Friday, September 28, 2012
Senate Democrats join Republicans demanding answers on Benghazi attack
◼ A White House that claims to always want both parties to work together is starting to see its wish come to fruition, just not in a manner they’d prefer. The search for accurate information regarding the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi is becoming a bi-partisan affair: - Doug Powers
The Obama administration clearly had been hoping that the Libya attack would fade in the public's consciousness, said James Carafano, a defense expert at the conservative Heritage Foundation. With congressional Democrats now also questioning how events unfolded, however, that's not likely to happen.
"Their hope was that on Monday, when the facts started to come out, everyone would have moved on, and that was a miscalculation on their part," Carafano said. "The one thing you can't do is have people intentionally lying to Congress or withholding information from Congress and then think you are not going to pay a price for that."
◼ Dems join chorus questioning Obama on attack - Susan Ferrechio/Washington Examiner
Senate Democrats joined Republicans Thursday in questioning the Obama administration’s handling of the fatal Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya and why the administration refused for days to acknowledge that it was a terrorist attack linked to al Qaeda.
The Senate Foreign Relations Committee, chaired by Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., circulated a bipartisan letter addressed to Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides, asking for an “accounting of the attacks against U.S. missions in Egypt, Libya and Yemen,” according to a copy obtained by The Washington Examiner.
The lawmakers are also demanding to know whether the administration had any advance warnings of the Libyan attack and, if so, whether it had shared that information with U.S. personnel on the ground.
The letter marks the first time congressional Democrats have so directly expressed their dissatisfaction with the administration’s response to inquiries about the attacks, which resulted in the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three others and raised questions about U.S. security throughout the Middle East and Northern Africa.
◼ Senators Demand Answers: Why Did Susan Rice Insist Video Caused Benghazi Attack? - CNS News
Timeline of administration statements two weeks ago:
Sept. 14 (late morning): White House press secretary Jay Carney tells a daily press briefing: “Let’s be clear, these protests were in reaction to a video that had spread to the region.” Asked whether that applied to Benghazi, he replied, “We certainly don't know. We don’t know otherwise. We have no information to suggest that it was a preplanned attack.”
Carney went on during that briefing to say repeatedly that the violence was a response to the video:
--“It is in response to a video, a film that we have judged to be reprehensible and disgusting.”
--“This is in response to a video that is offensive to Muslims.”
--“The unrest we’ve seen around the region has been in reaction to a video that Muslims, many Muslims find offensive.”
--“Again, what we have seen is unrest around the region in response to a video that Muslims find offensive.”
--“The reason why there is unrest is because of the film; this is in response to the film.”
--“But the unrest that we’ve seen is in reaction to a film with which the United States government had no involvement.”
Sept. 14 (late afternoon): State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland tells a daily press briefing: “I am going to frustrate all of you infinitely by telling you that now that we have an open FBI investigation on the death of these four Americans, we are not going to be in a position to talk at all about what the U.S. government may or may not be learning about how any of this happened – not who they were, not how they happened, not what happened to Ambassador Stevens, not any of it – until the Justice Department is ready to talk about the investigation that it’s got.
“So I’m going to send you to the FBI on any of those kinds of questions, and they’re probably not going to talk to you about them while the investigation is open.”
Sept. 16: Rice does the round of Sunday talk shows:
On ABC’s This Week:
“First of all, It's important to know that there’s an FBI investigation that has begun and will take some time to be completed. That will tell us with certainty what transpired. But our current best assessment, based on the information that we have at present, is that, in fact, what this began as, it was a spontaneous – not a premeditated – response to what had transpired in Cairo. In Cairo, as you know, a few hours earlier, there was a violent protest that was undertaken in reaction to this very offensive video that was disseminated.
“… What happened this week in Cairo, in Benghazi, in many other parts of the region was a result – a direct result of a heinous and offensive video that was widely disseminated, that the U.S. government had nothing to do with, which we have made clear is reprehensible and disgusting.”
On CBS’ Face the Nation:
“Based on the best information we have to date, what our assessment is as of the present is in fact what began spontaneously in Benghazi as a reaction to what had transpired some hours earlier in Cairo where, of course, as you know, there was a violent protest outside of our embassy – sparked by this hateful video. But soon after that spontaneous protest began outside of our consulate in Benghazi, we believe that it looks like extremist elements, individuals, joined in that – in that effort with heavy weapons of the sort that are, unfortunately, readily now available in Libya post-revolution. And that it spun from there into something much, much more violent ... We do not have information at present that leads us to conclude that this was premeditated or preplanned.”
On NBC’s Meet the Press:
“Putting together the best information that we have available to us today our current assessment is that what happened in Benghazi was in fact initially a spontaneous reaction to what had just transpired hours before in Cairo, almost a copycat of – of the demonstrations against our facility in Cairo, which were prompted, of course, by the video. What we think then transpired in Benghazi is that opportunistic extremist elements came to the consulate as this was unfolding.”
On Fox News Sunday:
“But what sparked the recent violence was the airing on the Internet of a very hateful very offensive video that has offended many people around the world.”
Sept. 17: Nuland tells a press briefing: “Ambassador Rice outranks me, as does my own boss, so she is often at liberty to say more than I am … the comments that Ambassador Rice made accurately reflect our government’s initial assessment.”