Sen. Ben Nelson today cautioned against making the tragedy in Libya a part of the political debate this year and said embassies throughout the Middle East need to be made more secure in wake of the violence.
A mob enraged over an anti-Islam American film stormed the consulate in Benghazi, killing Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three staff members.
“The tragedy in Libya shows just how unsettled that region of the world is,” Nelson told reporters during a conference call this morning. “And this should call for more unity from leaders in America rather than pot shots for political gain.”
Nelson stated he wasn’t referring to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, but other Republicans who have criticized the Obama Administration response to the attack.
Nelson said such incidents automatically raise questions about security.
“Obviously, you can say it wasn’t adequate. It didn’t protect the ambassador. The question is should we have known that this was a possibility?”
Nelson said other embassies in the Middle East need to be on high alert.
“We need to take a belt and suspenders approach to this, and that is beef up security at our embassies around the world just in case there is a concerted effort here, an organized effort to attack the United States wherever we exist,” according to Nelson.
It is the first time an American ambassador has been killed in more than two decades.
Demonstrators also attacked the American Embassy in Cairo, Egypt, but no deaths were reported.
An apology for the attack was offered by Libya interim president, Mohammed Magarief, who describes it as “cowardly”.
Nelson said the United States needs more answers about what actually happened in Benghazi.
“The question is whether the Libyan incident came about because of a group of disaffected militants that chose to take this action or whether it is part of an overall plot that involves al Qaeda or other terrorist groups,” Nelson told reporters. “That’s the question.”
AUDIO: Sen. Ben Nelson comments on attacks that killed four at US Embassy in Libya. [2 min.]