Is it Republicans, who seek truth and justice in the Sept. 11, 2012, terrorist attack that left four Americans dead? Or is it Democrats, who are trying to deflect and deter those efforts to protect a chief executive and secretary of state under whose tenuous watch this out-and-out slaughter occurred?
One side wants the facts brought to light through open congressional hearings and the rule of law. The other not only wants the facts obfuscated and withheld, it wants a virtual cease-and-desist on further inquiries.
Still undecided? You might have missed recent comments by Rep. Adam Schiff.
The California Democrat earlier this week urged his party to boycott the newly-announced select committee on Benghazi, which was formed last week after newly declassified White House memos implicated senior Obama communications officials in attempts to deceive the public about the true nature of the attack to shield the administration from embarrassment.
Emails obtained by a third-party watchdog group definitively linked the White House’s inner circle to the now-infamous cover story that characterized the bloody assault as spontaneous outrage to an anti-Islam video that was posted online.
Schiff, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, said Sunday that Democrats shouldn’t participate in the hearings, because that would lend undeserved credibility to the proceedings.
“Frankly I don’t think it deserves very much,” he said. “I think it’s a colossal waste of time ... I think it’s just a tremendous red herring, and a waste of taxpayer resources.”
Schiff’s blasé attitude appears to encapsulate his party’s view of the scandal: What’s the big deal? What does it matter now? Why are we still talking about this?
You may wonder the same thing – after a year and a half of stonewalling by the Obama administration and bizarre disinterest from the news media. Very well. Here is the short list of profound, important and unanswered questions, as spelled out by Benghazi select committee Chairman Trey Gowdy, R-S.C. And keep in mind, each question has its own subset of dozens of other lines of inquiry:
• Why were our people even in Benghazi, in an unsecure consulate; after earlier pleas for more security had been ignored or rejected; in civil war-torn and terrorist-infested Libya; when other allies had pulled out; and on Sept. 11, of all days?
• Why was there no military rescue attempt? One cannot say there wasn’t time, because no one could have known how long the attack would go on.
• Why was the false narrative about the Internet video put out by the president and his top advisers – repeatedly, and well after the White House knew better – and where did it originate?
Rep. Gowdy, a former prosecutor, is clearly in pursuit of the truth. Just as clearly, it is Democrats who are politicizing the issue.
They politicized it the moment our president’s advisers trotted out a false but politically palatable narrative to cover up an organized jihadist attack that would have spotlighted his foreign policy failings in the final weeks of the 2012 election.
Democrats continue to politicize Benghazi by the partisan stonewalling of any attempts to uncover the truth, practicing deceit as facts are sorted out. Now, they’re going so far as to suggest boycotting a special select committee – as if the matter has been settled.
“We’ve had four bipartisan investigations of this already,” Schiff griped.
Well, the matter is far from settled. The recently released White House emails raise as many questions as they answer.
What other documents has the administration kept from Congress during the previous 13 Benghazi hearings? Who ordered senior communications staffers to concoct the cover story? Where was the president when the attack occurred, and what was he doing?
How bad is the truth, that Democrats seemingly want to hide it so desperately?
President Obama claims he was only acting on the best intelligence information available at the time. If so, he should release the daily intelligence briefings he received in the days leading up to the attack.
It’s been done before – as Marc Thiessen, former speechwriter to President George W. Bush, has pointed out. In 2004, Bush declassified, and turned over to the 9/11 Commission, all copies of the President’s Daily Brief delivered to him before the Sept. 11 terror attacks. Bush didn’t have to. But he did so anyway, to show his critics what he knew and exactly when he knew it.
Can we count on this president to make such a magnanimous display of transparency?
We’re not so sure about that. It’s been nearly two years since the Obama administration assured the nation it would get to the bottom of the Benghazi attacks and punish those responsible for the murders.
Just because the administration has forgotten about Benghazi’s four victims doesn’t mean the rest of us should.