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Entries in Libya (101)

Saturday
Jun152013

Rick Perry Mistakes Lebanon for Libya

Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Texas Gov. Rick Perry had a bit of an “oops” moment on Saturday when he mistakenly referred to the administration’s response to the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi as occurring in Lebanon instead of Libya.

“I fear where we’ve come to in America, where our administration won’t make one phone call to save our men and women in a embassy in Lebanon,” Perry said at the Faith and Freedom Coalition conference.

Earlier in his speech, Perry referred to his brush with forgetfulness during the 2012 Republican presidential primary and shared with the crowd why he personally relates to Peter the Apostle.

“It was the same Peter whose mouth sometimes ran faster than his brain,” Perry said. “Let me tell you I can relate to Peter.

“I’ve learned a little bit about humility, particularly on national television,” Perry said. “But the fact is, God hadn’t called the perfect to go into the arena of public service. He’s called people just like you and just like me.”

Despite the mistake in his speech Saturday, Perry urged Republicans to adopt the demeanor of a “happy warrior” and doled out a simple piece of advice for conservatives.

“Smile when you disagree with a liberal,” Perry said. “Shake your head as Ronald Reagan once said, he said you know, liberals know so much that isn’t so.”

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov292012

Senate Homeland Committee Receives Four Hour Briefing on Benghazi

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Chair of the Senate Homeland Security Committee, Sen. Joe Lieberman, I-Conn., said Thursday their starting to “fill in some of the blanks” about the attack at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi after a closed door briefing, but said the investigation as to what happened during the attack still goes on.
 
“The Department of Defense did not have personnel or assets close enough to the scene in Benghazi to bring them to the scene of the attack in a timely way so that they could protect American personnel there, particularly, particularly the two SEALs who were killed about 7 hours after the attack started,” he said.
 
Members of the Senate Homeland Security Committee Thursday received a four hour closed-door briefing from representatives from the Department of Defense, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Central Intelligence Agency/National Counterterrorism Center and the State Department, one of many briefings they’ve requested to investigate the attack.
 
Lieberman said the committee is still searching for answers and they hope to issue a report before the end of the year with final conclusions. “We know a lot more than we knew when the investigation started, but our investigation will continue in a very intense, sort of urgent way 'cause we want to get it done before the end of this congress and when we think we’ve got as many facts as we can possibly get, we’ll reach our conclusion and we’ll issue a report.”
 
Ranking member, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, echoed Lieberman’s concerns about the military, citing an Inspector General study conducted in 2009 by the State Department, which recommended greater security in areas afflicted by frequent incidence of political violence.
 
“While there were physical improvements in security made in Benghazi, those specific recommendations for man traps were not built into the security in Benghazi,” Collins said. “We can’t be certain that they would have protected the compound completely, but they certainly would have slowed the ability of the compound to be overrun.”
 
Lieberman said it’s really “disconcerting” and “upsetting” to see how easily the terrorists broke through the gates and basically just walked in and set the facility on fire and began to fire at American personnel.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov212012

UN Ambassador Susan Rice Defends Herself on Benghazi

TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images(UNITED NATIONS) -- At a press briefing at the United Nations Wednesday, Ambassador Susan Rice gave a spirited defense of her actions following the Benghazi consulate attack, telling reporters that her talking points in interviews on the Sunday political shows following the attack were based solely on the information the intelligence community provided to her.
 
“As a senior U.S. diplomat, I agreed to a White House request to appear on the Sunday shows to talk about the full range of national security issues of the day, which at that time were primarily and particularly the protests that were enveloping and threatening many diplomatic facilities—American diplomatic facilities—around the world and Iran’s nuclear program. The attack on Benghazi—on our facilities in Benghazi—was obviously a significant piece of this,” said Rice.
 
“When discussing the attacks against our facilities in Benghazi, I relied solely and squarely on the information provided to me by the intelligence community. I made clear that the information was preliminary and that our investigations would give us the definitive answers,” she said.  “Everyone, particularly the intelligence community, has worked in good faith to provide the best assessment based on the information available.”
 
Rice said the on-going FBI investigation and the State Department’s internal investigation will become “the definitive accounting of what occurred.”
 
She talked about her personal feelings towards Ambassador Chris Stevens, a man she said she had the privilege of working closely with following the fall of Gadhafi.  

“He was a valued colleague, and his loss and that of his three colleagues is a massive tragedy for all of us who serve in the U.S. government and for all the American people,” said Rice. “None of us will rest, none of us will be satisfied until we have the answers and the terrorists responsible for this attack are brought to justice.”
 
