On Sept. 11 anniversary, Republicans hit Obama on Benghazi

September 11, 2013

Lawmakers from across the political spectrum are releasing statements on the 12th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists attacks.

But GOP lawmakers are also using the Sept. 11 anniversary to remind Americans about the killings of four Americans in Benghazi, Libya, on this date one year ago. And they're hitting the Obama administration in the process.

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), for example, released separate statements on the two attacks. In his Benghazi statement, he says it's unacceptable that those responsible haven't been found.

"It is disgraceful that one year later, even though a number of the terrorists who participated in this attack have been identified, not a single one has been brought to justice," Boehner said.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said in an op-ed on FoxNews.com that there still has not been accountability for the security failures, either.

"Just last month, Secretary of State John Kerry absolved the four State Department employees, who had previously been removed from their jobs, of any responsibility for the security failures that put Ambassador [J. Christopher] Stevens and his colleagues at risk," Rubio wrote. "This raises questions about the work of the Accountability Review Board and also means that no one at the State Department has been held accountable."

House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrel Issa (R-Calif.), one of the leading critics of the administration, echoed Boehner's and Rubio's comments.

"...In the year since Benghazi, we have seen a total lack of accountability from this administration and many important questions have still not been answered," Issa said. "We still do not know who was in charge and making decisions the night of the attack nor do we know who was responsible for policy decisions that set a course seeking a smaller U.S. security presence in a dangerous environment."

The White House preemptively addressed these criticisms on Tuesday night, releasing a statement pledging to bring those responsible to justice.

“The events of last year, losing four brave Americans – Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods – brought home the reality of the challenges we face in the world," White House press secretary Jay Carney said in a statement. "As we near this day of remembrance, we continue to mourn the death of our cherished colleagues and honor their dedication to public service. We remain committed to bringing the perpetrators of the Benghazi attacks to justice and to ensuring the safety of our brave personnel serving overseas.”

GOP criticism on Benghazi initially focused on the administration's reaction to the attacks and its shifting version of events. In recent months, Republicans have focused more on the fact that the perpetrators still haven't been found and the lack of consequences for those who failed to secure the mission in Benghazi.

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix, the Post’s top political blog.
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Aaron Blake | September 11, 2013