The vice president also said, in response to a question about why the White House erroneously maintained for more than a week that the Benghazi attack was a spontaneous reaction to an anti-Muhammad film, that the administration had relied on the latest intelligence information.
Yet the State Department now concedes that the nature of the attack as a planned terrorist operation was known soon after the attack.
And as to why the well-documented requests for additional security from embassy personnel were denied, Mr. Biden said “we didn’t know” and went on to challenge Cong. Ryan over cuts to the State Department’s security budget voted by Republicans in Congress.
But it is inconceivable that money would not have been found in the multi-billion dollar State Department budget had the security threats been taken seriously. Indeed, Republican Congressman Darrell Issa reports that the State Department has several billion dollars of unspent funds already allocated by Congress in its accounts.
The day after the debate, the administration clarified that Mr. Biden was referring to the president and himself, not the administration as a whole, with his “we didn’t know” response. At best this was grossly misleading and a strange concession on behalf of a head of state and his next-in line who like to tout their grasp of foreign policy.
Ironically, the administration sent out Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to take the heat, but that just made matters worse. She told Fox News that she assumed total responsibility for the Benghazi disaster; that the security at all of America’s diplomatic missions abroad is her job, not the White House’s; and that she is responsible “for the more than 60,000 people around the world.” But if she is responsible for the failure of her underlings, why aren’t the president and vice president responsible for those of theirs?
Are President Obama and Vice President Biden to be taken seriously? Do they call to mind the glory that once was the United States of America? Do they command respect for themselves and the rest of us? We think the events of the past few weeks indicate that the answer to all of these questions is a resounding no.Editorial Board
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