Obama Downplays Al Qaeda Risks
Republicans try to highlight the attack on the US embassy compound in Libya in the presidential race as they use the issue to attack President Barack Obama and his administration. They say that White house downplayed the risk of al-Qaeda in the Middle East.
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said that the White House has been reluctant to say that the attack was made by militias connected with al-Qaeda because it would make the president look bad. He added that the current administration was trying to tell the nation that al-Qaeda was already defeated.
US intelligence officials are still investigating whether Ansar al-Sharia, the Libyan militia group that carried out the deadly assault, has connections to al-Qaeda. Senator Graham, member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, was certain that the attack that killed Ambassador Stevens was done by an al-Qaeda related militia.
Top US officials, including President Obama, maintained that the incident was the result of protests against an anti-Islamic video. But according to Senator Graham, intelligence officials told him that they told Washington that it was a terrorist attack.
The administration’s response to the attack has been on the spotlight in the election trail. Republican nominee Mitt Romney criticized President Obama for not giving adequate security to Americans in Libya. In a recent hearing, Republicans belonging to the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee challenged the US State Department’s version of the events.
Representative Darryl Issa of California is the chair of the said committee. He said that the Libya attack was President Obama’s mission-accomplished moment, referring to when President George W. Bush prematurely declared victory in Iraq.
Representative Elijah Cummings, a Democrat who belongs to the House Oversight committee, said that the Republicans have reached conclusions even before the probe was complete. He said that they don’t have substantial evidence yet and there are still lots of questions remained unanswered.