Chaffetz calls for truth about, accountability for Benghazi attacks

Published: Friday, Jan. 17 2014 11:56 p.m. MST

The U.N. ambassador at the time, Susan Rice, first blamed mob protests over an anti-Islamic film. Then militant groups linked to al-Qaida were blamed for the attacks.

Inconsistencies in reports are what piqued the interest of Joseph Brinton, a senior at the U. studying history education and political science.

"I think the average American doesn't know the extent to which mixed signals were given in the administration," Brinton said.

Chaffetz said he was infuriated that the president, secretary of state and secretary of defense told the world they did everything they could when the four-star general in charge disagreed.

"You could get on a Delta flight in Salt Lake City, fly to Paris, change planes, fly to Tripoli faster than our military responded," Chaffetz said. "We spend $600 billion a year to have the biggest, baddest military on the face of the planet, and you can't get to Libya in 24 hours?"

Chaffetz said he wants to hear from the people on the ground during the attacks, something he says the Obama administration is preventing. He wants to see systemic failures fixed, embassies built and secured up to code and wrongdoers caught and punished, he said.

A botched "60 Minutes" report on Benghazi in October affected Chaffetz's efforts.

"That was a setback," he said. "A lot of media outlets stopped covering it once '60 Minutes' made a mistake, and that's a shame."

But Chaffetz said he still has cards to play, including a number of hearings from the oversight committee and 13 transcribed interviews the public hasn't seen yet.

"We have to pay attention," he said. "This is no phony scandal, and there's still a lot more to learn."

Email: madbrown@deseretnews.com, Twitter: madeleine6

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