South Carolina’s U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham is accusing the State Department, and more specifically the Obama Administration, of misleading the public on the September 11 attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.
Graham said the Obama administration was told shortly after the incident occurred that the attacks were terrorist-related and not a riot in response to an internet video that was offensive to Muslims.
“Patrick Kennedy from the State Department briefed congressional staffers the day after the attack saying it was a terrorist attack,” he said. “The next day after she was on your show, the counterterrorist deputy said it was a terrorist attack, and the President after that went on national TV, The View and David Letterman, talking about we’re not sure if this was inspired by a hateful video.”
Graham said the situation in Libya looks more and more like the results of a policy that is failing. “If it is true that it was an al-Qaeda-inspired attack… involving heavy weapons that lasted six to eight hours, when our embassy consulate was so exposed and their numerous requests were denied to reinforce it; it is ‘Exhibit A’ of a failed foreign policy.”Democrats accuse Republicans of trying to gain political points from a serious and tragic situation. Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings also appeared on “Face the Nation” Sunday. He said a Republican-controlled House Oversight committee rushed into an investigation for what he believed were political reasons. He said the committee had not had a classified briefing on the attack. “We will get the answers, but the way we are doing it, I think, is basically based on a campaign schedule trying to give Romney some talking points.”
Graham, a Republican, said he has seen similar mixed messages and signals of settling in the volatile Middle East from the most recent GOP administration. “I’ve seen this movie before. I went to Iraq in 2004 and everybody told me that things were going fine, this is just a few dead-enders; (but in fact) Iraq was falling apart and you couldn’t get the truth from the Bush Administration. The Middle East is falling apart and they’re trying to spin what happened in Libya because the truth of the matter is al-Qaeda is alive and well and counterattacking Iraq.”