Former Ambassador Bolton criticizes Kuster's 'lack of knowledge' on Libya
By JOHN DiSTASO Senior Political Reporter
A former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations says U.S. Rep. Ann Kuster displayed "a complete lack of knowledge of a national tragedy" by refusing to answer a citizen's question about the 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
John Bolton, who was Republican former President George W. Bush's ambassador to the United Nations, told the New Hampshire Union Leader Wednesday that Democrat Kuster's refusal to provide an answer at a Nov. 25 event in Manchester "demonstrates why we've got to elevate foreign and defense policy much higher on the priority list in national political debate."
Bolton, who was in New Hampshire in September, has set up a political action committee and a Super PAC to raise and contribute funds to U.S. House and Senate candidates in the 2014 primaries and general election who believe national defense should be a high priority and have what he considers "sound views" on foreign policy.
Bolton said that he, like many others, saw a web video of Kuster from the November appearance before the Jewish Federation of New Hampshire.
According to an announcement about the event, she was there to discuss her trip last summer to Israel and the West Bank, and to answer questions on "Israel and the Middle East."
But when someone in the audience asked about the attack and Libya, Kuster said, "I'm certainly not here to talk about it. I'm here to talk about the Middle East."
A few people in the audience advised her that Libya is in fact in the Middle East.
Bolton called the Union Leader to say, "This, to me, is the kind of paradigm case of why I've set up this PAC and Super PAC."
Bolton said he is not taking sides at this point in the GOP 2nd District U.S. House primary between former state Sen. Gary Lambert and state Rep. Marilinda Garcia, but said, "Her performance is exactly the poster child of what's wrong with both parties' political leaderships in Washington.
"If you have a member of the House who doesn't know where Benghazi is and who doesn't know about a House resolution that's been pending for some time, it was a demonstration of such a complete lack of knowledge of a national tragedy and a real issue about the conduct of national security policy, with no attempt to answer, no policy prescriptions," he said.
"My ideal case is to support candidates who themselves are strong exemplars of advocacy in the foreign and defense policy field," he said, "but it's also important to expose the polar opposite, which is people who don't know anything about critical issues that we face.
"I can assure you that the video is something we'll see a lot of over the next year," Bolton said.
As for Kuster's contention that Libya is not in the Middle East, Bolton said, "Everybody knows the tier of states in North Africa that abuts the Mediterranean is Arab and Muslim, and very different from sub-Sahara Africa below it.
"But if you went to somebody in the State Department's Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs and said that Libya is not in the Middle East, they'd think a space alien had landed."
Kuster's office did not immediately respond to the Union Leader's attempt to seek a response to Bolton's comments.
After the video was made public on Monday, Kuster said in a statement, "Like all Americans, I was horrified by the tragic attack on our Embassy in Benghazi that killed four patriotic Americans. Our focus must remain on finding those responsible, bringing them to justice, and taking every necessary step to prevent an attack like this from ever happening again."
Her office acknowledged Monday she was not as clear as she would have liked to have been in her response, but she believes the U.S. government needs to get to the bottom of what happened in Benghazi and bring those responsible to justice.