Jan Stevens, the father of slain U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, has condemned the use of his son’s name in the presidential campaign, saying the issue doesn’t belong there.
In an interview with Bloomberg published on Sunday, Jan, who is preparing for his son’s memorial service next week, said it would be really “abhorrent” to make his death into a campaign issue. Stevens, 77, urged politicians to wait until the investigation is concluded.
“The security matters are being adequately investigated,” Stevens told Bloomberg. “We don’t pretend to be experts in security. It has to be objectively examined. That’s where it belongs. It does not belong in the campaign arena.”
The ambassador was among four Americans killed in the line of duty on Sept. 11 in Benghazi when the consulate came under heavy attack. Though he was taken to a safe haven in one of the buildings, Chris never made it out alive. He was killed when the assailants, after failing to break into that section of the compound, torched it.
The Obama administration has launched an investigation into the attack, which the State Department has said is the work of terrorists possibly affiliated with al Qaeda.
Since the Libya incident, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has criticized the Obama administration, accusing it of covering up a terrorist attack. This was because the information first released to the public was that the attack on the consulate was an escalation of a spontaneous protest against anti-Islam YouTube video “Innocence of Muslims,” which was the work of a U.S.-based producer.
However, the Obama administration later changed course as it learned more details.
Republican lawmakers have also launched a probe into apparent security lapses at Benghazi. Darrell Issa, chairman for the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, held a public hearing last week after sources familiar with the attack revealed several security-related incidents in the six months before the September attack.
Issa and other Republicans have voted to cut nearly half-billion from the State Department's budget, including financing diplomatic security. This funding would cover local guards, armored vehicles and security technology, according to the New York Times.
The State Department has said it will work with congressional lawmakers in finding out what truly happened in Benghazi. Obama has vowed to bring those responsible to justice.
Since the attack, Romney has sought to contrast himself with the President by taking a tougher foreign policy stance on matters concerning the Middle East. Romney has knocked Obama on his handling of the Iran nuclear issue and has said he will work with partners to arm rebels in Syria.
The Obama campaign has accused Romney of politicizing the Lybian incident to score points ahead of the Nov. 6 general election.
The campaign’s senior strategist David Axelrod told “Fox News Sunday” this week that Benghazi is, in fact, a serious issue but criticized Romney’s handling of it.
“I refer you back to the famous '47 percent' tape in the spring, where Governor Romney told in private, told his supporters that he was waiting for a crisis, waiting for an incident, to jump in on national security, and he did,” Axelrod said. “He jumped in right away the day of these attacks, with half information in a way that was denounced by both Republicans and Democrats. And there is no doubt he is working hard to exploit this issue.”
Romney’s advisor Ed Gillespie was on the same program and said with the “constantly shifting story” from the Obama administration, all the Romney camp wants is “honest answers and accurate answers.”