We have many more questions than answers to how the assaults in Cairo, Libya and now Yemen came about. Here is a partial list, which members of Congress ( maybe even media?) should be pressing the administration to answer.
If the assault on the embassies was coordinated and planned, how did our intelligence not pick it up? Was it an item in the President Obama’s security briefing? Was there elevated chatter because of the 9/11 anniversary?
Why wasn’t the president prepared to answer the question as to whether Egypt is an ally or foe? Is he going to change his answer, or was that his final, final answer?
Why are we proceeding with over $1 billion in aid to the Egyptian government?
What disciplinary action has been taken against the Cairo embassy official who reportedly sent out a message regarding religious sensitivity after being told not to?
When did the president go to sleep Tuesday night, and when was he alerted to the deaths of Americans? Why did the White House wait so long to disavow the embassy’s online apology (later reissued by the embassy)?
What contacts have we had with the Egyptian government recently, and what messages have been communicated regarding our expectations (on human rights, Israel, security for Americans, anti-Copt violence, etc.)?
Did we have any discussions with the governments of Libya or Egypt about the security situation prior to 9/11?
Do we think that Iran or Iranian-backed groups had any part in this?
Was it a mistake not to respond more robustly to the planned attack on our embassy in Georgia and the plot against the Saudi diplomat on U.S. soil?
Does the sight of burning flags and overrun embassies in the region cause the administration to rethink its approach to the Middle East?
Do the massive defense cuts (in the budget and through sequestration) send the wrong signal to our adversaries? What about our premature withdrawal from Afghanistan?
Does this contradict administration officials who have opined that the war against Islamic terrorism is essentially over?
Was it a mistake to go to Las Vegas for a campaign event in the middle of a foreign policy crisis?
There is plenty we don’t know, and the administration should start providing answers. If it doesn’t, it seems appropriate for Congress to set up a joint committee to undertake an immediate investigation and review of Obama’s Middle East policy.