The Benghazi attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission on September 11, 2012 that resulted in the murder of 4 Americans including Chris Stevens, U.S. Ambassador to Libya, is back in the news again. The Republican controlled House of Representatives has created a Select Committee to further pursue the investigation of what happened, why, how and when. Democrat Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi pooh-poohed this approach, called it a stunt -- with her Democrat colleagues stating that past investigations had answered all the relevant questions.
In June 2013, I posted a Blog that raised several quesions I thought were important in pursuing the investigation, the answers for which were necessary to fully understand what happened, why, when and how. So, I am going to review my June 2013 queries to determine if my questions have been satisfactorily answered.
To review the incident, the American Mission in Benghazi was attacked by a heavily armed group at 9:40 PM, Septenber 11, 2012. Ambassador Stevens and his aide were murdered and the Mission building set afire. Authorities in Tripoli, Libya and Washington, DC were alerted immediately. After sacking the Mission, the attackers turned to the CIA Annex with an assault after midnight, resulting in the deaths of two CIA operatives. The final assault at 4:00 AM, September 12, 2012, was replused and early in the morning the attackers withdrew.
The White House and State Department sent out the story that the attack was due to an anti-Muslim video, which story was quickly debunked. Finally, the true facts came out that the attack was a well-planned action by a terrorist organization with contacts to Al-Qaeda. Congressional investgations began with immediate complaints that the White House, State Department and other Executive Branch Departments did not come through with all the documentation -- and oral responses at committee meetings that were insufficient. With that background, a House Select Committeeis is now being charged with finding the answers to the several open areas described in certain vexing questions, including the ones I raised in my Blog of June 2013. Here they are:
1. Why was Ambassador Stevens in Benghazi?
Why did Ambassadon Stevens travel to Benghazi from his embassy in Tripoli with no entourage? We do know he met with a Turkish official, but why? Was there a leak to the terrorists of the meeting and its meaning, causing the timing of the attack? Has anyone seen an answer forthcoming from the State Department and White House?
2. Was the terrorist attack planned purposely for September 11, 2012?
What did the terrorists know and when did they know it? Was it serendipity or advanced knowledge that the attack occurred when the Ambassador was in Benghazi without adequate security or was there a leak? What does the CIA know that they are not telling? Anyone have an answer?
3. Where was Ambassador Stevens' regular entourage?
Why did the Ambassador travel to an extremely dangerous area of Libya with but a single aide, Diplomatic Security Agent Scott Strickland? Was some "top secret" operation underway? Did the terrorists know the Ambassador was vulnerable? Anyone seen or heard the answer?
4. Why did the U.S. State Department turn down increased security in Benghazi?
Was there a logical reason or was there a "top secret" operation underway that increased security would call attention to? Anyone know?
5. Why weren't U.S. and NATO military assets ordered to repond to the attack?
Who gave the "stand down" order and why, when? The answer given that they couldn't have arrived in time to help appears as lame as could be. The attack last from 9:40 PM to about 5:00 AM - some 7 hours and 20 minutes. How did anyone know how long it would last? Was it policy to let Americans under attack be left hung out to dry? How would Americans react if that was our domestic policy? Suppose robbers enter a home; homeowners call 911 and are told that the police couldn't get there in time so they aren't going to respond? The equivalent happened in Benghazi. Anyone support that approach? What was the reasoning for inaction in Benghazi?
6. Why have none of the terrorists been apprehended and faced justice?
Some of the terrorists including their leaders have been identified, but they are walking free in Libyan cities with impunity. If we can find and kill Osama bin Laden, couldn't we snatch a terrorist or two from this environment? Is it possible that the White House and State Department don't want to? If the terrorist attack was well planned based on leaked information, a captured terrorist talking could be a real embarassment. Isn't this an area that should be investigated and open questions answered?
Do Americans believe that everything about the assault on the American Mission and CIA Annex in Benghazi, resulting in four dead Americans, has been revealed and thus concur with Nancy Pelosi and her minions that we've gotten all the answers on Benghazi and that further investigations are a "political stunt?" Or do Americans agree that there are a myraid of open areas that need to be investigated and questions, such as posed above, answered? It's going on two years since the Benghazi assault with additional questions of a Obama Administration cover-up added to the mix. The creation of a Select Congressional Committee of House members appears wholly justified. Hopefully, it will be a bi-partisan committee of both Democrats and Republicans charged to get the true facts. The bipartisan Watergate Select Senate Committee served America in their work and we should expect no less from a bipartisan Benghazi Select House Committee. Like the Watergate Committee, the Benghazi Committee must answer the ultimate question: "What did President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton know -- and when did they know it?"