Continuing demands for more information regarding last month’s attack on a U.S. consulate in Libya, Sen. Bob Corker issued two statements over the weekend, calling for “substantive answers” and blasting the Obama administration’s handling of the situation.
The senator’s comments were the latest in a string of remarks on the Sept. 11 attack, which resulted in the killing of a U.S. ambassador and three of his American staffers, as well as the destruction of the consulate in Benghazi.
A member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Corker issued a letter to Director of National Intelligence James Clapper and top administration officials Saturday, questioning why agents with the FBI had not yet been able to enter Benghazi to conduct investigations.
Corker described the administration’s response as becoming “more bizarre” by the day.
“What has changed in Libya in such a short time that even FBI agents, our most elite investigative personnel, cannot safely enter the city?” Corker wrote. “What has let to such a precipitous decline? An unwillingness to provide answers and the inaccuracy of the limited information we have received to date has undermined the credibility of the administration.”
Corker followed his letter Saturday by issuing a statement on Sunday in response to comments made by senior White House advisor David Plouffe, on the morning talk show “Meet the Press.” Saying he was fed up with “deafening silence” coming from administration officials on the matter, the former Chattanooga mayor blasted Plouffe’s defending the initial labeling of the attacks as a spontaneous act resulting from an anti-Islamic video on YouTube.
“The deafening silence from this administration on the terrorist attacks in Libya combined with seeing the president’s senior advisor stumble around on ‘Meet the Press’ regarding the situation in Benghazi leads one to conclude one of two things: The administration was either involved in gross negligence or incompetence that cost the lives of four Americans, or what has been done in Libya has resulted in a failed state where our best-trained FBI agents cannot even travel to Benghazi,” he said.
Corker, an outspoken critic of U.S. operations that took place in Libya last year, has insisted that he is not playing politics in the month leading up to the presidential election. But the issue has become a key component of the GOP’s criticism of the president’s foreign policy, in the days leading up to the first debate between Obama and his challenger, Mitt Romney.
Corker recently introduced a bill with Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., calling for a quick and thorough investigation into the attacks. He also penned a letter with Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., calling on Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to release all communications between the State Department and the U.S. mission in Libya.
Last week, the senator called the State Department’s handling of the situation in Libya “nothing short of Benghazigate.”