Feb 22 2013

I will get to the bottom of what happened in Benghazi

by U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham

Yesterday, the Myrtle Beach Sun News published an editorial suggesting my efforts to get the facts on the Benghazi tragedy was “simply wasting our time.”

The Sun News is entitled to their opinion and I’m used to the criticism. But I also want to make clear to The Sun News and you – I will not back down.

President Obama must account for his handling of Benghazi and I intend to hold him accountable.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., waits to make a statement in opposition to President Obama's choice to run the Pentagon as bitterly divided Senate Senate Armed Services Committee considers the nomination of former Sen. Chuck Hagel of Nebraska to be secretary of defense, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Feb. 12, 2013.

I have asked dozens of questions of President Obama and thus far received one response. In it, the President acknowledged he did not call anyone in Libya during the eight hours our consulate was under attack. He did not speak with any Libyan officials until well after everyone was dead.

But there are many other questions I want to see answered. Who changed the talking points given to Susan Rice removing the references to al-Qaida and terrorism? Why did President Obama, for two weeks after the attack, continue to cite an obscure video as the cause, yet his Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff say they immediately knew it was a terrorist attack? Why was an American rescue team dispatched from Tripoli held up at the Benghazi Airport for over three hours? Why won’t the administration release the FBI interviews conducted with the survivors detailing the events during the hours of the attack to Congress? These are just some of the questions I believe that should be answered.

Why else do I believe Benghazi matters? First, the families of those who lost their lives deserve answers on how their loved ones sacrificed on behalf of our nation. Second, I believe Benghazi is Exhibit A of President Obama’s failed foreign policy.

Benghazi shows us that Obama’s preferred path of America "leading from behind" does not work. It shows extreme system failure within our own government and what happens when the United States tries to outsource security to a non-existent government.

I can only imagine the media response if this had happened on President Bush’s watch. I have no doubt that in that instance the media would have been asking the tough questions and demanding answers as to what went wrong and why.

As a nation, we learned from President Bush’s mistakes in Iraq and we should learn from the mistakes made by this president in Benghazi. If we do not, I have no doubt they will be repeated.

Unfortunately, the Obama administration has been anything but helpful in my requests for information. They have repeatedly stonewalled, delayed, denied and deceived on this issue.

I want to make it clear to The Sun News and people like you I am not giving up. I promise you – I will get to the bottom of what happened in Benghazi.

This OpEd appeared in the Myrtle Beach Sun News.