The Center for Security Policy on Tuesday, on the eve of the one-year anniversary of the jihadist attacks on American facilities in Benghazi, Libya, that resulted in the deaths of four Americans and the wounding of many more, notified the media through email that a group of distinguished national security leaders sent a letter to U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, urging him to establish a select committee to fully investigate the events surrounding last year’s assault.
The letter, composed below, was organized by the Center for Security Policy and it points out that the American public is losing confidence in the institutions of government to respond appropriately to these attacks, and observes that although existing mechanisms in Congress have been afforded ample time to investigate the events of Benghazi, critical questions remain unanswered.
A select committee, the letter argues, would draw upon existing investigative resources and results to date in order to bring about a comprehensive inquiry, without imposing undue costs or further delay.
The signers of the letter include Hon. Michael B. Mukasey, former Attorney General of the United States, Admiral James “Ace” Lyons, US Navy (Ret.), former Commander-in-Chief, US Pacific Fleet, General Frederick J. Kroesen, US Army (Ret.), former Vice Chief of Staff, US Army, Lieutenant General William “Jerry” Boykin, US Army (Ret.), former Deputy Under Secretary of Defense (Intelligence), Lieutenant General Harry Edward Soyster, US Army (Ret.), former Director, Defense Intelligence Agency, Ambassador Henry Cooper, former Chief Negotiator, Defense and Space Talks, former Director, Strategic Defense Initiative, Major General Paul E. Vallely, US Army (Ret.), former Deputy Commander, US Army Forces Pacific, Hon. Tidal McCoy, former Secretary of the Air Force (Acting), Lieutenant Colonel Allen West, US Army (Ret.), former Member of Congress, Hon. Joseph E. Schmitz, former Inspector General, Department of Defense, Hon. Michelle Van Cleave, former National Counterintelligence Executive, Vice Adm. Robert Monroe, US Navy (Ret.), former Director, Defense Nuclear Agency, and Frank J. Gaffney, Jr., former Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Policy (Acting).
One year since the September 11, 2012 attacks, the Obama administration has been stonewalling on various aspects of what happened and who knew what before and after the tragedy.
On Monday, the Washington Free Beacon reported that Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA) suggested that the State Department and CIA could have been stockpiling weapons for Syrian rebels when the U.S. compound came under attack on Sept. 11, 2012.
“Were these rebels being armed with weapons collected in Benghazi?” Wolf asked, according to a copy of his prepared remarks. “Again, there is reason to believe this may be the case and a clear explanation is warranted.”
The letter sent to House Speaker John Boehner by the national security leaders reads as follows:
As former military, intelligence and national security officials with extensive experience in security policy and practice, we are concerned about the American people’s apparently serious loss of confidence in the institutions of their government. One factor contributing to this alienation has been the failure of those institutions to respond appropriately to the murderous jihadist attacks in Benghazi on September 11, 2012. They rightly expect, at an absolute minimum, that Congress will ensure accountability for those responsible.
As you are well aware, our country is nearing the first anniversary of the assaults on the Special Mission Compound and CIA Annex in Benghazi. To date, however, the five House committees that share jurisdiction have held only a small number of mostly less-than-illuminating hearings into the policies that led to, and the events that occurred during and after, the murder of four of our countrymen and the wounding of many more.
We appreciate that the chairmen of these committees produced four months ago a joint “interim report.” Yet, its authors acknowledged that they did not have answers to many crucial national security questions. Worse, as your colleague, Rep. Frank Wolf, has established in a succession of speeches delivered on the House floor in the interval, we are no closer today to knowing those answers.
In addition, no time frame has been publicly announced for going beyond the interim report or holding additional hearings toward that end. This is particularly troubling in light of press accounts that the survivors of the Benghazi attacks are being intimidated and risk job action should they come forward with their eyewitness accounts. If Congress does not afford them an opportunity to do so without fear of retaliation by issuing subpoenas for their testimony, it will be complicit in precluding their help in seeing justice served – and in denying the American people the full accounting to which they are entitled.
We believe an ample chance has been afforded for the “regular order” to operate in investigating Benghazigate. It has failed to do so. Now is the time for a select committee to be established with a mandate to draw upon the five committee’s existing investigative resources and results to date and to complete – if possible by year’s end – the necessary, thorough and comprehensive inquiry. This approach can alleviate concerns about undue costs and further delay in convening a select committee.
Mr. Speaker, the survivors want to tell their stories and correct the record. Two different books based on their stories are reportedly in the works. If the American people learn what happened from a published account rather than from those charged with congressional oversight, the perception of a cover-up – or at least a serious dereliction of duty – is inevitable.
Our republic is predicated on the trust of the governed in those they choose to represent them. We must not allow the jihadists who have thus far paid no price for killing Ambassador Stevens, murdering three of his comrades and afflicting the lives of so many others to do violence as well to our people’s confidence in their constitutional form of government.
For all these reasons, we call upon you to establish without further delay a select committee to investigate the Benghazi attacks.
Gaffney and the national security leaders outlined the questions that need to be answered and can be seen here, in this letter that was sent by Rep. Wolf to President Obama.
Frank J. Gaffney, Jr., President and CEO of the Center for Security Policy, in demanding a select committee, said,“Nearly a year after the attacks in Benghazi, the American people are still waiting for a full accounting of what transpired there. We have a need to know is, what policies contributed to this debacle? Who was responsible for the lack of response during the attacks that spanned seven-hours? And why has none of those who perpetrated these murderous acts of jihad and those who attempted to mislead us about them been held accountable.“
“It is now clear that only a select committee is likely to provide complete, accurate and long-overdue answers to these fundamental questions,” said Gaffney. “The military, intelligence, and national security leaders who have signed this letter speak for millions of Americans who also seek such answers. They deserve our gratitude for their leadership in insisting that such a mechanism is established.”