WASHINGTON, Sept. 8 (UPI) -- The U.S. State Department denies a claim by a diplomat who says he feels punished for speaking about a fatal attack on a U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya.
In an appearance Sunday on ABC's "This Week," former Deputy Chief of Mission in Libya Gregory Hicks said he feels punished by the State Department for speaking out about the Sept. 11, 2012, attack, in which U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other U.S. citizens were killed.
"I feel that I have been punished. I don't know why I was punished. I don't know why I was shunted aside. Put in a closet if you will," he said.
The State Department sent a statement to ABC denying that Hicks was punished.
"The State Department has not punished Mr. Hicks in any way. We appreciate his exemplary service on the evening of Sept. 11. His departure from Libya was entirely unrelated to any statements he may have made relating to the attack in Benghazi, and we are working with him on his next permanent assignment," the statement reads.
Hicks described the attack, which occurred almost a year ago, on the show Sunday.
He said the mission's security agents were badly outnumbered, and that he heard of Stevens' death from the Libyan prime minister.
"I think it's the saddest moment in my career honestly," he said.