House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) says that President Barack Obama’s response to the attacks in Libya that killed a U.S. ambassador is like former President George W. Bush’s widely-mocked 2003 “mission accomplished” speech which suggested that the U.S had won war in Iraq even though violence was only escalating in the country at the time.
Issa, who held hearings last week over the attacks, on Sunday told CBS host Bob Schieffer that he had determined that the Obama administration had downplayed the attacks in Benghazi because it wanted the appearance that the country had been stabilized.
But Schieffer noted that Republicans had pressured the State Department to cut security by voting to slash about $500 million from the embassy security budget over the past two years.
“Quite frankly, we believe that they didn’t want the appearance of needing the security,” the California Republican insisted. “The fact is, they are making a decision to not put security in because they don’t want the presence of security.”
“This is not very Republican, if you will, but when President George W. Bush went aboard an aircraft carrier and said, ‘mission accomplished,’ I listened — rightfully so — to people saying, ‘Look, but there’s still problems and they’re still dying.’ And quite frankly, things got worse in many ways after that famous statement,” Issa continued. “We’re going through a mission accomplished moment. Eleven years after Sept. 11th, Americans were attacked on Sept. 11th by terrorists who pre-planned to kill Americans. That happened and we can’t be in denial.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MA) later told Schieffer that the election-season hearings into the attacks in Libya were just politics as usual from Issa and other Republicans.
“This conspiracy stuff is kind of ridiculous,” Cummings explained. “I’m kind of surprised that they’ve gone to these lengths, but, you know, that’s what they do.”
“Issa did admit that they did try to cut the budget — they did in fact cut the budget for security,” he added. “And I’m hoping that they will join me — by the way, in that hearing I requested that they join me in getting an emergency supplemental [funds] for our embassy so we can protect our people.”
Listen to this CBS’s Face the Nation, recorded Oct. 14, 2012.