By Jeremy HerbÂ -The Hill
Eight House GOP committee chairmen on Wednesday demanded a new briefing â€œas soon as possibleâ€ from the Obama administration on the Libyan consulate attack in Benghazi that left U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens dead.
The eight lawmakers scolded the administration for its account of the attack, saying in a letter to President Obama that they were â€œdisturbedâ€ by statements indicating the attack evolved out of a protest of an anti-Islamic video.
The letter said statements by administration officials â€œwould lead the American public to believe this attack was a protest gone wrong, rather than what it truly was â€“ a terrorist attack on the United States on the anniversary of 9/11.â€
â€œDecades after al Qaeda attacked our embassies in East Africa, which catalyzed a series of events that led to the attacks on 9/11, it appears they executed a highly coordinated and well-planned attacked against us again,â€ the letter said. â€œClearly, the threat from al Qaeda and affiliated groups has metastasized; yet we do not appear to be learning from the past.â€
Republicans have particularly honed in on comments from U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, who said on a round of Sunday show interviews last week that the attacks were â€œspontaneousâ€ and the result of the video.
Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) sent a letter to Rice Wednesday asking for an explanation of â€œhow the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations could characterize an attack on a U.S. consulate so inaccurately five days after a terrorist attack that killed four Americans.â€
â€œBy the date of your comments, it was already clear that the attack in Libya was a terrorist attack, and that heavily armed and well trained attackers appeared to have prepared for an opportunity to attack U.S. interests,â€ the senators wrote. â€œYet, you repeatedly asserted the implausible explanation that the attack in Benghazi was a spontaneous reaction to the video despite growing evidence to the contrary.â€
The two letters are the latest Republican criticism of Obama in the wake of the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that left Stevens and three other Americans dead. The congressional criticism comes as Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has hammered Obama over Libya, and his foreign policy in general.
Republicans have slammed the administration for saying the attack was connected to protests of an anti-Islam movie trailer on YouTube.Â Republicans are also criticizing Obama for his interview on â€œThe Viewâ€ this week, when he did not call the Libyan attack a terrorist attack.
Republicans argue the attack was a premeditated act of terror. The administration says no intelligence supports the theory it was premeditated. Officials have said the attack appeared to be a spontaneous attack that was carried out using protests against the film as cover.
White House press secretary Jay Carney said Wednesday â€œit is the president’s view that it was a terrorist attack.â€
Asked aboard Air Force One why Obama hadn’t used the word terrorist, Carney said: â€œThere is no reason beyond his trying to provide a full explanation of his views,â€ according to the White House pool report.
The letter from the eight House GOP chairmen criticized the administration for having a â€œpre-9/11 mindsetâ€ responding to the attacks.
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