Ros-Lehtinen to Newsmax: Obama 'Waking Up' That Libya Attack Was Terrorism

Thursday, 20 Sep 2012 06:06 PM

By Jim Meyers and Kathleen Walter

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Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen tells Newsmax that the Obama administration is finally “waking up” to the reality that the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya was a terrorist act to coincide with 9/11.

The Florida Republican, chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, also says the United States should stop funding radical non-democratic regimes.

And she declares that it is “sad and tragic” that Iraq is allowing Iran to send support to the “murderous” regime in Syria.

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Ros-Lehtinen was first elected in 1988 and is the senior Republican woman in the House.

Story continues below the video.




The Obama administration is now branding the attack at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, as a terrorist attack and softening its claim that it was inspired by an anti-Islam video.

In an exclusive interview with Newsmax.TV, Ros-Lehtinen comments:

“What a debacle it has been for the Obama administration and how interesting, sadly interesting, it is that they have managed to turn this into a Romney gaffe, when clearly it was our U.S. embassy who laid blame for the video.

“All they were talking about on their official website and through Twitter was oh, this film is inciting bigotry and discrimination and hatred. Finally, the Obama administration is waking up to what everyone knew. This was not a coincidence that [it happened on] the anniversary of September 11, that there are people out there who want to kill Americans and we have to confront our enemies. That’s what this administration is never willing to do.”

There is a report that former detainees at Guantanamo Bay might have been behind the consulate attack, and it is known that President Obama released some detainees to negotiate with the Taliban.

Asked if that was a mistake, the congresswoman responds: “What we’ve seen is that this is one fumble after the next.

“If we have to rely on President Obama and his national security team to keep America safe, then we’re in a pretty sad place.

“Look at the example of Fast and Furious. Still to this day we don’t have the administration cooperating with Congress. That terrible operation resulted in the loss of life. The same could be going on with this terrible murder, this terrorist attack upon American diplomats and American institutions.

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“So do I have faith that we’ll get at the truth from this administration? No. But we’ve got to keep at it and we’ve got to demand answers.”

Members of Congress have had classified briefings with high officials in the Obama administration, “but here’s the problem: They are unwilling to have a public hearing in front of our committee so that we can ask questions and they can give us those answers,” Ros-Lehtinen says.

“We’re not talking about classified information. This is information that is reported on by Newsmax and other credible news organizations every day. What did we know and when did we know it?

“Remember that this is the administration that has spent so much time criticizing George W. Bush because, oh my gosh, we should have known that those horrific September 11 attacks were going to take place. That’s what John Kerry kept saying, Obama’s been repeating those kinds of lies and now we have information that maybe we were warned about this, maybe not.

“But let’s discuss this in an open setting. We’re not asking for leaking of classified information. There’s a lot that can be talked about in an open setting.

By having classified briefings but no open hearings, Ros-Lehtinen adds, the administration is “at an advantage because then they leak information to the press that is favorable to their national security apparatus and yet we are then hamstrung and unable to say anything to the press about information that they’ve given us.

“That’s why the American people deserve the truth. The American people, our constituents, need to know that this administration is doing everything that it can to keep Americans safe and secure both in the homeland and when they’re serving overseas. Are our embassies secure? Are our consulates secure? Are marines there with real bullets that can put these guys down? What is going on in our embassies? We want answers. The American people want them.”

Asked why the administration is being secretive, Ros-Lehtinen tells Newsmax: “That’s what is worrisome. Before, when George W. Bush tried to keep some of this information classified because those were the terrible days after September 11, they said this administration is not cooperating with Congress. Well, this administration, the Obama administration, is not cooperating with the American people.

“The constituents whom I am proud to represent, they want to know that their loved ones serving overseas, serving our nation in many capacities, that they’re safe and they’re being cared for, and we need to make sure that this does not happen in the future. And let’s not try to blame a video for this terrible violence against U.S. interests.”

The United States sends billions of dollars a year in aid to Egypt, Yemen, Libya and other Middle Eastern countries. Should America remain engaged with struggling Arab democracies, Ros-Lehtinen was asked.
“We should remain engaged,” she declares. “I am not saying let’s pull out and let somebody else take over.
“We must remain engaged but one thing that we cannot afford to do any longer, because it doesn’t make fiscal sense and it doesn’t make national security sense, is to keep funding radical regimes that turn out to be non-democratic.

“Is Egypt going to be fulfilling its peaceful pledge with Israel? Why does President Obama have time to meet with the president of Egypt yet he has no time in his schedule for Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel? Why is that he can do fundraisers with BeyoncĂ© and Jay-Z and appear on David Letterman’s show and yet have no time to meet with our faithful, true, democratic and indispensable ally, the Jewish state of Israel?

“It’s shameful the way that this administration has misconstrued our allies with our adversaries. It seems like they don’t know the difference between one and the other and they want us to fund all of these countries before we know what direction they’re going to take. That’s putting the cart before the horse.”

Iran has reportedly been flying military personnel and large stores of weapons across Iraqi airspace to Syria in support of President Bashar al-Assad’s government as it attempts to brutally suppress a popular uprising.

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Ros-Lehtinen laments: “How sad, how tragic that we have shed so much blood and treasure in Iraq in helping those people get to a democracy and now we see that what they are doing is letting the Iranian regime maintain itself in power and then helping the Assad regime continue its murderous reign over its own people.

“This has got to be hurting America’s families, those who have served overseas. My stepson and daughter-in-law were among those. They’re Marine officers who were in Iraq and proudly so. They’re still in the Marines and they just shake their heads thinking that this is unbelievable.

“We were there, we were helping this country, and now they are helping Iran and helping Syria. This has got to be stopped, and we’re making the right inquiries. Let’s hope that we get some answers from this administration. It’s a great disappointment to say the least.”

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