Tuesday, 06 May 2014

Will New Benghazi Probe Answer Real Questions?

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With recently released e-mails exposing more of the Obama administration’s lies and deception on the deadly Benghazi attack, top lawmakers in Congress finally decided to create a select committee to investigate. Predictably, Democrats and the White House are crying foul while Republicans celebrate. However, it remains to be seen whether the real issues and questions surrounding the killing of a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans will actually be addressed this time. For example, was Obama deliberately arming Islamist terrorists in Libya and Syria?

The e-mails that sparked the latest avalanche of criticism exposed top administration officials conspiring to lie to the public about the 2012 attacks. In one of the documents, top White House national security aide Ben Rhodes tells disgraced United Nations Ambassador Susan Rice to claim, falsely, that the attack was the result of a spontaneous demonstration. In the e-mail, obtained via a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act but originally withheld from Congress, Rhodes told her to “underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video and not a broader failure of policy.”

In reality, of course, as Americans would discover later, the assault on the U.S. government compound was a terrorist attack that had nothing to do with an “Internet video.” Even more troubling, the killings were conducted by Islamists — the very same forces that the U.S. government had previously battled in the terror war — who were armed and trained by the Obama administration to overthrow the Libyan government. Contrary to the administration’s false claims and deception, the attack was the very essence of a “broader failure of policy” — unless the attack was a goal of policy.

In fact, the reality was that what happened was a mere symptom of developments that were far more serious than a mere policy “failure.” As The New American magazine and countless other sources have documented extensively, Obama, acting under a dictatorship-approved UN “resolution,” had actually handed an entire country to al-Qaeda and other allied Islamic extremists waging jihad on Moammar Gadhafi, a former U.S. ally. Analysts even described the shocking developments that unfolded in Libya as Obama literally “switching sides” in the terror war.

Beyond the now-discredited lies, questions that remain unanswered could prove even more troubling for the administration. While it is obviously inappropriate to conspire to deceive lawmakers and the American people and then cover it up, it is far more serious to arm jihadists on the official U.S. terror list to wage an unconstitutional war on a foreign government for the UN. Whether the facility in Benghazi was being used to unlawfully funnel more arms and support to jihadists — the al-Qaeda-linked groups operating in Syria this time — is perhaps the most important issue. Growing amounts of evidence suggest that is the case.

Lawmakers seemed to be especially outraged that the administration has continued to withhold documents and information from Congress. In response to the latest e-mails, House Republicans were all but forced to at least seem as if they were taking some sort of action. Last week, House Speaker John Boehner announced the formation of a select committee to probe the attacks that would have “robust authority.” The White House deception thus far, he said, “forces us to ask the question, what else about Benghazi is the Obama administration still hiding from the American people?"

“These revelations compel the House to take every possible action to ensure the American people have the truth about the terrorist attack on our consulate that killed four of our countrymen,” Boehner said in a statement about the upcoming investigation, the details of which could be voted on as soon as this week. “With four of our countrymen killed at the hands of terrorists, the American people want answers, accountability, and justice.” Nobody has been arrested for the attack thus far.

Separately, also in response to the new revelations, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) unveiled a subpoena on May 2 to make Secretary of State John Kerry testify about Benghazi. The current chief of the State Department, who took over from Hillary “what difference does it make” Clinton after the attacks, is supposed to testify on May 21. Testimony from Clinton early last year, however, left all of the real questions unanswered, as The New American reported at the time. Critics also blasted the supposed “investigation” by the Accountability Review Board as a “whitewash.”

On May 5, Boehner said he would appoint Rep. Trey Gowdy (shown, R-S.C.), a former federal prosecutor whom the speaker described as the “ideal person,” to lead the investigation. “Trey Gowdy is as dogged, focused, and serious-minded as they come,” Boehner said. In a statement, Gowdy said he was honored to chair the committee. “While people are free to draw different conclusions from the facts, there should be no debate over whether the American public is entitled to have all of the facts,” noted the popular South Carolina Republican.

There are many issues that must be addressed, he said. “Twenty months after the Benghazi attacks, there remain unresolved questions about why the security was inadequate, our response during the siege itself, and our government's interaction with the public after the attack,” Gowdy continued. “All of those lines of inquiry are legitimate and should be apolitical. Facts are neither red nor blue.” It was not clear whether the alleged gun-running-for-jihadists scandal, referred to by multiple prominent lawmakers last year, would also be investigated.

Democrats, though, are already seeking to block the probe. “We will urge members to vote 'no' on it,” said House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.). With the GOP in control of the House, the minority is unlikely to be able to stop the creation of the select committee. Despite Democrat opposition to the investigation itself, Rep. Hoyer also said the panel should include an equal number of members from each party. Minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Democrat lawmakers had not yet been contacted about the investigation. Other Democrat lawmakers are already calling for a boycott of the probe.

The White House has also lashed out at the investigation — before it even begins. Obama Press Secretary Jay Carney, infamous most recently for the Soviet propaganda posters in his kitchen, claimed more probes were not needed. “You know at some point you just have to assume Republicans will continue this because it feeds a political objective of some sort,” he claimed as part of a concerted effort to make the investigation appear to be a partisan ploy. “I think if you look at even what some Republicans have said, it certainly casts doubt on the legitimacy of an effort that is so partisan in nature.”

Without mentioning that the real questions and scandals had not been addressed yet, Carney emphasized that there have been several efforts to investigate the Benghazi attacks. “One thing this Congress is not short on is investigations into what happened before, during and after the attacks in Benghazi,” the official spokesman for the administration claimed, citing seven supposed “investigations” since 2012. The latest effort to create a select committee to investigate simply “perpetuates a conspiracy theory without a conspiracy,” Carney alleged.

Of course, it is entirely possible that some Republicans are hoping to capitalize on the Benghazi scandal for political purposes. The fact that the most serious issues surrounding the attack remain shrouded in mystery, however, means that there is a very good reason to continue investigating. Was the administration running guns to jihadists from the U.S. facility in Libya, as evidence suggests? Were U.S. terror laws violated in the process? What other laws may have been violated? Why has the administration tried so hard to deceive the public? Did the unconstitutional war in Libya directly lead to the murder of four Americans? Did any senior officials commit perjury? Why has nobody been held seriously accountable yet?

There are plenty of questions that need real answers. Whether the select committee will get them or even seek them, though, remains to be seen.

Photo of Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.): AP Images

 

Alex Newman, a foreign correspondent for The New American, is currently based in Europe. He can be reached at

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
. Follow him on Twitter @ALEXNEWMAN_JOU.

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