In a Tuesday interview with Soledad O’Brien, Rep. Peter King (R-NY) accused President Barack Obama’s administration of covering up the facts behind last month’s attack on a U.S. consulate building in Benghazi, Libya.
When O’Brien suggested that King wasn’t going as far as former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani in criticizing the administration’s response to the Sept. 11 attack, which killed American ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, King — who, like Giuliani, is acting as a surrogate for GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney — instead doubled down on Giuliani’s remarks.
“You can define cover up any way you want,” King said. “I’m saying this administration has not told the truth, and they have told a false narrative. Now, are you talking about a criminal cover up? No. I would say certainly they were concealing and holding back facts that would have undercut their position.”
Giuliani admitted Monday that he made his accusations for political reasons, explaining, “Excuse me if being the fact that I’m a Republican, I don’t give [Democrats] as you do, all the benefit of the doubt.”
King, who chairs the Homeland Security Committee, also dismissed United Nation envoy Susan Rice’s Oct. 4 explanation for her Sept. 16 appearance on Meet The Press; in a letter to Sen. Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Rice said the information she provided in the interview was based on the “latest information” of the situation she had at that point.
“She’s saying it’s not a cover up,” O’Brien said. “If there were mistakes, it’s because the intelligence was flawed.”
King said he didn’t accept that explanation.
“Ambassador Rice reports to the State Department,” he told O’Brien. “Even though she’s an ambassador to the U.N., she’s in the chain of command of the State Department. Did she take the time to talk to people who were in the consulate that night?”
King did credit to Secretary of State Hilary Clinton for accepting responsibility for how the case has been handled, but said he wished Obama and Vice President Joe Biden would do the same.
“I think the administration has a lot to explain from the day this story broke,” King said. “Back on September 11th, September 12th, they told misleading stories, confusing stories, contradictory stories. The reality is what they said the very first day, almost every word they’ve said has been disproven.”
O’Brien also pointed out that Obama did use the phrase “act of terror” in addressing the attack at the White House Rose Garden Sept. 12.
“He mentioned terror the first day after,” O’Brien said. “It’s not a, ‘This is a terror attack,’ but he absolutely is talking about terror.”
O’Brien’s interview with Peter King, posted Tuesday by Mediaite, can be seen below.