Common Defense Richard Falknor on 21 Jun 2013 02:53 pm
“Mr. Speaker, we’re fast approaching the Independence Day recess. We will only have four legislative weeks in July before the August recess. When we return in September we will be just days away from the one-year anniversary of the Benghazi attacks.” (Highlighting Forum’s) – Representative Frank Wolf
On Wednesday, senior House appropriator Frank Wolf wrote the Speaker–
“The American people are losing confidence in their government. The tragedy in Benghazi, along with a stream of recent controversies, including the IRS and the Justice Department’s targeting of reporters at Fox News and the Associated Press, as well as the ambiguity about recently disclosed programs at the National Security Agency, are eroding public trust in the institutions of government.
This diminishing of public confidence isn’t limited to the Executive Branch. Congress’ approval rating is at an all-time low. A June 14 National Journal article said, ‘Nearly 8 in 10 Americans told Gallup pollsters this month that they disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job, the 45th consecutive month that more than two-thirds of Americans graded Congress poorly. The problem isn’t as much what Congress is doing as what it is not getting done.’ I believe most Americans would agree that one of the items “not getting done” is a thorough, comprehensive and ultimately definitive investigation into the response to the Benghazi attacks.
That is why I have been pushing so hard for a bipartisan Select Committee to investigate the September 11, 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi. The response among most of our colleagues and the public has been overwhelming. Since January, when I proposed including the Select Committee in the House Rules package for the 113th Congress, more than two-thirds of House Republicans – a majority of the majority – have cosponsored my bill, H. Res. 36, to create the Select Committee. Since that time, there has been a growing chorus of support. The bill has been endorsed by the parents of some of the victims, by more than 700 retired Special Operations officials, by the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Associations, which represents the State Department security officers who were on the ground in Benghazi, and by The Wall Street Journal editorial page in addition to dozens of other commentators, former diplomats and military officials. I believe this broad support speaks to the public’s hunger for clear answers on Benghazi – answers which to date have been elusive. That is why more than nine months after the devastating attack, my resolution continues to add new cosponsors; it now has the support of 158 Republicans.” (Highlighting Forum’s.)
Last November 2, we posted this on Benghazi:
reporting that —
“Navy veteran [Howie] Lind [today VA US Senate candidate]spelled out his understanding of the efforts of military commanders to aid Americans in peril in Benghazi – –
‘Could we have sent in US military forces to save them in time? Yes indeed.
In fact, they were on the way until they were recalled.
At 30 minutes into the attack, the US Military Commander in charge of that part of the world, four-star General Carter Ham, the Commander of the African Command, based in Stuttgart, Germany, issued the response orders. He directed that US Navy jets be launched from USS John Stennis, the aircraft carrier on station in the middle east. These planes would have easily reached Benghazi to take out enough of the barbarians to stymie the attack on the Consulate.
But these planes were recalled, so they never reached Benghazi. I learned this from a retired Army General whom I know in McLean. (Retired Generals and Admirals have the tightest network of any group you will ever know.) Once the planes were launched, General Ham was directed by the White House to call off the response. He refused. Then the White House called the Navy Admiral in charge of the USS Stennis Battle Group, Rear Admiral Charles Gaouette, to call back the planes. He also refused. Both General Ham and Admiral Gaouette were immediately relieved of their commands. They were fired. In General Ham’s case, his 2-star Deputy entered his office and said ‘you are under arrest.’ This is a script for a bad Hollywood movie.’” (Highlighting Forum’s.)
Then, on January 18, veteran Virginia Representative Frank Wolf introduced his House Resolution 36, calling for–
“Establishing a select committee to investigate and report on the attack on the United States consulate in Benghazi, Libya.”
Today Mr. Wolf’s resolution has 157 co-sponsors, for a total of 67 percent of the House Republican conference.
The Speaker has been obdurate in his opposition to such a coordinated and in-depth inquiry, and definitive report. Some House committee chairs reportedly fear sharing their jurisdiction, or, in one case, even feared “embarrassing” an agency over which that committee had jurisdiction – and thus with which they have long-term relations.
Frank Wolf warned in his Wednesday letter to the Speaker of the overuse of closed-door hearings on Benghazi.
“I also understand that Chairman McKeon has planned a hearing with Gen. Carter Ham for next week, but like so many of these hearings, this, too, will be held behind closed doors. There is no reason Gen. Ham’s testimony shouldn’t be public. This latest classified hearing is symptomatic of a broader problem with respect to the current congressional approach to investigating Benghazi: Too much has been done in a piecemeal fashion, behind closed doors, thereby robbing the American people of clear answers to important questions surrounding the murder of a sitting U.S. ambassador and three civilian employees, and the grievous injury of untold others.
Deuteronomy 16:20 tells us, ‘Justice, justice shalt thou pursue.’ As we quietly marked the nine-month anniversary of the attacks last week, I know many people wondered if there will ever be any clear resolution to this investigation, let alone justice.
Writing about Benghazi in The Wall Street Journal last month, columnist Peggy Noonan pondered, ‘Was all this incompetence? Or was it politics disguised as the fog of war? Who called these shots and made these decisions? Who decided to do nothing?’
More than nine months later, the Congress still cannot answer these questions. No one has been held responsible for the failure to respond that night. A few mid-level career officials have been penalized, but ultimately those senior officials who were in the position to actually say the buck stops here – cabinet secretaries and political appointees at the White House, State Department, Defense Department and CIA – have emerged unscathed, and in some cases, seemingly the better for it.”
And this week’s upcoming hearing on General Carter Ham?
“Once the planes were launched, General Ham was directed by the White House to call off the response. He refused. Then the White House called the Navy Admiral in charge of the USS Stennis Battle Group, Rear Admiral Charles Gaouette, to call back the planes. He also refused. Both General Ham and Admiral Gaouette were immediately relieved of their commands. They were fired. In General Ham’s case, his 2-star Deputy entered his office and said ‘you are under arrest.’ This is a script for a bad Hollywood movie.”(Highlighting Forum’s.)
How Long Will Boehner Continue To Veto A Select Committee On Benghazi?
Will GOP incumbents and candidates speak to the media in behalf of Mr. Wolf’s recommendation for a serious Benghazi probe?
Will Tea Partiers lean on Majority Leader Eric Cantor, and House Judiciary chair and Boehner-loyalist Bob Goodlatte (neither of whom have signed on to H.Res. 36) to bring the Speaker to a better mind?
Stay tuned for developments on digging out the full story on Benghazi.