Tate Zeigler (202-224-5972) or Kevin Bishop (864=250-1417)
WASHINGTON—U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) responded to the following comments made by President Obama during a radio interview with Philadelphia’s Michael Smerconish.
Original question: On Monday WSJ reported that you're daily briefings said the attack had arisen from a spontaneous protest. Is it true that your statements and those of [Ambassador Susan] Rice were simply repeating what the PDBs were telling you?
President Obama: "What's true is that the intelligence was coming in and evolving as more information came up. And what is true--this is something that the American people can take to the bank: my administration plays this stuff straight. We don't play politics when it comes to American national security. So what we consistently have done throughout my presidency and what we did in his circumstance is as information came in we gave it to the American people. And as we got new information we gave that to the American people. And that includes by the way members of Congress. One of the things that always frustrates me about this town is when people go out there and try to politicize issues despite knowing that we have given them all this information."
“In the words of President Obama, this statement sounds like a lot of B.S.
“This Administration does play politics with national security. In an effort to look strong, this Administration has strategically leaked classified information about numerous sensitive national security programs, ranging from the raid on bin Laden, the cyber-attacks on Iran, to disrupting the underwear bomber plot. The President has also refused to appoint a special counsel to investigate breaches of national security, while demanding it for others in past administrations.
“These leaks have created distrust amongst our allies and damaged operations in the field. Fearful that the reality on the ground in Benghazi cuts against the narrative that al-Qaeda has been dismantled, the Administration has been cherry-picking intelligence and intentionally misleading the American people. There was no mob, there was no riot. This was a preplanned attack by al-Qaeda affiliated militia.
“I wrote letters to our nation’s top intelligence officials asking for information regarding Ambassador Rice’s sources. It has been almost two weeks and I have not received one bit of information from them. The President promised transparency, an unveiling of details regarding the Benghazi attack, but they have done nothing but stonewall the American people and their elected representatives.”