Daily Israel Report

Cong. Refuses Benghazi Question, 'Libya Not Mid East'

Congresswoman Ann Kuster refuses to answer question on Benghazi probe, says 'we're here to talk about the Middle East.'
By Ari Yashar
First Publish: 12/12/2013, 7:39 PM

Congresswoman Ann Kuster
Congresswoman Ann Kuster
Public Relations

US Democratic Congresswoman Ann Kuster of New Hampshire dodged a constituent's question about the probe into the 2012 attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya. Kuster refused the question, reasoning "we're here to talk about the Middle East."

While the US State Department has no official definition of the Middle East, and Libya is alternately included and not included, the country was defined in the Eisenhower Doctrine of 1957 by then-US Secretary of State John Foster Dulles as part of the region. Currently, the State Department's Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs covers Libya.

Arutz Sheva analyst Mark Langfan comments that Kuster intentionally "was attempting to dodge questions from her constituents on the murder of United States' Libyan Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans on September 11, 2012," adding that "up until now, (US) President (Barack) Obama appears to have done nothing to 'get to the bottom of Benghazi.'"

Kuster's side-stepping came at a November 25 event at the Jewish Federation of New Hampshire, where she was slated to talk about the Middle East following her recent trip to Israel. The altercation can be seen here:

Audience members can be heard insisting that "Benghazi is in the Middle East," asking for an answer from Kuster until the moderator quickly steps in, asking for a "civil discussion that sticks to the format."

Langfan notes that Kuster's office released a statement that didn't clarify why she didn't simply answer the question, commenting that it remains unclear why she said Libya was not in the Middle East "except to refuse to directly explain why President Obama’s Benghazi investigation has gone nowhere."

Ian Prior, a spokesman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, commented on the incident, saying for Kuster "not to even address a voter's questions about what the United States government is doing to get answers on those terrorist attacks makes her unqualified for the office which she holds."