(CNSNews.com) – Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) said Wednesday during a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice and White House press secretary Jay Carney “gave demonstrably false statements” about what prompted the Benghazi attack.
“So, two representatives of this administration gave demonstrably false statements, not just to us, but to our fellow citizens on national television,” Gowdy, a member of the committee, said during the first hearing on the U.S. consulate attack in Libya.
Gowdy pointed to almost a year of “an escalating pattern of violence directed towards the United States and other Western targets in Libya, attacks on the consulate in Benghazi, attacks and assassination attempts of the British Ambassador, attacks on the international Red Cross, attacks on court houses, judges assassinated, culminating on September the 11th and the murder of four Americans, including our ambassador to Libya.”
Gowdy said the Obama administration blamed the murders on an anti-Islam video on YouTube, “despite what would appear to any reasonably objective observer as an escalating pattern of violence, including sophistication, coordination and management.”
“Don’t take my word for it, Mr. Chairman, let’s look at what Ambassador [Susan] Rice said: ‘Our current assessment is that what happened in Benghazi was, quote, ‘in fact initially a spontaneous reaction.’ I don’t know what the phrase in fact means in diplomatic legalese, I can tell you what it means in a court room, Mr. Chairman. It means it’s a fact,” Gowdy said.
“And she went on national television and she said, now as this ambassador has said, that I’m not going to speculate, that I’ve got to get all the information, she said, ‘In fact’ this was a spontaneous reaction to what had just transpired hours before in Cairo, almost a copycat of the demonstrations against our facility in Cairo, which were prompted of course, Mr. Chairman, by a video, is what she said,” he added.
“And then she proceeds to say that the attack was spontaneous. I can think of few things more antithetical to spontaneity than a 12-month long prologue of violence than Libya. And then she said she relied solely and squarely on the information the intelligence community provided,” Gowdy said.
The congressman called for another hearing “where we can ask Ambassador Rice under oath, ‘Who told you what, when.’”
“You’re gonna blame the intelligence community, you come before this committee and tell us who told you it was a video. Who in the intelligence committee said it? Who in the diplomatic community blamed this all on the video?” Gowdy asked.
Turning his attention to Carney, Gowdy said: “This is what he said, Mr. Chairman, ‘I’m saying based on information that we – our initial information includes all information. We saw no evidence to back up claims by others that this was a pre-planned or premeditated attack. What we saw was evidence that it was sparked by the reaction to this video. And that is what we know thus far based on evidence, concrete evidence.’”
Speaking as a former lawyer, Gowdy said, when he hears the phrase “concrete evidence,” it’s “even stronger language than saying something is in fact.”
“So, two representatives of this administration gave demonstrably false statements, not just to us, but to our fellow citizens on national television,” he added.
“Now is the explanation for those demonstrably false statements, as my colleague from Florida just asked, was it negligence? Was it just a reckless disregard for the truth, or was it more nefarious than that?” Gowdy asked.
“Mr. Chairman, the American people are reasonable. People understand investigations take time. People don’t expect you to speculate ‘til you have all the facts, but what they will not forgive is being misled,” Gowdy said.
“We want our questions answered. I want them answered by the people that went out before the American people and sought to mislead them by landing this on a video when there is no evidence, concrete or otherwise, to support the assertions made by this administration,” he added.