The day after the House Oversight Committee’s blockbuster hearing on the Benghazi terrorist attack of September 11, 2012, House Foreign Relations Committee chair Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA) told Breitbart News that the Oversight Committee would hold more hearings:
The Committee continues its examination of the deadly Benghazi terrorist attacks so we can ensure that the bureaucratic failures that left State Department personnel vulnerable are not repeated. The Committee will continue to review the responsibility of senior State Department officials for the failure to provide proper security prior to the Benghazi attacks and needed improvements in embassy security.
Based on testimony in Wednesday’s Benghazi hearing that contradicted the rosy findings of the Obama-appointed Accountability Review Board, Royce has also introduced the Accountability Review Board Reform Act of 2013. He penned a letter to other House members on Thursday encouraging such reforms to the Accountability Review Board process. “Yesterday,” Royce wrote, “the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform held a hearing that reaffirmed the flaws in the Benghazi ARB’s review. Specifically, the ARB found that the responsibility for the ‘systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies within the State Department stopped at the Assistant Secretary level. As we heard throughout the hearing, this was simply not the case.”
Royce’s proposed legislation would help sever the bond between the ARB and the State Department – currently, the Secretary of State “appoints four out of the ARB’s five members – a clear majority that could influence the outcome of any investigation.” It would change the ARB staffing so that it isn’t as reliant on the State Department. Board members with conflicts of interest would be banned. The Secretary of State would have to hand over a list of staffers to Congress. And the ARB report would have to go to Congress, not merely the Secretary of State.
“These improvements seek to strengthen future ARB investigations to help avoid disasters like Benghazi,” Royce wrote. “Please join me in co-sponsoring this legislation.”
Ben Shapiro is Editor-At-Large of Breitbart News and author of the New York Times bestseller “Bullies: How the Left’s Culture of Fear and Intimidation Silences America” (Threshold Editions, January 8, 2013).