House Armed Services chair: Obama admin hiding truth on Libya until after election; Update: “Full explanation”?

posted at 12:01 pm on September 26, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

The outrage over the Benghazi attack and the Obama administration’s response has percolated for two weeks on Capitol Hill, but it’s breaking out into the open today.  Last week, the White House briefing for Congress frustrated Senator Bob Corker so badly that he told reporters, “That is the most useless, worthless briefing I have attended in a long time.” Today, House Armed Services chair Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon told Fox News that the Obama administration seems to be deliberately hiding the “truth” about the Benghazi attack, and that the only reason he sees for the subterfuge is the date in November that’s fast approaching:


Six “top Republicans” in Congress, including McKeon, have sent a letter to the White House demanding a new briefing.  McKeon specifically calls out UN Ambassador Susan Rice for pushing the “spontaneous” protest that “spun out of control” story days after the attacks, when intel showed within hours that the assassination of Ambassador Stevens was the result of a planned terrorist attack — on the anniversary of 9/11.  McKeon still has no idea whether the FBI is in Benghazi at all, or whether the “crime scene” has been secured, more than two weeks later.

Speaking of the FBI, McKeon points out that the White House response to this – and Rice’s spin — goes hand in hand with Obama’s “law enforcement” approach to terrorism.  “They still have the mentality of treating this like it’s a law and order issue rather than a ‘war on terror’ issue,” McKeon tells Fox. The letter from Republicans to the White House specifically declares that the US seems not to have learned a lesson from the pre-9/11 attack failures:

The letter, which was obtained by Fox News, says many questions were left unanswered about the Sept. 11 attack in last week’s intelligence briefing for lawmakers by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper.

The letter also criticizes the administration’s handling of the aftermath of the attack, particularly its characterization of the attack as an out-of control protest rather than an act of terror against the U.S.

Slamming the response to the attack as a “pre-9/11 mindset,” they ask the Obama administration what it plans to do to protect other U.S. interests abroad from being targeted.

“Clearly, the threat from Al Qaeda and affiliated groups has metastasized; yet we do not appear to be learning from the past,” the letter states.

The lawmakers who signed the letter include House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rep. Rogers, R-Ky., Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. McKeon, R-Calif., Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Rep. Ros-Lehtinen, R-Fla. and Judicary Committee Chairman Rep. Smith, R-Texas, among others.

Maybe the media would like a better briefing than they got from Susan Rice on 9/16, too.  Let’s see if they start demanding one.

Update: Perhaps the White House correspondents have begun demanding the better explanation. Mark Knoller reported on Twitter about Jay Carney’s defense of the omission of the word “terrorism” from Obama’s remarks about the Benghazi attack:

Er, wouldn’t the inclusion of the word “terrorism” make for a “full explanation”?


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