Benghazi matters because four of our fellow citizens were murdered under terrifying circumstances. Benghazi matters because a diplomatic facility emblematic and representative of our country was attacked and burned on the anniversary of 9/11. Benghazi matters because Americans deserve to know the truth from those entrusted to lead and govern.
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, is right to convene a select committee devoted to uncovering all relevant facts connected to Benghazi, just as the House committees of jurisdiction were right to investigate Benghazi before this. Despite the passage of 20 months, there remain unresolved questions.
Why was security for our facility in Libya inadequate, and why were repeated calls for additional security unheeded and, indeed, explicitly rejected? Was our military response during the pendency of the siege sufficient? And in the days and weeks after the attack, was the Obama administration transparent and forthright with our fellow Americans in describing the impetus behind the attack?
Moreover, no one has been arrested, prosecuted, or punished for the murders of our fellow Americans. These outstanding questions, and others, are legitimate, and seeking the answer to these questions should be an apolitical process.
Facts are neither Republican nor Democrat. While our fellow citizens are free to draw varying conclusions and inferences from the facts, surely there can be consensus that every relevant fact must be uncovered.
There are still witnesses whose testimony has not been heard. Just last week, we learned the administration has withheld relevant documents from Congress, despite a subpoena request. Some produced documents are so heavily redacted as to be meaningless. The select committee should strive to uncover every relevant witness, document or other piece of evidence so our fellow citizens can know the facts and the full truth.
“May justice be done, though the heavens fall.” That adage governed my time as a prosecutor in state and federal court, and it would serve us well as we uncover the truth about Benghazi.
I have a lot of questions about the events surrounding what happened in Benghazi, Libya on the night of September 11, 2012. I gotta feeling I’ll never get all the answers I want and I won’t like all the answers I get.
It’s just as important that this special committee do the thing right as it is to do the right thing. Democrats have already denounced the Benghazi committee as a partisan witch hunt. I really hope that Trey Gowdy and the GOP majority committee members don’t make that accusation come true.
Nothing done by Congress will ever be free from politics, but if this investigation is nothing more than a political sideshow then it will not have any credibility, nor should it. On the other hand, if this investigation is a (mostly) nonpartisan search for the truth they may succeed in uncovering quite a bit of it.
If you watched any of the previous Congressional committee hearings on Benghazi you saw a good example of how it should not be done. Questioning was severely limited, often multiple witnesses were questioned together, and each side took turns asking questions with each committee member getting just a few minutes each, much of which they wasted with speechifying.
Each side should choose a primary questioner. That person should be allowed to continue questioning until they are finished, just like during a court trial. Then the other side can take their turn. Each witness should be questioned individually, with all the other witnesses excluded. The questioning should continue for AS LONG AS IT TAKES, subject to breaks and other Congressional business. Every witness should be under oath.
Using a slow and methodical process, the committee questioning should nail down in detail each witness’s testimony. If necessary, witnesses should be recalled to clarify or amplify their testimony. If there is a discrepancy or a conflict in the testimony of two or more witnesses, the witnesses should be confronted and asked to explain.
Although it need not all be televised, every minute of testimony should be recorded. Classified documents and information should be provided to the committee even if it has to be redacted from the final report. EVERYTHING should be preserved for posterity in a single archive.
When all the evidence is gathered, a report should be prepared and put on the record. Declassified versions should be made available online, along with supporting documentation.
An investigation of this type is like an archaeological excavation. You slowly expose each layer, working carefully so as not to destroy any artifacts.
This is not about winning an election. This is about uncovering the truth. Let the chips fall as they may.