Sen. Joe Lieberman: Lack of security in Benghazi was ‘irresponsible’

November 18, 2012

Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) said Sunday that it was "irresponsible" for there not to be more security in place to protect the four State Department officials who were killed in a terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya on Sept. 11.

"In my opinion, it was irresponsible to have our State Department personnel there with only three security guards," Lieberman said during an appearance on "Fox News Sunday." "They were easily overrun in the attack of Sept. 11. Either we could have given them the security they deserved, or we should have closed that mission in Benghazi, as the British had done a short while before."

Lieberman added that the lack of security concerned him much more than how the administration described the situation in the following days -- of which Republicans have been highly critical.

"There was no capacity to defend our personnel in a timely way once the attack occurred. And we can’t let that happen again," Lieberman said.

Appearing on the same show, Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) said references to terrorism were removed from administration talking points, even though it was clear right away that it was terrorism.

"What I do know is that every member of the intelligence committee says that references to al-Qaeda were removed by somebody, and references to attacks, versus demonstrations, were removed by somebody," Chambliss said.

Republicans have criticized United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice for saying in the days after the attacks that they resulted from spontaneous demonstrations about an anti-Islam video.

Chambliss said former CIA director David Petraeus said it was clear that it was a terrorist attack right away.

"What he did say is that from day one is we knew it was a terrorist attack," Chambliss said

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix, the Post’s top political blog.
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Chris Cillizza | November 18, 2012