Demanding answers on the Benghazi attack

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By Congressman Bob Goodlatte

It has now been two months since a group of hostile Islamic radicals attacked the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, killing U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, including two Navy SEALS. Unfortunately, today we know little more about the events leading up to that attack then we did two months ago.


Initially, the Obama Administration declared that the attacks were a response to a low-budget film produced in the United States available on YouTube that derides the Islamic religion. This was inaccurate and a reflection of the President’s terrible mishandling of the situation.


It has become clear that the attacks in Benghazi were planned. The assailants that approached the consulate were armed with firearms, RPGs and diesel canisters, all believed to have been used to set the consulate buildings on fire. In addition, the assailants seemed to be aware of the existence of the consulate’s “safe house” where Ambassador Stevens fled prior to his death. What’s worse, it appears that the Obama Administration was informed of security concerns by U.S. officials on the ground in Libya, but the Administration failed to address these concerns before the attack.


Since the Benghazi attack, the President and his Administration have not been forthright with Congress and the American people about the cause of the attacks and the Administration’s prior knowledge of security concerns in Libya. In fact, it took President Obama a full month before he even took responsibility for providing insufficient information about the attacks and the meager security provided to U.S. officials there.


I am appalled by these violent and vicious attacks against American diplomats and soldiers, as well as the President’s gross mishandling of the situation. We must bring justice to those responsible for the terror attacks and it is imperative that we hold the Obama Administration accountable. I am a strong supporter of legislation which condemns the terror attacks and demands that the President report to Congress what knowledge the Administration has concerning how the attacks were initiated and what warnings the Administration received prior to the attacks.


Especially after these horrific attacks, Congress must also be highly critical of foreign aid programs provided to countries where the safety of our citizens and allies abroad are compromised. As an ardent and long-standing critic of our foreign aid appropriations, I believe any foreign assistance program should include strong conditions.


Today we face a unique set of national security challenges as a nation. Acts of terrorism against the United States will not be tolerated. It is imperative that we remain vigilant in our relationships with foreign governments and ensure that we are effectively defending our citizens and our Constitutional values from enemy provocation. I remain committed to ensuring that the United States is prepared to overcome any challenge to our national security.