Lindsey Graham: Obama Learned Lesson From Benghazi by Closing Embassies

Sunday, 04 Aug 2013 10:16 AM

By Greg Richter

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The White House learned a lesson from Benghazi, and made the right move closing 22 embassies on Sunday, Sen. Lindsey Graham says.

President Barack Obama's administration is taking the right approach, the South Carolina Republican said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union.

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"Benghazi was a complete failure," he said. "The threats were real there. The reporting was real, and we basically dropped the ball. We've learned from Benghazi, thank God, and the administration's doing this right."

Four Americans, including the U.S. ambassador, were killed on September 11, 2012 at the U.S. diplomatic facility in Libya. A congressional investigation is ongoing about why threats were not looked into and whether there was a cover-up afterward.

Graham was critical that no one involved in the Benghazi attack has paid any price. Suspects have not been interviewed by American officials, though CNN recently interviewed one of them.

"After Benghazi, these al-Qaida types are really on steroids, thinking we're weaker and they're stronger," Graham said.

The United States must not take the bait of terrorists who want the West out of the Middle East, lest we face another 9/11, Graham said. He said the real goal of terrorists is to force America out of the region so they can install Islamic governments. The U.S. one-day shutdown of embassies did not achieve that goal.

"If we ever take the bait and try to come home and create Fortress America, you'll have another 9/11," Graham said.

Graham said he is going to Egypt "very soon" with Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona in an effort to show the Egyptian people that America stands behind them as they attempt a restart of their government.

He also praised the work of the embattled National Security Agency in catching the current threat to American embassies in the region. There is talk of reforming the agency after the leaks by former contract employee Edward Snowden about the NSA's collection of data on Americans.

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"To the members of the Congress who want to reform the NSA program, great," Graham said. "But if you want to gut it, you make us much less safe, and you're putting our nation at risk."

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