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Coats: We Need Answers on Libya


Location: Washington, DC

Senator Dan Coats (R-Ind.), a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, issued the following statement today on the eve of a closed committee hearing regarding the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi:

"More than two months after the attack on the U.S. diplomatic facility in Benghazi that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, the administration has yet to answer many important questions.

"Although repeatedly blaming the violence on a "spontaneous' reaction to protests over a film, the administration knew within hours that this was a terrorist attack. I am deeply frustrated by the contradicting, incomplete, or outright lack of responses from the administration and intelligence officials since the attack. This represents either incompetent coordination by our intelligence community or a deliberate attempt by the administration to avoid congressional oversight and scrutiny. Either way, this is totally unacceptable.

"This administration has been far too candid about successful operations like the raid on Osama bin Laden and the disrupted plot of a second underwear bomber, but has been far too quiet on the tragic attack on Benghazi. We need answers.

"As a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, I will be actively pushing for clear answers and information in this week's hearing. Some of the many questions that must be addressed include:

"Was an alleged request for more security at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi denied?

"What information was provided to senior U.S. policymakers and the President before and immediately after the attack?

"Were intelligence assessments shared with Ambassador Stevens before the attack?

"Why did the administration respond to the attack by blaming an anti-Islam video despite knowing within hours that this was a terrorist attack?

"Did the administration knowingly mislead the public?

"Did the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi request military support during the night of the attack? If so, what was this administration's response?

"What are the lessons learned from this incident that will be applied to future events?"

"Would the administration's response been different if the attack occurred inside the United States?

"While we continue to mourn the lives lost in Libya, we must not tolerate these outrageous attacks on our people and the international diplomatic community. I am committed to obtaining answers from this administration and working to ensure the safety and security of our diplomatic officials serving across the globe."

The Senate Intelligence Committee is scheduled to hold a closed-door hearing Thursday afternoon with the acting director of the CIA, Michael Morell, as well as other senior intelligence and administration officials.

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