The Washington Times - October 14, 2012, 11:50AM

Two leading Republican lawmakers on Sunday ripped the Obama administration’s handling of the aftermath of last month’s attacks in Libya, accusing the White House of putting politics ahead of the safety of American diplomats.

“They’re trying to sell a narrative that … al Qaeda has been dismantled — and to admit that our embassy was attacked by al Qaeda operatives undercuts that narrative,” Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, said on CBS’ “Face the Nation. “I think they’ve been misleading us, but it finally caught up with them. Either they are misleading the American people or [they’re] incredibly incompetent.”

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Mr. Graham said the White House has a history of putting politics ahead of practicality in the Middle East.

“They’re very political when it comes to foreign policy,” Mr. Graham said. “When something goes bad, they deny, they deceive, and they delay. The truth is the foreign policy choices of President Obama is allowing the region to come unraveled.

“This whole region is about to explode,” the senator, a member of the powerful Armed Services Committee, told host Bob Schieffer.

Rep. Darrell E. Issa, California Republican, echoed Mr. Graham’s comments later on the same program.

“We want to put real security ahead of the appearance of not needing security,” said Mr. Issa, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform.

Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, Maryland Democrat, said the criticism of Mr. Obama and his administration’s handling of the Bengazi attacks that left four Americans dead is little more than an attempt by congressional Republicans to boost Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign.

“Trying to give Romney some talking points,” Mr. Cummings said. “This conspiracy stuff is kind of ridiculous.”