A senior Republican senator Sunday accused President Barack Obama’s aides of deliberately covering up the details of the Sept. 11 attack in Libya that killed a U.S. ambassador so voters wouldn’t question Obama’s handling of the war on terror.
Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, a long-time point man for the GOP
on national security issues, said he believes the administration knew
within 24 hours of the assault that it was a coordinated militia attack
and was not tied to other anti-U.S. protests across the Middle East.
According to Graham– who is investigating the attack– the administration
suggested otherwise so voters wouldn’t think Obama’s foreign policy in
the Middle East has failed.
“They’re trying to sell a narrative, quite frankly, that the Mid-East– the wars are receding and that al-Qaeda has been dismantled. And to admit that our embassy was attacked by al-Qaida operatives, and [in] Libya leading from behind didn’t work, I think undercuts that narrative. They never believed the media would investigate, Congress was out of session, and this caught up with them. I think they’ve been misleading us, but it finally caught up with them.”
After Bob Schieffer said it was a “very serious charge” for the senator to level, Graham continued:
“Either they’re misleading the American people, or incredibly incompetent. There was no way with anybody looking at all that you could believe five days after the attack that it was based on a riot that never occurred… This is the same administration that leaks every detail of classified operations that are successful… When something goes bad, they deny, they deceive, and they delay. And the truth is, we’re not safer. Al-Qaeda is alive– Bin Laden may be dead–Al-Qaeda is alive, and they’re counter-attacking throughout the entire region.
Though many have been voicing similar opinions for weeks, Graham’s allegations are drawing particular attention to what has become a major national security issue for both candidates. The attack on a U.S. Consulate in Benghazi– which killed four Americans including Ambassador Chris Stevens– has raised questions about whether the State Department denied its embassy staff adequate security, and why the White House was so slow to label the assault a “terrorist attack.”