President Barack Obama said plainly on Sept. 12 that the attack on America’s embassy in Libya was an act of terrorism, but he refrained from using that word again for about two weeks while the investigation was ongoing — a gap that’s got many Republicans absolutely obsessed.
Count Rep. Peter King (R-NY) among them. The New York Republican sent a letter to the Obama administration on Friday requesting that his CIA briefings be made public, saying that officials must scrutinize the administration’s thinking in declaring the incident terrorism. Over the weekend, the administration obliged him, showing those briefings to The Wall Street Journal, ostensibly proving that Obama told the truth.
Appearing Monday on the conservative Fox News Channel, King had a wholly new line of attack, insisting that the evidence he requested is now part of a conspiracy to protect the president.
“I think they’re hiding behind the term intelligence community,” he said. “To me shows the president did not look into what happened, did not inquire what happened, was willing to look at something face value. Why was the report at face value whether there was so much evidence in there showing it was terrorist attack. It cries out for explanation and investigation.”
King, who chairs the House Committee on Homeland Security, went on to demand that the CIA name the authors of the president’s daily intelligence briefing. “Who are the individuals or the ones the president claim gave him this information?” he fumed. “And did the president steer them in that direction? Was this is mind set by the administration that said Libya was great victory and Al-Qaeda was on the ropes and no longer a threat to us?”
A similar letter sent Friday by Reps. Darrell Issa (R-CA) and Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) demanded a “full and immediate account” of the attack, including any potential foreknowledge or warnings that something may be on the horizon. Issa, however, was said to have accidentally endangered numerous lives after he published the names of Libyans working with the U.S. in a set of formerly secret State Department documents he released last week.
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney was quick to use violence abroad on Sept. 11 to accuse President Obama of “sympathizing” with terrorists, even before it was known that a U.S. ambassador had been killed. Despite the backlash to his criticism, Romney’s stuck to his rhetoric on Libya and many Republicans have finally joined him, laying into the president over whether or not the attack was classified as terrorism.
Presidential intelligence briefings examined by The Wall Street Journal dispute that narrative, however, clearly illustrating that even the CIA believed the attacks were staged as part of a demonstration against an anti-Islamic film. Eyewitnesses of the attacks also said that individuals who participated were shouting about the movie and the insult to the Prophet Mohammed. Additionally, intelligence officials have said that there’s no evidence yet that the attack was pre-planned, or that it was in any way connected to al Qaeda.
Watch this video from Fox News’ America’s Newsroom, broadcast Oct. 22, 2012.
Raw Story Senior Editor David Edwards contributed to this report.