Our coalition letter from January.
It is good to re-read this letter in context with the Benghazi revelations and for a select committee.
“To the living we owe respect. To the dead we owe the truth.” –Voltaire
Dear Speaker Boehner,
We write to express our grave concern over the failure of the House of Representatives to extract the truth from the Obama administration concerning the attack on our diplomatic and intelligence facilities in Benghazi, Libya; and, the brutal deaths of Ambassador Christopher Stephens, U.S. Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith, and security officers Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty.
To date, five (5) different committees of the House have conducted separate hearings, uncovering information in a piecemeal fashion. The five committee’s efforts are disjointed and uncoordinated. The Obama administration has exploited that dysfunctional process to thwart all efforts to arrive at the truth. Hardly any Obama administration witnesses have testified – publicly or privately. You have resisted repeated calls for the creation of a select investigative committee with subpoena authority. It appears that you are satisfied to allow that state of investigative incoherence and ambiguity to continue. The last public hearing by any of the five committees was held in September – four (4) months ago. The families of the dead, the survivors, and the American people deserve better from you and the absolute truth from their government.
On Sunday, December 29, 2013, the New York Times published a story concerning the Benghazi attacks that directly contradicts the sworn testimony of witnesses who appeared before various committees. Besides the obvious New York Times editorial and political objectives of inoculating Hillary Clinton and her 2016 presidential campaign from further criticism of her failures as Secretary of State, the story contradicts objective truth and established facts in a way that may confuse the public. Your inaction and failure to lead on the Benghazi investigation directly contributes to the repetition of lies; a lack of accountability from responsible government officials; and the political advancement of persons who seek to continue to “fundamentally transform” the Constitution and our country. Sunday’s publication proves the Benghazi story is not “going away.”
Your oversight of the Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation has been without any meaningful effect or result. Not a single murdering terrorist has been apprehended. Ahmed Abu Khattala, a ringleader of the attack, granted long interviews to reporters in Benghazi cafes, while the Obama administration – and you – have done nothing. Nearly 16 months after the terrorist attack, the American public has no accountability and no plan of action from the House leadership. The public is subjected to undisputed disinformation from a White House spokesman who calls the terror attack a “phony scandal.” While the White House repeats false and misleading information, you continue to ignore claims, documented by Rep. Frank Wolf, of intelligence officers being intimidated with multiple, punitive polygraph examinations and harassing non-disclosure agreement demands. If Benghazi is “phony” why are intelligence officers being threatened not to speak and subjected to polygraph exams? Why do you stand by passively?
Some analysts believe your inaction and passivity towards getting to the truth concerning Benghazi is because you were briefed on the intelligence and special operations activities in Libya as a member of the “Super 8.” You may possess “guilty knowledge.” We recall how then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi developed a form of “amnesia” concerning documented briefing she received on so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” – later termed “torture” for political purposes. Are you in the same position as your predecessor? Are you dodging a legitimate, thorough, coordinated investigation of Benghazi because it will damage your political position as Speaker?
You should be embarrassed that members of Congress (and your own party) are forced to file Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests with Obama administration agencies to get basic information about the Benghazi issue. What a sad and pathetic statement about the operations of the committees looking into this tragedy that FOIA has become their last resort! Are you concerned that the scattershot and untimely efforts of the various committees may actually be doing more harm than good at documenting facts? These are all examples of leadership failures. How are you accountable?
Rep. Mike Rogers and the Intelligence Committee seem to act as defense counsel for the Obama administration. A recent Intelligence Committee weekly update note stated as fact that no arms shipments were being run from Libya, and that no intelligence officers were being coerced not to speak. There is substantial evidence to the contrary on both counts. Why does Rep. Rogers parrot the discredited falsehoods of the so-called “Accountability Review Board” (ARB)? Conflicting accounts, testimony and evidence need to be investigated – not dismissed or ignored. Do those contradictions and questions compel you to take any action to resolve the matter and get to the truth?
Are you concerned that General Carter Ham was suddenly and prematurely recalled from AFRICOM, and then made statements at the Aspen Institute that directly contradicted the Obama administration’s position on the nature of the attack in Benghazi? Why has General Ham not testified before one of the House committees?
The New York Times story reports that the CIA was, in fact, collecting weapons in Benghazi. If true, why was the CIA running a separate, parallel weapons program from the State Department’s $40 million collection effort? Where did the CIA-purchased weapons go? Is the Obama administration arming al Qaeda affiliated jihadists in Syria?
If you wished, you could have publicly engaged Rep. Devin Nunes concerning his November 6, 2013 letter to you, addressing the nine unanswered questions about Benghazi. Instead, there was thundering silence from your office. You have an opportunity to show strong leadership and resolve a national disgrace. You are failing.
Your reluctance to lead and resistance to create a Select Committee on Benghazi must end. More than 75% of all House Republicans – with the conspicuous absence of those in the leadership structure or committee chairmen – have cosponsored Rep. Wolf’s Select Committee bill. No other bill in this Congress has such overwhelming support from Republicans. Additionally, the bill enjoys the support of national security advocacy groups, and the Wall Street Journal editorial board (among many others). You must now bringing the bill to the floor for a vote.
Mr. Speaker, we call upon you to act now and create a Select Committee on Benghazi to investigate all aspects of the United States involvement in Libya, to include but not limited to the attacks of September 12, 2012. The Committee must have subpoena power. The Committee must be staffed and resourced to conduct a thorough, comprehensive investigation and issue an exhaustive report. It is time for you to lead.