President Barack Obama was aware of two IED attacks on the Benghazi consulate in Libya in the months leading up the the Sept. 11 attack that killed U. S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three others, U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham claims.
The South Carolina Republican said James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, told him the president was informed of attacks in April and June, Fox News reports.
The June attack blew a hole in the perimeter wall of the Benghazi compound, and the two strikes were reportedly part of dozens of incidents in the region that are considered warning signs of the deadly attacks in September.
Graham criticized Obama for a White House statement saying the president did not talk to Libya’s leader until the evening of Sept. 12, a day after the embassy was attacked.
“(He talked) after everybody was dead,” said Graham, suggesting Obama could have made a difference if he’d been involved earlier, but “you got a commander in chief who is absolutely disengaged. You got the secretary of State never talking to the secretary of Defense.”
Graham’s disclosure came after several Capitol Hill hearings in which several top administration officials, including former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton claimed they were not aware of the security problems at the Libyan compound.
Clinton said she never saw an Aug. 16 State Department cable warning that the consulate could not sustain a coordinated attack, but outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey said they knew about the warning.
A DNI spokesman said the Obama administration has been cooperative with Congress over the Libya questions. However, White House counter-terrorism adviser John Brennan, during his confirmation hearings for CIA director, said much of the information about what Obama knew falls under the category of “executive privilege,” a status often used to avoid disclosing information.
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