“All the Gods, all the Heavens, all the Hells, are within you”
-Joseph Campbell from “The Power of Myth”
The face of horror has it’s own reality and it’s own myth. The six years since the Benghazi attacks have remained a dark remembrance because of the unnecessary losses of our nephew Sean Smith, Ambassador Chris Stevens, Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods. Time has not mellowed my anger, it has merely articulated it.
Analysis and consideration have their own fleeting moments of reward. But discovery and knowledge do not always bear tangible comfort. However, the many new friends I have made along the way have provided their own level of crucial support and, at times, comfort.
The anger I felt in the days and months after the September 11/12, 2012 Benghazi attacks was almost arctic in it’s scope. As I learned more about what happened in Libya that night it seemed that some ghastly cover-up was present. The Obama Administration blatantly lied and blamed an inconsequential video for the Benghazi attack and made excuses for not sending help claiming help would not arrive in time as though they had a crystal ball and knew when the attacks would end.
Regarding Benghazi, if you want to read more about the criminal actions of the Obama Administration you may want to read some of my previous articles in Politichicks, such as Benghazi: A Tale of Two Reports.
Not surprising though, as we were in the middle of the 2012 Presidential election cycle, the cover-up that was the aftermath of Benghazi rivaled the Watergate scandal because of the broad scope of cross cooperation between the different mutant strata of our government. Sections of that cover-up continue to be hidden by a silent government and a mute media.
I tried many methods of trying to dispel my anger at this gross enactment of negligence, incompetence and malfeasance in regards to the before, during and aftermath of the Benghazi attacks. But I became more and more restless, looking for answers and the reasons behind the Benghazi attacks.
As human beings, with active hearts and minds, sometimes the right door opens at the right time. Sometimes God places people in your path when you need them the most.
On December 16, 2012, I saw Congressman Frank Wolf (10th District, Virginia-R) speak via a newscast on the House floor. Congressman Wolf stated;
“Until we find out what happened in Benghazi, we need to cut all funding to Egypt and Libya.”
That was my Road to Damascus moment.
I than did something I had never done before as an American citizen. The following day, I called Congressman Wolf’s office. I spoke with his Legislative Assistant, Thomas Culligan.
I explained that I was Sean Smith’s Uncle, by marriage, and that I wholeheartedly agreed with the sentiments expressed by the Congressman. Thomas Culligan’s response surprised me, “Congressman Wolf will want to speak to you. What is your telephone number?” I provided my number, never expecting to hear from Congressman Wolf.
At the time of the call, I was a Journeyman Bluesman and an occasional music journalist. I had no use for the political process and thought politicians were generally vapid and insincere. I still do to a large degree. Well, that night I was watching television and the phone rang. The caller ID flashed on the TV screen, “US Capitol.” I thought, at the time, “I don’t think that’s a telemarketer.”
On the line was Congressman Frank Wolf.
He introduced himself and starting asking me about Sean. I was perfectly honest with the Congressman. I advised him that Sean was my nephew by marriage, we had a few family dinners, a ridiculous argument on Social Media about Obamacare (which I regretted) and that Sean had been a supporter of Obama and I was decidedly not. Congressman Wolf asked about who I was and what I did. He spoke warmly and sincerely, not like the typical politician. I advised him that I was a musician, a sometimes writer and a former resident of Virginia.
Congressman Wolf than told me he was sponsoring a Bill, H. Res. 824. This bill was seeking to establish a House Select Committee to ensure a unified comprehensive and exhaustive investigation of the Benghazi attacks. He advised me he would like to send me a copy of the bill to read. He asked, if I agreed with the tenets of the bill, would I write a letter of support?
Sure, why not?
I received an e-mailed copy of the bill and agreed with everything it was stating. On December 18, 2012, I wrote and e-mailed and faxed the following letter:
“Dear Congressman Wolf:
My name is Michael K. Ingmire and I live in Charlotte, NC. I am originally a resident of The State of Virginia. My wife Sharon and I had a nephew, Sean Smith, who was an Information Officer for the United States State Department and was killed in the attack on the United States Consulate in Benghazi, Libya on September 11, 2012.
