House GOP wants State Dept. to answer for Libya security
October 2nd, 2012
01:37 PM ET
2 years ago

House GOP wants State Dept. to answer for Libya security

(CNN) – The State Department's rejection of "repeated requests for increased security in Benghazi" came amid "a clear pattern of security threats" in the five months leading up to the attack on a U.S. diplomatic post in Libya, a Tuesday letter from House Republicans obtained by CNN reads.

"The attack that claimed the Ambassador's life was the latest in a long line of attacks on Western diplomats and officials in Libya in the months leading up to September 11, 2012," the letter from Reps. Darrell Issa and Jason Chaffetz to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reads.

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The Republicans demanded answers to several questions and testimony at a hearing next Wednesday - the only hearing on any matter scheduled so far in the 35 days remaining until Election Day.

"Multiple U.S. federal government officials have confirmed to the Committee that, prior to the September 11 [2012] attack, the U.S. mission in Libya made repeated requests for increased security in Benghazi," the letter continued. "The mission in Libya, however, was denied these resources by officials in Washington."

Clinton wrote a letter in response on Tuesday, explaining that she had created a review panel and looks "forward to working with the Congress and your Committee as you proceed with your own review."

The secretary of state did not directly respond to the questions posed in the letter, but said an additional response would be coming.

"We will also address the specific questions in your letter and the document requests in Congressman Chaffetz's letter as expeditiously as possible, while taking into account any necessary measures to protect classified information," she wrote.

Earlier in the day, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the department "will send folks to their hearing."

Issa is chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform committee, and Chaffetz oversees the national security subcommittee. Chaffetz is also a top surrogate for the Romney campaign.

The September attacks claimed the lives of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three others.

The day after the incident, Clinton described the Benghazi attack and a protest in Cairo, Egypt "as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet," referencing a controversial film trailer mocking the Muslim faith which was posted online.

Some Republicans, including House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, have said the administration left out important details in their description of the incident. Sen. John McCain said on CNN's "State of the Union" Sunday that the Obama administration's response was based on "either willful ignorance or abysmal intelligence."

Obama campaign senior adviser David Axelrod defended the response, saying it was based on "original information that that was given to us."

The letter demands information on the Benghazi post's security situation, communications between U.S. officials in Libya and Washington, as well as testimony next week from State Department officials.

Among the questions for the State Department to answer are any requests for increased security from the U.S. operation in Libya, "whether in general or in light of specific attacks," as well as whether the State Department was aware of prior security threats and its response.

The letter outlines "a clear pattern of security threats that could only be reasonably interpreted to justify increased security for U.S. personnel and facilities in Benghazi."

"Weeks before" the attack, "the unarmed Libyan guards… were being warned by their family members to quit their jobs guarding Consulate Benghazi because there were rumors in the community of an impending attack," the letter reads.

It also notes previous attacks and threats against the International Committee of the Red Cross, British diplomats, U.S. posts, and the U.S. ambassador. In addition to Benghazi, the letter notes events in the Libyan capital of Tripoli.

Asked Tuesday morning whether Clinton should testify if asked by Republicans, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said, "I think that it would be appropriate for the Republicans, if they have important work to do, to call the House back into session and come here and deal with the full array of questions - domestically and internationally."

While most lawmakers are out of town campaigning for reelection, the House is in "pro forma" session and no votes are expected until mid-November.

"I think it kind of curious that they want the House to be functioning, but they don't want it to be in order," Pelosi said. "Functioning when they want to challenge the administration, but not in order to do the work of the American people."

House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer acknowledged that some legitimate questions had been raised about security issues but whether or not Clinton should testify was up to her.

"I think the leader said it well," he said. "We ought to be doing business here, not just selectively for political aims, but for the American people, not the politics."


Filed under: 2012 • Hillary Clinton • Libya • State Department
soundoff (72 Responses)
  1. independent

    They will probably try to get the contempt citation issued before the election. When the GOP has nothing else on which to build America's future, they use mud.

    October 2, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  2. An objective observer

    I guess if Issa can't get Holder then he will try for Clinton.... Just like the Bush administration knew about 9/11 before the attack on the twin towers..... GOP don't paint the DEM like yourself... Besides which your president knows how to deal with terrorists.. He is focused and methodical something you Hothead Reps aren't.. You act and then think....

    October 2, 2012 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  3. Yonni

    Hey! Congress is back in section with 9% approval rating and doing the same thing they always do investigating bogeyman and the witch while millions citizens are looking for work and a fair shot not handout (most able working people who are in the 47%) in the American dream

    October 2, 2012 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  4. cali girl

    American people want an answer why you GOP's keep your middle finger up in the air at us? Jobs bills, Veteran Job Bills, economic help, all that would help and you just turn it down every time.

    October 2, 2012 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  5. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    GOP using Issa to go after Hillary Clinton because they're pissed off at Former President Bill Clinton's support for Obama at the Democrat Convention, how low can they go. COWARDS, lock Issa's sorry you know what up. Hillary Clinton 2016

    October 2, 2012 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  6. Wake up People!

    Shouldn't charges have been filed against Bush, Cheney and crew for 9/11? You know the worst act of terrorism in history right here in the US? They were warned months in advance. Over 3,000 Americans lost their lives that day. I am not dismissing the Ambassador's death, it was a terrible tragedy. But we have to face facts, every since I was a child and probably before the Middle East has been fighting and blowing things up. Why does America have to be the world police? We need to get all of our people out of all those countries and let them handle their own business.

    This is nothing more than election year bs. This is all they have left since their voter suppression efforts have failed.

    What will be next??

