One day after being sworn into his second term in Congress, Rep. Scott DesJarlais hopped aboard a plane and flew overseas with six of his fellow congressmen.
The details of the congressman’s trip are limited, but it was first reported Thursday that DesJarlais, a member of the House Committee on Government and Oversight Committee, had traveled to the Middle East as part of a seven-member delegation to inspect the safety quality of American embassies and consulates. The trip takes place four months after a Sept. 11 terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, which killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three staffers.
The group, which includes committee chairman Rep. Darrel Issa, R-Calif., is not expected to return from the trip until sometime this weekend. Already, the delegation has visited multiple locations in Israel, Turkey and Lebanon.
Robert Jameson, press secretary for DesJarlais, said the remaining itinerary for the congressman’s trip would not be made public because of security reasons.
It is not the congressman’s first trip overseas since taking office. In 2011, DesJarlais participated in a five-day delegation trip to Afghanistan to learn about health care services being provided to servicemen and women stationed in the country, and he also visited Mexico to examine issues related to gun walking in the wake of investigation surrounding the “Fast and Furious” scandal.
Along with DesJarlais and Issa, other congressmen participating in this week’s delegation trip include Republican Reps. John Mica, R-Fla., Tim Walberg, R-Mich., Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, Paul Gosar R-Ariz., and Raúl Labrador, R-Idaho.
Since the Benghazi attack, DesJarlais has been critical of the response of the Obama administration in the days following. After an October hearing on the matter, the congressman described the administration’s initial explanation of the attack being the response to an anti-Islamic video on YouTube as “foolish.”
The congressman is not the only lawmaker from Tennessee to be vocal in his criticism of the fallout from the attack. Sen. Bob Corker, who traveled to Libya on a fact-finding trip last October, suggested on several occasions that members of the administration had been exposed after trying to cover up the attack’s origin.
Corker, who has since quieted in his criticism, made headlines earlier this week after revealing that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would likely testify in Senate Foreign Relations Committee on the attack, tentatively scheduled for Jan. 22. Corker is widely expected to be the ranking Republican on the committee this year.