Judicial Watch’s Corruption Chronicles blogger Irene Garcia, formerly with the Los Angeles Times, recently wrote on the latest Benghazi developments:
It’s no coincidence that, days after prominent conservatives–including Judicial Watch–and family members of Benghazi victims demanded action and accountability, House leaders released classified files documenting the Obama administration’s lies and cover-up involving the terrorist attack…
Last week, JW joined forces with surviving Benghazi family members, U.S. military leaders, and other top conservatives to call House Speaker John Boehner on the sad job he’s doing investigating the tragedy. In a scathing letter, JW and the other signatories blasted the Republican leader and demanded action and accountability concerning the Benghazi terrorist attack and justice for the four murdered Americans. The group also demanded that Boehner install a select committee to thoroughly investigate the atrocity. The letter, personally addressed to Boehner, received substantial media attention.
In all, House leaders released 450 pages of records, including sworn testimony collected by the House Armed Services Committee during closed-door hearings. Evidently a report summarizing these hearings and the committee’s findings is forthcoming. If you want to read these documents for yourself, you can access them here.
Here’s our take on the headlines:
The previously classified testimony reveals that minutes after the American compound in Benghazi came under assault, top defense officials were informed that it was a “terrorist attack” and not a spontaneous strike that started as a protest over a U.S.-made anti-Islam video as the Obama administration has said.
General Carter Ham, who headed the Pentagon’s combat command (AFRICOM) with jurisdiction over Libya, testified that he broke the news about the unfolding attack to then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Shortly afterwards the two senior officials left the Pentagon to meet with the president.
The testimony is critical to documenting the Obama administration’s repeated lies and cover-up concerning Benghazi, but the material merely scratches the surface of the whole story of what really happened. It’s not a substitute for a special select committee on Benghazi with subpoena power, a capable staff of qualified and experienced investigators, and the resources to conduct a thorough, comprehensive investigation.
The House release was followed by the report from the Senate Intelligence Committee, which yielded more bad news for the Obama administration, this time related to a question many have asked regarding Benghazi: Could the attacks have been prevented? Of course they could, but it took the Senate over a year to figure that out. Per NBC:
A Senate panel faults the State Department and intelligence agencies for failing to thwart the September 11, 2012 assault on American outposts in Benghazi and says that the attacks were “preventable.”
In a statement on the declassified report released by the Senate Intelligence Committee, lawmakers said that “the attacks were preventable, based on extensive intelligence reporting on the terrorist activity in Libya–to include prior threats and attacks against Western targets–and given the known security shortfalls at the U.S. Mission.”
So, to sum it up: Evidence shows the Obama administration lied about the terrorist connection to the Benghazi attacks which, if the State Department and others had done their jobs, could have been prevented in the first place.
While leaders in Congress continue to inch along in their efforts to get to the truth in the Benghazi scandal, JW continues to move full-steam ahead with its investigation.
JW has uncovered the first photos documenting the aftermath of the terrorist attack. JW has also published two in-depth special reports on Benghazi, the most recent one on the first anniversary of the terrorist attack. Read the special reports here and here. We also have numerous FOIA investigations ongoing, some of which have already borne fruit. For example, JW managed to obtain the State Department contract with the controversial, inexperienced foreign defense contractor responsible for “protecting” the U.S. mission in Benghazi.
JW has been doing this kind of investigative work since its inception. We are the leading experts when it comes to unearthing government records. I have seldom seen in my 18 years a more concerted effort by any presidential administration to lie, deny, stonewall, and obfuscate. Something very big is being held tightly under lock and key by the Obama administration. Don’t be fooled by the release of haphazard, political “reports” by Congress–almost all the big questions on Benghazi remain open. We should not rest until the truth is out.
Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton is author of the NY Times best-seller “The Corruption Chronicles” and executive producer of the documentary “District of Corruption.”