WASHINGTON, DC (CBS) -- Hoping to funnel into one chronological timeline the rampantly varying accounts of how President Obama's administration responded last Sept. 11 in the wake of an attack on a U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, the House Oversight Committee on Wednesday will hear from three "whistleblowers" expected to offer testimony enormously at odds with the administration's characterization of a strike that killed four Americans.
Testifying are Mark Thompson, acting deputy assistant Secretary of State for counterterrorism; Greg Hicks, former deputy chief of mission in Libya; and Eric Nordstrom, former regional security officer in Libya. Excerpts of an interview Hicks did with investigators that were released to CBS News' "Face the Nation" on Sunday boomeranged the Benghazi politics back into the spotlight four months after hearings on the issue in the House and Senate.
According to Hicks, "everybody in the mission" believed it was an act of terror "from the get-go." But on Sept. 16 - five days after the attack - U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice hit the Sunday show circuit, peddling the theory that the strike began "spontaneously" out of protests in Egypt and was not a premeditated terrorist act. Rice's spot on "Face the Nation" that day was preceded by the new president of Libya, Mohammed al-Magariaf, who said his government had "no doubt that this was pre-planned, predetermined."