By Congressman Jo Bonner
Last week, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee held hearings on the September 11, 2012, terror attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya that resulted in the deaths of four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
For the last eight months, the committee, along with several others, has been probing the events surrounding the deadly attacks with limited results due to a lack of cooperation and a prevailing dismissive attitude from Obama administration officials. I believe a select committee with subpoena power must be convened in order to finally establish the facts of what the Obama administration knew at the time of the attacks and who made the decision not to deploy forces and why.
Over the months following the attacks, we have witnessed an evolution of positions from the administration over the nature and cause of the attacks, ranging from denial to partial admission, to arrogant protestations from outgoing Secretary of State Hillary Clinton of “What difference does it make?”
In December, the administration released an internal report on the Benghazi attacks acknowledging two facts already widely known: the attackers were terrorists, not merely angry protestors, and the Obama administration failed to provide adequate security for our ambassador and personnel in Benghazi. The report fell short of answering key questions, including: Who gave the order for special operations personnel to stand down – preventing them from aiding our personnel under attack? And, what was the actual military capability and readiness level to respond to the consulate’s requests for help?
The three State Department whistleblowers who testified last week also prompted questions about possible attempts to punish government employees who summoned the courage to challenge the official accounts of what happened in Benghazi and in Washington on September 11, 2012. It’s long past time for America to get to the bottom of the Benghazi attacks.
I have joined with 139 of my House colleagues in calling for a bipartisan select congressional committee with subpoena power to investigate the attacks on our consulate. I have cosponsored legislation, H.Res.36, to establish such a committee which will have the authority to subpoena officials from the Defense Department, State Department, intelligence community, Justice Department and the White House in order to ascertain the full facts.
Americans deserve to know not only the truth of what happened on September 11, 2012 in Benghazi, but also the decisions of our top government officials before, during and after the deadly attacks that took the lives of our ambassador and three other Americans.