Rep. Darrell Issa said the panel investigating the Benghazi terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate intends "on making the president come clean" on why the administration misled the American people.
"The administration has made a claim that for classified reasons they changed the story," said Issa, the Republican chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. "We believe right now that may be the biggest lie of all, and we intend on making the president come clean as to, quote, 'What the classified reasons are that would justify lying to the American people.'"
When asked in an interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity if any crimes were committed by the administration, Issa responded, "Lying to Congress is a crime."
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said the administration has consistently told a false story about the attack.
"Political manipulation is rampant here," Graham said. "The dam’s about to break on Benghazi."
Issa, whose committee plans hearings on the Sept. 11, 2012, assault on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi on Wednesday, said the administration response to the attack was to "pretend like Libya was safe and the war on terror was behind us."
"There was a campaign going on, there was a president trying to win re-election, and the changes [to Benghazi talking points] were made at a very high level," Issa said.
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, also appearing on the Hannity show, said the order for the military to stand-down rather than assist Americans under attack in Benghazi was "sickening and depressing and as disgusting as anything I have seen."
"That is not the American way. We had people that were getting killed, we had people who are willing to risk their lives to go save them, and somebody told them to stand down," said the Utah Republican.
In the immediate aftermath of the attack in which four Americans were killed, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stephens, U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice insisted it was not an act of terror and the attack began spontaneously.
"What we’re finding out is the story told by the State Department, Susan Rice, the president himself, was so completely wrong and false," said Graham in an interview with Fox News’ Greta Van Susteren.
"If the truth had come out seven weeks before an election, that this was an al-Qaida inspired preplanned attack, it would undercut the narrative politically that bin Laden’s dead, we’re all safer."
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