Weekly Columns

Securing our Embassies

Oct 03 2012 -

In every corner of the world, Americans serving in our military and our diplomatic corps put their lives on the line while representing our great nation.  The recent attacks on our embassies and diplomats in the Middle East are horrific reminders that we live in a dangerous world and we must provide the resources and tools they need to ensure their safety.

I am deeply saddened and outraged by these attacks, especially the brutal attack at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya that left four Americans dead, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. Ambassador Stevens was well-liked and admired by the Libyan people for his efforts to foster democracy during the revolution that freed their country from the brutal regime of Muammar Gaddafi. His murder is a tragic loss for our nation’s diplomatic efforts in the Middle East. 

I strongly condemn these senseless and heinous attacks on Americans and our diplomatic corps. There is absolutely no excuse for these unprovoked attacks. The murders of innocent Americans abroad will not be tolerated.

Senior government officials in these countries have rightly condemned the attacks, but I believe the Libyan and Egyptian governments must do more than merely condemn these outrageous attacks. They must work to bring justice to the perpetrators, help end this violence immediately and prevent it from spreading to other countries.

We have to do more here at home to ensure that our diplomats and diplomatic assets aboard are secure. For this reason, I have cosponsored S. 3551, which was introduced by Senators Jim DeMint (R-SC) and Bob Corker (R-TN). This bill would require investigations into and a report on the attacks on U.S. missions in Libya, Egypt and Yemen. For the sake of safety at these embassies and all of our embassies throughout the world, we must be prepared to put everything on the table and react in an appropriate way to show that we simply will not allow these acts to be permitted.  

The Administration has a responsibility to be more forthcoming with the facts about the attack on the consulate in Benghazi. The confusing release of information over the past few weeks has done little to make Americans feel that our diplomats overseas will be protected from attacks of this nature in the future. At times it seems the Administration’s goal is to deflect responsibility, rather than hold accountable the terrorists who committed the attack. This must stop. Americans deserve to know the full story of what happened during that deadly attack, why it was committed and how the Administration plans to bring the perpetrators to justice. It is important that we get this right or American diplomats, businesspeople and travelers will not be safe overseas.

My thoughts and prayers continue to be with the family and friends of the four Americans killed in the attack in Libya, as well as with all Americans who are abroad proudly serving our country and promoting ideals we hold so dearly. As we move forward and find out more details, Congress will look at U.S. aid sent to these countries in the future.  Please be assured that I will work tirelessly to keep Americans at home and abroad safe and work to get every question about the failures to protect these embassies answered.