New facts revealed about President Barack Obama’s briefings on last month’s terrorist attack on a U.S. consulate in Libya have not changed the perspective of Sen. Bob Corker, who has hammered the president’s administration repeatedly in the weeks following the killing of a U.S. ambassador and three American staffers.
On Monday, The Wall Street Journal reported that, for 10 days following the destruction of the consulate in Benghazi, the president was told in his daily intelligence briefing “that the assault grew out of the spontaneous protest,” despite alternative reports that conflicted with the initial assessment.
The president’s daily intelligence brief is described in the article as “the most authoritative intelligence report prepared by the intelligence agencies.” It is read by the president and his top advisers daily.
According to the report, the Central Intelligence Agency did not adjust the briefing for the president until Sept. 22-well after Corker had begun his questioning of the response to the attack.
In the following weeks, Corker not only traveled to Libya on a fact-finding trip, but also suggested on multiple occasions that the Obama administration was well-aware of circumstances surrounding the attack within the initial hours after it occurred.
“Within 24 hours of the incident, the administration knew that this was an orchestrated terrorist attack,” Corker said, in a statement criticizing remarks made by Vice President Joe Biden on Oct. 12.
A week later, following remarks by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton accepting responsibility for the security of U.S. missions around the globe, the senator offered a nearly identical statement.
“The fact is, within 24 hours of the incident, the administration knew that this was an orchestrated terrorist attack,” he said.
When asked to comment on the new information regarding the president’s daily briefings, Corker offered no response. Laura Herzog, communications director for Corker’s office, instead provided a statement on behalf of the senator, similar to his earlier statements.
“Based on everything Sen. Corker has learned-including conversations on the ground in Libya-within 24 hours of the incident, the administration knew this was an orchestrated terrorist attack,” Herzog said.
In the weeks following the attack, Corker denied playing politics before November’s election as he spearheaded efforts to call into question the administration’s response. Since Sept. 15, Corker has introduced legislation calling for the president to present a report on the matter; written multiple letters to agency officials; suggested the possibility of an administration cover-up he described as “nothing short of Benghazi-gate;” criticized Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; slammed Vice President Joe Biden; and visited the Libyan capitol of Tripoli to meet with officials within the country.
Corker, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is well-positioned to become the ranking Republican on the committee should he be re-elected next month. The ranking GOP-member, Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., was defeated in his party’s primary last May-making the former Chattanooga mayor a probable replacement for the post.