January 25, 2013

Barack Obama and Hillary ClintonWednesday’s hearings with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the September Benghazi attacks were disappointing, Heritage Foundation experts maintain. First, the hearings highlighted the administration’s grievous security ineptitude. Second, the administration lacks any sort of plan either to prevent future security failures or to contain North African terrorism.

Congress failed to draw real answers from Clinton. As Heritage expert Morgan Roach notes, ”Rather than provide new insight into the attack, Secretary Clinton simply reiterated what previous Administration witnesses had testified to in previous hearings. ”

In addition to explaining its failures surrounding the Benghazi disaster, the Obama administration needs to explain what happened during last week’s terrorist attack against a gas facility in western Libya, in which three Americans were killed. There is a  proliferation of terrorism in North Africa, and the administration must not only acknowledge it, but seek out ways to reduce and ultimately eradicate it.

Roach explains:

Since the Qadhafi regime fell in September 2011, North Africa and the Sahel have felt the fallout firsthand. When well-armed Tuareg fighters left Libya and returned to their homeland in Mali, they set off a chain of events. Last Spring, a coalition of terrorist groups occupied northern Mali, leading France to militarily intervene earlier this month. Then, last week, a former leader of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) launched an attack on an Algerian gas facility, killing three Americans.

While Clinton acknowledged the “spreading jihadist threat,” she failed to explain what steps the Obama Administration has taken to address it. Rather, she conceded, “We can kill leaders, but until we help establish strong democratic institutions, until we do a better job with values and relationships, we will be faced with this level of instability.”

The question remains: what will the Obama administration do to prevent the terrorism from spreading? Heritage expert Helle Dale laments that the outgoing Secretary of State has no plan to strengthen America’s image through public diplomacy:

[Clinton] correctly bemoaned the fact that the U.S. government has “abandoned broadcasting to the Middle East,” and stated that the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG), which is responsible, is “a defunct agency.” Why Clinton herself, who has a seat on the board, has never done anything about this deplorable state of affairs remains one of the many questions the hearings left unanswered.

Unfortunately, we are no closer to knowing what the administration is doing to bring to justice the killers of the four Americans who lost their lives in Benghazi on September 11, 2012.

Do you think the Obama administration should acknowledge its own failures in North Africa and devise a plan to ensure such an attack won’t happen again?

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