The State Department says it never concluded that an attack that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya was simply a protest gone awry. The statement places the Obama administration's own foreign policy arm in sync with Republicans.
The statement is at odds with the administration's initial description of the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi.
The assessment came during a department briefing Tuesday -- a day before a hearing on diplomatic security in Libya being held by a Republican-led House committee.
Committee Chairman Darrell Issa says the administration ignored pleas to increase security before Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed in the attack.
One scheduled witness, Eric Nordstrom, is the former chief security officer for U.S. diplomats in Libya.
He has told the committee that his pleas for more security were not answered.