After a day of testimony on Capitol Hill and weeks of conflicting accounts from the Obama administration regarding the deadly Libya attack, the frustration of boots-on-the-ground employees boiled over late Wednesday.

Scathing criticism from two former security officers for the U.S. mission in Libya surfaced at the close of an already-tense hearing before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

During that hearing, senior officials continued to play down any suggestion that additional security forces could have prevented what was described as an “unprecedented” attack on Sept. 11.

But the two security officers indicated they were butting heads with higher-ups all along to try to secure more staffing.

“We were fighting a losing battle. We couldn’t even keep what we had,” said Lt. Col. Andrew Wood, former head of a 16-member U.S. military team that helped protect the embassy in Tripoli.

The State Department’s former regional security officer in the country, Eric Nordstrom, closed by recalling a conversation he had with a State official when asking for more agents on the ground. After being told he was asking for too much, Nordstrom recalled saying: