Chairman of the House Oversight Committee Darrell Issa has issued subpoenas to four State Department officials involved in diplomatic security regarding their respective roles in the Benghazi terror attacks, which resulted in the untimely deaths of Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, computer expert Sean Smith and former Navy Seals Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty.
Today, Politico reported that Rep. Darrell Issa said in a statement on Monday that ‘delays in scheduling interviews with the officials were taking too long and he had no choice.’ Issa tweeted about his decision, as well.
.@StateDept has left me w/ no alternative but to issue subpoenas to compel testimony from these important witnesses #Benghazi #PJNet
— Darrell Issa (@DarrellIssa) June 24, 2013
Benghazi has become a symbol of government bad behavior, with many unanswered questions remaining that have yet to be significantly tackled by America’s so-called watchdogs. Click on the list for just some of the lingering questions.
Follow Renee Nal on Twitter @ReneeNal and check out TavernKeepers.com for news you won’t find in the mainstream media. Renee is also a guest blogger for the Shire Blog.
Why was security denied to the Benghazi consulate?
Almost ten months after the terror attack in Benghazi, it is still not clear why security was denied, and worse, removed from the consulate.
During the Vice Presidential debate, Joe Biden floundered over the question of security. He said,
‘Well, we weren’t told they wanted more security again. We did not know they wanted more security again. And by the way, at the time we were told exactly — we said exactly what the intelligence community told us that they knew. That was the assessment. And as the intelligence community changed their view, we made it clear they changed their view. That’s why I said, we will get to the bottom of this.’
In October, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney addressed questions about Biden’s fuzzy statement by blaming Republicans in general, and Congressman Paul Ryan in particular, for ‘politicizing’ the issue to make President Obama look bad.
He said in part,
‘I think that the…political attacks by Republicans, in this case Paul Ryan, was to suggest that the president and the White House was responsible…” He later continued, “I find it rich that charges are made about concern over diplomatic security by those who routinely slash funding for diplomatic security in order to pay for tax cuts.’
As pointed out by the Heritage Foundation, funding was not a factor as to why the Benghazi consulate was not properly protected.
What is ‘rich’ is that while security was being denied and removed from the Benghazi consulate (despite previous attacks and while other ‘western targets’ had recognized the risk and left Benghazi), other U.S. embassies were given funds for creating ‘green’ initiatives, as reported by By Rep. Mike Kelly for the Washington Times.
Was there a ‘Stand Down’ order?
Elisabeth Bumiller of the New York Times reported in October that former Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta, along with Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Gen. Carter F. Ham of Africa Command ‘felt very strongly that we could not put forces at risk in that situation.’
‘the basic principle is that you don’t deploy forces into harm’s way without knowing what’s going on, without having some real-time information about what’s taking place.’
Gen. Dempsey seems to be contradicting Panetta’s comments. He stated that ‘the special forces contingent was not told to stand down but rather given a different mission,’ as reported by Larry Shaughnessy of CNN.
‘By the time they contacted the command center in Stuttgart (Germany), they were told the individuals in Benghazi were on their way back and that they would be better used at the Tripoli airport.’
Gen. Martin Dempsey’s statement also contradicts claims by former U.S. deputy chief of mission in Libya Gregory Hicks, who described Lt. Col. Gibson as being ‘furious’ about the ‘stand down’ order.
Hicks additionally testified that ‘he believes the stand down order came from either AFRICOMM or SOCAFRICA,’ as reported by Jason Howerton of TheBlaze.
Tomorrow, both Lt. Col. Gibson and Gen. Carter Ham will be responding to questions from the House Armed Services Committee in a closed hearing, as reported by the incomparable Kerry Picket of Breitbart.
Why wasn’t the Benghazi Consulate Secured?
The crime scene was not secured, which allowed journalists and others to remove (and likely destroy) evidence. In September, CNN National Security Analyst Fran Townsend stated that the FBI took so long to get to the scene, due in part, to “infighting.”
‘They had difficulty, and we understand there was some bureaucratic infighting between the FBI and Justice Department on the one hand, and the State Department on the other, and so it took them longer than they would have liked to get into country.’
This point has not seemed to raise ire among the mainstream media. It is not a stretch to consider that bringing the perpetrators to justice has been stymied by the fact that the compound was not sealed to protect evidence.
Where did the talking point regarding the anti-Muslim ‘YouTube video’ originate?
The meme that the Benghazi terror attack was prompted by a spontaneous protest due to an anti-Muslim YouTube video was debunked almost immediately.
It remains unclear how this narrative was the result of ‘assessments of the intelligence community’ at the time (as White House Press Secretary Jay Carney claimed earlier this month).
Alex Pappas of the Daily Caller reported that Gregory Hicks, the highest ranking American diplomat in Libya after Ambassador Chris Stevens was ’embarrassed’ when former U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice ‘wrongly blamed the attacks on an anti-Islamic video.’
Hicks famously said,
‘I was stunned. My jaw dropped. And I was embarrassed.’
The YouTube film creator, Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, is currently in prison on unrelated charges. So where, exactly, did this intelligence assessment originate?
Officials contradict each other on Benghazi talking points. Where is the Media?
Speaking of talking points, in November, CBS News reported that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), headed by Obama Appointee James Clapper, removed specific references to terrorism from the ‘unclassified talking points’ on the Benghazi terror attack given to Ambassador Rice with the ‘agreement of the CIA and FBI.’
Why were references to terrorism removed?
The stated purpose for cutting the information was because the link to terrorism was deemed too ‘tenuous’ to make public,
‘because there was not strong confidence in the person providing the intelligence.’
Neither the official who made this claim, nor the ‘person providing the intelligence’ were named.
Former CIA Director David Petraeus, gave an entirely different reason for why references to terrorism were scrubbed. The Associated Press reported,
‘classified intelligence showed the deadly raid on the U.S. consulate in Libya was a terrorist attack, but the administration withheld the suspected role of al Qaeda affiliates to avoid tipping them off.’
With so much conflicting information, it is surprising (or not) that the mainstream media is not pressing for the truth.
Why does President Obama continue to say that he referred to Benghazi as an ‘act of terrorism’?
In reference to his response to the Benghazi terror attack at a press conference in May, President Obama said,
‘The day after it happened, I acknowledged that this was an act of terrorism.’
This was never the case, as pointed out by Glenn Kessler of the Washington Post, who gave the comment ‘four Pinocchios.’ Kessler points out in part,
‘But the president’s claim that he said “act of terrorism” is taking revisionist history too far, given that he repeatedly refused to commit to that phrase when asked directly by reporters in the weeks after the attack. He appears to have gone out of his way to avoid saying it was a terrorist attack, so he has little standing to make that claim now.’
The author would be remiss not to mention that this narrative was supported by CNN’s Candy Crowley, who inserted herself into one of the presidential debates in October by (falsely) ‘correcting’ presidential Republican nominee Mitt Romney when he took issue with President Obama on his repeated claim.
Where are the Benghazi survivors?
In January, Hillary Clinton testified that there were 25-30 survivors of the attack, but oddly, she did not have an exact number. In response to whether Clinton spoke to the survivors, Clinton said,
‘…I still have a DS agent at Walter Reed seriously injured. Getting them into Frankfurt Ramstein to get taken care of, the FBI going over to immediately start talking to them—We did not think it was appropriate for us to talk to them before the FBI conducted their interviews.’
During a press conference in March, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney claimed that ‘the White House is certainly not preventing anybody from having access to any of the survivors of the Benghazi attack.’
As recently as this month, however, Senator Ron Johnson told Fox News host Chris Wallace that he
‘would use the nominations of Samantha Power to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland to become the next assistant secretary for European and Eurasian affairs to get the names of Benghazi survivors,’
as reported by Breitbart.
So where are the survivors?
Was Raymond Maxwell a scapegoat over Benghazi?
Raymond Maxwell was one of the four State Department officials who were disciplined in the wake of the Benghazi attacks. Josh Rogin of the Daily Beast writes,
‘Maxwell was removed from his job on Dec. 18, the day after the ARB report was released, and subsequently placed on administrative leave, which is meant to give the State Department time to investigate whether Maxwell should be fired or return to work. Five months later, that investigation seems stalled and Maxwell sits at home, where he continues to be paid but is not allowed to return to his job.’
The other officials have not been named, and Maxwell seems to be perplexed about how he was targeted. He said that Ambassador Chris Stevens was a ‘friend,’ and stated,
‘I had no involvement to any degree with decisions on security and the funding of security at our diplomatic mission in Benghazi.’
Where are the others who were disciplined?
Where was President Obama on the night of the Benghazi terror attacks?
In May, Chris Wallace of Fox News Sunday asked White House senior adviser Dan Pfeiffer if President Obama was in the Situation Room at the White House on the night of the Benghazi terror attack.
‘I don’t remember what room he was in that night. That’s a largely irrelevant fact.’
Jeff Poor of the Daily Caller posted a partial transcript of the exchange. The question has been asked repeatedly, and dodged repeatedly.
What is known, however, is that the day after the terror attack, President Obama flew to a fundraiser in Las Vegas.
Where are the killers?
The FBI released images of ‘…individuals who were on the grounds of the U.S. Special Mission when it was attacked.’ Guy Taylor from the Washington Times reported
‘but nine months later the who and why of the terrorist assault that left four Americans dead remains shrouded in mystery.’
In May, Attorney General Eric Holder told a House Judiciary Committee that he ‘can’t be definitive’ as to the progress of the probe, ‘other than to say that the investigation is ongoing.’