Her words for Senator John McCain were not so warm, calling his attacks against her “unwarranted.”
 
“Let me be very clear. I have great respect for Senator McCain and his service to our country. I always have, and I always will,” said Rice. “I do think that some of the statements he’s made about me have been unfounded, but I look forward to having the opportunity at the appropriate time to discuss all of this with him.”
 
Rice’s comments came from questions following her prepared remarks about the Israel-Hamas cease-fire, where she said the United States welcomed the announcement.

“We are deeply grateful to those who showed such leadership and determination to bring it about,” she said. “In the days ahead, the United States will work with partners across the region to consolidate the progress made today, to improve conditions for the people of Gaza through the urgent provision of humanitarian assistance, and to provide lasting security for Israelis and Palestinians.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Nov212012

John McCain Surprised by DNI Benghazi Talking Points Admission

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. John McCain, one of the loudest critics of the White House reaction to the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, admitted on Tuesday that he was surprised that the Director of National Intelligence admitted to removing references to al Qaeda in the talking points memo that followed the deaths of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice has been on the hot seat since she read from the talking points, which initially blamed a spontaneous demonstration against an anti-Islam movie -- a claim that was later recanted by the Obama administration.

McCain said this new revelation from the DNI does not match up with what he and other lawmakers heard from intelligence officials during Senate hearings investigating the consulate attack.

The Arizona Republican said on Tuesday that during those hearings, when witnesses were asked who removed the references to al Qaeda, "all of them -- including the Director of National Intelligence himself -- told us that they did not know who made the changes.  Now we have to read the answers to our questions in the media."

McCain went on to say that "this latest episode is another reason why many of us are so frustrated with, and suspicious of, the actions of this administration when it comes to the Benghazi attack."

Rice could be the first casualty from the fallout since McCain and other Republicans have vowed to block her confirmation if President Obama nominates her to succeed outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Nov192012

McCain Wants Susan Rice to Admit to Being Wrong About Benghazi

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON0 -- Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., would like for Susan Rice to admit that she gave out “wrong information” days after the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, that killed four Americans.

“Maybe she could start out by publicly coming back on this show and saying, I was wrong, I gave the wrong information on your show some several weeks ago,” said McCain on CBS’ Face the Nation.

Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, is seen by many as the favorite to replace Hillary Clinton as Secretary of State but faces stiff opposition from several Republican senators, and McCain has been perhaps the most vocal of them.

Critics of the White House response say that the administration was too quick to dismiss the attacks as a reaction to a video insulting to the Prophet Mohammed, when in fact the attacks were later confirmed to be the result of a terror plot.

Democratic senators defending Rice point out that she received talking points that were signed off by all members of the Intelligence Committee that did not make any reference to terrorism at all.

“But it wasn’t her fault,” said Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., who defended Rice Sunday on Face the Nation.  “And to say that she has to be held accountable because an intelligence agency didn’t tell the whole story initially for reasons of national security is totally unfair.”

Attacks on Rice’s performance earlier last week prompted President Obama to lash out and tell her critics to attack him instead.

McCain on Sunday said he did not want the president mad at him, but just wanted to find out what happened in the attack.

“I wish the president wouldn’t get mad at me,” he said.  “I wish he would spend our time together in finding out what happened, what caused it, and what we need -- four brave Americans died.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Nov162012

Ex-CIA Chief Testifies About Benghazi Investigation Behind Closed Doors

DoD photo by Petty Officer William Selby, U.S. Navy(WASHINGTON) -- Disgraced former CIA director Petraeus spent almost four hours in closed-door hearings before the House and Senate intelligence committees Friday morning to testify about what he learned first-hand about the Sept. 11 attack in the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.

Democratic senators who emerged from the hearing said Petraeus' testimony supported U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice.

Rice, who could be nominated for Secretary of State by President Obama, has been accused by Republicans of trying to mislead the country by saying the attack was a spontaneous eruption rather than a failure to defend against a terrorist attack.

Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said Rice was speaking from talking points prepared by the CIA and approved by the intelligence committee.

"The key is that they were unclassified talking points at a very early stage. And I don't think she should be pilloried for this. She did what I would have done or anyone else would have done that was going on a weekend show," Feinstein said. "To say that she is unqualified to be Secretary of State I think is a mistake. And the way it keeps going it's almost as if the intent is to assassinate her character."

Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., said Petraeus' testimony "clarified some of the issues that were still a little cloudy" over the attacks.

