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Issa: Security questions to keep coming

Oct. 14, 2012 at 3:52 PM   |   Comments

WASHINGTON, Oct. 14 (UPI) -- Rep. Darrel Issa, R-Calif., said Sunday Congress would go directly to diplomatic security officials to find out what it will take to make U.S. missions safe.

Issa, whose House Oversight Committee last week held hearings on the deadly sacking of the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, told CBS' "Face the Nation" there needed to be a new safety benchmark for diplomats in volatile areas of the world.

"After the election, I plan to lead a (congressional delegation) to go and meet with the security officials in country by country in many of these areas, to hear what they feel they need," said Issa. "And if there needs to be supplemental money, of course Congress would respond."

Issa contended the Obama administration had erred in maintaining a low-profile security strategy in Libya. He told CBS U.S. diplomats were anxious enough about the climate to remove signs from their buildings and diplomatic license plates from their vehicles.

"The fact is they are making a decision not to put security in because they don't want the presence of security," Issa said, adding there were few concrete signs of increased security overseas despite the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three members of his staff in Benghazi.

A House Democrat, however, said the Obama administration was still investigating the incident and would make changes deemed necessary. He said the hearings by Issa's committee were premature and were designed to score political points for the GOP.

"The way we're doing it, I think, is basically based on a campaign schedule, trying to give (Mitt) Romney some talking points," said Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Md., "I don't think that our men who were killed deserve this. I don't think our diplomatic corps deserve this. We can do better."

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