The famous Howard Baker inquiry from the Watergate hearings is not used lightly, but it seems like déjà vu all over again. Even some of the words, intonations, and voice inflections used by the current White House Spokesman Jay Carney mirror those of then White House Spokesman Ron Ziegler. The whole of the Watergate investigation boiled down to the discovery of the recording system in the Oval Office–what was said and what had occurred during those moments caught on tape.
The “scandal” of the attack on the Benghazi diplomatic compound on the night of September 11, 2012 also boils down to this one point: After learning there was an armed assault launched on the diplomatic compound, adjunct to the embassy in Libya, sovereign U.S. soil, and the ambassador to the area was missing, why did the Commander-in-Chief not order military assistance to defend the compound and the American citizens within but instead ordered the military to stand down? Next, the “Commander” reportedly left mid-attack, to go to bed. Why were there reportedly no efforts made by the president during the long hours of the attack to inquire as to what was happening, including whether or not the ambassador, his personal representative, had been located? If reports are true and Obama simply went to bed, did he not care whether or not Ambassador Stevens and others were alive or dead? Why did he show no interest in such a horrific happening?
There are other important questions that demand answers. To date the American public has been given only piece-meal information (and/or lies) and there has been nothing but stonewalling regarding the Congressional oversight inquiries. The survivors of the attack have been disallowed to speak on-the-record with members of Congress, some even kept from being interviewed by them at all. This has been spoken of by many members, not just in hearings but also in speeches made on the floor of Congress. And now only yesterday, CNN has reported there are dozens of CIA agents who were on the ground in Benghazi that night but they are being intimidated and pressured to keep mum on their own accounts of the attack.
There are other questions that demand answers that pre-date the assault. What specifically was this diplomatic mission in Benghazi that required Ambassador Stevens’ personal attendance and attention when it is such a dangerous area of the country? Why was he not in the embassy in Tripoli, with a representative dispatched instead? Since it has been confirmed in both e-mail transmission and hard-copy documents that the State Department knew full well how dangerous an area it was, why then were the additional security requests denied and why were the security personnel at the compound not U.S. Marines, as is typical for embassy security but were in fact local Muslim hires who have been found to be in collusion with those who perpetrated the assault?
Spokesman Carney declared again on July 31st that Benghazi is a “phony scandal” and he compounded that outrageous characterization by claiming the inquiries into this attack were an attempt to make it a “partisan” scandal. While it is true the members who have been pursuing their Constitutionally mandated duty are indeed mostly Republicans, it is also true that the one person who has the authority to create a special select committee to get to the bottom of this whole issue is the Speaker of the House John Boehner. I would amend Senator Baker’s inquiry to include him as well: What does the Speaker know and when did he know it? It seems eminently reasonable to have one committee on the investigation rather than spread out over several with different areas of jurisdiction. It seems eminently unreasonable that it has not happened, and that we are nearing one full year after the assault and still have no definitive answers.
We The People are entitled to know the full explanation of what was going on before the armed assault, including what that mission was considering it was done supposedly on our behalf, and most importantly on our dime. It is long past time we got the answers to these questions.