By Meghashyam Mali - 10/09/12 01:31 PM EDT
“I’ve been diving into this, I’ve talked to the people who are going to testify, I’ve been on the ground in Libya, that’s my impression,” he said.
Republican lawmakers have questioned the administration’s efforts to protect diplomats in Libya before an attack on the Benghazi compound on Sept. 11 of this year killed four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
The House Oversight Committee will hold hearings about the attack on Wednesday after whistleblowers came forward alleging that the State Department rejected requests for additional security for U.S. installations overseas.
Chaffetz said there were multiple warning signs that should have cautioned the administration to retain heightened security measures.
“You’ve got to understand this was a very tumultuous situation; twice in the lead-up to this, to their attack on 9/11 , our compound in Benghazi was bombed. Twice the British ambassador had an assassination attempt. We were moving into 9/11 and now the White House wants to say we had no direct information, no actionable intelligence — are you kidding me?” said Chaffetz.
“Between the White House and the State Department ... they need to interact together, clean up the statements that they’ve made, fix these problems so they never, ever happen again,” he said.
Chaffetz also had sharp words for U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice, saying that her comments initially blaming the Benghazi attack on anti-American protests sparked by an anti-Islam video were “somewhere between an outrageous lie and total falsehood.”
The administration initially blamed the assault on a spontaneous protest, but later said that subsequent intelligence suggested the violence was planned.