Judicial Watch Lawsuit Success Forces Congress to Act on Benghazi
On Tuesday, April 29, Judicial Watch released 41 new Benghazi-related State Department documents. The ensuing media coverage put the Obama administration on the defensive--and led to a special House Select Committee that promises to finally do a better job of exposing the full story of what happened before, during, and after the deadly attack on the U.S. Mission in Benghazi.
We released to the public a newly declassified email showing then-White House Deputy Strategic Communications Adviser Ben Rhodes and other Obama administration public relations officials attempting to orchestrate a campaign to portray the Benghazi consulate terrorist attack as being “rooted in an Internet video, and not a failure of policy.” They also colluded to try to convince the public of Obama’s “strength and steadiness in dealing with difficult challenges.” Other documents show that State Department officials initially described the incident as an “attack” and a possible kidnap attempt.
You may recall that the Obama administration’s first response was to trot out White House Press Secretary Jay Carney to tell reporters not to believe their own eyes. Yes, he intoned, of course there was a memo from Rhodes--but it was not about Benghazi: “This document was explicitly not about Benghazi, but about the general dynamic in the Muslim world at the time,” said White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.
One blogger over at The Washington Post called the Obama response to the Judicial Watch material, “the worst excuse ever” And Fox News’ Brett Baier termed it “surreal”:
This was a surreal answer from Jay Carney. Now, this is a prep session with Susan Rice, getting ready for five Sunday talk shows. This is three days after 9/11 when four Americans, including the American ambassador to Libya, are killed. Everybody in the chain has said it’s a terrorist attack, everyone in the chain is saying there’s no protest. And yet this email, if we’re to believe Jay Carney at the White House, had nothing to do with Benghazi ... Now, that really strains credulity, I mean it is really out there.
In an explosive op-ed in the Washington Times, Judge Andrew Napolitano gave Judicial Watch full credit for getting hold of critical material that the House of Representatives had been denied by a battened-down Obama White House:
The White House responded to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request filed by the fearless private watchdog group Judicial Watch and turned over an email about constructing the appropriate narrative response to the tragedy at Benghazi written by Ben Rhodes, a deputy national security adviser to President Obama.
When investigators from the House of Representatives realized that they had subpoenaed that email and not received it, they knew that there was far more to learn about the affair than met the eye.
After we broke the story, House Speaker John Boehner reacted by calling for a House vote on forming a Select Committee on Benghazi. And I issued the following statement in support of his move:
I applaud Speaker Boehner’s decision today to finally move toward a Select Committee on Benghazi in response to revelations from Judicial Watch. This is long overdue. Judicial Watch is pleased that its work uncovered the “smoking gun” Rhodes email that led to this important step. Five House Committees have failed for nearly two years to get to the bottom of the Benghazi mess and have been trifled with by a stonewalling administration. We stand ready to assist Congress in any investigation of this important issue.
Now, this is a long time coming. Judicial Watch had been part of a broad coalition calling for Boehner to appoint a select committee for some time. It finally took our startling disclosure, tying the White House to Benghazi lies, to push Boehner over the edge. Congress had been denied this document, and its investigation and subpoenas had been thwarted by the Obama gang. To his credit, the Speaker of the House had had enough.
We are pleased that there is now a Select Committee. Nevertheless, Judicial Watch’s battle to expose the truth on Benghazi is only heating up.