A new report from the Senate Intelligence Committee on the Benghazi terrorist attack drew a fresh critique from members of Congress, who said President Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton must be held accountable.
The attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11, 2012, resulted in the deaths of four Americans, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. The Obama administration’s decisions both before and after the attack have prompted intense scrutiny on Capitol Hill. The new report, released earlier today, reignited the issue.
“Today more than ever, Benghazi stands as the symbol of incompetence of the Obama administration,” said Representative Michele Bachmann (R-MN) at Conversations with Conservatives.
Bachmann said the American people deserve answers to these three questions:
- Why did Clinton fail to safely protect Americans in Benghazi in light of the decision by our British allies to pull out?
- Where was Obama and what was he doing during and after the attack?
- Why was the false narrative about an anti-Muslim YouTube video sold to the American people?
“The administration has been able to, for nearly a year and a half, cover up, to obfuscate, to prevent us from getting the facts,” said Representative Louie Gohmert (R-TX).
Representative Steve King (R-IA) said he personally was misled by the Obama administration in the wake of the Benghazi attack.
“They knew it was a planned, orchestrated attack within three hours,” King said. “This administration came to this Congress and briefed members of Congress in a classified setting, and … I can’t tell you what they said except that they told us the same lies they told America on Sunday TV.”
King was referencing a series of television appearances made by former U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice. On September 16, Rice appeared on five Sunday talk shows to claim the attack was sparked by the YouTube video. Two days later, White House press secretary Jay Carney repeated the same assertion.
While the aftermath of the Benghazi attack has generated much criticism of the Obama administration, the new Senate Intelligence Committee report focuses on what could have been done beforehand to prevent it.
“The committee found the attacks were preventable, based on extensive intelligence reporting on the terrorist activity in Libya — to include prior threats and attacks against Western targets — and given the known security shortfalls at the U.S. Mission,” according to a statement.
Heritage’s James Carafano, vice president of foreign and defense policy studies and E. W. Richardson Fellow, criticized the Obama administration for not being truthful earlier.
“I suspected this when I first testified before Congress on the issue shortly after the attack — and listed it as one of the top issues that needed to be answered right way,” Carafano told The Foundry. “It’s tragic that it has taken this long to know the truth. We have to know what went wrong so shortfalls can be addressed. This is crucial information that folks need to thwart the next attack.”
Looking ahead, Bachmann said she would continue to make sure Benghazi is not forgotten — and that Obama and Clinton are held accountable. She recently visited Libya with King and Gohmert.
At today’s Conversations with Conservatives, Bachmann stated:
It is becoming clear with Benghazi that the administration looks very flat footed and certainly inept and incompetent.
Nothing has refuted the initial reporting that showed in the entire year in 2012 leading up to the horrific tragic attack on September 11, there were multiple warnings to the State Department of the inadequacy of security on the compound in Benghazi. That was clearly known. There was much activity. There were threats of retaliation.
The question is, why in the world wasn’t the military repositioned in such a way that they would be near the hellholes and the hot spots where we could potentially have a problem.
If you are a competent commander in chief and a competent Secretary of State, you appreciate the risks and you act accordingly. This is a clear example of where both Secretary of State Clinton and the President of the United States, Barack Obama, did not act wisely on the information that was clearly in front of their face.