The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

October 12, 2012

Romney, White House spar over Libya attacks

— RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney on Friday accused the vice president of "doubling down on denial" over the deadly invasion at the U.S. Consulate in Libya, leaving the White House to defend its handling of the attack that killed its ambassador and three other Americans.

Biden said in a debate Thursday night that "we weren't told" there had been requests for more security at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi ahead of the terrorist attack one month ago.

A State Department official testified before Congress on Wednesday that she had, in fact, refused requests for more security in Benghazi because the department wanted to train Libyans for the task. Another U.S. official testified he had argued unsuccessfully for more security for weeks.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said that when Biden said "we weren't told," Biden meant President Barack Obama and himself. Carney said such security matters are handled by the State Department.

Asked what the president's reaction was when he heard testimony of State Department officials who had pleaded for more security, Carney said Obama "wants to get the bottom of what happened." He said the president is committed "to make sure that what happened in Benghazi never happens again."

Romney told supporters in swing state Virginia that the White House has more questions to answer about the tragedy.

"The vice president directly contradicted the sworn testimony of State Department officials," Romney said. "He's doubling down on denial. And we need to understand exactly what happened as opposed to just have people brush this aside. When the vice president of the United States directly contradicts the testimony, sworn testimony of State Department officials, American citizens have a right to know just what's going on. And we're going to find out."

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