Rep. Ros-Lehtinen: Administration's Handling of Benghazi 'Unconscionable'

Wednesday, 21 Aug 2013 04:38 PM

By Cathy Burke and Kathleen Walter

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The Obama administration's callous handling of the 2012 attack on the embassy in Benghazi has been "unconscionable," Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen tells Newsmax TV in an exclusive interview.

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"It is unconscionable for this whole administration to have called that . . . a phony scandal," the congresswoman said. "There's nothing phony about the deaths of four innocent American lives."

She said former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton merely "reshuffled the deck of chairs on the Titanic" with her demotion of four State employees in the wake of the tragedy.

"And now they're back," she said. "It is unbelievable. No one has paid a price at all for the terrorist attacks in Benghazi resulting in the deaths of four American citizens, including our ambassador."

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Ros-Lehtinen said she wholeheartedly supports the appointment of a select committee to investigate the Sept. 11, 2012 attack — and charged the administration's "intimidation" has kept Congress from learning the truth.

"We have seen that they've kept witnesses away from us," she said. "There's a feeling of intimidation in the State Department and throughout the agencies. 'Don't come forward, don't come testify, you will suffer, your career will suffer.'"

She charges it was the administration's "false narrative," that fostered the fear.

"They want to convince the people . . . that these radical Islamic terrorists are not out to destroy Israel and the United States," she said. "That was a political agenda and it was a political response to a real security threat and that's why this level of intimidation continues throughout this administration."

The administration generally has no coherent anti-terrorism policy, she added.

"The Obama administration believes that having a drone policy is a solution," she said.

"That is not a military readiness capability and in 10 years, in 15 years down the road we're going to be paying the price for not being . . . military ready in the way that we should be.

She also decried the Obama administration's previous support of Egypt President Mohammed Morsi and said the U.S. should cut off aid and "stop pouring money down a rat hole."

"This administration has tried to sell the American public on this philosophy that the Muslim Brotherhood, they're made up of all kinds of people and individuals and there's just not one guiding philosophy," she said. " Oh there is a guiding philosophy and it's anti-US, it's anti-democracy, it's anti-Christian, and it's anti-female, and it's anti-everybody who doesn’t agree with their dogma.

"So we should cut off the spigot. It's time to stop the money drain that we're just wasting our money giving it to governments that don't support democracy."

Ros-Lehtinen, chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee on North Africa and Middle East, said as far as diplomacy goes, Kerry is clueless.

"His Department of State is concentrating on a peace treaty between Israelis and Palestinians at the expense of everything else," she said. "The Israeli-Palestinian peace issue is an important issue but not when the whole Middle East and North Africa is blowing up.

On the contentious issue of immigration, Ros-Lehtinen said she's "cautiously optimistic" for passage of a reform bill.

"If we do nothing, what we're accepting is the status quo and the status quo is that we have over 11million people here who already are illegally here and that is a form of amnesty," she said, adding that securing the nation's borders are a "number one" priority.

But she said the nation must also respond to the "dreamers" who were brought to the U.S. illegally as children by creating a bill that would allow them to become citizens, serve in the military, and go to universities.

The congresswoman insisted Republicans are increasingly in support of immigration reform.

"We've seen the changing demographics of the United States and we see that the Republican Party can really be the home for this Hispanic community because we're a family-centered community, we're a faith-centered community, we believe in small businesses, we believe in limited government, and these are the kind of issues and values that the Hispanic community believes in and those are the values of the Republican Party," she said.

On the healthcare front, Ros-Lehtinen said the Affordable Care  Act is sure to be "an economic disaster," noting she voted "40 times to defund, dismantle Obamacare." But she said she hoped Congress would find a way to stop the health law without a government shutdown.

"People don't want the government to shut down but, at the same time, there's a great sense of anxiety in our small business community and young people who are going to be paying a lot of money for their insurance premiums," she said.

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The Cuban native said she's still hopeful Democracy will come to the island nation, but blasted the administration for the "windfall" they have allowed there.

"They don't deserve the breaks that the Obama administration is giving them," she said.

"It's been a windfall for the Castro regime these years that Obama has been president. What a shame. Democracy is going to come but it's going to come because we're going to get tough on the regime and help the Cuban people rid themselves of this dictatorship."



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