Representative James Lankford (R-OK) expressed frustration after Reuters confirmed last night that emails sent to senior officials in the White House and Department of State on September 11 initially reported that the attack on our compound in Benghazi was a terrorist attack and not a spontaneous reaction to a video.
"We keep getting more evidence that senior officials in the State Department and White House had access to the real-time facts on the ground and yet reported several different stories to the American people," said Lankford. "Which senior official was in charge of telling the American people the truth? It is now apparent that the first report of a terrorist attack in Benghazi was later changed by someone before it was reported to the American people. "
Days after the attack, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney and Ambassador Susan Rice suggested the attack was a spontaneous reaction to an anti-Islam YouTube video. The emails obtained by Reuters confirm that senior officials were told--even as events were unfolding in Benghazi--that the Libyan group Ansar al-Sharia claimed responsibility for the attack and that officials knew what was happening in Libya as it was happening.
"State Department testimony at our Oversight hearing on October 10 shed much-needed light on the security decisions leading up to September 11, 2012," continued Lankford. "But, it is unacceptable that we still have different versions of the truth coming to light surrounding the deaths of four Americans.
"In times of crisis, we need clarity from our senior officials and the White House, not speculation and misstatements," concluded Lankford.