Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Politics

PolitiFact: Prior to Benghazi, were there 13 attacks on embassies and 60 deaths under President George W. Bush?

The statement

"During the George W. Bush period, there were 13 attacks on various embassies and consulates around the world. Sixty people died."

Rep. John Garamendi, D-Calif., May 5, on The Ed Show

The ruling

A new inquiry into the White House's response to a 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya, has led Democrats to dig up the record of the previous administration in similar circumstances.

On MSNBC's The Ed Show, Rep. John Garamendi, D-Calif., said that "during the George W. Bush period, there were 13 attacks on various embassies and consulates around the world. Sixty people died."

On the numbers, Garamendi's actually understating the case.

Using the Global Terrorism Database and a news account that Garamendi's staff said was the source of his claim, we identified 39 attacks or attempted attacks on U.S. embassies and embassy personnel.

Of these 39 incidents, 20 resulted in at least one fatality.

Garamendi also understated the number of deaths. In the 20 incidents with at least one fatality, the total death toll was 87 — quite a few more than the 60 Garamendi cited.

We should note that the vast majority of these deaths were not of Americans. We counted 63 deaths that were either of non-Americans or of people whose nationality is unknown. Another three were U.S. civilians. Another 21 were workers at a U.S. embassy or consulate, either of American or foreign nationality.

What about the implicit comparison Garamendi made between Benghazi and Bush-era attacks? That's a little shakier.

Generally, experts we contacted said Garamendi was making a reasonable point that there has been a steady, and comparatively overlooked, series of attacks on U.S. embassies in recent years.

Still, these experts said there are valid reasons to treat Benghazi differently from the other attacks. One is that a U.S. ambassador died in the attack, which hadn't happened since the 1970s, said Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and an adjunct assistant professor at Georgetown University.

Our ruling

Garamendi said that "during the George W. Bush period, there were 13 attacks on various embassies and consulates around the world. Sixty people died."

Turns out, Garamendi actually understated the numbers of deadly attacks and total fatalities. We rate his statement Mostly True.

Louis Jacobson, Times Staff Writer

This item has been edited for print. Read the full version at PolitiFact.com.

Comments
Tax package would lower top tax rate for wealthy Americans

Tax package would lower top tax rate for wealthy Americans

WASHINGTON — Congressional Republicans on Tuesday rushed toward a deal on a massive tax package that would reduce the top tax rate for wealthy Americans to 37 percent and slash the corporate rate to a level slightly higher than what businesses and co...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Trump signs $700 billion military budget into law

Trump signs $700 billion military budget into law

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed into law a sweeping defense policy bill that authorizes a $700 billion budget for the military, including additional spending on missile defense programs to counter North Korea’s growing nuclear w...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Donald Trump Jr. demands inquiry of House Intelligence Committee leak

Donald Trump Jr. demands inquiry of House Intelligence Committee leak

WASHINGTON — Donald Trump Jr., the president’s eldest son, has asked the House Intelligence Committee to open an investigation into leaked information related to his closed interview with the committee last week."To maintain the credibility of the in...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Original Watergate lock that burglars picked open is going to auction

Original Watergate lock that burglars picked open is going to auction

WASHINGTON -— It’s the lock that launched a two-year investigation and took down a president. And now more than four decades later — and for a starting bid of $50,000 — it can be a really wonky conversation piece.Nate D. Sanders Auctions will auction...
Published: 12/12/17
Democrats say Trump’s tweets about Gillibrand sexist, unsavory

Democrats say Trump’s tweets about Gillibrand sexist, unsavory

WASHINGTON — Plowing into the sexual harassment debate in a big way, President Donald Trump laced into Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on Tuesday, tweeting that the New York Democrat would come to his office "begging" for campaign contributions and "do anyth...
Published: 12/12/17
Obama, Biden and Trump make late pushes in Alabama Senate race

Obama, Biden and Trump make late pushes in Alabama Senate race

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — National political leaders, a Hollywood actress and a retired basketball star made last-ditch efforts to woo voters in the Alabama Senate race Monday, as the candidates gave their final arguments in a pivotal special election that ...
Published: 12/12/17
PolitiFact: Looking back at the Trump team’s falsehoods of 2017

PolitiFact: Looking back at the Trump team’s falsehoods of 2017

President Donald Trump made many inaccurate statements in 2017. His White House team seems to be following in his footsteps when defending him. Some of Trump’s staffers have made the argument that it is valid to use inaccurate facts to bolster larger...
Published: 12/11/17
Updated: 12/12/17
PolitiFact: Notable misstatements about Donald Trump from 2017

PolitiFact: Notable misstatements about Donald Trump from 2017

President Donald Trump’s words can be at odds with reality, a fact we’ve documented again and again during his first year in office. His claim that the Trump-Russia investigation is a "made-up story" earned Trump our 2017 Lie of the Year....
Published: 12/11/17
Updated: 12/12/17
Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority plays beat the clock on GOP tax bill

Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority plays beat the clock on GOP tax bill

TAMPA — With the Republican tax bill poised to eliminate the opportunity, the Tampa Hillsborough Expressway Authority on Monday said it had refinanced a big chunk of its debt to save money in the future.The authority borrowed $152 million from the bo...
Published: 12/11/17
Alabama Senate race, unlikely nail biter, races to finish line

Alabama Senate race, unlikely nail biter, races to finish line

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — In a blur of television ads, conflicting polls and presidential tweets, Doug Jones and Roy Moore raced Monday to make their final pleas in Alabama’s special election for the Senate, with both candidates focused on turning out their...
Published: 12/11/17