MSNBC host Martin Bashir and contributor Karen Finney explained Friday evening that the “austerity measures” passed by the Republican Party may be partly responsible for the deaths of four Americans at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
Shortly after White House press secretary Jay Carney’s daily briefing, Finney said the focus on the talking points included in the White House response immediately following the incident last September was misguided. The real spotlight, she said, should be on budgetary matters.
“What concerns me, though, to point to part of what James was saying,” Finney said. “And that is there actually may be a real problem here, but we’re not getting to that because we’re playing politics. One of the problems we absolutely know is this issue about a need for increased budget for security for our embassies. Let’s have that conversation.”
Charlene Lamb, former deputy assistant secretary responsible for embassy security, testified Oct. 10, 2012, that budget concerns did not factor into the decision not to increase security around the consulate.
Despite the Republican Party only having control of one chamber of the Congress and facing opposition from a Democratic Obama administration, Bashir suggested that the GOP had a hand in Stevens’ death.
“No, because, Karen, nobody is interested in the fact fiscal year 2012, Republicans voted to remove $331 million from security budgets at international consulates and embassies. Nobody is interested in discussing that. That was the year when Ambassador Stevens was murdered.”
Finney suggested Republicans were “terrified” of that being discussed.
“I believe that is what the GOP is most terrified of having to talk about, because they know they screwed up,” Finney added. “Their austerity measures may have endangered this man’s life, and they’re not going to talk about that. Instead, they want to try to talk about who did what to whom and in talking points, how many in 12 iterations what words were changed when by whom rather than focusing on what I think is the critical issue, which is what do we need to do to make sure it doesn’t happen again?”