WASHINGTON (AP) — A former top diplomat in Libya says a team of U.S. special forces ready to head to Benghazi, Libya, after the assault on the U.S. diplomatic mission was told to stand down.

Gregory Hicks made the comments in an interview with the Republicans on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Excerpts of his interview were released in advance of his testimony before the panel on Wednesday.

A Libyan security guard holds a slogan, which reads in Arabic 'Where is the security for us and for our guests' at the main entrance of the US consulate in Benghazi on September 18, 2012. - AFP,Getty Images

The attack last September killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. A Pentagon timeline and a special State Department report said a seven-member security team, including two military personnel, traveled from Tripoli to Benghazi after first word of the attack.

Hicks said a second team was told not to go after preparing to depart because he believes they weren't authorized.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.