Dear Mr. Speaker:
The American people are losing confidence in their government. The
tragedy in Benghazi, along with a stream of recent controversies,
including the IRS and the Justice Department’s targeting of reporters at
Fox News and the Associated Press, as well as the ambiguity about
recently disclosed programs at the National Security Agency, are eroding
public trust in the institutions of government.
Writing about Benghazi in The Wall Street Journal last month, columnist Peggy Noonan pondered, “Was all this incompetence? Or was it politics disguised as the fog of war? Who called these shots and made these decisions? Who decided to do nothing?”
More than nine months later, the Congress still cannot answer these questions. No one has been held responsible for the failure to respond that night. A few mid-level career officials have been penalized, but ultimately those senior officials who were in the position to actually say the buck stops here – cabinet secretaries and political appointees at the White House, State Department, Defense Department and CIA – have emerged unscathed, and in some cases, seemingly the better for it.
Consider that former Secretary Clinton now earns hundreds of thousands of dollars for every speech she gives, former Secretary Panetta just signed a $3 million book deal and former CIA Director Petraeus recently joined an investment firm in New York.
Similarly, several other administration officials associated with the Benghazi response to the attack have been promoted. Ambassador Rice has been promoted to national security advisor, then-deputy national security advisor Dennis McDonough has been promoted to White House chief of staff, and then-White House chief of staff Jack Lew has been promoted to Treasury Secretary.
If all responsible for the government’s response to Benghazi have been rewarded with lucrative contracts or promotions within the administration, what signal does this send to the American people about accountability?
Even more concerning, last month the Associated Press reported that the FBI allegedly has identified five men believed to be responsible for the Benghazi attacks, but won’t detain them because it does not have enough evidence to try them in a U.S. civilian court. For the U.S. to know the identities and possible locations of those who killed four Americans and fail to take action immediately because the administration insists on an Article III trial is shameful. For these reasons, any worthwhile Benghazi investigation must also consider how the Justice Department has managed its investigation into the terrorists over the last year.