Rep. Stephen Lynch (D-MA) blasted Republican efforts to renew questions into the Benghazi embassy attacks this week. As a member of the committee that will once again be hearing testimony on the attacks, Lynch categorically dismissed the persistent claim that the White House failed to provide adequate security at the Benghazi embassy.
In a heated exchange on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace, Lynch pointed out that Republicans voted against additional funding for embassy security when Secretary of State Hillary Clinton requested it:
LYNCH: When Secretary Clinton and the State Department asked for additional funding for embassy security, [Republicans] all voted no. They all voted no.
WALLACE: We’re getting a little bit off track now. I understand there’s an issue about security. It’s a little bit off the track. I want to stay on course here –
LYNCH: No, this is the point. They’re complaining about a lack of security at the embassies after they voted against funding for security at the embassies. Is that not related?
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), a primary driver of these new hearings, was one of the lawmakers who voted to cut nearly $300 million from the embassy security budget. Chaffetz shot back that funding had “nothing to do” with security. In the past, Chaffetz has defended his vote to cut funding by saying it wasn’t a priority.
Republicans who voted against funding have tried to claim that the Department of Defense was responsible for security, not the State Department. However, a State Department review of the attacks emphasized the need for more funding to prevent new security threats.
Clinton repeated her call for more funding during Benghazi hearings in January. Belatedly, House Republicans announced support for restored embassy security funding in order to off-set sequestration budget cuts.