Graham, McCain rip Obama on delayed statements linking al-Qaeda to Libya attack

On Wednesday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said there was a link between al-Qaeda and the attack on a U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, where four Americans were killed, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens.

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“Today, more than two weeks after the attack on our Consulate in Benghazi, President Obama finally called this what it clearly was: an act of terrorism, not a spontaneous protest against a disgusting video,” the lawmakers said. “Secretary Clinton said also today the attack was linked to al-Qaeda. This is exactly what senior Libyan leaders have been saying from almost the moment the attack occurred, despite earlier claims to the contrary by members of the administration.”

Republicans have criticized the Obama administration for over-emphasizing the role protests about an anti-Islam video played in the attack.

“Indeed, that the Benghazi tragedy was a terrorist attack has been clear to anyone who understands that ordinary protesters do not bring machine guns, mortars and rocket-propelled grenades to a demonstration,” the two foreign policy hawks said.

Graham and McCain have spoken on the Senate floor numerous times, saying Obama is not the leader America needs on foreign policy issues. 

“This is just one more example of this president's failure to lead in the Middle East and how that failure has threatened America's national security interests,” McCain and Graham said in Thursday's statement. “Now is not the time to lead from behind.”