Chambliss said Rice "went beyond" the talking points. "She even mentioned that under the leadership of Barack Obama we had decimated al Qaeda. Well, she knew at that time that al Qaeda was very likely responsible in part or in whole for the death of Ambassador Stevens," he said.

Petraeus was before the House committee for about 90 minutes, and then spent more than two hours before the Senate panel, but Congressional officials made sure that no one else got speak to or even see the former four-star general.

He was brought into the House before reporters were aware of his presence and Capitol Hill police cleared out a passage way from the House to the Senate, even requiring congressional staff to stay out of the hallways and elevators.

Feinstein attributed the heightened security to a concern for Petraeus' well-being.

"The general was both eager and willing to give us his views on this and his experience on it and that is very much appreciated particularly because of the situation. We didn't want to make it any more difficult for him. And you know, you people aren't always the easiest," Feinstein said, speaking to members of the press.

The committees had been pushing to hear from Petraeus about the Benghazi attack, particularly since he traveled to Libya and carried out his own investigation into what happened.

Rep. Peter King, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said the sex scandal that forced Petraeus to abruptly resign was not a factor in the hearing, which was confined to the terror attack that killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

"Ten seconds into it, that was off to the side," King said, referring to the scandal.

The congressman said that what Petraeus told the panel "will all be classified other than it was clear it did not arise from a demonstration and it was a terror attack."

King said that Petraeus maintained that he said early on that the ambush was a result of terrorism, but King added that he remembered Petraeus and the Obama administration downplaying the role of an al Qaeda affiliate in the attack in the days after Stevens was killed. The administration initially said the attack grew out of a spontaneous demonstration against a video that lampooned the Prophet Mohammed.

"That is not my recollection" of what Petraeus initially said, King said Friday.

The congressman suggested that pressing Petraeus was awkward at times.

"It's a lot easier when you dislike the guy," King said.

Petraeus resigned last week after disclosing an extramarital affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell.

He expressed regret for his affair during his opening statements before the Senate, but the committee was more interested in finding out what Petraeus learned from his trip to Libya in the days after the killings.

The Senate Intelligence Committee met for just under four hours on Thursday, hearing testimony from acting CIA Director Mike Morell and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, among others.

During Thursday's closed-door briefing, the committee members saw a film put together by the National Counterterrorism Center of the events in Benghazi. Also testifying Thursday were FBI Deputy Director Sean Joyce, Under Secretary of State for Management Pat Kennedy and National Counterterrorism Center Director Matthew Olsen.

The week after next, the committee will resume with two full hearings. Feinstein predicted that the committee will then have an open, public hearing.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Nov162012

Petraeus Testifies for 90 Minutes Before House Panel

KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Former CIA director David Petraeus slipped into a closed door hearing before the House Intelligence Committee Friday morning to testify about what he learned first-hand about the Sept. 11 attack in the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

Petraeus, who traveled to Libya and carried out his own investigation after the Benghazi attack, spoke and was questioned by the committee for about 90 minutes, committee chairman Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., said after the hearing.

King said the sex scandal that forced Petraeus to abruptly resign was not a factor in the hearing, which was confined to the terrorist attack that killed four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens.

"Ten seconds into it, that was off to the side," King said, referring to the scandal.

The congressman said that what Petraeus told the panel "will all be classified other than it was clear it did not arise from a demonstration and it was a terror attack."

King said that Petraeus maintained that he said early on that the ambush was a result of terrorism.  King added that he remembered Petraeus and the Obama administration downplaying the role of an al Qaeda affiliate in the attack in the days after Stevens was killed.  The administration initially said the attack grew out of a spontaneous demonstration against a video that lampooned the Prophet Mohammed.

"That is not my recollection" of what Petraeus initially said, King said on Friday.

The congressman suggested that pressing Petraeus was awkward at times.  "It's a lot easier when you dislike the guy," King said.

Petraeus resigned last week after disclosing an extramarital affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Nov162012

Intelligence Committees Hold Hearings into Benghazi Attack

STR/AFP/GettyImages(WASHINGTON) -- The House and Senate Intelligence Committees began closed-door hearings Thursday on the deadly Sept. 11 attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, with lawmakers hearing testimony from CIA acting director Mike Morell, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and others.

The hearings included the screening of video from a number of sources that captured the attack as it unfolded.  The footage also included video shot from an unmanned aerial drone.

After more than four hours behind closed doors, Senate Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein emerged and said a lot of light was shown on the situation by the testimony from military and diplomatic officials, but she declined to offer an opinion, saying the fact-finding continues.  Feinstein stated that there would be several more closed-door sessions.

