Lindsey Graham: ‘White House Either Misleading the American People’ on Libya or ‘Incredibly Incompetent’
"Either they are misleading the American people or incredibly incompetent."
So said Senator Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on CBS's Face the Nation Sunday about the administration's reporting of what happened when four Americans were killed at our consulate in Benghazi, Libya, last month.
BOB SCHIEFFER, HOST: Good morning. Senator Lindsey Graham is one of the senior Republicans on the armed services committee, and he has been looking into this attack. Senator, welcome to the broadcast. I know you have been investigating this. Have you reached any conclusions on why the administration waited so long to acknowledge this was the work of terrorists?
SENATOR LINDSEY GRAHAM (R-SOUTH CAROLINA): Well, the facts are there was never a riot. The night in question, September 11, Ambassador Stevens was being visited by the Turkish ambassador. There wasn’t a soul around the compound. And the coordinated attack lasted for hours with al Qaeda-associated militia. My belief is that that was known by the administration within 24 hours. And, quite frankly, Susan Rice, on your show on September 16th, the President on the 18th and the 25th, kept talking about an attack inspired by a video. They're trying to sell a narrative, quite frankly, that the Middle East, the wars are receding and al Qaeda's been dismantled, and to admit that our embassy was attacked by al Qaeda operatives and Libya leading from behind didn't work I think undercuts that narrative. They never believed the media would investigate, Congress was out of session, and this caught up with them. I think they have been misleading us, but it finally caught up with them.
SCHIEFFER: Well, that is a very serious charge that you just leveled, Senator Graham. Are you saying that the administration deliberately misled the American people to make it look as if terrorism is not as much of a threat as apparently it is?
GRAHAM: Either they are misleading the American people or incredibly incompetent. There was no way with anybody looking at all that you could believe five days after the attack it was based on a riot that never occurred. There was no riot at all. So to say that, you're either very incompetent or you’re misleading. This is the same administration that leaks every detail of classified operations that are successful. Within a week, you had three stories about cyber attacks against the Iranian nuclear program, about disrupting the underwear bomber case, about every detail of bin Laden, all over the New York Times, all over the press, showing how strong and effective this administration was. So, yes, they're very political when it comes to foreign policy.
GRAHAM: When something goes bad, they deny, they deceive, and they delay. And the truth is, we're not safer. Al Qaeda is alive. Bin Laden may be dead. Al Qaeda is alive, and they're counter-attacking throughout the entire region. And the truth is that the foreign policy choices of President Obama is allowing the region to come unraveled.