Kerry to Rep. Duncan: Don’t Bring Up Benghazi

September 5, 2013 - 3:51 PM

(CNSNews.com) -- Secretary of State John Kerry got into a heated exchange with Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) while appearing before the House Foreign Affairs Committee Wednesday urging members to approve President Obama’s request to use military force in Syria.

After Kerry made the administration’s case for military action in response to the use of chemical weapons by Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime, Duncan responded: “I can’t discuss the possibility of U.S. involvement in Syria’s civil war without also talking about Benghazi. The administration has a serious credibility issue with the American people due to the unanswered questions surrounding the terrorist attack in Benghazi almost a year ago.

“When you factor in the IRS targeting of conservative groups, the AP and James Rosen issues, Fast and Furious and NSA spying programs, the bottom line is that there is a need for accountability and trust-building from the administration,” Duncan said.

“Section four of your testimony today says this is about accountability. Sure it is. The American people deserve answers about Benghazi before we move forward with military involvement in Syria's civil war.
Holding up a photo of Navy SEAL Tyrone Woods, who was killed in the Benghazi attack along with U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and two other Americans, Duncan added, “The same administration that was singlely so quick to involve the U.S. in Syria now was reluctant to use the same resources at its disposal to attempt a rescue of four brave Americans that fought for their lives in Benghazi.”

Duncan also asked the secretary of state if there had been "any transfers of weapons from Libya to Syria."

A clearly irritated Kerry responded: “We talking about people being killed by gas and you want to go talk about Benghazi and Fast and Furious.”

“This is not about getting into Syria’s civil war.” Kerry responded. “This is about enforcing the principle that people shouldn’t be allowed to gas their citizens with impunity. And if we don’t vote to do this, Assad will interpret from you that he’s free to go and do this any day he wants to. That’s what this is about, not getting involved in Syria’s civil war.

“So let’s draw the proper distinction here, congressman. We don’t deserve to drag this into another Benghazi discussion when the real issue here is whether or not Congress is going to stand up for international norms with respect to dictators that have only been broken twice until Assad: Hitler and Saddam Hussein.”