Tags: isakson | libya | attack | obama

Isakson to Newsmax: Obama Misled America on Libya Attack

Thursday, 27 Sep 2012 09:55 PM

By Todd Beamon and John Bachman

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The Obama White House is finally admitting that the attack on the Libyan consulate that killed four Americans was a terrorist act because “people kept calling for the truth,” Georgia Sen. Johnny Isakson tells Newsmax.TV.

“People kept calling for the truth and, in the end, the administration realized that what they had tried to put together – blaming it on this movie and having it as a spontaneous act rather as being a terrorist act – wasn’t going to sell because it obviously wasn’t true,” Isakson, a Republican member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, tells Newsmax in an exclusive interview. “I don’t understand the motivation to do that unless they didn’t want to have a terrorist attack against a United States’ sovereign territory on their watch, but that’s what happened. The truth ought to be what comes out and not some scenario they want to people to believe."

Isakson and fellow GOP committee member, Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker, are demanding the release of the final cables of murdered U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens as well as answers from the State Department about the Sept. 11 attacks in Libya.

Story continues below the video.





On Thursday, Corker and other Republicans lashed out at the administration for what they see as nothing short of a cover-up.

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"This is turning into something not short of Benghazi-gate," Corker, R-Tenn., told Fox News, adding he's "very suspicious" about the way the administration has handled this.

Two senior officials told Fox that intelligence officials knew within 24 hours of the assault that it was a terrorist attack and suspected al-Qaida.

Isakson said Stevens' diary and other diplomatic cables are part of unraveling the mystery.

“He wrote that he thought he was the No. 1 target of al-Qaida, and he thought that his life was in danger,” Isakson said of Stevens, whose diary has since been published by news organizations. “If he wrote that in his diary, to me, it stands to reason he had already communicated that same information to the State Department.

“And if the State Department knew in advance of 9/11 that their ambassador thought he was in danger – and they did nothing to increase his protection or increase the defense of the embassy, then we have a terrible situation on our hands,” Isakson added. “I can’t understand the continued misinformation that continues to come from the administration over whether this was a terrorist attack or whether it was spontaneous? What did happen? What didn’t happen? And who knew what, when?

“The only way we can get to the facts is get the best possible evidence of that, and that’s copies of the cables between the U.S. State Department and the Benghazi Embassy in the latter days before the attack.”

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He said he also agreed with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s disclosure of a link between al-Qaida operatives in North Africa and Benghazi attack. Clinton’s reference on Wednesday marked the first time that a top official in President Barack Obama’s administration had tied al-Qaida to the assault.

“I believe it was a terrorist attack, and everybody but the president has basically confirmed that,” Isakson said. “Whether or not it was al-Qaida, al-Qaida is the base of terrorism and the host sponsor of terrorism – and in North Saharan Africa, they are a fosterer of terrorism, so it stands to reason they would’ve been the root cause of it.”

Isakson agreed that the Obama administration’s reversal also raises the question of when officials knew that it was a terrorist assault.

“It was a story that was tried to be marketed as a spontaneous act and not a terrorist act – and they just couldn’t sell it,” he said. “So, finally, realistic and conscientious people, like Secretary of State Clinton, have acknowledged that it was a terrorist attack – and let’s move forward and let’s get to the bottom of these questions.”

He said he could not speak to reports saying that Libyan security personnel may have tried to warn the United States that an attack was coming.

“The Libyan president claimed it was a terrorist attack from the very beginning,” he said, referring to President Mohamed Magariaf, who has insisted that the attack was the work of al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb. That al-Qaida affiliate originated in Algeria, but intelligence officials say it has been expanded throughout North Africa.

“The Libyans actually attacked a terrorist group in retribution for having done it, so it would stand to reason that the Libyans would have better information than we have,” Isakson said.

He added that, right now, it is critical that American FBI agents get to Benghazi immediately so the investigation can begin in earnest. As of late Thursday, the agents had not yet made it out of Tripoli, according to news reports.

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“What I really hope is that this administration of the United States is doing everything it can to get the Libyan government to cooperate so we can secure the site and get to the facts as quickly as possible,” Isakson said.

Also in his exclusive Newsmax interview, Isakson said:
  • The United States should carefully weigh withdrawing support from Libya in light of the Benghazi attacks. “Libya’s a fledging part of the Arab Spring, which we hope will materialize into a democracy. We should help them form democratic institutions so their country can survive and ultimately thrive. If they are a cooperative country, that’s something we should consider.”
  • The 1978 Camp David Accords could prohibit the U.S. from withdrawing its $2 billion a year in aid from Egypt. “There is a quid pro quo between the United States and Egypt. Egypt agrees to protect and secure the Philadelphia Corridor, which goes into the south of Gaza in Israel, and to keep it from being a flow-through of arms and weapons. The only out that Egypt has is if the United States stops its funding, so Egypt has a contractual obligation to protect the south of Israel, and the United States has an obligation to continue the funding to Egypt.”


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