Portman: Obama Administration Mislead Americans On Benghazi

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UPDATED: Friday May 10, 2013 7:11 PM

Senator Rob Portman says President Barack Obama’s administration mislead the American people following last year’s attack on the American embassy in Benghazi, Libya.

"To not use the word terror and indicate this was somehow a mob that was demonstrating, rather than saying what we knew on the ground from eyewitness accounts, from intelligence reports, that's obviously misleading the American people and trying to put a spin on something that wasn't accurate," said Portman.

While touring a Boeing production facility in Heath, Portman, a Republican, said that the Obama administration tried to sugarcoat and politicize the attack just weeks before the November election.

"I have been in classified briefings and unclassified meetings where some information has been provided, but clearly not enough," said Portman. "We're now finding there were a lot of holes in what we've been told."

The latest disclosures Friday raised new questions about whether the Obama administration tried to play down any terrorist factor in the attack on a diplomatic compound just weeks before the November presidential election. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed when insurgents struck the U.S. mission in two nighttime attacks.

"The testimony this week was very troubling," said Portman. "To have a seven-hour firefight and not have the U.S. government come to the aid of brave men and women on the ground is unconscionable."

Portman would not speculate whether he expects Benghazi to rise to the level of past scandals like Watergate and Iran Contra.

"It's easy to beat up on the administration on this because obviously they made some big mistakes," Portman said.  "What have we learned?  Have we put in place new security measures to harden these facilities?  Are we now going to start using our intelligence appropriately so we can protect our people?  When we have people in danger are we going to be able to respond?”

Ohio Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown yesterday dismissed the hearings as political theater.

"The leaders in the House committee don't like Hillary Clinton, so what," Brown told 10TV.  "This is not the place to do this kind of politics."

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