With Barack Obama’s re-election triumph in hand, there is reason to think that the investigation into the terrorist attacks that occurred in Libya could move forward now. The president, after all, has less at risk now if there were any political fallout.
However, the Congressional inquiry looking into exactly what happened on Sept 11th when Islamic extremists killed four Americans at a consulate in Benghazi, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, has been stymied.
The David Petraeus sex scandal has enveloped Washington DC, seemingly drowning out the coverage of the Libyan attack, when it ought to be fueling it.
President Obama dismissed the questions being asked by GOP senators and representatives. In a press conference on Wednesday, he remained obstinate in his apparent willingness to nominate Ambassador Susan Rice as Secretary of State, even though she appeared on numerous talk shows stating falsely that the attack in Benghazi was not terrorism but rather, was a political protest gone awry.
Obama challenged Sen. John McCain and Lindsey Graham, who have called for thorough investigations into what transpired, and into what the White House knew and why Ms. Rice’s comments were inaccurate.
Obama said, “She made an appearance at the request of the White House in which she gave her best understanding of the intelligence that had been provided to her. If Senator McCain and Senator Graham and others want to go after somebody, they should go after me… But for them to go after the U.N. ambassador, who had nothing to do with Benghazi and was simply making a presentation based on intelligence… to besmirch her reputation is outrageous.”
The president’s statement only leads to another question: Why was Rice sent out by the White House to represent information on the topic in the first place considering she had no hand in the inner-decision making?
Sen. Graham hit back hard after the press conference, retorting, “Mr. President, don’t think for one minute I don’t hold you ultimately responsible for Benghazi. I think you failed as Commander in Chief before, during, and after the attack.”
Mr. Obama dodged a question about whether he personally gave orders to help the Americans at the consulate in real time.
So far the shifting and bumbling response by the administration regarding the motives behind the extremists who carried out the assault has not been accounted for. Mr. Petraeus, who was scheduled to testify this Thursday on the Benghazi situation has had his testimony delayed.
The Obama administration has continually refused to answer whether they knew that the consulate was attacked many times prior to Sept 11th citing that the investigation is ongoing.
Yet, in reality, the investigation isn’t “ongoing.” It’s going nowhere.
In his remarks to the press the president said there was “no debate” from him that the matter needed to be investigated. Yet it’s been two months since Ambassador Stevens was murdered and a clear picture of before, during, and after the attacks has still not emerged.
At his press conference, the president still wouldn’t answer direct questions about what he knew about attacks on the consulate prior to Sept 11th. Nor has he provided critical details about how he responded during and immediately after the fatal Benghazi attack.
Furthermore, the White House claims that neither the president nor anyone in his cabinet knew that the Director of the CIA was under investigation by the FBI since late summer–not until the day after the election.
Fix Contributor Michael Sorge is a student at Purchase College, State University of New York.