Returning from congressional recess to participate in a hearing titled Security Failures of Benghazi, Rep. Scott DesJarlais joined his fellow lawmakers Wednesday to question the security situation leading up to last month’s deadly attacks on a U.S. consulate in Libya.

DesJarlais, a member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sat in on the hearing as Republican lawmakers criticized the response of the Obama administration to the attack, which killed a U.S. ambassador and three of his staffers.

Following the hearing, the congressman’s office issued a statement describing the administration’s initial attempts to pin the attack on violent demonstrations to an online, anti-Islamic video as “foolish.”

“We must ensure that political concerns never trump the security needs of our foreign service officials on the ground,” DesJarlais said. “Calling coordinated, organized terrorist attacks a spontaneous reaction of violence in response to a video was foolish and an insult to our intelligence.”


Despite indicating he would answer additional questions on the hearing from members of the press, attempts by to reach DesJarlais were unsuccessful. As the hearing took place, allegations regarding the fallout from an affair in the congressman’s past surfaced in news reports.

According to a Washington Post report, State Department officials acknowledged during the meeting that they rejected calls for additional security at diplomatic posts in Libya months before the attack. The department also released cables sent by Ambassador J. Chris Stevens on the day he was killed, which included concerns about rising violence.

DesJarlais is not the only lawmaker from Tennessee to voice concerns over the attack and the response that followed. On Monday, Sen. Bob Corker returned from a fact-finding trip to the Libyan capital of Tripoli.