Sean was as an outstanding husband, father and a dedicated employee of the United States Government. His death, along with the deaths of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and former Navy Seals Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods, was an immeasurable loss to this country and the impact on our family is tragic and continuing.
I support Congressman Wolf and his colleagues efforts to establish an Independent Select Committee to investigate the attack and to bring the killers of our four Americans to justice. I strongly urge Congress to institute the passage of H. Res. 824. The families of these brave Americans need the closure that only truth and justice can bring. I truly want to believe President Obama when he states that the killers will be bought to justice.
I also believe that additional measures need to be undertaken to prevent any future attacks of this nature. We need to protect all Americans, at home and abroad. I also would to see any funding cut to any country that may be harboring any of the perpetrators of this heinous act. Martin Luther King said that “Justice denied anywhere diminishes justice everywhere.” I ask for the establishment of a Select Committee that may lead to the truth and to justice. This will start an element of closure for all of the families of these four slain Americans.”
On the afternoon of December 19, 2012, after introductory remarks about H. Res. 824 from Congressman Wolf, my letter was read on the House floor. So a previously politically quiet Bluesman from Norfolk, VA had his remarks about an American tragedy read into the Congressional Record. My life was changed and a sleeping giant now had insomnia.
Three quick clarifying points about my letter: I learned later that the facility where Sean was killed was not a true Consulate. It was considered a “Diplomatic outpost,” not subject to State Department security guidelines or so they said. The attacks on Benghazi spanned from the evening of September 11, 2012, that was the first wave that took the lives of Sean and Ambassador Steven to the second wave, which occurred about 10 minutes away, that took the lives of Doherty and Woods, at the CIA Annex. The second wave was in the morning hours of September 12th.
The Martin Luther King quote in the letter is actually, more accurately, as follows: “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.”
Thus began the story of the path that I am still on today. Wolf’s Legislative Assistant, Thomas Culligan, is the first unsung hero of my story, till now. Starting in January 2013, I started to contact members, on both sides of the aisle, asking them to co-sponsor Congressman Wolf’s bill. With the new year, the bill was now listed as H. Res. 36. This is short for House Resolution 36. Thomas taught me how to navigate the congressional/Library of Congress website, www.thomas.loc.gov. This site is now simply known as www.congress.gov. I learned to read bills and to track their progress. This is knowledge that should be taught in elementary school. I spoke between January 2013 and September 2013 to over 460 Congressional offices about Benghazi related subjects and ultimately, over 500 Congressional and Senatorial offices in total.
As Congressmen signed on as co-sponsors, I would call various congressional representatives back to thank them. Thomas Culligan introduced me, by way of e-mail, to Fox Intelligence Reporter, Catherine Herridge. I sent Catherine a copy of the Wolf letter which she reported on in a newscast. Catherine Herridge is the second unsung hero of my story, till now. We kept in contact and I learned more and more about those heinous attacks from her. Her reporting on Benghazi is worthy of the Pulitzer Prize.
Thomas Culligan also introduced me to Daily Caller Writer, Virginia Thomas, better known as Ginni Thomas. Ginni is one of the kindest and most thoughtful people I have ever met. Her passion and clarity as a writer leaps off the page. In addition, her patriotism and sense of justice is broad based and real. Chief Justice Clarence Thomas is lucky to have married her and I am sure that Ginni would say the same about her luck. Ginni is the third unsung hero of my Benghazi story and remains a friend.
In the summer of 2013, Ginni asked me to become a member of the Benghazi Accountability Coalition. I signed on as a family member, along with Charles Woods.
The Benghazi Accountability Coalition counted among it’s members people like Special Operations Speaks General Jerry Boykin, LTC Allen West, Paul Vallely, Anita Moncrief, Clare Lopez, Judicial Watch’s Tom Fitton, Frank Gaffney, Dan Bongino, along with Ginni, among many. These were folks that looked at the policies in Libya with an informed and an appraising eye and they broadened my knowledge. They accepted me as an equal. They are all my heroes.
