McCain: We need a select committee to get to the bottom of Benghazi

Share on Nextdoor

Last week the FBI posted photographs of three people who were on the grounds of the diplomatic mission in Benghazi, prompting questions of why just now the bureau was releasing those pictures?

That prompted John McCain (who it sometimes appears is constitutionally required to appear on a Sunday show at least once every other week) to tell Fox's Chris Wallace that this is another reason why there should be a special select committee investigate the Libyan killings, a la Iran-Contra.

"We need a select committee to get to the bottom of all of this," McCain said."Whether it will happen or not, I don't know. But isn't it incredible all this time later there's all of these unanswered questions?"

Earlier on the program, two members of Issa's committee, Utah Republican Jason Chaffetz and Massachusetts' Stephen Lynch, went head-to-head about the issue as if it were late September instead of Cinco De Mayo.

Chaffetz said that there were people on the ground in Libya last September 11 who want to testify before the House that have been intimidated by the State Department.

"We're the other branch of government. Their supposed to be able to come to Congress and be able to share this type of information. This has not happened because this administration is suppressed," Chaffetz said, adding "there are people. More than one. That have felt intimidation from the State Department. They can't even go through the process of getting an attorney to represent them with the degree of classified information they have."

Stephen Lynch said there had not been a request for documents to the State Department.

Lynch also mentioned what other Democrats have about the issue overall - that there has been a report produced to assess what happened in Benghazi.

That Accountability Review Board report was released last December. It reported:

Systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies at senior levels within two bureaus of the State Department (the "Department") resulted in a Special Mission security posture that was inadequate for Benghazi and grossly inadequate to deal with the attack that took place.

It later went on to say:

Overall, the number of Bureau of Diplomatic Security (DS) security staff in Benghazi on the day of the attack and in the months and weeks leading up to it was inadequate, despite repeated requests from Special Mission Benghazi and Embassy Tripoli for additional staffing.

A favorite conservative line of attack on the Obama administration is the now infamous series of television interviews that UN Ambassador Susan Rice did on Fox and the four other Sunday morning shows five days after Ambassador Stevens death, in which she said the violence was a result of anger at a YouTube video that insulted the Islamic religion.

That proved fateful for Rice, who was pilloried by conservatives and targeted after the president's re-election when rumors had her moving to become Obama's choice for Secretary of State for his second term. In December she came forward to take herself out of that competition, penning an op-ed where she defended her comments as the intelligence community's "best current assessment" of the attack available and unclassified at that time.

"It would have been irresponsible for me to substitute any personal judgment for our government's and wrong to reveal classified material," Rice wrote. "I made clear in each interview that the information I was providing was preliminary and that ongoing investigations would give us definitive answers."

On CBS' Face The Nation, host Bob Schieffer quoted comments made by State Department official Greg Hicks to Darrell Issa's committee. Among the comments from Hicks posted was that he was embarrassed after Rice gave her explanation for the Benghazi attacks on network and cable television.

On Fox, Congressman Lynch said he didn't have really couldn't account for what happened with those infamous talking points. "They certainly weren't accurate," he told Fox's Wallace. "There were no protests outside the Benghazi compound there. This was a deliberate and strategic attack on the consulate there."

Thought the controversy over Benghazi was over? Not by a long shot.

Over the weekend the chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, California Republican Darrell Issa, announced that three State Department officials will testify before his committee this week (May 8).

Issa and many Republicans say that the American public still doesn't have the full story about what happened last September 11, when the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and three other Americans were killed in the first such attack in 34 years.

Scroll to read more News Feature articles


Join Creative Loafing Tampa Bay Newsletters

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.