Just returned from a fact-finding mission to Libya, Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said he “left with the impression that politics was driving the security decisions, rather than security dictating what security should be.”
“They wanted a narrative that they were moving towards normalization, the appearance of normalization as swiftly as possible,” he said on Fox last night. “But that, unfortunately, I think led to the idea that we didn’t have the security in place to protect our assets in Libya.”
Chaffetz is a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, which is holding a full hearing tomorrow on the security failures in Benghazi. Two State Department officials are on the witness list.
The congressman is also chairman of the Oversight subcommittee on National Security, Homeland Defense, and Foreign Operations.
“We didn’t let security dictate security,” Chaffetz said. “Remember, in Benghazi — you go to Tripoli, about two hours to the east is Benghazi. Twice in the six-month lead-up to this attack and death of the four Americans — twice the British ambassador had an assassination attempt and twice our facility in Benghazi was bombed! No other place on the planet had that happen!”
He said on Saturday he met with “a host of people” in Tripoli.
“Never once, not one time, did a single person actually mention a video, a riot, or something like that! That’s what the administration has been telling the American people and the world, that this was a result of a video gone awry. Never once did anybody on the ground ever mention that that was a factor!”
Chaffetz stressed that not only had American personnel in Benghazi asked for more security, but their security was actually reduced.
“The idea that this was the result of a video gone awry is somewhere between patently false and an outright lie,” he said.
“Look, al-Qaeda is still very active in the region, as you said, and we have to deal with that reality. …And still we walk into 9/11 thinking that there was no actionable intelligence? Are you kidding me?”