Tom Fitton’s work with Judicial Watch keeps the government’s feet to the fire. It is necessary for all of us to passionately embrace liberty, to use the right to speak out intelligently, to never be afraid to stand up and be counted.
When Ginni Thomas found out about my writing ability. She said, “You should right Op-Ed’s for The Daily Caller.” “Great,” I responded. “What’s an Op-Ed?” Well, she explained that to me and I started writing pieces for The Daily Caller. I started writing for the Daily Caller starting in September 2013 for a few months. I felt the need to broaden my writing. Catherine Herridge introduced me to foxnews.com Opinion Editor, Lynne Jordal Martin. I learned a great deal from both Catherine and Lynne and became a better writer during my tenure at Fox. I started writing for Fox in September 2014.
However, with a few exceptions, my writing for Fox still was mainly about Benghazi related subjects. I found my real home in September 2015 when I started writing for PolitiChicks. Here at PolitiChicks, I have written about political, musical, personal and social subjects. Writers need freedom, like patriots.
In actuality, since September 2012, my life has both been a whirlwind and a gentle breeze. The more frustration I faced, the more I learned to remain calm and not embrace any sort of destructive anger. I do not argue with fools. It has taken a lot of work. I am here to educate the sheep, not to entertain the goats.
Part of the process of seeking accountability for Benghazi was appearances on many programs for Fox television and many radio interviews. I went to the first Benghazi House Select Committee Hearing and realized, after meeting with Congressman Frank Wolf and Congressman Louie Gohmert, the Select Committee was not going to do much. They were right. Chairman Trey Gowdy failed the Benghazi murder victims and their families with a half-hearted process.
It is the kindness and passion of my fellow patriots that keeps me focused and humble. It is the strangers that reach out and call me, out of the blue, that ask me to keep me going. The elderly wise ladies and gentlemen of America. Their emotional and spiritual support helps to sustain the desire to not give up.
Some of the folks I have met have become dear friends like Operation Freedom Host, Dr. Dave Janda and Dennis B. Haney of the Citizen’s Commission on National Security. Among the many folks that have communicated their support and anger about the Benghazi attacks are patriots such as Buzz Jacobs, Victoria Toensing, Laura Greenwood, Mary Fanning, Lesa Antone, Sonya Huggins Choate, Radio Host Joe Thomas, Stephen Hamilton, Allison Powers, Robert Patrick Shuttlesworth, Mike Harvey, Greg King, Claudia Cleneay, Tammy Kobza, Zan Bunn, Jim Sellers, Paul Schmitz, Beth Jarock, Robert Vicci, and of course Sean’s Mother, Pat Smith and John Tiegen to name a few of the many concerned Americans. In addition, my Editor, Ann-Marie Murrell, and my PolitiChicks family provide me with an articulate level of support for my continuing level of activism.
Not everything has been smooth sailing. There have been breeches in friendships and misunderstandings with family members. Some of those breeches have been healed, some remain open wounds. My biggest supporter, and best friend, is my wife Sharon. One of the most informed and intelligent human beings I have ever known. Thank God, she married me.
Ultimately, the story of my journey is not that special. All you have to do is stand up and be counted. The courage of your convictions is merely the first step forward to ultimately realize the better side of your angels. The person that I was before September 11, 2012 does not exist anymore. He was a selfish, self absorbed person, merely interested in his own fantasies. That lifestyle was tedious.
I love this country and God knows the love that lies within my heart for the American people. As patriots, we should never support the Caligula-like behavior of Washington D.C.
We must operate with a healthy sense of doubt when listening to the reporting of the American main stream media. They were missing in action in their reporting on Benghazi. The friends I have made in the past six years have broadened my humanity. My anger is now articulate and beyond the range and rage of ego. Even though my nephew by marriage Sean Smith and I were polar opposites as people, it continues to be necessary to speak up on his behalf. It is unfortunate that we still have no real accountability. So the fight for true justice marches on. I will continue to speak out until we have the appropriate accountability for the four ghosts of Benghazi.
I close with the words of the American Writer and Humorist, Mark Twain:
“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”