Ratcheting Up Benghazi Questions
It's been nearly 14 months since the attack on the US facility in Benghazi, and the "most transparent Administration in history" still refuses to allow Congress or anyone else to interview survivors. Senator Lindsey Graham just announced, in total frustration, that he will block every Presidential nomination for any office until the survivors are allowed to appear before a Congressional committee.
Now that is extreme. This means that, for the indefinite future, no more vacancies will be filled as they arise in federal courts or agencies, from "Assistant Deputy Under Secretary For xxx" jobs on up to Cabinet positions. Yet, how else can the Congress get cooperation from an Administration that reportedly threatens survivors with adverse personnel actions if they talk to Congressmen or anyone else, while at the same time publicly stating that they are not blocking anyone from testifying?
But come on now. Would the administration really punish an employee for the crime of answering a Congressman's questions? Just ask Gregory Hicks, Ambassador Stevens' deputy and a true hero for taking action to protect his people in Tripoli while the Benghazi attack was occurring. When Congressman Chaffetz flew to Tripoli to investigate the incident, Deputy Ambassador Hicks refused to stonewall and actually answered the Congressman's questions. The State Department quickly demoted Hicks to a minor position, effectively ending any further career progression for him. The message is loud and clear to all other employees!
What are those repeatedly asked, but still unanswered, questions? There are three.
One. Why were the diplomatic security forces cut in the weeks and months before the attack, in the face of pleas from Ambassador Stevens to increase them, and who made that decision?
Two. Once things went south, who made the decision to cover up the fact that it was a pre-planned attack by an al-Qaeda affiliate?
But most importantly, why wasn't a rescue initiated? Even Chris Matthews, liberal host of MSNBC's Hardball, and hardly a wild-eyed right winger, recently asked, "Where was the U.S. cavalry, to use an American image? Where were the people that could have come or that tried to get there within however many hours it took to save the lives of the people still living. Where were they and why couldn't they do it? I'm going to ask that question until I get an answer." Matthews alludes to stories that Special Ops troops even boarded airplanes to take them to the fight and then, inexplicitly, their mission was cancelled! Why? And by whom?
If we accept the official line issued by President Obama, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and Secretary of Defense Panetta, the president told them to do everything they could to help. OK, and then what? Both Clinton and Panetta state that was the last conversation they had with Mr. Obama that night. Hmmm.... that means Obama retired to rest up for the next morning's stressful flight to California for a fund raiser. And shortly after the president retired, Clinton and Panetta apparently decided that there was nothing at all they could do to help. And they didn't bother relaying that information to the president?
Meanwhile, our brave Americans at Benghazi were left twisting in the wind.
As Matthews asked, if your father or brother were at the Benghazi compound, wouldn't you have wanted the US to do something, anything, to try to save him?
Why did we abandon them?
Dave DePriest is a retired Air Force Colonel and defense business consultant living in Atlanta, GA.