Former Vice President Dick Cheney on Tuesday said the deadly attacks in Libya last month show that the Barack Obama administration can’t handle foreign policy and that the war on terror is far from over.
Cheney’s critique of Obama’s foreign policy and national security stance on Sean Hannity’s radio program came one day before the first pesidential debate, Wednesday night.
“I think the danger from their standpoint is that this whole episode of Benghazi demonstrates that they don’t have a handle on foreign policy and national security matters,” Cheney said. “They like to go out and say, 'Bin Laden is dead, terrorism is dead, al Qaeda is dead, and, you know, we’re great in the foreign policy field,’ but that’s hogwash.”
Four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, were killed in the Sept. 11 attack in Benghazi, which officials first attributed to a protest against anti-Islam YouTube film “Innocence of Muslim.”
Cheney has joined Republican challenger Mitt Romney in accusing Obama of hiding the truth of what happened in Libya that day.
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"It looks to me like its gonna get messier and messier, and in fact, it looks like the administration’s been involved in a cover-up claiming that it was all caused by this YouTube video, when, in fact, it was clearly the result of the developments with respect to al Qaeda and terrorism in North Africa," Cheney said. "The battle is not over by any means. They keep wanting to say that there is no war on terror, we don’t use the word terror. They refuse to recognize the situation we are in, and that’s the first step toward ultimate failure and ultimately future terrorist attacks."
However, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the attack was an act of terrorism that may have involved al Qaeda-affiliated groups in the region.
U.S. Navy SEALs killed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden last May in Abbottabad, Pakistan. Cheney said intelligence professionals who worked the case for 10 years are the ones who deserve the credit, not the Obama administration.
“That claim to be competent in the world of foreign affairs just goes down in flames when you look at what’s happened in Benghazi,” Cheney told Hannity. “The latest thing I’ve heard now is that, and they were denied -- and this is all secondhand, I haven’t seen the confirmation yet -- the additional security resources they have requested at the Benghazi consulate. Our embassy in Libya had asked for more help and didn’t get it.”
Republican Reps. Darrell Issa and Jason Chaffetz on Tuesday sent a letter to Clinton, outlining several incidents in the six months leading up to the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi last month. Both wrote in that letter that sources with “direct knowledge” have said that repeated requests were made for additional security to meet possible threats but were denied.
The lawmakers’ letter is the latest in a string of letters that have been sent to Clinton asking about the level of security provided to U.S. diplomatic missions overseas.
Issa, who is chairman of the House Oversight Committee, is planning a hearing on the Libya incident next week and has asked that Clinton respond to his letter by Monday.
Clinton said the State Department will fully cooperate with Congress on the issue.
“I appreciate that you and your committee are deeply interested in finding out what happened leading up to and during the attacks in Benghazi and are looking for ways to prevent it from happening again,” Clinton’s letter read. “I share that commitment. Nobody will hold this department more accountable than we hold ourselves -- we served with Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods,” the Americans who perished in the attack.