NBC’s Chief White House Correspondent and MSNBC anchor Chuck Todd doesn’t see any rationale for the formation of a select committee on Benghazi. The inquiry is pointless, Todd asserts, because “all” questions* pertaining to the 2012 terrorist attacks have already been asked and answered:
“I’ll hear from Republicans who will say, ‘but there are unanswered questions.’ Well no, all the questions have been answered. There’s just some people who don’t like the answers — that wishes [sic] the answers were somehow more conspiratorial.”
Yes, there have been a number of investigations into the deadly raid, including revelatory House hearings, a Senate report, and a State Department-mandated review. The House proceedings answered some questions, but raised others. The Senate Intelligence panel’s report concluded that the attacks were preventable, and rebuked the Obama administration for “unnecessarily hamper[ing] the committee’s review.” The State Department’s “Accountability Review Board” declined to interview key players, including Secretary Clinton. None of the Benghazi survivors have testified publicly. Furthermore, new information and perspectives have come to light within the last few weeks. A court-ordered document release turned up a relevant, previously-withheld email that further undermines the White House’s official version of events regarding their post-attack talking points, and an Air Force General who was on duty at AFRICOM that night said the military never received a request for help from the State Department during the eight-hour ordeal. He went on to suggest that the US government should have attempted a rescue mission, which other military officers have testified wouldn’t have been logistically feasible. A majority of the House of Representatives — including a handful of Democrats — clearly believes that unanswered questions remain. A large majority of the American public is skeptical of the White House’s veracity and supports keeping the investigation open and ongoing. Two former top CIA officials have endorsed the proceedings. Most Beltway Democrats, and apparently Chuck Todd, dissent. Todd is a journalist. It’s therefore a bit jarring to hear him declare that “all” questions pertaining to a controversial matter have been answered, thus intimating that the issue is settled — particularly after previously-unseen evidence has just recently emerged.
Benson lists ten question he wants answered. I have more than that, and each one has lots of follow-ups. There are at least
seven eight scandals worthy of further inquiry.
Yes, some of those questions have been “answered.” But not all those answers were responsive, and the multi-committee format, time limitations, lack of sworn testimony, simultaneous witnesses and ping-ponging interviewers ensured that “the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth” was not revealed.
The Benghazi special committee is an investigation, not a trial. I used to be an investigator. I also used to do depositions and cross-examinations. Eliciting all the information you need can be problematic even with cooperative witnesses.
Some might say “What difference does it make?” If you don’t know the answer to that question you aren’t worthy of holding office OR working as a journalist.