Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., continues to pummel the White House over a deadly consulate attack in Libya, on Friday labeling comments by President Barack Obama “a lot of B.S.”
Graham’s sharp criticism was followed soon on Friday (Oct. 26) after by him joining fellow GOP Sens. John McCain of Arizona and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire in urging the Pentagon, CIA and Justice Department to declassify all surveillance footage of the events at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that left the U.S. ambassador and three others dead.
Graham’s sharp rebuke of Obama was in response to comments the president made during a recent interview with a Philadelphia radio station about how his administration has handled the Benghazi attack.
“What’s true is that the intelligence was coming in and evolving as more information came up. And what is true — this is something that the American people can take to the bank — my administration plays this stuff straight,” Obama said. “We don’t play politics when it comes to American national security. So what we consistently have done throughout my presidency and what we did in his circumstance is as information came in we gave it to the American people.”
“And that includes by the way members of Congress,” Obama said. “One of the things that always frustrates me about this town is when people go out there and try to politicize issues despite knowing that we have given them all this information.”
Graham disagrees, saying this in a late-afternoon Friday statement:
“In the words of President Obama, this statement sounds like a lot of B.S.,” the South Carolina Republican said, using shorthand for an expletive Obama reportedly used in a yet-to-be published Rolling Stone magazine interview to describe GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
“This Administration does play politics with national security,” Graham said. “In an effort to look strong, this Administration has strategically leaked classified information about numerous sensitive national security programs, ranging from the raid on bin Laden, the cyber attacks on Iran, to disrupting the underwear bomber plot.”
Just as journalists were digesting Graham’s broadside statement, another landed in their in boxes, this one from Graham, McCain and Ayotte. The three senators revealed they are asking Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Attorney General Eric Holder and CIA Director David Petraeus to hand over surveillance video of the consulate attack.
It has been reported that the Department of Defense, the Central Intelligence Agency, and the Department of State had assets, both air- and ground-based, that recorded the events of those fateful days,” the three senators wrote the three agency chiefs in the letter, “and we understand that video is now in the possession of the Federal Bureau of Investigation and has been classified Top Secret.
“It is vitally important that the American people know all of the facts surrounding the attack in Benghazi last month,” the trio wrote, “and this surveillance video can shed important light on the nature of the attack and what kind of response could have been effective while it was ongoing.”
At the time of this posting, the White House had yet to issue a statement responding to the senators’ comments and demands.