Wisconsin Republican Sen. Ron Johnson told The Daily Caller on Tuesday that the Obama administration “purposefully misled” the American public for weeks about the Sept. 11 embassy attack in Benghazi that claimed the lives of four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
Johnson, a member of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, said the administration has shown a pattern of lying.
“[Operation Fast and Furious is] certainly an example of how this president has just not told the American people the truth,” Johnson said.
Operation Fast and Furious was a gunwalking operation organized by the U.S. government that sent arms to Mexico. The program developed into a minor scandal for the Obama administration when federal authorities lost track of some of the guns, which were then used to murder a U.S. Border Patrol agent. (RELATED: Idea for Fast and Furious came from top Eric Holder deputies in 2009, report says)
“Another example really was Benghazi, and the fact that this administration, I would argue, purposefully misled Americans really for weeks,” Johnson told TheDC at Hofstra University, after the second presidential debate.
Johnson pointed to the administration’s decision to send U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice on several talk shows after the Benghazi incident. Rice repeatedly claimed that the Sept. 11 Libya incident was a spontaneous attack motivated by a short, low-budget anti-Islam movie uploaded to YouTube by a Florida filmmaker.
Administration officials have since admitted the incident was a pre-planned terrorist act, and that there were no protests related to the video in Benghazi prior to the attack.
“I mean, when they sent U.N. Ambassador Rice out on the Sunday morning talk shows five days later, her words were, in fact, it was a spontaneous reaction to of course, the [YouTube] video. Then, of course, President Obama, at the U.N., referred to that video six times. I mean, the fact that he claims that he, [on] that first day, called that an act of terror, he didn’t – that is just not true.”
A key issue during the second presidential debate was when President Obama officially declared the Sept. 11 attack a terrorist incident, as opposed to a spontaneous reaction to the video.
In the Rose Garden on Sept. 12, Obama said, “No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for.”
Obama “said the word, but it was generic,” Johnson told TheDC. (RELATED: White House press secretary Jay Carney grilled on Libya response)
“He certainly was not referring to that act [in Libya] as an act of terrorism. In fact, they misled the American public for weeks before they were finally forced to admit it was a pre-planned attack,” Johnson added.
Obama mentioned the anti-Islam YouTube video in his speech before the United Nations on Sept. 25 as an example of hateful speech.