Rep. Gosar Hand-Delivers Request for Benghazi Answers to State Department
Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ), a member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, visited the U.S. State Department on Wednesday to deliver a letter seeking the truth about the Benghazi terrorist attack from a year ago and the scandal and cover-up that has ensued since.
“I’m a dentist impersonating a congressman,” Rep. Paul Gosar (R-AZ) told us jokingly as he hopped into the back trunk hatch area of the small-sized SUV his staffer was driving. Breitbart News, Daily Caller, and National Review reporters were accompanying Gosar and two of his staffers on the ride over to the State Department in Foggy Bottom from the Capitol Hill Club next to the RNC headquarters on Capitol Hill. Gosar walked us through his history at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska, and then how he became a dentist and worked for the American Dental Association and served as the president of the Arizona Dental Association; his patients convinced him to run for Congress in 2010 as he was fighting against Obamacare’s negative effects on the healthcare--especially dental--industry.
Gosar spent the August recess in his district in Arizona. “I’m kind of a homebody,” he said. “I like to work out in the yard. I built my own house, and I’m pretty good with the tractor, chainsaws and even small instruments. That’s what I kind of like doing.”
Gosar told us he likes to communicate with as many people as possible and wants to learn from them. “The fun part about this job is engaging people and gaining their expertise,” Gosar said. “And rewarding that dialogue with their involvement.”
Gosar said he and Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID) are the only two dentists in Congress. “We do,” Gosar joked when the National Review’s Betsy Woodruff asked if they have a “secret dentist handshake.”
“We’ve been known to meet up in interior appropriations,” Gosar said. “He’s good cop, I’m bad cop. He’s good dentist, I’m bad dentist. He’s an appropriator, I’m fiscally conservative.”
Gosar said he misses practicing dentistry but feels needed in Congress. “When somebody said ‘what’s the most important job?’” Gosar said before his own question: “It’s actually dentistry. For somebody to allow you to work on their own healthcare, on their wellbeing, I think is a reward unlike any other thing. Politics can’t make that difference. It’s a very rewarding, very humbling experience.”
Gosar held several town hall meetings over recess so he could hear from his constituents. “They’re outraged by Obamacare,” Gosar said of his constituents’ concerns. “They’re outraged by Benghazi. They’re outraged by Fast and Furious. They’re outraged by immigration. They’re outraged all the way across the board.”
When we rolled up to the State Department headquarters on 23rd Street in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood of Washington, D.C., Gosar and the reporters hopped out of the car. One of his staffers joined him to head inside to deliver the Benghazi letter while the other parked the car around the corner.
When Gosar hopped back into the back of the SUV and his staffer jumped into the front seat about an hour after he went into the building for the meeting, he said “80 percent of the time” he was there was dealing with heightened security. “I got a pat down,” he said. “They’re under slow security as everyone is going through because of 9/11 and Benghazi.”
“They were surprised to see I carry a copy pocket of my Constitution with me,” Gosar told us and we hit the road to drive back across D.C. to Capitol Hill. “They were like ‘oh.’ And I said ‘You don’t think I carry it?’”
The meeting where Gosar dropped the letter off, he said, was “very cordial”; they were “very nice people,” he said.
“A couple of our questions start with the email traffic for employees,” he said. “According to them, they do not use private email addresses. It’s prohibited by State Department rules. They have sent some of those answers to [Oversight Committee] Chairman [Rep. Darrell] Issa as well. They offered to us to see the implementation of some of the checks and balances on the ARB [Accountability Review Board] review, and how they could better handle assets in the case of an emergency. They actually invited us back [to the State Department] to see some of the implementation of some of the recommendations of what the Board suggested and how they’re implementing those changes.”
Even so, Gosar said, “They did not have answers as to why the false narrative [came out], who promoted the false narrative.”
“I was very explicit: The president is involved,” Gosar claimed. “Ten days later, at the U.N., he explicitly talks about this narrative by the fraudulent video and we knew that it had nothing to do with anything whatsoever. Email disclosure at the committee has shown that embassy staffs between Cairo and Benghazi and Tripoli were talking about it, and there was nothing about it going ‘viral.’"
"We should have known better," he explained. "My comment was you know last night and this week, the president sure knows an awful lot about Syria but still doesn’t know a lot about Benghazi. I think that’s an outrage. Americans should never leave American men and women behind. State Department folks and military attaches are considered like military. Our military is grilled that you never leave anybody behind."
"You had over 200 terror plots and activities leading up to Benghazi," he continued. "We were the last flag flying. And yet we had no destroyers, we had no aircraft carriers, we were not even sensing the danger. Yet in Syria, you’ve seen gas used and 100,000 people massacred by conventional weapons and you have five destroyers and an aircraft carrier. What gives? Something is wrong here in this chain of events.”
Gosar said “they gave us no answer” when asked who gave then-U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice “final approval” to “tell the public and the media that the attack in Benghazi was a spontaneous attack stemming from protests about a video.”
Gosar added that the administration is still withholding testimony from the Benghazi survivors, keeping them from telling Congress what they saw that night. He said the administration has told Issa and other members of Congress that the survivors’ testimony is being blocked because “they told us there are some sealed documents for arrests, sealed indictments, and some of these people may be utilized as witnesses” to testify in the future should the administration choose to actually act on the indictments. “I’m not an attorney, but that seems kind of far-fetched,” Gosar said, as he and the small delegation in the SUV neared the Capitol Hill Club again.
Gosar told us he is using these new tactics to get the focus back on Benghazi because the scandal has not been fully investigated. “The committee was a little bit nervous,” Gosar said when asked by Alexis Levinson of The Daily Caller what his colleagues thought of this new tactic. “They’ve tried to orchestrate everything through the committee. The thing about it is I’m one of these people that if you’re not getting anywhere, you’ve got to change it up. You’ve got to ask more questions."
"And if it means individuals have to start taking this into their hands, and start trying to get different results from different methodologies, you got to," he explained. "I’m results-oriented. I was always a solutions guy. Every day I did solutions.”