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SPOTLIGHT
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Americans deserve answers on Libya

Published on -10/24/2012, 10:58 AM

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News of the assassination of America's ambassador to Libya and three other Americans engaged in the diplomatic service of our nation should have led everyone in Washington to seek immediate answers.

After all, the rest of the country was hungry for information.

Instead, President Barack Obama and others in his administration have given America the silent treatment. The answers they have provided have been incomplete, if not misleading.

Two weeks after the attack, the White House continued to cite an amateurish video as the chief motivating factor for the murders. They continued to say there was "no actionable intelligence" about a threat. They continued to say it was spontaneous. They refused to call it a terrorist attack.

Sure, President Obama referenced "acts of terror" generally in the Rose Garden the day after the attacks, but he would not call what happened at our embassy a terrorist attack.

Meanwhile, the New York and inside-the-Beltway media just continue to look the other way.

Imagine the (rightful) level of scrutiny that would have been on the Bush Administration had this happened under its watch! I suspect nearly every front page, nightly newscast, and hourly NPR update would never cease to cry foul and demand answers about what has the makings of a cover-up. The names and faces of family members whose loved ones were killed in these horrific attacks would be familiar to each of us.

President Obama said in the second presidential debate that he takes responsibility for the security failures that led to the attack. But, that was only after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tried to take the fall for the president.

One would think though that when the president is a Nobel Peace Prize honoree he would be more willing to lead than follow on this critical issue.

The time for a full explanation is now. Not in a post-election investigation. Now.

Americans do not just deserve answers about what happened in Benghazi, but also answers about why their tax dollars are still going to nations that lack our shared interests. After all, it was just a year ago that American taxpayers spent more than $1 billion to "liberate" Libya from the Qadhafi regime.

In the wake of the attacks on our embassy and diplomatic personnel, I joined my colleagues in supporting legislation to cut off immediately all aid to Egypt, Pakistan, and Libya as well as to deny funding in the future to any nations where our embassies are attacked.

The funding would not be restored unless and until those nations help bring to justice those who perpetrate violence on our embassies -- which are technically sovereign soil of the U.S.

Foreign aid represents only a small fraction of our spending so scaling it back will not necessarily solve America's debt and overspending crisis (though it is a good start). But, cutting off funds to those nations that harbor groups and individuals that seek America's demise will send a clear message that the U.S. is serious about protecting our interests abroad.

Rep. Tim Huelskamp, Fowler and Hutchinson, represents the First District of Kansas in the U.S. House of Representatives.

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