Rep. Blake Farenthold, a member of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, tells Newsmax that allowing weapons intended for Libyan rebels to fall into the hands of jihadists indicates a “fundamental flaw” in our foreign policy.
The Texas Republican also discloses that at a briefing with intelligence officials regarding the Benghazi fiasco, members of Congress expressed dissatisfaction with how events were “inaccurately related to the American people.”
And he states that he would not vote to confirm Susan Rice as secretary of State because the post requires someone who is “above reproach.”
Farenthold was first elected to the House in 2010. He was re-elected this year and is a member of the Tea Party Caucus.
Watch our exclusive interview. Story continues below.
The New York Times reported on Thursday that the Obama Administration gave the go-ahead for weapons to be shipped from Qatar to Libyan rebels last year, and those weapons apparently wound up in the hands of Islamic militants.
In an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV, Farenthold comments: “It indicates a fundamental flaw with our overall foreign policy. As we’re watching the Arab Spring develop in the Middle East, we’re not sure that the winners in this are going to be our friends.
“I agree it’s good to support democracy in the Middle East. We’ve got to have to sufficient strength and sufficient intelligence assets, both the electronic and field agents, to know what’s going on over there so we can defend ourselves if things go wrong, and we [need to] know who our friends are and who our enemies are.”
Asked if there will be a House investigation of the arms transfer, Farenthold says: “I would imagine as the evidence comes in, if it’s as bad as I have a hunch it is, there will be an investigation. All we’ve seen on this is the open source intelligence, or at least all I’ve seen on it is the open source intelligence, from The New York Times.
This week House members had a briefing with James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, and other members of the intelligence community – FBI and CIA. The topic was the terrorist attack on U.S. diplomatic personnel in Benghazi.
Farenthold tells Newsmax: “It was clearly beneficial to see what was going on and you could tell from the questions that were asked by members of Congress from both parties that there is dissatisfaction with the way it was handled, both as it was happening and probably more so in how it was inaccurately related to the American people by Susan Rice and others.
“We were just trying to figure out who knew what when, what the decision-making process was, and how it was reported back to Congress and to the American people.”
As for Susan Rice’s possible nomination to replace Hillary Clinton as secretary of state, Farenthold says: “Quite frankly, if I were a senator, I wouldn’t vote for her confirmation based on what I know now. But if you continue the investigation, it could go either way.
“We’ve got to judge each case on its merits. This is a clear indication that if you’re going to put somebody as the secretary of state who is our number one representative abroad, that person’s integrity and critical thinking skills need to be above reproach. Regardless of whether or not what was in the talking points she was given, in my book, common sense dictates that this attack that happened on 9/11 [in Benghazi] clearly had terrorist roots. We want an independent thinker in there.”
Asked what is the next step in the Benghazi probe, Farenthold responds: “The appropriate committees are going to continue to look into it. The Intelligence Committee. We’ve had a hearing on the Oversight and Government Reform Committee on which I sit.
“One of the big focuses we have in OGR is insuring that something like this doesn’t happen again on the ground, making sure we have adequate security measures in both physical manpower and planning for those Americans who choose to serve their country in the diplomatic core.”
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