“An outrageous lie” is what Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) called President Obama’s comments on the Benghazi scandal during his pre-Super Bowl interview with Fox’s Bill O’Reilly. He was responding to Obama’s statement that there was no cover-up regarding Benghazi, and beyond that, that the Obama administration was sharing its best information with the American people in the days following the attack.
The Foundry asked Inhofe to further elaborate on the reasons for his indignation over the administration’s obfuscation, and his concern for American security and Middle East policy.
Dale: Given his reaction to the O’Reilly interview, what would the Senator like to ask the President if he could?
Inhofe: “While he failed to answer this question to O’Reilly, I would still ask it because it’s the question I’ve sought an answer to for several months now: If your top security advisors told you that this was a terrorist attack, why did you send then-Ambassador Susan Rice to the Sunday shows to blame a YouTube video and not even mention the attacks were associated with terrorists? Here is what some of his national security advisors have said:
- “CIA Director John Brennan, who was President Obama’s Deputy National Security Advisor at the time, told me personally that after the second annex attack he ‘unequivocally’ knew it was a terrorist attack.
- “In February of last year, the Senate Armed Services Committee held a hearing on Benghazi. There I asked former-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta if he recognized it was a terrorist attack. Panetta responded that upon learning the type of weapons involved and that a second attack had taken place: ‘There was no question in my mind this was a terrorist attack.’
- “At that same hearing, Gen. Martin Dempsey also testified that it was immediately apparent to the Obama Administration that the deadly assault on our annex was a terrorist attack. From their testimonies, we found there was unanimous consensus among the President’s most senior national security officials about this fact.”
Dale: What is the administration covering up? Just a policy failure in the Middle East or is there more to it?
Inhofe: “President Obama has failed to take seriously our national security and the growing terrorism threats throughout Africa and the Middle East. While he campaigned in 2012 that the tide of war is receding and that the core of al-Qaeda is decimated, we then had an attack on Benghazi that resulted in a U.S. Ambassador being murdered for the first time in 30 years. Since then, we have also seen a resurgence of al-Qaeda, a strained relationship with Afghanistan, and a muscular Iranian nuclear enrichment program. All of these disturbing narratives run counter to what he was telling the American people, but the most alarming reminder of his failed foreign policy agenda happened months before his re-election bid when we lost four lives in Benghazi. Despite what his top national security advisors have said, the Commander-in-Chief failed to immediately condemn the attacks and then even let our annex go unsecured for weeks afterwards, compromising any evidence for an investigation and the ability to bring those responsible to justice. As to why, I do not know.”
Dale: What can Congress and the American people do to help us get to the bottom of the Benghazi scandal?
Inhofe: “The House and Senate Republicans can continue their efforts to investigate the attacks. This should also include appointing a joint select committee, which I have supported and cosponsored legislation (S.Res.225) that would establish this committee. It would help to bring justice to those who are responsible and also ensure we learn from the Benghazi tragedy so that we are better prepared and can ensure this doesn’t happen again.”
Dale’s conclusion: The American people want the facts on Benghazi, and they have not been getting them for over a year and a half. The way the Obama administration is trying to run out the clock on this scandal is both masterful – and scandalous.
This post has been corrected.