Obama Lies About Benghazi Then Does What a Good Community Organizer Socialist Does, Attacks Other Side
Obama vows to Fight GOP, Who only want answers on Benghazi after 4 Americans were killed. Is that too much to ask Mr President? And to get to the bottom of who is responsible for the utter failure that led to the deaths of these heroes ans a US Ambassador?
A turf battle is brewing over Benghazi.
When GOP Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham stepped before the cameras Wednesday and renewed their calls for a Watergate-like committee to probe the Sept. 11 terrorist attack in Libya, their longtime partner — Sen. Joe Lieberman – was noticeably missing.
Lieberman later emerged from a classified, closed-door briefing with a much different message: A special congressional committee is unnecessary — at least for now. Lieberman says his Homeland Security Committee could handle a broad investigation into the deadly Benghazi assault just fine.
Unanswered questions about what actually happened at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that night, what information was shared about the attack and why Americans there didn’t have greater security has created divisions among longtime friends and between fellow Republicans.
Further complicating matters is the fact that retired Gen. David Petraeus resigned last week as CIA director over an extramarital affair with his biographer, and some are worried the affair may have jeopardized Benghazi-related national security matters.
Maine Sen. Susan Collins, the top Republican on the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee, backed up her chairman, Lieberman, and dinged McCain, a member of the panel, for missing Wednesday’s nearly two-hour briefing in the Capitol.
Both Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, “who was there at briefing, and Sen. McCain, who was not, are members of our committee, and I know they would play very important roles,” Collins told POLITICO after the briefing.
“I do not see the benefit of creating a brand new committee when we already have the Senate’s chief oversight committee, plus the Intelligence Committee, examining this very important matter.”
Collins hit on one of the challenges of probing the Benghazi attack, which killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans. It reaches across the State Department, Pentagon, Central Intelligence Agency and FBI. And a number of House and Senate committees, including Intelligence, Armed Services and Foreign Relations, want a piece of the action.
Petraeus, a four-star general, could provide classified testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee as early as Thursday given that his agency was running a covert operation from the Libya consulate.
FBI Director Robert Mueller and Deputy Director Sean Joyce met with the heads of the House Select Committee on Intelligence Wednesday in a 90-minute closed-door briefing on the investigation into Petraeus’s affair.
Then, Chairman Mike Rogers and ranking Democrat Dutch Ruppersberger met privately with Michael Morell, the CIA’s acting director. Ruppersberger said he had “a lot of confidence” in Morell’s ability to run the agency but said Petraeus was the director at the time of the Benghazi attack and it would “help the public generally to know what his comments are.”
The full committee will meet in a classified hearing on Thursday morning with Morrell, Joyce, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, and Under Secretary of State Patrick Kennedy. Ruppersberger said earlier in the day he would wait until after Thursday’s hearing to make a decision on calling Petraeus in for a hearing, but the committee announced the general would provide testimony about the Benghazi attacks Friday morning.
“[Petraeus] is an outstanding American. He is a patriotic individual who has done so much for our country and if he feels it’s in the best interest for him to personally come before our committee or anyone else and it would help the country, I believe he would be there. ”
A day earlier, House Judiciary Chairman Lamar Smith shot off letters to Mueller and Attorney General Eric Holder about the FBI investigation into the Petraeus affair. Smith wanted to know why, exactly, congressional leaders and the Obama Administration were not notified until after the election.
Across the Capitol, McCain, a member of Senate Intelligence panel and the top Republican on Armed Services, said he heard during a recent intelligence briefing that Petraeus would be on hand to answer questions Thursday, though Senate Intelligence Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) told POLITICO the details and timing were still being worked out.
“Mr. Petraeus has indicated his willingness [to testify],” she said. “He is eager to come before the committee.”
But Graham, a leading voice on defense and foreign policy issues, pointed out he would not be privy to Petraeus’s secret testimony since he doesn’t serve on the Intelligence or Foreign Relations panels. At a Wednesday news conference, Graham, McCain and Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) — all members of the Armed Services Committee — introduced a resolution calling on Congress to create a special House and Senate committee to investigate the Libya attack. They later reiterated their call on the Senate floor.
“I think we need the three major committees — Intel, Foreign Relations and Armed Services — working together so we can compare notes of what we’re being told by the State Department, CIA and Department of Defense,” Graham told reporters while walking to his office. “Benghazi cuts across many lines and that’s why a select committee is your best hope for getting any truth.”
Added McCain: “It will require public pressure. It will require public opinion, just like the 9/11 commission did, just like Watergate did, just like all the others.”
But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has dismissed such an idea, and aides said the Nevada Democrat would not let it come to the floor. House Speaker John Boehner also said he didn’t see a need for a special committee since the Oversight and Intelligence panels were “working diligently on these issues.”
Asked about a possible Watergate-like committee, Obama said his administration is continuing to provide Congress with information and has already launched a “full-blow investigation.”
“I don’t think there’s any debate in this country that when you have four Americans killed, that’s a problem. And we’ve got to get to the bottom of it, and there needs to be accountability,” Obama said at a White House news conference. “We’ve got to bring those who carried it out to justice. They won’t get any debate from me on that.”
As for Petraeus’s affair with biographer Paula Broadwell, Obama said he had seen no evidence classified information found on her computer put America’s national security at risk.
“We are safer because of the work that Dave Petraeus has done,” the president said. “And my main hope right now is, is that he and his family are able to move on and that this ends up being a single side note on what has otherwise been an extraordinary career.”
While he had harsh words for Obama, McCain was even more incensed at a question about whether Petraeus’s relationship with Broadwell — or the Florida socialite who triggered an FBI investigation that unearthed the affair — posed a greater national security threat than Benghazi.
“I say with great respect, that’s one of the dumbest questions I’ve ever heard. There’s four dead Americans, there’s four dead Americans, not a socialite,” McCain said.
“This is a matter of four dead Americans. I think that the other matter raised is very serious and it deserves a complete investigation, but it does not rise to the level of an attack on an American consulate that took four American lives.”
Stepping before a bank of TV cameras after her briefing, Collins said she was troubled by a number of facts about the attack: the U.S. was relying on Libyan nationals and militias to protect the consulate; there were 234 security incidents in the past year in the country, with one in five taking place in Benghazi; and the vicious assault was underway for about eight hours before Americans trapped there got any assistance.
“I feel we have only scratched the surface through the briefings that we had today,” Collins said.
Sources said senators were briefed Wednesday by a number of officials from the State and Defense departments and the intelligence community: Kennedy, the undersecretary of State; Eric Boswell, assistant secretary of State for diplomatic security; Michael Sheehan, assistant secretary of Defense for special operations; Maj. Gen. Darryl Roberson, vice director of operations for the Joint Staff; Henry Hollatz, deputy director of Intelligence; and Linda Weissgold, director of the CIA’s Office of Terrorism Analysis.