U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Charlotte, questioned both the focus of some politicians in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 attack that left four dead including the U.S. ambassador in Benghazi, Libya, and if the U.S. is prepared should similar terrorist attacks occur at our other consulates.
Rooney, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, addressed the U.S. reaction while on FOX News on Wednesday.
Chief among his concerns, besides the initial response of the White House, was that people were walking through the front gate, not storming in, first looting before setting the embassy on fire.
We didnt have adequate protection, said Rooney, who has received a briefing from National Intelligence Director James Clapper that included surveillance video taken from closed-circuit TV at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi the night of the attack.
If thats the case in other dangerous areas of the world, then weve got a lot of work to do at the State Department to make sure our people are safe.
Rooney added that he is more concerned with keeping Americans serving abroad safe than getting into the political games that have grown U.N. Ambassador Susan Rices prospects to become the next secretary of state.
Rice has been roundly criticized while she was the White House point person on the Sunday morning talk shows after the attack, to relay initial White House intel that an independent movie rather than terrorism was behind the attacks.
I really regret the fact weve gotten tied up in the issue of Ambassador Rice and whether or not she should she be the secretary of state, Rooney said. What have we done to make sure that the people who are in these areas now are safe and how are we going after the bad guys? Weve kind of lost our way in that.
While a lot of issues were in play, Rooney continued to question why the White House focused on an independent film as the spark for the 9/11 attack.
General Clapper said this isnt necessarily black and white, Rooney said.
But why did the administration come out right after this happened and harp on this Muslim video issue so much? Why didnt they just come out then and say Its not just black and white, there are a lot of elements here?
Rooney added that the answers he has so far received about security at the Benghazi consulate prior to the attack remain inadequate, as have been the White House reasons for initially focusing on the film.
My suspicions are that we wanted to portray to the Libyan people that everything was fine, Rooney said.
Libya is a borderline failed state.We had security there that was Libyan militia. If there was anything coordinated on 9/11 that day, it was the coordinated absence of the militia.
Reach Jim Turner at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (772) 215-9889.