On Friday morning, former CIA Director David Petraeus will testify behind closed doors about the attack on Benghazi.  The retired Army general, who once commanded U.S. forces in Afghanistan, reportedly is eager to set out a timeline of events leading up to and during the deadly attack.

In late October, Petraeus traveled to Libya to conduct his own review of the Benghazi attack.  While in Tripoli, he personally questioned the CIA station chief and other CIA personnel who were in Benghazi when the attack occurred.

Petraeus is not expected to discuss his resignation or his affair with Paula Broadwell.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov152012

Gen. David Petraeus to Testify on Libya Attacks

KAREN BLEIER/AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Former CIA director David Petraeus is set to head to Capitol Hill on Friday to testify before the House Intelligence Committee about the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that led to multiple deaths.

Petraeus, who resigned last week after disclosing an extramarital affair, is expected to defend the CIA's actions during the attack that killed U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

The retired Army general, who once commanded U.S. forces in Afghanistan, is reportedly eager to set out a timeline of events leading up to and during the deadly attack.

Spokesmen for the committee have said that the hearing will be closed to the public. Petraeus is not expected to discuss his resignation or the affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell.

Also on Friday, Petraeus will testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee, the Senate announced Thursday morning.  That hearing will be a closed session as well.

Adm. William H. McRaven, the head of U.S. Special Operations Command and the planner of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden in 2010, on Wednesday night called Petraeus "an American hero."  The praise came at The Hero Summit, an event sponsored by Newsweek-Daily Beast honoring the military.

"[Petraeus ] was the finest general I ever worked for, period." McRaven said, adding, "I don't condone what he did, because Holly Petraeus is also a great American hero."

During the interview with Charlie Rose, McRaven also touched on Gen. John Allen, the commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan and the second top military official, who has become embroiled on the Petraeus scandal for his relationship with Florida socialite Jill Kelley, who received threatening emails from Broadwell.  McRaven said he believes Allen's veracity will shine through.

Allen, a four-star Marine general, is being investigated by the Pentagon's inspector general for "potentially inappropriate" emails with Kelley, a Tampa, Fla.-area military supporter.

"[Allen is] the finest officer in the U.S. military right now, and he is a man of incredible integrity, and I think the facts will bear that out," McRaven said.

President Obama said earlier this week that he continues to have "faith" in Allen, according to White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Nov152012

McCain Skips Classified Briefing While Blasting White House over Benghazi

Mark Wilson/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Senator John McCain is demanding answers on the Benghazi attack, but his office tells ABC News he missed a classified briefing on the subject because of a “scheduling error.”

The briefing was held on Wednesday before the Senate Homeland Security Committee -- of which Senator McCain is a member -- and lasted three hours, featuring testimony by officials from the State Department, the Pentagon, the CIA and the National Counterterrorism Center.

McCain was holding a press conference demanding answers about the administration’s handling of the attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi, Libya that killed four Americans, including US Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens. At precisely the same time, the briefing for the Homeland Security Committee was happening in another part of the Capitol building.

Why did he missing the briefing on a subject he has been so adamant in demanding answers on?  McCain’s office says his absence was unintentional -- an oversight.

“Senator McCain was absent from the hearing due to a scheduling error," McCain spokesman Brian Rogers told ABC News.

Even if he had attended, McCain was unlikely to be satisfied with what he heard.

After the briefing was over, the top Republican on the Homeland Security Committee, Senator Susan Collins, was asked if she was satisfied with the hearing.

“I really wasn’t,” Collins answered. “There are many, many unanswered questions.  I feel that we’ve only scratched the surface through the briefings that we had today.”

There are currently at least four Senate Committees looking into the Benghazi attack.  For her part, Senator Collins does not agree with McCain’s call to combine those into one special -- or “select” -- committee like the one that investigated Watergate.

“ I do not see the benefit of, nor the need for a select committee,” Collins said.  “Our committee, our Homeland Security Committee has government-wide jurisdiction and a history of producing comprehensive bipartisan reports on everything from the Ft. Hood terrorist attack to Hurricane Katrina, so I don’t see the need for creating a brand new select committee to take a look at this.”

The White House had no immediate comment on McCain’s absence from the hearing, but one former White House official was quick to jump on it.

“It is nothing short of appalling that Senator McCain would use his time and influence to play politics instead of getting answers to the questions he claims to have,” said Bill Burton of the pro-Obama group Priorities USA.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio







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