News / USA

US Lawmakers Receive Classified Briefing on Attacks in Libya,Egypt

A protester reacts as the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi is seen in flames during a protest by an armed group said to have been protesting a film being produced in the United States September 11, 2012.A protester reacts as the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi is seen in flames during a protest by an armed group said to have been protesting a film being produced in the United States September 11, 2012.
x
A protester reacts as the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi is seen in flames during a protest by an armed group said to have been protesting a film being produced in the United States September 11, 2012.
A protester reacts as the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi is seen in flames during a protest by an armed group said to have been protesting a film being produced in the United States September 11, 2012.
Cindy Saine
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Director of National Security James Clapper, and Deputy Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter held classified briefings for all of the members of the House of Representatives and the Senate on Thursday regarding the recent violent attacks on U.S. embassies and facilities in Libya, Egypt and other countries.

Top Obama administration officials headed to Capitol Hill at a time when some conservative lawmakers are calling on the administration to reevaluate its annual foreign aid to Libya, Egypt, Pakistan and other countries where there have been violent anti-American protests.  The intelligence briefing came as White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters, “It is self-evident that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack.”

Lawmakers emerging from the classified briefing said they could not comment on what they had just heard, and make comments based on information they already generally know.

California Republican Howard "Buck" McKeon, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said it seems the violence in Libya that claimed the lives of four Americans, was a planned terrorist attack.

"Al-Qaida is the name that has been used, and I think that is probably what we are going to find out," he said.

Some Republican lawmakers criticized the Obama administration for changing its account of how the events unfolded at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.  Some Democratic lawmakers said the facts are still emerging and that the FBI is investigating the attack.

Democratic Representative Adam Smith of Washington: "They are still piecing [it all] together.  They are obviously still trying to figure out who perpetrated the attack, how to capture them, how to find those people, and how to prevent future attacks -- and that is evolving," Smith said.

Before the briefing, Secretary of State Clinton said the United States faces very real challenges in the new democracies of the Middle East.  But she made a case for continued strong U.S. involvement in the region.

"But as I said last week, the vast majority of the people in these countries did not throw off the tyranny of a dictator to trade it for the tyranny of a mob.  And we are concerned first and foremost with our own people and facilities.  But we are also concerned about the internal security in these countries," Clinton said.

Some lawmakers stressed that that leaders of countries such as Egypt should realize that American assistance is not an entitlement, and that U.S. citizens and property must be protected.

"We should expect more from leaders in the region.  We should expect [Egyptian President Mohammed] Morsi and the Muslim Brotherhood and others to stand up to people and say, 'Look, we understand that you are upset about this video, but you do not have the right to burn down an embassy.  And by the way, in America, the government does not control these videos, anyone can make a YouTube video; they are in a free society," said Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida:

Lawmakers of both major political parties have expressed outrage that it took Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi about 24 hours to criticize a protest at the U.S. embassy in Cairo.

Democratic Representative Dutch Ruppersberger of Maryland said he was disappointed in Egypt's new leader, but he urged members of Congress not to cut foreign aid to Egypt.

"The thing about aid is you better watch what you are doing.  We can use the aid as leverage to work with them.  But the bottom line is we do not want to create another Iran.  If we just walk away, and as some people say take all of our money [with us], and we lose influence in Egypt.  Then, I guarantee you, Russia, China and Iran will be in there so quick," Ruppersberger said.

Nearly all members of the House and many members of the Senate are expected to return to their home states this week to campaign ahead of the general elections, so it unlikely that action will be taken on foreign aid before November 6.

You May Like

Obama: Alaskans Feel Signs of Climate Change

They're seeing bigger storm surges as sea ice melts, more wildfires, erosion of glaciers, shorelines More

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Lose Influence
September 21, 2012 11:00 PM
Incredible to see the above comment about " We lose influence"
Is this what it is all about, peoples lives at the expense of influence. Come further South in Africa, Mr Dutch Ruppersberger, speak to people who have lost family in a country
called Zimbabwe - the real meaning of life will be very clear.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs