Robert Gates: Security Issues Key to Benghazi Tragedy

Friday, 17 Jan 2014 02:25 PM

By John Gizzi

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Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe's assertion that Benghazi is the "biggest cover-up since Watergate" is being disputed by former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates.

Gates spoke at a breakfast in Washington, D.C., on Friday, a day after a Senate panel released its report on the 2012 attack at the U.S. Consulate in Libya that left Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans dead.

Inhofe, ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, told Newsmax on Thursday through his spokesman that "the blame-shifting for the Benghazi attack by [President Barack] Obama and [Hillary] Clinton is the biggest cover-up since Watergate."

But Gates told the breakfast, hosted by the Christian Science Monitor: "For me, the issue was never Susan Rice's talking points," referring to former U.N. ambassador Rice's claim that the attack spontaneously stemmed from an anti-Muslim video, not a terrorist attack.

"It was always, 'What did Ambassador Stevens ask for in additional security and when did he do so?'" he added.

On the issue of the attack's origin, Gates said, "It sounds as though the bipartisan [Senate] report was pretty thorough."

Inhofe told Newsmax last week, "I was not a Bob Gates fan but I'm now becoming one" because he felt the former defense secretary's book "Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War," vindicated Inhofe's belief that Obama "has no respect for, and ignores the counsel of our uniformed military officers, and makes his national security policy decisions based upon advice from political advisors."

When Newsmax read Inhofe's remarks to Gates, he said he felt "my book is getting like Lenin's — you can find in it what you want."

John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax.


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