allowed to keep what we had," Wood said.
"The security in Benghazi was a struggle and remained a struggle throughout my time there," he added.
Two State Department officials defended the administration against charges that the department has not installed enough security personnel at the Benghazi consulate.
"In the end, this is an inherently risky operation. We cannot withdraw always to fortresses," Patrick Kennedy, the under secretary of state for management, told the hearing.
"But an attack of that kind of lethality ... we're never going to have enough guns," he argued.
Charlene Lamb, the State Department official in charge of diplomatic security, said the attacks on Benghazi consulate were "unprecedented in size and intensity."
"We had the correct number of assets in Benghazi at the time of 9/11 for what had been agreed upon," she said.
WASHINGTON, Oct. 3 (Xinhua) -- U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton vowed on Wednesday to clear all uncertainties about the attack on the U.S. consulate in the Libyan city of Benghazi and track down the "terrorists" that killed four American diplomats.
The top U.S. envoy also advised against any hasty conclusions before the investigations are concluded, as the attack has become a hot-button issue in the ongoing presidential campaign. Full story