Before he was killed, Ambassador Chris Stevens worried about security in Benghazi, the rise of Islamic extremism in the region, and being on an Al Qaeda hit list, according to media reports. He seemed to know what the Obama Administration won’t admit. He and his colleagues were not safe.
The Obama Administration was warned something terrible might happen — not that any official warnings should have been necessary to protect American diplomats stationed in the Middle East on a date as gravely important as September 11th.
Libyan President Mohamed Yousef El-Magarif has said his government was notified an attack was coming and relayed that information to U.S. diplomatic officials at least two days before the assault began. His statements are at complete odds with those by U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice who has publicly stated the Obama Administration had no such knowledge.
Prominent pro-government militia members, who aided the Libyan government in protecting the consulate, also sounded the alarms by, according to reports, raising the possibility of closing diplomatic missions until conditions were safer.
For some reason, however, these warnings were not heeded. Decisions were made that left our diplomats without adequate security. Private security forces, for example, were used in Benghazi instead of the U.S. military.
This combination of missteps created a situation where Americans were needlessly left in danger. Congress has a moral obligation to act swiftly to ensure it never happens again.
In order to do that, we must have more information. Too much time has already gone by without clear answers. The Obama Administration has misled the public, creating confusion about the true nature of the threat we face.
If our leaders cannot, or will not, describe our enemies, we do not stand a chance of defeating them. The White House has used stronger language to condemn a YouTube video than it has those responsible for the deaths of our fellow Americans in Libya.
Staying silent is not an option. Polite appeasement will never satisfy those who do not wish to live in a world where the United States exists. If the United States does not assert power, the terrorists will.
The administration’s continually changing story about the attacks and reluctance to defend America’s freedoms to the world is deeply disturbing. First, the White House, shockingly, dignified the idea that a YouTube video caused the protests and deaths of our American public servants and refused to defend our critical right to free s peech.
Every person on Earth could probably find something on the Internet that offends them or insults their beliefs. The U.S. government should never give credence to the idea that violence is a justifiable r eaction.
Officials claimed the attacks were “spontaneous” and a result of a protest that had “spun out of control.” Ambassador Rice denied it was premeditated, stating that the protest was “hijacked by some individual clusters of extremists…and then it evolved from there.”
Then, finally, the National Counterterrosim Center Director Matthew Olsen stated in a Senate hearing the four Americans were killed “in the course of a terror attack” that may have connections to al Qaeda, but that we do not have specific intelligence of “significant advance planning”.
Again, this is a different narrative described by Libyan President Megariaf, who said the attack was carried out by foreign militants who had infiltrated Libya and had been planning these events for months. The contradictory and changing stories stemming from the same events are worrisome.
It’s far past time to get all the facts. We need a comprehensive detailed report rather than waiting for various officials to dribble them out one interview at a time.
Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) and I have introduced legislation to require the Obama Administration to conduct an official investigation and issue a report on the September 11-13, 2012 attacks on United States missions in Libya, Egypt, and Yemen within 30 days. It also requires the Secretary of State to submit recommended changes to security procedures.
The need for this information is urgent and should not be pushed until
after the election. Keeping America safe is not a partisan issue, it’s
a national one.
DeMint, a Republican from South Carolina, is a member of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.