Deputy Secretary of State William Burns, who is in charge of policy, left, and Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides, who is in charge of management, are sworn in during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, where the ambassador and three other Americans were killed Sept. 11, on Capitol Hill on Thursday, Dec. 20, 2012 in Washington. An independent review panel charged this week that serious bureaucratic mismanagement was responsible for inadequate security at the mission. (AP)
Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) on Thursday lamented the partisanship surrounding the deadly assault in Benghazi, Libya, saying the "preoccupation" over the attack is because one side is seeking to score political points over another.
"We've lost 11 diplomats in the 10 years before Benghazi and our focus on diplomatic security was modest," Sherman said during a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing on the attacks. "But now it becomes the preoccupation of this committee...and those concerned with foreign policy nationwide. Why now?"
He continued, "Well partly because this time we lost an ambassador and a great man. But mostly it's now Benghazi is not just a loss of diplomats, we've lost 11 before, but now because now there's a partisan advantage to be sought by one side or the other."
Ambassador Christopher Stevens was one of four Americans killed in the Sept. 11 terror attacks against the U.S. diplomatic mission.
"This incident in Benghazi was important, but is it really more important than the North Korea nuclear program?" Sherman asked. "Is it really more important than many of the other subjects that have not been the subject of so many hearings by this committee?"
Instead, he said, diplomatic security is convenient because it can be blamed on one party or another, the State Department or the Republican Congress for not allocating enough resources.
"We should do more for diplomatic security, the State Dept should follow its own procedures, and we haven't done so," Sherman said. "The fact is bad things are going to happen to good people even if we are prudent and careful."