Congress is right to ask questions about the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.
The Obama administration first characterized the assault as mob violence sparked by a controversial video that disparaged Islam. Yet in recent days the White House has changed the story: it was a terrorist attack, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta confirmed Thursday.
U.S. analysts are trying to figure out whether al-Qaidas African branch was behind the attack or Ansar al-Sharia, a coalition of militants with personnel in Libya.
This issue has become a political football, but there are legitimate questions to be answered.
How did the administration misinterpret the event initially? Were there warnings about a possible assault on the U.S. facility in Libya? What security preparations were taken?
Two Republican members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Johnny Isakson of Georgia and Bob Corker of Tennessee, expressed misgivings about security preparations in Benghazi in a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The State Department, the FBI and others are looking into the matter. Four days after the storming of the consulate, Susan Rice, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, suggested that the assault was not well planned. Four senators, including John McCain have written her, saying: We look forward to a timely response that explains how the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations could characterize an attack on a U.S. consulate so inaccurately.
The administration has been all over the map in explaining this tragic event.