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Capitol Corner: Westmoreland Disappointed in Obama Administration's Handling of Benghazi, Vows to Continue Investigation

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More than six months ago, our consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was breached and US Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were brutally murdered. Initially, the White House tried to blame the attack on protests in Yemen and other Middle Eastern countries due to an anti-Muslim video produced in the United States. It was quickly discovered, however, that the attack was carried out by terrorists in a calculated assault on our consulate.

Since this terrible attack on September 11, 2012, five committees in the House of Representatives have been investigating, including my committee the House Permanent Select Intelligence Committee. According to a letter to President Obama from the chairmen of these five committees on April 23rd:

"Key issues in this investigation are (1) who denied requests for additional security to U.S. personnel on the ground in Benghazi; and (2) why the Administration decided to communicate to the American people that the attacks were a spontaneous demonstration inspired by YouTube video, rather than explaining the likely al-Qa'ida affiliation of those responsible."

Although these investigations continue, we have already discovered some extremely disturbing facts. Those facts have been released to the public in an interim progress report on the investigation into Benghazi. For starters, an April 19, 2012 cable acknowledged requests for additional security, but instead ordered the withdrawal of security assets. This cable was signed by then-Secretary of State Hilary Clinton. In addition, it was discovered through drafts of talking points provided to then-Ambassador Susan Rice and through emails regarding those talking points, that the talking points were altered to "withhold key information about the terrorist attacks, the likely al-Qa'ida connections, and the previous attacks on western interests in eastern Libya."

This all leads to two conclusions. First, it was then-Secretary of State Hilary Clinton who denied the requested and much-needed additional security to our representatives in Libya. Second, the White House did not perpetuate this lie about the anti-Muslim film being the cause of the attack to protect classified information. They did it to protect their own backsides.

I want to reassure you that these findings will not go unpunished. In addition, the House Intelligence Committee will continue to investigate the attack on Benghazi and both its causes and the aftermath. There are many unanswered questions out there and the president and his Administration owe the American people the truth and an explanation of their actions.


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