What we knew about the events and aftermath of Benghazi before yesterday was damning enough. It bespoke callousness, cowardice, malfeasance, and pure political calculus on the part of Obama and his administration, and Secretary of State Clinton and elements of the State Department. Those who have been paying attention know that even before yesterday’s testimony, Benghazi was an abject failure and a scandal that ranks with the biggest of them.
Yesterday’s testimony—especially that of Gregory Hicks, the former deputy chief of mission in Libya—only served to reinforce and deepen the scandalous nature of the administration’s handling of Benghazi.
We now know, without a doubt, that the administration knew it was a terrorist attack from the beginning. Twitter feeds suggested that the attack was led by Ansar Al-Shariah. Hicks described precise mortar fire and “probing attacks” by “terrorists” (not a chaotic spontaneous disturbance). Hicks spoke of suspecting that the hospital to which Ambassador Stevens’ body had been taken—according to a phone call they believed to be a trap—was controlled by Ansar Al-Shariah. On September 12th, Beth Jones, assistant secretary of state for that region, even sent an email that included a recognition of Ansar Al-Shariah as the perpetrators.
In other words, they knew it was terrorism from the get-go. The State Department knew. Clinton knew. And so every mention of an “insulting” video having caused a “spontaneous demonstration” was an outright lie. Whether there is deniability here remains to be seen, but if so, it certainly is not plausible deniability.
Why? Why did they lie? Who ordered this coverup? Speaker Boehner, Leader Cantor—we need to know.
It must also be noted, and was, by those giving testimony, that the administration’s talking points, deployed for many days after the event, made investigation of the event significantly more difficult. Delays resulted in a hopelessly compromised crime scene. And then, the coverup deepened.
Cheryl Mills, Hillary Clinton’s chief of staff and political fixer, berated Hicks—a 22-year veteran diplomat—for the fact that a lawyer (who lacked the requisite clearance) had been excluded from a meeting with a congressman. Hicks and several others were told that they were not to speak to congressmen (specifically Republican congressmen) investigating Benghazi. This is virtually unprecedented, and may actually constitute obstruction of Congress. We need more hearings.
Subsequently, Hicks started receiving the kind of treatment that a whistleblower can expect from the Obama Administration: After decades of distinguished service, his superiors suddenly began questioning his “management style.”
There were also multiple instances where military assets—including jets from Aviano—could have been deployed to rescue our personnel, but were told to stand down. We have the spectacle of learning that Army Lt. Col. Gibson was “furious” at being told to stand down, saying, “This is the first time in my career that a diplomat has more balls than somebody in the military.” This testimony too contradicts what the White House, Leon Panetta, and others said following the attack—namely, that our beleaguered personnel had all the military support they could get, and that more assets would not have made a difference.
There was a good deal more that came out yesterday, much of it new and highly damning. When added to what was already known, which was deplorable enough, we are looking at a scandal here that, in terms of actual damage done, makes Watergate look like a day in the park. No one died as a result of Watergate. No foreign enemies were emboldened as a result of Watergate. Our credibility as a world power was not damaged as a result of Watergate.
There is much more yet to learn. There is even the specter that there may be more going on here than meets the eye, including the possibility that the Benghazi mission has a special and highly secret purpose, possibly even to supply arms to elements in the Syrian civil war (elements linked with Al Qaeda, as it happens).
For these reasons and more, we are joining the call—made by Hugh Hewitt, Kelly Ayotte, and numerous others—for Speaker Boehner to impanel a select committee today to investigate this fully.
This isn’t just about our lost personnel, though that is of prime importance. This isn’t just about the bravery of the heroes who tried to save our people and never got the help they needed—though the testimony of that story was powerful indeed. This isn’t even solely about uncovering the truth behind this obvious coverup, though that is essential.
This inquiry goes to the heart of who we are as a nation. Are we a nation of laws, where truth and justice still matter?
Elijah Cummings and the Democrats behaved like caricatures of the petty, venal rubber-stamp legislators one would expect to find in a banana republic, circling the wagons around their generalissimo. In a shameful display of partisan “journalism,” most of the mainstream media are in full cover-mode. They’re even trying to silence their own reporters. And the administration is trying to run out the clock.
We cannot let that be how this ends.
Speaker Boehner, Leader Cantor,
We are all aware that the media are not playing fair. We know that if this were a Republican administration, they would be investigating every scintilla of information associated with Benghazi. Indeed, their relentless focus probably already would have brought down several key players and prevented a president’s reelection. That level of media bias—nay, media complicity—is definitely a problem. But it is not a problem that you should allow to hinder your choices. What matters is the truth. Truth is not determined by whether the media and entertainment organs of this country will help or hinder that truth’s penetration to low-information voters. Truth is truth. Your job is to uncover the truth.
If we allow a presidential administration to get away with this level of coverup . . . If we allow the Democrats to choose partisan affiliation over truth in the face of so clear an affront to the rule of law . . . we may cross a point of no return, where we truly do cease to be a nation of laws and become just another of history’s nations of corrupt, powerful men.
Nothing should stand in the way of doing what is right, and the stakes are much higher than they may at first appear. Please impanel a select committee today.
Americans, please join the call:
Call 202-225-3121. Ask for the Speaker’s office and the Majority Leader’s office. Tweet them @SpeakerBoehner and @EricCantor.