Amid intensifying rumors that he’s considering a run for president, United States Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) has come down hard on the White House over last year’s tragedy at the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
On Wednesday a Congressional committee heard testimonies from witnesses of the September 11, 2012 attack, but eight months after the fact many questions still remain unanswered. Sen. Paul weighed in on the event as well this week, but in doing so challenged the administration of US President Barack Obama and particularly Hillary Clinton, the former Department of State secretary at the helm of the agency at the time of the attack and another rumored candidate in the 2016 election.
In an interview aired on CNN Thursday evening, Sen. Paul said he hasn’t ruled out the possibility that last year’s attack unfolded as a result of a secret arms trade. The confusion in the immediate aftermath of the event — including unfounded admissions from America’s United Nations envoy Susan Rice that contradicted what is known today about the attack — could actually be a cover-up, the senator said.
“I never have quite understood the cover-up — if it was intentional or incompetence,” he told host Erin Burnett. “But something went on. I mean, they had talking points that they were trying to make it out to be a movie when everybody seemed to be on the ground telling them it had nothing to do a movie. I don’t know if this was for political reasons.”
In the wake of the attack, then-UN ambassador Susan Rice said the storming of the consulate resulted after an anti-Islamic video produced in the US ended up on YouTube. The government has since admitted her statement was false, but conflicting reports among Washington’s elite has led in part to Paul’s questioning of the incident.
“I’ve actually always suspected that, although I have no evidence, that maybe we were facilitating arms leaving Libya going through Turkey into Syria,” he said.
“Were they trying to obscure that there was an arms operation going on at the CIA annex?” Paul asked. “I’m not sure exactly what was going on, but I think questions ought to be asked and answered, and I’m a little curious when employees of the State Department are told by government officials they shouldn’t testify and then they are sort of sequestered and kept away from testimony, so I think there may be more to this.”
This is not the first time either that Senator Paul raised questions about possible arms supplies under the CIA umbrella. During her testimony in the Senate, Rand Paul asked then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton whether the spy agency was sending weapons from Benghazi into other countries. Clinton replied that he would have to ask CIA officials about it.
On Friday morning, Paul scolded the former State Department secretary in a Washington Times op-ed and said Clinton “should never hold high office again.”
“My office is currently seeking out the witnesses and survivors of Benghazi to testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. To date, the Obama administration has refused to let them testify. Too many questions remain unanswered. Now, there are too many new questions,” Paul wrote. “The evidence we had in January already suggested that Mrs. Clinton ignored repeated requests for more security in Benghazi. The new evidence we have today – and that continues to mount – suggests that at the very least, Mrs. Clinton should never hold high office again.”
Paul said during a Thursday radio interview that he’s “considering” a run for president in 2016. A Quinnipiac University poll published earlier the week found that Clinton would dominate the Democratic race, winning perhaps 65 percent of the party’s vote if she decides to run.