Families of the fallen and military leaders call for action -- will Speaker Boehner respond?
Monday, surviving family members of the victims of the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya dispatched a letter to House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) criticizing Congress's disorganized and inadequate inquiry into the tragic incident. Approximately 75 military and conservative leaders, including Freedom Center President David Horowitz, joined in calling for the formation of a congressional select committee, equipped with subpoena authority, to provide a serious investigation into the attack. The full text of the letter follows.
“To the living we owe respect. To the dead we owe the truth.” –Voltaire
The Honorable John Boehner
Speaker, U.S. House of Representatives
The Capitol, H-232
Washington, D.C., 20515
January 6, 2014
Dear Speaker Boehner,
We write to express our grave concern over the failure of your House of Representatives to extract the truth from the Obama administration concerning the attack on our diplomatic and intelligence facilities in Benghazi, Libya; and, the brutal deaths of Ambassador Christopher Stephens, U.S. Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith, and security officers Ty Woods and Glen Doherty.
To date, five (5) different committees of the House have conducted separate hearings, uncovering information in a piecemeal fashion lacking professional investigators. The five committees’ efforts are disjointed and uncoordinated. The Obama administration has benefited from that dysfunctional process to hide the truth. Hardly any Obama administration witnesses have testified – publicly or privately. You have resisted repeated calls for the creation of a select investigative committee with subpoena authority. It appears that you are satisfied to allow that state of investigative incoherence and ambiguity to continue. The last public hearing by any of the five committees was held in September – four (4) months ago. The families of the dead who fought valiantly to protect the mission and their families, the survivors, and the American people deserve better from you and your Members of Congress. They deserve the absolute truth from their government. Your failure to get the truth and hold public officials accountable increases the possibility of other repeat attacks and additional failures to defend Americans abroad.
On Sunday, December 29, 2013, the New York Times published a story concerning the Benghazi attacks that directly contradicts the sworn testimony of witnesses who appeared before various committees. Besides the obvious New York Times editorial and political objectives of inoculating Hillary Clinton and her 2016 presidential campaign from further criticism of her failures as Secretary of State, the story contradicts objective truth and established facts in a way that confuses the public. Your inaction and failure to lead on the Benghazi investigation directly contributes to the repetition of lies; a lack of accountability from responsible government officials; and the political advancement of persons who seek to continue to “fundamentally transform” the Constitution and our country. The New York Times recent publication proves the Benghazi story is not “going away.”
Your oversight of the Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigation has been without any meaningful effect or result. Not a single terrorist in this well-planned and executed military attack by radical Islamists has been apprehended. Ahmed Abu Khattala, a ringleader of the attack, granted long interviews to reporters in Benghazi cafes, while the Obama administration – and you – have done nothing. Nearly 16 months after the terrorist attack, the American public has no accountability and no plan of action from House leadership. The public is subjected to undisputed disinformation from a White House who calls the terror attack a “phony scandal.” While the White House repeats false and misleading information, you continue to ignore claims, documented by Rep. Frank Wolf, of intelligence officers being intimidated with multiple, punitive polygraph examinations and harassing non-disclosure agreement demands. If Benghazi is “phony” why are intelligence officers being threatened not to speak and subjected to polygraph exams? Why do you stand by passively?
Some analysts believe your inaction and passivity towards getting to the truth concerning Benghazi is because you were briefed on the intelligence and special operations activities in Libya as a member of the “Super 8.” You may possess “guilty knowledge.” We recall how then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi developed a form of “amnesia” concerning a documented briefing she received on so-called “enhanced interrogation techniques” – later termed “torture” for political purposes. Are you in the same position as your predecessor? Are you dodging a legitimate, thorough, coordinated investigation of Benghazi because it will damage your political position as Speaker?
