Republicans for Libyan Truth

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Oct. 2 2012 6:54 PM

Republicans for Libyan Truth

WARSAW, Mo. -- We're nearly four weeks on from the attack in Benghazi, and I see a schizophrenia of sorts on the right. The Romney campaign approaches the situation gingerly, with single-sentence or single-paragraph mentions in speeches. But as I drive around, talk to voters, and listen to talk radio, I hear the party's base demanding that Romney light into Obama to get the truth about the attack. The truth is almost assumed: The administration lied. "It's starting to sound like Nixon," said Gary Hansford, a retired cameraman I met at a GOP rally in Joplin. "What did the president know, and when did he know it?"

The next bend in the Libya story comes from the House's Government Affairs and Oversight Committee, which is out with a letter from Darrell Issa and Jason Chaffetz -- the latter a key Romney surrogate -- asking the State Department to answer charges from whistleblowers in Libya.

Based on information provided to the Committee by individuals with direct knowledge of events in Libya, the attack that claimed the Ambassador’s life was the latest in a long line of attacks on Western diplomats and officials in Libya in the months leading up to September 11, 2012.  It was clearly never, as Administration officials once insisted, the result of a popular protest.  In addition, multiple U.S. federal government officials have confirmed to the Committee that, prior to the September 11 attack, the U.S. mission in Libya made repeated requests for increased security in Benghazi.  The mission in Libya, however, was denied these resources by officials in Washington.
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The expectation is that Romney will bring this up in the debate and humble Obama.

David Weigel is a Slate political reporter.