The U.S. Ambassador to Libya was “captured, tortured, sodomized and dragged through the street,” Rep. Paul Gosar told people at a Payson Tea Party meeting last week, drawing gasps from the crowd.
Gosar spent most of his appearance detailing investigations into the controversial “Fast and Furious” operation by the U.S. Justice Department that sold weapons to Mexican drug cartels, which ended up used in assorted crimes — including the murder of a Drug Enforcement Agency agent.
However, almost as an aside he repeated as fact a statement in a Libyan online site reporting the alleged torture of Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
Gosar’s office later said he based the statement on an account in the Libyan Free Press. Various conservative blogs have repeated the account, which has not been confirmed by the U.S. State Department or any mainstream media outlets. Accounts released to date by the U.S. State Department indicate that the ambassador died of smoke inhalation in a supposedly secure room in which he took refuge after either mobs or an anti-U.S. milita or both attacked the U.S. consulate.
The pro-Kadaffy Web site published a story saying that a CIA-armed wing of Al-Qaeda tortured and sodomized the U.S. ambassador to create an excuse for the U.S. military to invade Africa.
Gosar did not qualify his statement or attribute it to the Libyan Free Press.
Gosar handily won the Republican primary in Congressional District 4, which represents most of western Arizona and all of Northern Gila County. He defeated state Sen. Ron Gould (R-Lake Havasu City).
The win almost guarantees him the seat in the heavily Republican district. Johnnie Robinson of Florence won the Democratic primary by just 19 votes, but his already shoestring campaign was stalled by the two-week recount, which revealed he’d edged Kingman comedian, teacher and activist Mikel Weisser.
Robinson’s campaign Web site said that he worked for members of Congress, mentored young people, organized community clean-up efforts and solid waste disposal programs.
The race for the redrawn Congressional District 4 also includes Libertarian Joe Pamelia and Independent Richard Grayson.
Gosar currently represents all of Rim Country in Congressional District 1. But the Flagstaff dentist moved to Prescott to run in the redrawn District 4 rather than face Ann Kirkpatrick, a former Flagstaff prosecutor and state lawmaker who Gosar defeated two years ago. However, the Independent Redistricting Commission redrew the boundaries of District 1, making it a virtual tossup between the two parties. Kirkpatrick is running now to retake that seat, which will represent Southern Gila County. Her opponent is former state Rep. Jonathan Paton.
Gosar’s bare-knuckle appearance at the Payson Tea Party last week focused almost exclusively on national issues, particularly his efforts on a congressional committee to investigate the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to build a case by selling hundreds of firearms to representatives of Mexican drug cartels. The agents lost track of the firearms, although later many turned up at crime scenes — including the murder of Border Patrol Agent Brian Terry in December of 2010. The U.S. Department of Justice Inspector General Michael Horowitz last month issued a 471-page report that harshly criticized the operation and referred more than a dozen people for disciplinary action for both Fast and Furious and an earlier operation dubbed Wide Receiver initiated during the administration of President George Bush. That investigation found fault with ATF leadership and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Phoenix, but uncovered no evidence that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder had knowledge of the operation before Jan. 31 of 2011. The report also faulted early, misleading accounts of the operation offered to Congress.
Gosar called the report “eye-opening reading,” but rejected the portions of the report clearing the Attorney General of direct responsibility.
Gosar offered fierce criticism of the Obama administration on every front, from the handling of conflicts in the Middle East to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
He said, “the Army is no longer under military rule, it’s under political rule.”
He added that the U.S. military lost twice as many soldiers during the administration of Barack Obama as it did during the Bush years, which seemed to startle many listeners.
The Web site casualties.org reports that between 2003 and 2009 the U.S. deaths in Afghanistan totaled 532 and in Iraq 4,222. During the Obama years, deaths totaled 1,486 in Afghanistan and 233 in Iraq.
Combining the two wars, the nation lost 4,757 service members during the eight years of the Bush administration and 1,729 during the four years of the Obama administration, according to the Web site.
Gosar said that the administration has consistently hidden crucial information from Congress. “They have kept us in the dark. Senate and House members are incensed. They’ve got to be accountable.”
He said the media and the administration are even lying about poll results, many of which show President Obama starting to widen his advantage over Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
By contrast, Gosar said many Republican polls show the party ahead by 5 percent in many of the crucial swing states. “Do not believe what you are hearing. We have 40 days. Read the Bible: 40 days and 40 nights. We can make this work. It’s time to show that 2010 (when the Republicans gained control of the House) was not an aberration. The voters just need to see Mitt Romney as a human being.”
He added later, “God is going to make us sweat this election a little more.”