The senators had sent a letter to U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice expressing concern about her initial response to the Benghazi attack. She repeatedly said the assault, which result in the death of U.S. ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, was a “spontaneous reaction” that was not preplanned.
The Republican senators accused the Obama administration of misleading the public with these statements.
“Elements of the intelligence community apparently told the administration within hours of the attack that militants connected with al Qaeda were involved, yet Ambassador Rice claims her comments five days later reflected the ‘best’ and ‘current’ assessment of the intelligence community,” Graham, McCain, Ayotte and Johnson said. “Either the Obama administration is misleading Congress and the American people, or it is blaming the entire failure on the intelligence community.”
According to the lawmakers’ statement, Rice also said in the letter, “the U.S. intelligence community and the FBI have launched a comprehensive effort to determine the circumstances surrounding the assault … .” But the senators said the administration could have done more to secure the consulate and prevent the attack last month.
“Ambassador Rice claims the administration launched a ‘comprehensive’ effort to determine what happened in Benghazi, but the administration failed to secure the scene of the terrorist attack for three weeks — allowing evidence and sensitive information to be compromised and destroyed,” the GOP foreign policy hawks said. “From beginning to end, the administration’s behavior in the wake of the attack indicates a breathtaking level of incompetence and suggests an intent to deliberately mislead Congress and the American people.”