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Saturday, October 27, 2012

Benghazi in the Eyes of Congress: ‘It’s Not Going to Go Away’

"Every day I find out something more horrific": Intelligence and Armed Services committee members talk exclusively to PJM about what's next.

Anger over the Benghazi attack is mounting in Congress as Republicans watch the story shift from the errant administration blaming of an anti-Muhammed video to a White House accused of lying to lawmakers.

Mistakes may have been made in consulate security, ineptitude may have led to poor communications in the hours after the attack, Republicans say, but telling lawmakers something other than the truth when the facts were known will not easily be forgiven as we move through the campaign season and toward the lame-duck return to Capitol Hill.

With a keen focus on the economy and time-sensitive budget-related issues awaiting lawmakers in Washington, though, is there the political will to dig however deep necessary in this roiling scandal?

“This is a very serious cover-up and the president, I’m sure, wants this to go away, the administration — but it’s not going to go away,” Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), a member of the House Intelligence Committee, told PJM today.

Members of the Intelligence Committee were briefed on the attack late afternoon on the Thursday after the Tuesday, Sept. 11, murders. “That essentially was about the video. Friday, another one about the video. Obviously, it wasn’t believable then and it wasn’t true,” Nunes said.

“Every day they cover this up it gets worse,” he said, adding that new information just conflicts with those initial briefings.

“It’s a fact that within 12 hours the Intelligence Committee knew this was an attack,” the congressman continued. “It’s a fact that administration went on and on that this was a video, which is a lie.”

“The only reason they covered this up is because of politics. Either that, or almost complete incompetence. My guess is that it was probably politics.”

Still, Nunes said, “nobody reasonable holds the president responsible for those four deaths” — Ambassador Chris Stevens, IT expert Sean Smith, and former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty — as the fault ultimately rests with the terrorists who killed them.

“What I fault him for is lying to Congress and lying to the American people,” he said.

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