President Barack Obama's administration exhibited a "failure of leadership" with the Sept. 11, 2012, attack in Benghazi, Libya, former Vice President Dick Cheney told the U.K.'s Daily Mail on Tuesday.
A day ahead of a congressional hearing set to bring three State Department officials before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Cheney attacked the administration for not taking proper measures to secure the U.S. compound ahead of the Sept. 11 anniversary, asserting that President George W. Bush had taken a different approach.
"When we were there, on our watch, we were always ready on 9/11, on the anniversary," Cheney said. "We always anticipated they were coming for us, especially in that part of the world ... I cannot understand why they weren't ready to go."
The former vice president also expressed skepticism about initial explanations of why the administration didn't immediately order reinforcements to defend the facility.
"I've heard senior officials in the Obama administration say, 'Well, we didn't know what we'd be sending them into, so we didn't send 'em.' Hogwash!" Cheney said. "Those guys train for that. They're damned good at it."
Cheney has been an unabashed critic of President Obama in the past, both on Benghazi and on general issues of foreign policy. In October, he declared that it "looks like the administration's been involved in a coverup" with regards to Benghazi and accused Obama of having overstated his record on national security. On Tuesday, Cheney similarly accused the president and his administration of having withheld information to avoid political damage ahead of the 2012 presidential election.
In February, Cheney claimed that Obama had jeopardized national security by appointing a "dismal" team.
"Frankly, what he has appointed are second-rate people," Cheney said.