The U.S. special operations team in Libya were never ordered to stand down during last September’s deadly terrorist attack on the American Consulate in Benghazi.

“They weren’t [told] to stand down,” Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey testified during Wednesday’s House Budget Committee hearing.

The Benghazi strike ended with the deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

During the hearing, Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) pressed Dempsey on his comments, asking whether requests to go to Benghazi by the U.S. special operations forces unit were denied by higher command.