You should be embarrassed that members of Congress, and your own party, are forced to file Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests with Obama administration agencies to get basic information about the Benghazi issue. What a sad and pathetic statement about the operations of House standing committees looking into this tragedy that FOIA has become the last resort of even Republican Members seeking the truth! Are you concerned that the scattershot and untimely efforts of the various committees may actually be doing more harm than good at documenting facts? These are all examples of Republican leadership failures. How are you accountable?
Rep. Mike Rogers and the Intelligence Committee seem to act as defense counsel for the Obama administration. A recent Intelligence Committee weekly update note stated as fact that no arms shipments were being run from Libya, and that no intelligence officers were being coerced not to speak. There is substantial evidence to the contrary on both counts. Why does Rep. Rogers parrot the discredited falsehoods of the so-called “Accountability Review Board” (ARB)? Conflicting accounts, testimony and evidence need to be investigated – not dismissed or ignored. Don’t those contradictions and questions compel you, on behalf of the American people, to take any action to resolve the matter and get to the truth?
Aren’t you concerned that General Carter Ham was suddenly and prematurely recalled from AFRICOM, and then made statements at the Aspen Institute that directly contradicted the Obama administration’s position on the nature of the attack in Benghazi? Why has General Ham not testified publicly before one of the House committees?
The New York Times story reports that the CIA was, in fact, collecting weapons in Benghazi. If true, why was the CIA running a separate, parallel weapons program from the State Department’s $40 million collection effort? Where did the CIA-purchased weapons go? Is the Obama administration arming al Qaeda affiliated jihadists in Syria?
If you wished, you could have publicly engaged Rep. Devin Nunes concerning his November 6, 2013 letter to you, addressing the nine unanswered questions about Benghazi. Instead, there was thundering silence from your office. You have an opportunity to show strong leadership and resolve a national disgrace perpetrated by specific public officials. You are failing.
Your reluctance to lead and resistance to create a Select Committee on Benghazi must end. More than 75% of all House Republicans – with the conspicuous absence of those in leadership or committee chairmen – have cosponsored Rep. Wolf’s Select Committee bill. Few bills in this Congress demonstrate such overwhelming support from Republicans. Additionally, the bill enjoys the support of national security advocacy groups, and the Wall Street Journal editorial board, among many others.
We urge you to bring the bill to the floor for a vote immediately to start effective oversight on this critical national security matter immediately. We have waited long enough. Your approach is not working.
Mr. Speaker, we call upon you to act now and create a Select Committee on Benghazi to investigate all aspects of the United States involvement in Libya, to include, but not be limited to the attacks of September 11, 2012. It must now also include the protracted cover-up the American people, the families of the fallen and those with loved ones serving overseas have endured. The new committee must have subpoena power, capable staff and Members from both parties who are committed to finding the truth, not playing politics. The Committee must be staffed with new, professional, qualified and experienced investigators. It must have resources to conduct a thorough, comprehensive investigation and issue an exhaustive report before this Congress adjourns.
(Titles for identification purposes only)
