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Image: Obama, Graham Spar Over 'Deteriorated' National Security

Obama, Graham Spar Over 'Deteriorated' National Security

Tuesday, 30 Apr 2013 03:25 PM

By Courtney Coren

Sen. Lindsey Graham Tuesday renewed his claim that the Boston bombings and the attack in Benghazi last year were the result of U.S. intelligence failures even as President Barack Obama disputed the Republican's assertion that his policies had weakened national security.

“No, Mr. Graham is not right on this issue, although I’m sure it generated some headlines,” the president said during a White House news conference. “You know, I think what we saw in Boston was state, local, federal officials, every agency rallying around a city that had been attacked, identifying the perpetrators just hours after the scene had been examined. We now have one individual deceased, one in custody. Charges have been brought.”

Graham had charged last week during an appearance on Fox News that the Obama administration was "letting its guard down," noting that "between Benghazi and Boston, we're going backward in national security."

He reiterated that view in a strongly-worded response to the president released immediately after the presidential news conference.

“With all due respect Mr. President, Benghazi and Boston are compelling examples of how our national security systems have deteriorated on your watch,” the South Carolina Republican said in a statement released by his office. “In Benghazi, multiple requests for increased security were denied and numerous warnings from Ambassador [Chris] Stevens about the growing threats from al Qaeda were ignored by Washington.

Urgent: Get the Truth About President Obama.

“In Boston, both the FBI and CIA were warned by the Russians about a radical Islamist in our midst,” he continued. “Once enrolled in the system as a potential terror suspect, the older brother was able to travel back to Russia unimpeded by DHS or any of our intelligence agencies. Agencies under your control were unable to coordinate the information they received on the Boston terrorists.

“If Benghazi is not an example of system failure before, during and after the attack what would be? If Boston is not an example of a pre-9/11 stove piping mentality what would be?”

Although he denied Graham's assertion, Obama told reporters that National Intelligence Director James Clapper is conducting an investigation to see if there were any failures in connection with the Boston Marathon bombings and if any new procedures should be added to help ensure the nation's security.

“What Director Clapper is doing is standard procedure around here, which is when an event like this happens, we want to go back and we want to review every step that was taken," the president said. "We want to leave no stone unturned. We want to see if there is in fact additional protocols and procedures that could be put in place that would further improve and enhance our ability to detect a potential attack."

Urgent: Get the Truth About President Obama.

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