WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, believes President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton do not understand jihadists who want to kill Americans.
“The most consistent error of the Obama-Clinton foreign policy is the failure to understand the nature of the people we’re dealing with,” Cruz told CNN following Clinton’s town hall Tuesday night. “It is striking that neither President Obama nor Hillary Clinton are willing to utter the words radical Islamic terrorism. They do not understand the radical religious extremism of individuals committed to jihad, who have pledged to murder Americans, and that leads them to keep making mistakes over and over and over again.”
Cruz was responding to Clinton’s comments she made during the town hall about the 2012 Benghazi attack on the U.S. consulate that left Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans dead.
“We want to know who was behind it, what the motivation of the leaders and the attackers happened to be. There are still some unanswered questions,” Clinton said on CNN. “It was, after all, the fog of war.”
Cruz stated that all Clinton has been doing is stonewalling on getting to the truth of what happened.
“It is not partisan to simply say we should get to the truth, that should be bipartisan,” Cruz told CNN. “But unfortunately, Secretary Clinton – from the beginning – has stonewalled on this rather than acting as a partner getting to the bottom of what happened.”
Cruz added that Clinton views questions about the attack as criticism.
Clinton’s town hall came hours after Obama announced the capture of Ahmed Abu Khattala, a “key leader” of the Benghazi attack.
U.S. officials said Abu Khattala was being held on the Navy amphibious transport dock ship USS New York, which was in the Mediterranean Sea. The officials spoke only on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to discuss Abu Khattala’s whereabouts.
The Libyan was the commander of a militant group called the Abu Obaida bin Jarrah Brigade and is accused of being a senior leader of the Benghazi branch of Ansar al-Shariah in Libya, which the U.S. has designated a terror group.
On Capitol Hill, Republicans urged the administration to get as much intelligence out of Abu Khattala as possible before anyone reads him his rights to remain silent, supplies him with a lawyer and prepares him for trial in a U.S. courtroom. In fact, Sen. Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, top Republican on the Intelligence Committee, said interrogation of the Libyan already was underway and “we hope to find out some positive things.”
Abu Khattala is charged with terror-related crimes in U.S. District Court in Washington and will be tried like a civilian, the administration said. The Obama administration policy is to treat terror suspects as criminals when possible and not send them to the military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, like hundreds of terror suspects captured during the administration of President George W. Bush.
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