In a letter to the White House yesterday, House Speaker John Boehner urged President Obama to provide a full accounting to the American public of his administration’s response to the terrorist attack in Libya that claimed the lives of four Americans. The Speaker’s letter comes in response to new information that raises questions about what the administration knew during, and immediately following the attack, and how it has responded to the tragedy. Here are several news reports highlighting questions raised in the letter:
- “Why the Consulate Was Unable to Receive the Backup Security it Requested” “In a letter dated Thursday, Boehner asked Obama to provide a public accounting for what the White House knew about the security concerns of murdered U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens and other Americans on-site in Libya and why the consulate was unable to receive the backup security it requested.” (Human Events, 10/25/12)
- “How the Administration’s Policy Response Has Shifted Now that It Is Publicly Acknowledging the Attack as an Act of Terrorism” “Boehner asked Obama to publicly address … whether the administration is handling the investigation as a law enforcement matter or as a military matter. … ‘I also request that you explain how the Administration’s policy response has shifted now that it is publicly acknowledging the attack as an act of terrorism and not a result of an escalating protest against an Internet video.’” (Roll Call, 10/25/12)
- “Why the White House Didn’t Do a Better Job of Acknowledging It as a Terrorist Attack Until Well After the Fact” “In a letter to Mr. Obama, the Republican speaker demanded that the president answer five questions including why his administration turned down requests for more security at the diplomatic post, and why the White House didn’t do a better job of acknowledging it as a terrorist attack until well after the fact. … While Mr. Obama made a single reference to terrorism in his initial comments after the attack, his administration pinned blame for the assault on a backlash to a video mocking Islam.” (The Washington Times, 10/25/12)
- Why News Agencies “Appear to Have Better Access to the Site of the Attack and to Individuals of Interest than the Administration” “Boehner also expresses concern about security at the consulate after the attack. CNN found Ambassador Chris Stevens’ diary at the site, prompting a rebuke from the State Department. ‘Many Americans are frustrated and alarmed to read news that agencies appear to have better access to the site of the attack and to individuals of interest than the Administration,’ Boehner wrote.” (BuzzFeed, 10/25/12)
- “…Asked the President to Provide Answers Regarding the Last Time He Was Briefed by Ambassador Stevens” “Boehner pointed to new information unearthed in recent days and weeks. He says it is ‘clear’ that U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, one of the four killed in the attack, was concerned about security…Boehner asked the president to provide answers regarding the last time he was briefed by Ambassador Stevens and if he was made aware that U.S. military support was offered during or immediately after to counter the assault.” (CBS News, 10/25/12)
- “Why It Appears Assets Were Not Allowed to Be Pre-Positioned, Let Alone Utilized” “Boehner also raised concerns about documented ‘security problems’ in the country before the attack and asked when was the last time Obama was briefed by Stevens. Further, he asked for more information on what military options were available during the attack and ‘why it appears assets were not allowed to be pre-positioned, let alone utilized.’” (Fox News, 10/26/12)
- “Whether Stevens Ever Raised Concerns to the President or the White House About the Security Situation in Libya” “Among the points Boehner wants Obama to address is whether Stevens ever raised concerns to the president or the White House about the security situation in Libya. Documents previously released by House investigators showed Stevens and other U.S. officials on the ground in Libya had alerted the State Department of increasing violence and security concerns there.” (Politico, 10/25/12)
- “How the U.S. Would Respond to a Terror Attack on a U.S. Mission In Another Country” “The Speaker includes five lengthy questions, regarding the nature of intelligence, how the administration came to believe that the attack was caused by an anti-Islamic video, and how the U.S. would respond to a terror attack on a U.S. mission in another country.” (The Hill, 10/25/12)
In the absence of the president’s “direct engagement to clarify these concerns, the public’s frustration and confusion is likely to discredit efforts to achieve our shared goals of justice and accountability for the direct assault on American interests and the deaths of four public servants,” Speaker Boehner said in his letter. As the Commander-in-Chief, President Obama owes the American people answers to the questions that have been raised – and continue to be raised – as more information about the tragedy of September 11, 2012 comes to light.
Read the full text of the Speaker’s letter to the White House here.