Marino, House Foreign Affairs Committee Probe Sec. Clinton During Benghazi Hearing
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
January 25, 2013
Washington, D.C. – As a member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, U.S. Representative Tom Marino (R-PA) participated in a hearing, “Terrorist Attack in Benghazi: The Secretary of State’s View,” where Secretary of State Hillary Clinton offered testimony and took questions from members of the Committee.
In his question to Secretary Clinton, Marino focused on numerous reports from the Department of State and the White House, which failed to identify the increasing threat of al-Qaeda in Libya. Marino cited a report, Al-Qaeda in Libya: A Profile, published by the Library of Congress on behalf of a division of the Department of Defense in August 2012, “which outlined al-Qaeda’s growing presence in Libya, particularly in east Libya, where Benghazi is located,” Marino said in the hearing. This report included photos of a black flag symbolizing a commitment to violent jihad and attributed the flag to an al-Qaeda affiliated group, Ansar al Sharia, based in Benghazi.
“The State Department knew this flag had been adopted by al-Qaeda affiliated, jihadist groups and they had a report highlighting the increased presence of such groups in the area. The same flag highlighted in the DOD report was seen in numerous violent protests across the globe on September 11, 2012, including at our embassies in Jordan, Cairo, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Tunisia. It was this same flag that appeared in the terrorist attack against our Consulate in Benghazi,” Marino stated after the hearing. “This flag was clearly attributed to people who attack and kill Americans and it is unfathomable that it took State Department officials two weeks to connect the dots and confirm that these were all terrorist attacks committed by al-Qaeda. You would hope such a dominant presence of terrorist groups in the area would warrant an increase in security at our embassies.”
Marino also criticized the Administration for its delay in taking proper action against State Department personnel who failed to do their job in assuring the safety of our American diplomats in Benghazi. “What is the hold-up,” Marino asked of Secretary Clinton, “in saying you let me down – I no longer need your services?”
While Secretary Clinton refused to discuss this issue publically with the Committee, the Accountability Review Board found “systemic failures and management deficiencies” at senior levels within the State Department leading up to the attack in Benghazi, reaffirming the need for Congress to continue its demand of greater transparency from the Administration.