8 House Chairmen Send Letter to Obama, Request Briefing on Libya ‘Terrorist Attack’

Fred Lucas | September 26, 2012 | 3:08pm EDT
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The U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on fire after a terrorist attack on Sept. 11, 2012. (AP)

(CNSNews.com) – Eight House Republican committee chairman have sent a letter to President Barack Obama seeking a “joint briefing” about the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya, which killed four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, to answer questions and provide more clarification about the terrorist attack.

“To that end, we are seeking additional information regarding the intelligence leading up to the attack, the security posture of our embassy, the role former Guantanamo Bay detainees may have played, as well as the way forward in Libya and, indeed, the region,” reads the letter signed by the House committee chairmen.

“We are also disturbed by the public statements made by members of the Administration that would lead the American public to believe this attack was a protest gone wrong, rather than what it truly was – a terrorist attack on the United States on the anniversary of 9/11,” the letter reads. “Decades after al Qaeda attacked our embassies in East Africa, which catalyzed a series of events that led to the attacks on 9/11, it appears they executed a highly coordinated and well-planned attacked against us again.”

President Barack Obama and White House Press Secretary Jay Carney. (AP)

The letter was signed by House committee Chairmen Howard “Buck” McKeon (R-Calif.), of the Armed Services Committee; Ileana Ros Lehtinen (R-Fla.), of the Foreign Affairs Committee; Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) of the Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence; Lamar Smith (R-Texas), of the House Judiciary Committee and Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), of the Appropriations Committee. The letter was also signed by Reps. C.W. Bill Young (R-Fla.), chairman of the Appropriations subcommittee on Defense, Frank Wolf (R-Va.), of the Appropriations subcommittee on Commerce, Justice and Science; and Kay Granger (R-Texas), of the Appropriations Subcommittees on Foreign Operations.

Obama administration officials initially said the attacks on U.S. facilities in the Middle East on the eleventh anniversary of the 9/11 terrorism were in protest over an anti-Muslim YouTube video that was released last June.

Several administration officials have since walked back their claims and said the Libya attack may have been a planned act of terrorism. Libyan President Mohammed el-Megarif has said he believes the attack was pre-planned.

On Sept. 20, Carney revised the White House position, stating, “It is self-evident that what happened in Banghazi was a terrorist attack.”

On Sept. 25, nonetheless, Obama spoke for five minutes to the United Nations General Assembly about the YouTube video. During a taping of the daytime talk show, “The View,” that same day, Obama said the weapons used in the Libya attack indicate it “wasn’t just a mob action.” But the president did not call it a terrorist attack.

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

The letter from the House chairmen further states, “[A]lthough brave Americans were once more murdered by terrorists, it seems our response is to rely on a late-to-the-scene FBI investigation. Media reports indicate investigators were prevented from arriving in Libya until more than a week after the attack, but it is not clear that they have gone to Benghazi and have, therefore, been unable to secure valuable information, such as the Ambassador’s journal.”

The letter goes on to say, “this seems like a pre-9/11 mindset – treating an act of war solely as a criminal matter, rather than also prioritizing the gathering of intelligence to prevent future attacks.”

Congress went into recess last week, with members leaving Washington, D.C. to campaign in their home districts. In the letter, however, the Republican chairmen said they would immediately return to the Capitol if President Obama agreed to a joint briefing.

“We place significant weight on our constitutional responsibility to conduct appropriate oversight even when Congress is not in session and stand ready to return to Washington,” reads the letter. “Therefore, we respectfully request a joint briefing to respond to the questions enclosed, as classified Attachment A, at the earliest opportunity and would appreciate your commitment to continue to keep Congress informed even as the FBI investigation proceeds.”

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