Skip to comments.Clinton fails to convince Republicans on administration's account of Libya attack
Posted on 09/20/2012 4:18:17 PM PDT by jazusamo
Republican lawmakers left a closed-door briefing with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and other officials on Thursday still unconvinced by the administration's assessment that last week's attack that killed four Americans in Libya wasn't a premeditated act of terrorism.
They're trying to cover their behinds, Rep. Bill Flores (R-Texas) told The Hill upon leaving the House briefing with Clinton, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter. Asked if they were successful, he said: No.
On the Senate side, things were no different according to Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) That is the most useless worthless briefing I have attended in a long time, shortly after the administration officials made their case to the upper chamber.
I really think they hurt themselves tremendously from the standpoint of trying to build trust," he told reporters. It, if anything, built far greater distrust in whats happening than in answering questions. It was pretty unbelievable.
For his part, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said the information provided to lawmakers on Thursday was nothing new and that lack of information has become a trend with the White House.
"From this administration, I have never gotten information that I have not seen or heard before," McCain said. Including Thursday's Libya briefing, the White House has maintained "a perfect record" in that regard, he added.
Republicans for the past week have been assailing the Obama administration's position the consulate attack was not a coordinated strike, but a protest in reaction to a U.S-made anti-Islam video on YouTube that turned violent. U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice first made the remarks on the Sunday news shows over the weekend, basing her comments on the initial intelligence available.
The administration has since started to call the attack an act of terrorism, but continues to argue it was unplanned. Clinton and the other officials briefed all House and Senate members for the first time Thursday.
I believe that it's really a stretch a long stretch to believe that all of this by coincidence happened on 9/11, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) told The Hill after the briefing. He said his opinion hasn't changed, even though that's not necessarily what they're telling me.
But Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, told reporters it was clear what happened in Benghazi last Tuesday.
It was a planned, premeditated attack, he said. It's pretty obvious [Stevens] did not have adequate security, he added.
The administration's previous claims the attack was simply a protest gone horribly wrong and current argument the attack was unplanned simply "sets our efforts back" to address al Qaeda's growing influence in Libya, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) added.
But not all Republicans were as willing to chastise the administration's lack of disclosure during Thursday's briefings. Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), ranking member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said he thought it was a good briefing.
I would disagree, Lugar said when asked about complaints from other lawmakers. I felt it was very comprehensive.
Senate Intelligence Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) also defended the level of information the administration gave to lawmakers.
I feel that we received a briefing that was comprehensive, Feinstein told reporters.
I dont believe they were holding back. I think they said what they knew," she added. "Theyre very concerned and they want to do this right and put the evidence together and make the case that will stand.
Rep. Chris Smith (R-N.J.), who helped write the Embassy Security Act after the 1998 attacks on the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, said he was confident the truth would come out even if it's after the election. Clinton announced Thursday that retired Ambassador Thomas Pickering has been selected to lead an independent investigation into the Libya attack, which is due to Congress within 60 days.
We still don't know how long it took them to put this whole attack together, does it comport with a timeline of when the movie came out ... so we're still in the learning stage, he said. I always want to trust but verify.
Carlo Muñoz and Jeremy Herb contributed.
LIE LIE LIE LIE LIE LIE LIE LIE
and it is built on a fake birth certificate
by an undocumented fraud.
So what is Congress going to do about it? wait for more scraps of fat in closed door non-briefings? House should conduct hearings.
Oh that picture? That’s just some friendly helpful Libyans taking the ambassador to the hospital.
That flag replica on his campaign site just slays me, it reflects what thugs he and his worshipers are.
Lugar, what a scumbag. I’m so glad he will be gone soon.
They darn well should have hearings and start now but won’t hold my breath.
My thoughts too when I read that, good riddance.
I wonder what's in Lugar's FBI files that makes him so gooey and pliable when he's supposed to instead represent his constituents and uphold his oath of office.
For every good member of congress term limits would get rid of, how many rotten to the core members would also be fired?
Let's find out...
the usual.....obama just disappears....
Lugar is representing his constituents. It just so happens that he hasn’t considered his constituency to be the people of the State of Indiana in decades.
This poor excuse for a president only thinks of himself. Not only appearing on Letterman but the two days after 9/11 he campaigned first in NV and then CO with the ME in flames.
Too bad Lugar wasn’t gone when he lost his primary. In that regard, the parliamentary system is better. You lose the election, and you’re gone...no lame ducks to do damage.
This would be too delicious used against Hillary.
Was Huma at the meeting, I wonder.