Charles Woods, Father of Ty Woods
Pat Smith, Mother of Sean Smith
Michael Ingmire, Musician/Writer, Uncle to Sean Smith
Adm. Jerome L. Johnson, USN Ret., former Vice Chief of Naval Operations
Lt. Gen. E.G. “Buck” Shuler, Jr., USAF, (Ret)
Lt. Gen. Richard D. Lawrence, USA (Ret)
LTG William G. Boykin, USA (Ret)
Maj. Gen. Paul Vallely, USA Ret, Chairman, Stand Up America
Maj. Gen. Carroll D. Childers, USA (Ret), Ranger
Maj. Gen. Thomas F. Cole, USA (Ret)
Maj. Gen. Richard M. Cooke, USMC (Ret)
Amb. Henry F. Cooper, Former Director, Strategic Defense Initiative
LTC Allen B. West (US Army, Ret) former Congressman, FL
Capt Joseph R. John, USNA ‘62, USN (Ret), Chairman, Combat Veterans For Congress PAC
Debra Burlingame, Co-founder, 9/11 Families for a Safe and Strong America
Elaine Donnelly, President, Center for Military Readiness
Dick Brauer, Col, USAF (Ret), Special Operation Speaks
Tom Fitton, President, Judicial Watch
Allen Roth, Secure America Now
Joel A. Arends, Veterans for a Strong America
Ginni Thomas, President, Liberty Consulting
Catherine Engelbrecht, President, True the Vote
Anita MonCrief, Black Voters Alliance
David Wallace, Restore America's Mission
Dr. James Pollock, Maj., USAF (Ret), OIF VETx2, SOCOM, Wounded Warrior Congressional Advocate
John J. Molloy, Chairman, National Vietnam & Gulf War Veterans Coalition
James C. Harding, Col USAF (Ret) National Spokesman for Veteran Defenders of America
Diane M. Sendlenski, Veteran US Air Force, Special Operations Speaks Coordinator
John G. B. Howland, Publisher, USNA-At-Large
Katherine Cornell Gorka, Executive Director, The Westminster Institute
Paul Caprio, Executive Director, Family Pac Federal
William L. Walton, Chairman, Rappahannock Ventures LLC
Sandy Rios, Director of Governmental Affairs, American Family Association
David Horowitz, President, Freedom Center
Peter Thomas, Chairman, The Conservative Caucus
Rear Adm. Hugh P. Scott, MC, USN (Ret)
Rear Adm. Bill McDaniel, USN (Ret)
Rear Adm. John A. Moriarty, USN, (Ret)
Rear Adm. Robert B. McClinton, USN (Ret)
Rear Adm. Don G. Primeau, USN (Ret)
Brig. Gen. Michael Neil, USMCR (Ret)
Brig. Gen. Francis Hughes, USA (Ret)
Brig. Gen. John Zierdt, Jr., USA (Ret)
Brig. Gen. Michael T. Byrnes, USA (Ret)
Brig. Gen. William A. Bloomer, USMC (Ret)
Captain Kenneth Rauch, USN (Ret)
Captain Peter A. Hewett, JAGC, U.S. Navy (Ret)
Captain James Knight, USN (Ret)
Captain Roger W. Barnett, USN (Ret)
Captain Gregory Streeter, USN (Ret) USNA ’58
Col. G. Huntington Banister, USA (Ret), and former Acting Director, Selective Service System, 1994
Col. S. Badiner, USMC (Ret)
Col. Gregory G. Raths, USMC (Ret)
Col. Joseph V. Potter, USAF (Ret)
Col. Rob Maness, USAF (Ret), U.S. Senate Candidate 2014, R-Louisiana
Dan Bongino, 2012 Republican Nominee for US Senate, MD
Lt. Col. Ken Benway, USA (Ret)
Lt. Col. Dennis B. Haney, USAF (Ret)
CDR Randolph J. Horhutz, USNA '61, SC, USN (Ret)
Everett Woolum, CMSGT, USAF (Ret)
Gregory J. Rose, USNA '73
Thomas Corboy, USNA, ‘61
Anthony R. Papandrea, USNA ‘61
Raymond H. Clary, Jr., USNA ‘65
John W. Slagle, U.S. Navy Aviation veteran (Ret) Special Agent U.S.B.P. Anti-Smuggling Unit
Sarah Folger White, Former Presidential Commissioner
Dick and Patricia Schermerhorn, Appleton, WI
Lee Boyland, Author, former military officer, entrepreneur, nuclear engineer
Susan Creed Percy, Advocate for Military Families
Dave Hollenbeck, retired CA Highway Patrol
Paul F. Wirtz, Military family, OH resident
John Lillywhite, U.S. Citizen
Gene Andrews, U. S. Citizen
Mrs. Nancy Olbert, Supervisor Criminal Advocates, Daytona, FL State Attorney Office
Dr. Frank Ingels, Military Defense Consultant, MSIC/TETRA Office
Robert M. Trent, Senior Special Agent, USINS and former Marine and Vietnam combat veteran
Kelly Monroe Kullberg, Christians for a Sustainable Economy; OH resident
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