Lieberman: Committee ‘Officially Opened’ Probe Into Benghazi Attack
STAMFORD, Conn. (WTIC/AP) – Joe Lieberman, Conn. senator and head of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, said that his committee has launched a formal investigation into the Sept. 11 attack on U.S. diplomats in Benghazi, Libya.
Lieberman, while talking on WTIC 1080′s “John Rowland Show,” mentioned that he has “more questions still than answers” regarding the incident that resulted in the death of U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other members of the diplomatic mission.
“Since [the attack], of course, we’ve had all the questions about who knew what, who decided not to provide security, … why didn’t [the administration] know earlier that, in fact, there was no demonstration at the mission in Benghazi,” he said on the air. “And this led [Maine senator] Susan Collins … to open up a formal investigation.”
Much speculation has occurred surrounding the amount of security at the U.S. consulate in Libya. The administration of President Barack Obama has also received a significant amount of criticism regarding their early response to the attack.
In statements immediately after the incident, neither Obama nor Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton mentioned terrorism, though Obama referred to “acts of terror” in his Rose Garden statement the morning after the assault. Both Obama and Clinton gave credence to the notion that the attack was related to protests about the privately made anti-Islam video.
“Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet,” Clinton said on the night of the attack. “The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. Our commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation. But let me be clear: There is never any justification for violent acts of this kind.”
The day after the attacks, State Department officials described them in a conference call with reporters. They outlined a prolonged assault that involved attacks on two different buildings at the Benghazi consulate, with Stevens and other officials trying to escape from one building only to be pinned down by gunfire in another.
Five days after the attack, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice said her best information at the time was that it stemmed from a protest that became violent.
Lieberman said during the radio interview that he and Collins are preparing a series of questions to probe further into the matter, that will be directed at multiple high-ranking officials and government bodies, including the White House, the Department of Defense, and Clinton herself.
“I would not be surprised, based on what we get, that we’ll be holding some hearings ourselves on what happened in Benghazi, [to find out] who’s responsible, and what we can do to make sure nothing like this ever happens again,” he added.
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