    October 2, 2012 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  7. SOUTHERN HOTTIE

    The stench of GOP desperation has reached a maximum level. By the way, where are the jobs?

    October 2, 2012 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  8. Peace

    House GOP should answer first where was WMD in Iraq before tackling any other issue. We are going by sequence. Let people know how many lives were lost there and why????

    October 2, 2012 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  9. PaulCat

    .....and I want House GOP to ask for answers on where are the "WMD's". How many of our men and women died?

    October 2, 2012 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  10. sonny chapman

    This should be as Earth Shattering as FAST & FURIOUS.

    October 2, 2012 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  11. usa

    The Clinton adminsistration did not address the threats before 9/11 and that is why it happened at the very beginning of Bush's term. Bush/Cheney cannot be blamed for that. Those evil terrorists had been plotting for a very long time before that horrendous day. The Libya case is a total disaster for foreign affairs of the Obama administration. It is also disgraceful that an administration would plan a cover-up after one of our valued Ambassadors was murdered and dragged through the streets. On top of it, our president went campaigning in Las Vegas that very night!! This is unconscionable and nauseating. All involved need to be exposed and held accountable to the American people – not only for the security of our nation, but for the memory of those honorable men.

    October 2, 2012 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  12. Wake up People!

    These low down so and so's(as my granny used to say) won't do anything to create jobs but they are gung ho to jump into another idiotic investigation. Send all of these traitors home for good.

    October 2, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  13. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Far be it to blame Bush, as he was incompetent, but we lost over 3000 lives in 9-11, while Bush fiddled. Later 12 attacks on American embassies while Bush vacationed. After 4000 deaths in an unnecessary war, Bush had no remorse. Violating the articles of war made Bush proud. Bush was clueless and most Americans are aware of his ineptness. He wanted to prove that the republicans should not be allowed to govern, and for that, he is credited with "Mission Accomplished."

    October 2, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  14. Sniffit

    Scalp hunting much? Should we take our cues from Scott Brown's campaign and start doing tomahawk chops and chanting war whoops at the House GOP?

    October 2, 2012 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  15. batjones

    Oh no – Not the Darrell Eysore and Jason Chafing Show again. Didn't this play out in the Fast and Furious non-scandal? A few million dollars to track down non-existent emails and an investigation report that finds no culpability on the part of the Administration. Good grief – the Republicans need to spend the next session in the minority.

    October 2, 2012 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  16. Boo

    I still want an answer as to the WMD's and the invasion of Iraq.

    October 2, 2012 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  17. Zach

    Mud? Slander? people, we are talking about a US EMBASSY that was attacked and an administration who tried to cover it up for two whole weeks. they still do not have their stories straight about what did, or di not happen. I am not here to try to defend the actions of previous administrations, some things are simply inexcusable. I am interested in the HERE and NOW. That is what we have to deal with now. The current President is not running againg George Bush. There is little doubt who would win that one...the p[oint right now is that the man than almost 505 of the country are planning on voting for has been lying and covering up for almost 4 years now. This should scare the hell out of everyone in this country. If you choose to be completely bling to what is going on, then maybe we all deserve what will happen if this man is reelected. I guess we can all just believe the president rather than our own lying eyes.

    October 2, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  18. TAK

    Very interesting timing! I'd say the House Republicans are trying to shore up Mitt Romney's faltering campaign by casting aspersions on the Obama-controlled State Department. After all, Mitt's heinous attempts to blame Obama for our Ambassador to Libiya's death went nowhere.

    October 2, 2012 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  19. Zach

    Mud? Slander? people, we are talking about a US EMBASSY that was attacked and an administration who tried to cover it up for two whole weeks. they still do not have their stories straight about what did, or di not happen. I am not here to try to defend the actions of previous administrations, some things are simply inexcusable. I am interested in the HERE and NOW. That is what we have to deal with now. The current President is not running againg George Bush. There is little doubt who would win that one...the p[oint right now is that the man than almost 50% of the country are planning on voting for has been lying and covering up for almost 4 years now. This should scare the hell out of everyone in this country. If you choose to be completely bling to what is going on, then maybe we all deserve what will happen if this man is reelected. I guess we can all just believe the president rather than our own lying eyes.

    October 2, 2012 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  20. Lionel

    How about passing those Jobs Bills, Farm Bill and Veterans Bills. Do your job Republican Congress.

    October 2, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  21. Randy, San Francisco

    Shame on the GOP/Tea Party and Romney/Ryan for playing politics with American diplomacy.

    October 2, 2012 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  22. Zach

    and BTW, the Fadst and Furios is s scandel. there is irrefutable proof of what happened and that it was the current administration that did it. Maybe, i am just a little biased, since I live 2 miles from where the Agent was murdered with weapons that were provided to the cartel by the US GOVERNMENT.

    October 2, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  23. Ancient Texan

    The libs have no problem with four American embassy personell being murdered in Lybia and showing the disasterous Obama foreign policy ( Apologize and Appease). They are still giddy about Barack and Michele being on "THE VIEW". Now that is really important stuff...not security for our Ambassadors.

    October 2, 2012 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  24. California Gary

    Wow usa......talk about revising history. The Clinton administration did launch a cruise missle attack against Bin Laden and warned the Bush administration that Al Qaida should be their number one priority with respect to security. Bush ignored those warnings, as well as the intelligence he was receiving during the first several months of his administration. Why do you think he looked so pale and was unable to move or react when given the news of the attacks? He knew he had messed up......big time! This incident pales in comparison, but now you want heads to roll?

    October 2, 2012 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  25. HOLY TIGHTY WHITIES WILLARD

    How about an apology to Eric Holder first Mr. Issa! Until then, kick rocks.

    October 2, 2012 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
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