On the first anniversary of the attacks on American personnel in Benghazi, Rep. Ted Poe tells Newsmax that the Obama administration is still "stonewalling information" on the tragedy in Libya.
The Texas Republican also asserts that Obama is "campaigning for war" in Syria, and Congress should not delay voting on possible U.S. strikes against Bashar Assad's regime.
And despite stepped up homeland security since the terrorist attacks on American soil on 9/11, Poe doubts that Americans feel safer than they did 12 years ago.
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Poe was first elected in 2004. He is a member of the House Judiciary and Foreign Affairs Committees, and the Tea Party Caucus.
Poe has just filed a bill calling for action against the Benghazi suspects.
In an exclusive interview with Newsmax TV on Wednesday, Poe explains: "It's been a year since our ambassador and three others were murdered in Benghazi, but we haven't really done anything. The government hasn't arrested the killers.
"We know that Ansar al-Sharia took credit for the homicides a year ago. So today, on the anniversary, I filed legislation to designate Ansar al-Sharia as a foreign terrorist organization. That gives us the ability to do more to capture those killers.
"We're getting a lot of support, mainly among the conservatives so far, but the bill was just filed. We will work to get bipartisan support."
Poe also signed a resolution calling for a select committee to investigate Benghazi "because it's been too long a wait for us to receive adequate answers as to what happened in Benghazi," he says. "We've been getting lots of information but it's not really information that's very helpful.
"So the administration's stonewalling information about Benghazi. When reporters can sit down and have coffee with the killers in Libya and we can't capture these individuals, something is wrong with our government. [When] the NSA and the CIA and the FBI can't capture these individuals, it's time for a select committee to investigate this and really delve into it, get the information, hold the people accountable not only that killed, but hold the administration accountable for their lack of action in rescuing [the Americans]."
On Tuesday night, President Obama asked Congress to delay a vote on whether to authorize military strikes against Syria.
Asked if the president made a persuasive case for his policy, Poe responds: "I do not believe that the president's speech last night is going to make much of a difference in how members of Congress will vote.
"The president is really campaigning for war. The country's war-weary. We need to have a vote in the House of Representatives and the Senate on this issue. One way or the other, he needs to know that the American Congress does not support a war with Syria. So I say let's go ahead and vote.
"I filed a resolution saying we need to move forward with a vote immediately and let the president know that the Congress does not want American funds going to support an aggressive war, and let him know he has to figure out another solution.
"The first thing we need to understand is that there is a serious civil war going on in Syria between the government and the rebels. On the side of the government are Russia, Iran, Hezbollah — a terrorist organization – and on the side of the rebels you have the Free Syrian Army, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar, Egypt, and al-Qaida. You have a religious war going on. You have two terrorist groups fighting each other.
"The United States should not get involved in this civil war. We have found by intervening in North Africa, in Libya and in Egypt, when the United States intervenes into these countries, we have been making the situation worse."
As to whether Americans are safer today than they were 12 years ago on 9/11, Poe tells Newsmax: "We're about as safe as we were on 9/11. There are certainly actions taking place throughout the world to protect American interests against al-Qaida. We're doing a lot here in the homeland especially to protect America. We have to be very vigilant.
"I don't know that Americans feel any safer now than they did 12 years ago because al-Qaida is still determined to do us harm. And contrary to what the administration says, they are not on the run. They are growing. They're growing in North Africa. Their influence is growing in the Syrian civil war. They mean business and they're not going away.
"The United States has a long-term involvement in keeping al-Qaida in check and the president understands that and we should continue, at least, with the current policy of the drone strikes where appropriate."
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