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House Armed Services Committee Chair to Obama: Your Libya Remarks Sound 'Implausible


He thinks a cover-up is at play.

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon, R-Calif., presides over the committee's hearing on Syria, Thursday, April 19, 2012, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Credit: AP

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon, R-Calif. Credit: AP 

Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee excoriated President Obama Monday in a sharply-worded letter, telling the president that his recounting of the events surrounding the brutal terror attack on our diplomatic outpost in Benghazi that left four Americans dead, sounds “implausible.” Lawmakers have been critical of the Obama administration's handling of the deadly siege in Libya.

According to Defense News, McKeon’s letter was catalyzed by comments made October 26 by the president during a radio appearance. In his interview, Obama maintained that he issued a series of directives immediately following the attack, including one to  “make sure that we are securing our personnel and doing whatever we need to.” The statement struck a cord with McKeon, who wonders why the Obama White House would not have used its military to secure the U.S. diplomatic outpost in Benghazi.

(Related: Capitol Hill Briefings 48hrs After Benghazi Attack Claim al Qaeda Involvement)

DN reports that the letter was released directly following a televised interview in which the president assumed responsibility for the terror attack, saying the ultimately, it lies on his own shoulders. Obama then vowed retribution to anyone inside the U.S. government who “didn’t do their job.” In the letter, the HASC head wrote:

Your ... directive would appear to involve potential actions by the U.S. military ... There appears to be a discrepancy between your directive and the actions taken by the Department of Defense. As we are painfully aware, despite the fact that the military had resources in the area, the military did not deploy any assets to secure U.S. personnel in Benghazi during the hours the consulate and the annex were under attack ... I find it implausible that the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the commander of U.S. Africa Command and the commander of U.S. European Command would have ignored a direct order from the commander in chief.

McKeon went on to ask several additional questions of Obama in his letter, including one in which he urged the president to clarify  “to whom" he issued "this first directive and how was this directive communicated to the military and other agencies — verbally or in writing?” The California congressman also asked if, on the day of the attack, the president instructed the military to “move available assets into Libya” and if he gave military commanders authority to “take any and all necessary measures to secure U.S. personnel, including specifically the authority to enter Libyan airspace.”

In addition, McKeon, who has served as HASC chairman since the Republican takeover of the House of Representatives in 2010, also asked the president to "describe any recommendations provided to you regarding available military support and any orders you gave to them.”

Republicans across the country have roundly condemned the president's handling of the terror attack in Libya that left four Americans -- including a U.S. ambassador and two Navy SEALs dead -- and their scrutiny is only intensifying as new details, and discrepancies, come to light.

Earlier on Monday, Sen. John McCain accused Obama of engaging in either a "massive cover-up" or "massive incompetence" regarding the Benghazi terror attack. The facts as they stand now indicate that Obama along with senior administration officials knew of the attack as it was actually unfolding on the eleventh anniversary of the September 11 attacks.


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