House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) told President Obama today that the differences between information on the Benghazi attack received by members of Congress in a briefing last month and “now widely available documentation regarding what was known at the time of the attack” is “deeply troubling” to lawmakers.
He also asked Obama in a letter today to clarify his response to the American people.
“No one in your Administration can substitute for your authority and voice to explain to the American people the strategy and policies you directed during and in the aftermath of the terrorist attack,” Boehner wrote.
“…In the absence of your 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.”
Boehner requested that Obama, bearing in mind his responsibilities as commander in chief, publicly address these questions:
- “When was the last time you were briefed by Ambassador Stevens about the evolving security and political situation in Libya? Did he make any direct observations or raise any concerns to you or your staff about the security situation in country?”
- “There are reports that military options and assets were offered to and considered by the White House during and in the immediate aftermath of the terrorist attack. Can you explain what options were presented to you or your staff, and why it appears assets were not allowed to be pre-positioned, let alone utilized?”
- “Why did the Administration fail to account for facts that were known at the time? 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.”
- “House Republicans have consistently expressed concern with your preference for a law enforcement response to acts of terrorism, and news reports have documented the limits of and the missed opportunities by insisting the response to the attack be handled as a criminal investigation. The American people deserve to know how your Administration is re-adjusting its response on this critical point, as well as how you intend to handle the detainment and interviews of persons of interest.”
- “Given the public documentation of the limits of what the Libyan government can do, it is important for you to address whether you would be willing to take actions on behalf of United States national security interests unilaterally when there is a lack of will or capacity by our partners.”
“Mr. President, our country will not be able to move on from the tragedy of September 11, 2012 until the public better understands the answers to these key questions and concerns,” Boehner wrote. “I request you publicly address the public regarding these issues as soon as possible.”